Kenyan coach Sandeep Patil on Monday fired his first salvo ahead of the semi-final clash against India saying his team will exploit the "negative" midset of the Indians to pull off another upset win and pave the way for winning the World Cup.
Patil, quietly relishing the spotlight ever
since the underdogs made it to the Super Sixes, has a simple logic for his team laying its claim on cricket's most prestigious and coveted trophy.
"If we beat India and Sri Lanka beats Australia, we meet Sri Lanka in the final. We have beaten them before and we could do it again," Patil told PTI here.
Patil, who likened himself to a "stray dog suddenly beginning to appear as a German Shepherd to the rest of the cricketing world", has all the schemes in place and is plotting to remove the hurdle of India, whom we has coached before, to realise his larger dream of clinching the World Cup.
Patil is asking his boys to do the basics right and create "enough pressure on the opposition to lure them into making mistakes".
Patil also said he believed the Indians had a "negative mindest" which could be exploited to Kenya's advantage.
"I do not understand this seven bastmen logic. If Sachin (Tendulkar) and Sehwag, Sourav (Ganguly) and (Mohd) Kaif, (Rahul) Dravid and Yuvraj (Singh) are not going to win you the World Cup, Dinesh Mongia certainly is not the one to do it. To me, it betrays a defensive mindest," said the coach.
Patil also feels Indians are making a big mistake by keeping leg-spinner Anil Kumble in cottonwools and going into a game with four specialist bowlers.
"Your fifth bowler hasn't been exposed in the tournament yet. It could be your weak link should the situation arise.
"We can also have seven batsmen in the side but we would rather go into a game with five specialist bowlers.
"If Kenya can do it, why not India?," Patil quipped.
Patil is convinced key to winning one-day matches is getting the opposition out and five bowlers are the best way to go about it.
"There could be days when your three specialist bowlers can get a team out. But on a regular basis, four bowlers are not enough to do the job you need five strike forces to nail the opposition."
Patil was convinced that the India-Kenya semi-final would not be a close affair.
"Either India will thrash Kenya by a huge margin or we will be able to beat them comprehensively. But it will not be a close match, I assure you."
Patil said he had a few surprises in store for the Indians and the biggest one would concern the Indian batsmen.
"We know what we will be doing against the Indian batsmen," he said.
"There would be a huge imaginary circle in all the bowlers' mind to pitch the ball in against the right-handers."
Also his bowlers will target a good length area outside the batsmen's off-stump in order to force indiscreet shots.
"Our biggest success will of course concern Sachin Tendulkar. If we get him, the rest of the batting will lose its driving force," he said.
Patil said his bowlers were disciplined and the team had an edge over India as far as fielding was concerned.
"We must be one of the best fielding unit in this World Cup. Certainly, we are streets ahead of India in the fielding department.
"We will field well and look to avoid no-balls and wides. We will do what is in our hands to do.
"It is India who has to come out and beat us. It would not be a case where we would roll up all on our own," Patil said.
The Kenyan coach was convinced if he is able to make early inroads into the Indian line-up, the rest of the batting could fall in disarray.
"I think Tendulkar and Sehwag at the start of the innings are key. If we can get the two out, we would reduce India's batting potency a great deal."
Patil was amazed no one thinks his side has the capacity to beat India and enter into the finals.
"When we made the Super Sixes they said we should not have been there. When we have made the semi-finals, they are expressing surprise. I wonder what would be their reaction if we were to reach the final," a bemused Patil said.
"One can draw any conclusion one wants but I have no doubt this competition will always be known as Kenya's World Cup."
Patil has decided to return home and be with his family in Mumbai and he is also looking to find some useful engagement with the Indian Cricket Board.
"I will no longer be Kenyan coach after the next five days," Patil said before adding tongue-in-cheek "Or may be a few days more if Kenya manages to enter the finals."
"I will be willing to do any job which BCCI asks me to do. It could be the role of a senior coach or one who is minding an under-seven team."
But Patil calrified he had no intention of seeking India's current coach John Wright's job. "I am only keen to help Indian cricket in whatever capacity I may be asked to do it."
Right now Patil is completely focussed on what he described as the biggest challenge of his coaching career -- to put it across the team from his native country which he coached for a brief while in 1996.
Patil was also the manager of the Indian team which toured Singapore, England and Toronto in 1996 before being unceremoniously dumped after only five months at the helm.
Now there is a delicious irony to it all as it could be the Indian Board who would be seeking him out.
Patil is adamant he would not look out for job with any other country.
"I have an offer from Bangladesh but I have decided I would only be willing to help out cricket in my native country. I am not going anywhere else for a cricket appointment," he said.
Even though Kenya is reaping a windfall from the present World Cup, it is ironical that Patil is not going to have a single penny from this astonishing run of his team.
Kenyans are assured of at least 500,000 US dollars for reaching the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup but Patil nothing will come Patil's way because his contract with the Kenyan board stipulates he is not to get any share from the prize booty.
"That is okay," Patil said. "The renewed respect with which everyone is looking at us, can never be matched by money."
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