If there was any doubt among the England players what they would be up against during Sunday's game against India at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the reports on all news channels and newspapers, showing the mad scramble for tickets, removed them.
Forget the Ashes game at the MCG; in terms of decibel levels generated by the crowd, Andrew Strauss’s men better be braced to play in the most intimidating atmosphere of their careers so far.
Playing India in India at the World Cup can be an unnerving experience. Looking from the other side, it’s also the stage where legends are made.
The current England team doesn't need to look beyond their dressing room for inspiration. The English cricket stalwart, Graham Gooch, who had silenced the Indian crowd at such a highly-charged stage, is their batting coach.
Gooch had broken Indian hearts with a brilliant hundred in the semi-finals of the 1987 World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium, helping England to an upset win over Kapil Dev’s team.
Talking to HT about the challenge that his boys faced on Sunday, the former opener said: “India is a very good side; it’s a challenge to play against them because they are the top-ranked team in the world. But, that is why you play cricket — to challenge the best.”
All about spirit
Gooch’s cricket story is about guts, hardwork and a never-day-spirit, playing 118 Tests and 125 ODIs. He’s told his boys to take the same spirit into the big game: “You’ve to play with belief. Is there any other way?
“You have to go out there, believing you can win. We weren’t supposed to win in 1987, were we?” said Gooch, the anwers lying in his questions.
Like a Cauldron
Talking from his 1987 experience, Gooch said the Chinnaswamy Stadium will be like a grand Coliseum bursting at its seams. He said he could not wait to hear the same, deafening roar that will greet the teams when they troop out.
Gooch said if the player laps it all up positively, there’s nothing more inspirational. “It was an amazing atmosphere that time. There is no better place to play cricket. Tomorrow too, it will be a packed house, a great atmosphere.”