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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Holland game could decide India's course

Greg Chappell | February 10, 2003 14:27 IST

For India to achieve its goal of a second World Cup win in this edition, they will have to play with a passion and team spirit rarely seen in Indian teams of the past. History tells us that the winners of the previous seven World Cup campaigns were teams with flair and passion, who developed a strong team bond during the Cup proceedings.

Imran Khan, perhaps, had to work harder than most to get his young side over the line in 1992, in Australia. India has managed it before, when as underdogs they upset Clive Lloyd's marvellous West Indian team in the 1983 final.

The most important task in front of Sourav Ganguly and John Wright over the next six weeks is to keep the squad happy and relaxed and playing the type of cricket we know they are capable of producing.

Possibly, one of the most important games they play will be against one of the lesser lights of the tournament in their first match of the series. Holland will be the first opponent, at Paarl, on February 12, and while they are not expected to beat any of their more fancied opponents, it is a must win game for India.

Just how well India plays in this game could decide the pattern for the Cup campaign. Having come off a disturbing series loss in New Zealand, the team needs to establish some equilibrium quickly and the match with Holland will provide an ideal opportunity.

Not only must they win but they must do it in an imperious fashion. It would be best for India to be able to bat first and build a big total with as many batters getting some time in the middle as possible. To follow this up with a clinical bowling performance, backed by some energetic fielding, would be just what the doctor and, no doubt, the coach ordered.

Fitness will be an important part of the winning teams' armoury and Wright would have used some of the build-up period to have his team, especially some of the older players, spend some time on this facet of their game.

I can an remember taking a team to New Zealand, leading up to the Centenary Test, many years ago and deciding that fitness was going to be an important part of our success on that tour and the subsequent Centenary Test back in Melbourne.

Many of our players complained of the extra work load early on the tour, but by the end of the trip we were fielding much better and a number of our players turned in career-best performances. Doug Walters scored his only double century on that tour and Gary Gilmour scored his only Test century in a record-breaking partnership with Walters that helped us clinch the series.

Some of the senior Indian players go into this tournament without a great deal of good form recently. How they deal with this will have a big effect on how the team will perform. Most of the younger Indian players will look to the experience of Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Srinath and Kumble to guide them through the gruelling format of the next few weeks. Living out of a suitcase far away from family and friends and the comforts of home can be the biggest test for any international cricketer. So success early in the campaign will be essential for all teams.

Australia struggled for much of the early stages of the 1999 World Cup, but it was the experience, and the resilience, of the experienced campaigners which got them through to the Super Six stage; and then, the depth of talent and an unshakable belief in themselves got them through the tough match with South Africa before they overwhelmed Pakistan in the final.

If India is to reverse the recent form slump it will require the experienced players to throw off the torpor of the New Zealand tour quickly and start emphatically against Holland. It is dangerous to look too far forward in any World Cup tournament or take any opponent for granted. Australia made this mistake against Zimbabwe at Trent Bridge in 1983 and the West Indies fell to Kenya at Pune in 1996.

The brains trust of the Indian party must have their players focussed for the game against Holland and must set a standard for the series. If they intend to go in with seven batters and only four front line bowlers, as they have done recently, they need to get the right combination at the outset and start working the game plan they intend to use.

Former Australia captain Chappell played in 88 Tests for Australia, 48 as captain, scoring 7110 runs at an impressive average of 53.86.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Number of User Comments: 2




Sub: prediction

india is goinrg to lift the worldcup,it is the matter of time only.sahin the of this world cup and the hero will be well supported ...


Posted by Esarul Haque





Sub: India in the nether-land of Planet Cricket...

Tell them, Greg! Sound advice. If India has to win this cup, I sure hope they do it together. Togetherness and camaraderie in the locker- ...


Posted by Jolz




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