What does the Indian team do in its spare time? How does it cope with pressure? How does it celebrate and how does it handle defeat? These are tough questions.
In one way they may be very simple to answer; that is if one believes players are human like us and given their young age, they may not let any emotion stay too long. When any one does well, he becomes happy and if not, then, obviously, depression grips him. But at their age, to be sullen for long will be going against the spirit of youth.
For a reporter, the most difficult job is to find this elusive mood in the team camp and report what they did or did not on the eve of an important match. For instance what was the mood when Lanka beat Bangladesh.
Let us find out. We all head for the team hotel. Since there is this gag order and the team management does not want any news to be leaked, players are wary of not being seen with a newshound even in private.
Here we are in the lobby of the hotel, restless and desperate to catch some glimpse of a player and desperate to be witness to some action that could be helpful in writing an interesting mood copy.
At the Hilton here, the bar is in the lobby, so it is easy to pretend being busy drinking local rum mixed with coconut water. It is delicious. The lobby is also swarming with Indians, most of whom have flown in from USA. They have miniature bats with them.
It is a long wait. Some of the Sri Lankan players are at the bar too and sipping and enjoying their beer.
Commotion. Dhoni, Pathan, Karthik, Munaf and Uthappa walk past, are almost hounded by people before escaping. News filters that they have gone out for dinner.
A few minutes later, the India captain makes his appearance. He is not going out but going in. He smiles at the newsmen, utters the words, “oh you have cornered this place,” and then moves on. More commotion. Oh, the God himself. Kids with those miniature bats rush towards SachinTendulkar, who obliges whoever he can in the seconds he is in the lobby.
More mood as Sourav Ganguly arrives. He is with Bermuda player Duncan Hemp, who was Ganguly's captain when he played for Glamorgan in county cricket last season. He had gone out for dinner with him. We all smile, not bad, even if the rum-coconut bill will hurt the pocket a bit.
We wait longer. The lobby is getting deserted. May be time for us too to have a bite and then write on the mood in the Indian camp.
Email author: Pradeep Magazine