Success can be weird. When you don’t get it, it breeds anxiety. When you get it, you are on a high. When it stays in your corner, you are insecure thinking that it will desert you. We are in a similar mental space these days. The winning spree is a big deal but at the same time you don’t want it to end, never, ever. I’m a big one on visualisation but on Wednesday I did something that I have never done.
As rest of the team was practising in the training area, I quietly sneaked inside the stadium. I stood on the pitch and visualised that Ben Hilfanhaus or Doug Bollinger were running in to bowl.
What would seem like day-dreaming from the outside was so much fun. It lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes and I played every stroke in the book. From straight drive to a backfoot punch, from inside out to square cut, I played them all. Quite selfishly I wasn’t beaten even once.
Last 50 to 60 seconds were reserved for the closing moments of the game where we won the semifinals. I wanted to visualise a victory lap as well but decided against it. My mind told me to be realistic.
I came back to the nets and saw my teammates. They were all like children playing backyard cricket. Besides some obvious bowling and batting there was a lot of leg-pulling, jokes being cracked and energy that could light up a village. As a leader I was so proud of this group. A lot of people ask me what is the reason for our winning spree. I guess it is the happy dressing room which is the biggest factor. We might have won 13 in a row but before that when we were getting some indifferent results things were the same. I am a big believer in providing security to players. A cricketer’s job is to look in the front and score runs or bowl a good ball. At no stage he should be made to look over his shoulder worrying about his ouster from the team.
Catching up with viru
In the evening it was time to catch up with my good friend and India teammate Virender Sehwag. Although we both are from Delhi but we meet on away venues more often than not. It is funny that how subjects of our conversations change over a period of time. Earlier it used to be about a certain bowler, his action or his stock ball. These days it is about his two sons Aryaveer and Vedaant or my little daughter Aazeen.
Although Aazeen is still some years away from going to school I didn’t miss this opportunity to check with Viru bhai if he was happy with the school of his sons. In between he asked me how I felt about leading KKR to 13 wins. I said, “I was nervous”. Viru bhai asked me “Why?” I told him that I didn’t want it to end. He smiled and said, “Don’t worry, all good things do and just enjoy the present moment.” I didn’t say a word after that.