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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Columns > Vivian Richards

Tendulkar, Dravid hold the key
to India's fortunes

March 21, 2003

The Indians have travelled the longest distance as far as this tournament is concerned. In their first game, they were bowled out by Holland for a little over 200, and today they are on the threshold of their second World Cup final. Whatever happens from now on, Indian fans should be proud of their team, and if things don't go their way, they must not resort to the kind of rubbish that followed India's loss to Australia in the league phase.

The Indians were lucky to have drawn Kenya in the semi-finals, but they deserved their luck. The Kenyans have been a good side in this tournament but they were clearly out of depth against Sourav Ganguly and his boys. The result of this game was pretty much taken for granted, and, fortunately, the weather held out to ensure that we had a full game at Durban.

So what must the Indians do before the final. I have often been asked about how I felt on the eve of the three World Cup finals in which I had the privilege of playing. I always kept it simple, and never lost sight of the fact that while reaching the final is an achievement, the biggest achievement is winning that game. I did all the small things right -- went to bed early on the eve of the match, did not go around signing too much memorabilia, and tried to keep interaction with supporters and fans to the minimum. I have seen finalists often get so excited about getting that far that they start giving bits and pieces from their kits to followers.

The main players must be calm and quiet for India over the next couple of days. Sachin Tendulkar is a very level-headed individual and I'm sure he has been in big situations in the past. Even in this World Cup, the game against Pakistan was a huge one, and I was very impressed with the way he responded to the challenge of chasing a big total against a quality bowling attack. On Sunday, he must play his natural game, back his instincts and not get bogged down by all the talk that he holds the key to the game. He must also be relieved that the other batsmen, some of whom were looking so out of form at the start of the World Cup, are now in prime form. I think that other than Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid will play a key role in the final. They are the two guys that the Australians will be after, and it will be a test to their temperament whether they will be able to take the pressure.

The bowlers are the other plus for the Indians. Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan have supported Srinath marvellously. They are right now as threatening as any attack in this tournament, and could be crucial to the outcome of the match. If they get early wickets against the Aussies, anything can happen from then on.

This match promises to be a great one. I have a feeling that every team is due a hiccup in a tournament. Australia have come close to losing, but they have held on till now. Will they hang on together for one more game, only time will tell. (Gameplan)

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Number of User Comments: 12

Sub: Sachin and Australia

Talk from Australia that Sachin is key is simple strategy, the aim being to convince the Indian team that once they lose Sachin they might ...

Posted by Malvinder Singh

Sub: the number game

Check this out guys Was Australia beaten playing their 17th Test by the Indian team in 2000 after having one the previous 16 Sorry if ...

Posted by george

Sub: sour grapes

Vivian Richards condescension towards India is well ... a little annoying. All his articles about India have it. He tends to make stupid statements like ...

Posted by Ashish

Sub: Sure Sir!!!

Sure Mr. Viv Richards!!! All of India hopes that Australia makes a big hiccup and fall in the pits. No doubt, they are a very ...

Posted by Sai

Sub: One of the best articles of the tournment sofar! -

King Richards has shown his class again, this time with the pen.

Posted by SK


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