Two emphatic wins against the Royals within the space of four days may have taken a toll on the squad, albeit a sub-conscious one.
We all talk about treating every game the same, and we try to, but there is always an emotional fallout.
I don’t believe in excuses, and never have done. From the earliest years of my career, influenced by my father Henry, my school coaches and Duncan Fletcher, I was told to take responsibility for my performance and not blame the umpires or the pitch.
Anyways, as I said before the game, Kochi are a talented squad with the ability to beat anybody on any given day. It’s always hard to accept when you fail to chase down a below-par total, but that’s life.
If it’s great to feel the joy of defending a low total, it’s only reasonable to expect to be on the receiving end from time to time. But credit should be given to Kochi and the way they have bounced back from two opening losses. I always thought the speculation about the ‘difficulties’ new franchises would face was uninformed. Yes, they are the new boys, but, in many ways, they have so much going for them.
Experienced campaigners, good coaching staff and, most importantly, very low expectations make life a little bit easier for the new guys. They can afford to take risks in difficult situations without worrying too much about the consequences. Of course, the consequences are important for all of us, but the new additions have a little less expectation.
THE MIDDLE PERIOD
The middle period of the tournament, which we are entering now, will be decided in the head. The collective attitude of the squads during this period will make a difference in determining the semifinal line-up. There is no point in leaving yourself with the pressure of needing to win two or three games in a row in order to qualify. Rather, get the job done early and then ‘pace’ yourself.
I have never been a superstitious player. However, there are routines I have always followed, but they are more for fun and habit than superstition. Left sock before right, right pad before left --- that sort of things. But I never mind a couple of low scores before the business end of a tournament or series. I’m not superstitious, but I don’t mind hoping that it might mean runs when they matter.