In less than 48 hours from when you'll be reading this, India and Australia will be facing each other in the third Test at Perth, on what is being touted as the world's fastest pitch. It's a game that both teams want to win — they would want to in any case, but given the mistrust, bitterness and almost militant aggression that the last 10 days or so have seen, the need to win this third Test will probably have shades of desperation in it. In different ways.
The Aussies, odds-on-favourites in any case — whose “win at all costs” mentality and graceless behaviour in Sydney alienated many of their countrymen — are apparently seeing this as a place to win and to win back hearts. Their closed door spirit of cricket meeting at their hotel in Perth on Sunday evening was apparently about this: About looking at their behaviour in the last Test, trying to figure out what was wrong and what was right and looking at “making positive gains” from this analysis.
Their meeting was reportedly “compèred” by management consultant and motivational thinker Ray McLean, a former teacher who worked with the Royal Australian Air Force for five years as a training and leadership officer. McLean also worked with the team before the first Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane last November and has worked successfully with several rugby and Aussie Rules football teams too.
Interestingly, his website, leadingteams.net.au, declares its mission to be to “develop leaders who behave in a manner that will have a positive impact on their peers and their organisation.”
They have a separate sports programme, which revolves around “Culture and Core Values”; “Relationship building”; “Dealing with conflict”; “Understanding how culture and values effect performance”; “Developing desired behaviour within the team”; “Peer Performance Assessment”; “Self Improvement Planning” and “Effective Communication”.
India meanwhile are still clueless and frustrated about what will happen with Harbhajan Singh's appeal hearing. No one apparently knows when Kiwi judge John Hansen will be available, at this point, not even the ICC. BCCI officials believe that this is obviously because “they (the ICC and Cricket Australia) want to defuse the crisis by having the hearing after the Test series”. The Board's strategy, on the other hand, prefers an “early hearing”.