A calm dressing room translates into a confident performance on the field. India right now are in that zone.
Generous doses of Hindi music, mangoes from the local market and tea made by the support staff go a long way in keeping MS Dhoni and his boys in the right shape for the
Generally, the media is kept out of bounds of the dressing room. But such was the setting of India's afternoon practice at the Kensington Cricket Club on Friday that nothing was adequately demarcated.
The dressing room essentially was a two-room pavilion with an open balcony overlooking the field, lined with trees and the Blue Mountains providing a beautiful backdrop.
On one of the walls of the pavilion was stuck a flyer announcing a bat signed by Sachin Tendulkar as prize for the most disciplined team of the local junior league. Strewn across the floor were kit bags, the entire setting Indianised with Hindi songs playing from a small music recorder.
They were mostly forgotten Bollywood film numbers, with a few popular foot-tapping Sufi songs to keep up with the tempo in the dressing room, players rushing in and out to get their gear or a quick massage. The pace is neither hectic nor laidback.
"There is always some kind of music playing while training," said a team official. "Players bring their selection of songs on their iPods and attach it to the music players. Sometimes, even we don't understand the music they bring," he said.
Team practice is normally a long affair, with elaborate batting sessions, a game of football and different drills conducted by fielding coach Trevor Penny. Friday, in particular, seemed longer than usual. A breezy Kingston evening was partly responsible for it. "This is the first time in many days the players are wearing shorts. This weather is a welcome change from the cold of England," said an official.
And there is probably no better way of enjoying the summer than eating mangoes as Suresh Raina and Dhoni almost polished off the bucket earmarked for the team after their batting session.
Next was the tea made by one of the support staff. Tea is important for Dhoni, who it was said to have had a hard time finding warm water at the team hotel in the morning. Dipping rusk in the tea, Dhoni was a picture of calm.
By then however, news of Chris Gayle hitting his first ODI century of the season and West Indies coasting to victory against Sri Lanka had filtered in.
It promptly put the team on alert. Discussions began and the few Indian reporters present were informed that they were not welcome anymore.
India had started to plan their West Indies assault.
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