Indians looked tense, need to relax

  • Greg Chappell, PTI
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 14, 2003 02:33 IST

Sourav Ganguly has always looked prone to mental laziness and continues to squander a wonderful talent. After India's patchy batting performance in their opening World Cup match against Holland, most of the Indian batsmen need to spend some time in quiet reflection before Saturday's match with Australia, trying to find the state of mind that allows them to play to their potential.

India achieved objective number one in defeating Holland comfortably. It wasn't as comprehensive a win as the team management and Indian supporters would have preferred, but a win is a win.

To do well in this World Cup, India must get the basics right. They need to win the matches they should win; they must catch their catches, field with enthusiasm and, importantly, bat their 50 overs.

India's batting in this game was, at best, patchy. Holland boasts a modest attack but the Indian batsmen played without conviction on a good wicket. The good news was that Tendulkar spent some time in the middle.

It is hard to bat with confidence when you don't have any but the Indian line-up needs to be more convincing than this if they want to get to the finals. Australia's attack in the next match will test them more sternly than did Holland's.

John Wright and Ganguly must not put too much pressure on the team to perform. It is more important for everyone to be as relaxed as possible to the point of having fun.

Good players don't lose their talent overnight. They can lose their way mentally though, and it is this mental balance which the Indian squad needs to rediscover. This will not be achieved by boring routine worrying about technique.

Worrying about bad form will only entrench the negative frame of mind and make it impossible to watch the ball as closely as is required to perform well.

If the batsmen can find the right state of mind they will be able to start watching the ball again and their form can return immediately, as if by magic.

The beauty of the state of confidence is that it is a state of mind. It can be lost quickly, but equally it can return overnight if the individual can recapture the thinking patterns they use when they are in form.

The positives for India were that Tendulkar spent 91 minutes at the crease and that the experienced bowlers bowled well.

Tendulkar looked intent on making sure India won. He didn't look to play the expansive shots but was content to knock the ball into the gaps and pick up the one's and two's. He is one of the leading players in the tournament and is capable of playing either knock, as it is required, provided he is in form. (Press Trust of India)


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