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Intikhab, a man for all seasons

india Updated: Jun 27, 2009 23:29 IST
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar
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Pakistan’s win in the WorldT20 has certainly brought a spring in the step of a country that was getting isolated from international cricket after the Lahore attack on the Sri Lankans.

Having suffered the trauma, it would perhaps have been fitting if the Lankans had won, but Pakistan were better on the day and deserved the win.

This triumph has one thing common with Pakistan's first World Cup title — Their manager/coach. Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistani skipper, was in charge of the team in ‘92 and was here, too.

‘Inti’, as he is popularly known, has the wonderful gift of getting the team together and his vast knowledge of the game and experience makes him a respected figure all over the world.

His twin successes add strength to the belief that countries where English is not spoken too much benefit from having a coach who speaks their language. Bangladesh is another country where many a view is lost in translation and players tend to switch off when they do not understand the language.

Of course at the end of the day sport is about natural instinct and most of this theory remains theory.

A player has to find solutions himself.

However if a player is told of his responsibilities and importance to the team, he can raise the level of his game and make a telling contribution to the team.

The shining example of that is Shahid Afridi.

It was only after skipper Younis Khan and Inti sat him down and told him of his importance did Afridi do justice to his batting. Once he was prepared to play himself in, he went on to become the Man of the Match in the semifinal and final.

A player who knows he can belt the ball out of the ground has to learn to curb the ‘nasha’ of that shot for it is best played instinctively rather than if premeditated.

Many a team has lost matches because players have tried to finish games with sixes rather than fours that don’t get the crowd up on its feet as much.

Afridi's success in the second half of the WT20 is a sparkling example of what sensible batting can achieve for a team. Hope some of the Indians were watching.