|HOME | WORLD CUP 99 | INDIA | OPINION | SANJAY MANJREKAR|
|April 30, 1999||
Sense and sensibilitySanjay Manjrekar
The Indian cricket team is now in England, many thousands of miles from home. More importantly, many thousands of miles removed from the massive, unprecedented ballyhoo that is being created around this year's World Cup.
I was not a member of the 1983 team, nor am I a member of the 1999 team, and yet there is not a single day when someone doesn't approach me, asking me to be part of one or other event aimed at cashing in on the popularity of the game, the tournament and of course, the players.
Even Leicestershire must now seem a welcome, peaceful place after all that the Indian cricketers have experienced in the last few weeks in India.
As mentioned earlier, the Indian party has sensibly chosen to arrive in England three weeks before the real thing. I can't begin to emphasis the importance of these three weeks, to tell you how very critical it is. The three weeks before the tournament are, in fact, as important as the three weeks of the tournament itself -- and I do fervently hope that the team management feels as I do about this.
The beauty of England is that the usual international approach is not always successful there -- that basic plan needs alterations. It is here that the Indians should look positively at their recent performances in the one day internationals that were played on the subcontinent.
The point is, it does not matter how successful India was, since the conditions in the subcontinent and in Sharjah are at complete variance with those in England. And the same is true of failure as well -- Azhar and his boys should throw all their memories of bad performances in the sub-continent out of the window. Forget the good as well as the bad, sit down together, and chalk out a plan with the World Cup, and English conditions, in mind.
It is vital for Gaekwad to be close to the younger players, to give them more of his time, make them feel important and integral to the team. In England, it is the good 'team' that will win, not a collection of great players. Individual brilliance can win you games in Sharjah and on the sub-continent, but in England, the only way you can win is with 11 competent players playing as a team.
The question is, can India be that team? Wisden certainly seems to think so!
Photographs: Jewella Miranda
Editor's note: Since May 1 is a holiday, the World Cup site will be next updated on May 3. See you then.
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