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Retaining self-belief the way forward

This has been a strange tournament thus far. Sometimes, you are caught on a slow, low wicket, at times the ball whizzes around and occasionally you come across a belter, Anil Kumble on the loss to the Rajasthan Royals.

cricket Updated: May 09, 2009 01:07 IST
Anil Kumble

This has been a strange tournament thus far. Sometimes, you are caught on a slow, low wicket, at times the ball whizzes around and occasionally you come across a belter.

All this reflects on the points table where positions have been changing as the teams struggle to cope with the varying conditions. Then again, this is what makes us believe that one loss, however bad, like the one against the Rajasthan Royals on Thursday, does not mean the end of the world.

That morning at Centurion, the toss was vital. It had rained almost the whole of Wednesday night and there was some rain on Thursday morning too. Of course, any team that relies too much on the spin of coin is not going about it the right away. Overall, we played poor cricket and there’s no way we deserved to win.

Once you come across a pitch like that, with all the moisture, batting gets tough. Why, the bounce and movement surprised even our

batsman in form, Jacques Kallis. Once the rest of the batsmen saw what was happening to Kallis, the effect was to get circumspect.

In the end, it left us with 100-odd to defend, when we needed at least 130 or so. It is not as the match was lost. When you are trying to defend a low score, you’ve to get back and reduce the opposition to 3-3. Once that didn’t happen, the writing was on the wall.

We did have our plans at the break on how to go about the defence, talked about the need to create opportunities but then a few hits landed in no man’s land, catches didn’t come to hand and Rajasthan were away.

The way forward is not to panic but retain confidence and belief. There is still every chance to get to the semis and that’s what we will carry with us to Port Elizabeth for Sunday’s game against Mumbai.

We can also take the confidence of having beaten them in our last encounter. The fact that the pitch at PE is slow makes it better. It is a question of getting combination right.

Off the field, our boys had a good break, heading off to Malibu Lodge, a jungle resort owned by Vijay Mallya. They had a blast watching the lions up close. It was quite an experience for the younger lot. Unfortunately, for family reasons, I couldn’t join them.