There has been plenty of speculation over whether we sorely missed Murali and Vaas in Goa, but I would really not like to dwell on it. The bottomline is that they are not here, and our bowlers did a good job on a pitch that took us a bit by surprise with low and variable bounce.
Zaheer's county stint has improved his performance immeasurably and the omission from the team , definitely acted as a wake-up call. Away from the hysteria of fans, he was able to concentrate solely on his bowling, and the results show.
We were 20-30 runs short of our target in Goa because 250 definitely seemed within reach when Marvan and Mahela were on. Later, Russel Arnold again showed why he is such an important member of this team.
Coming to Vizag, I was surprised by the magnificent ground and the facilities. The outfield and the square are among the best I've seen, though morning dew could be a factor, and the groundsmen will have a bit of a struggle getting the match started on time. The big news for India is the absence of Sachin Tendulkar. Some key Indian players have developed minor injuries, though it should not really a big concern. Given the huge amount of cricket these days, it pays to rotate your best players so they remain fit for important tournaments.
And so we go into the decider. Whatever happens, I would like to emphasise that we are extremely comfortable with our World Cup preparations. Some may question the wisdom of playing a tournament this close to the mega event, I would rather go into a World Cup over-prepared than underdone.