I'm going to say I have no definite answer on whether I'm playing the next game. I'd like to, definitely. So I'm going to stick my neck out and say I'm 99 per cent certain I will, but there's always that one iffy per cent, the 'should-I-risk-yet-or-should-I-not' question that needs to be answered. Hopefully, Delhi, I'll see you at the Kotla on Monday.
Now that that's out of the way --- it's nice to have my team back to winning ways. It was terribly frustrating to sit on the sidelines and watch us lose two games we should have won, against the Chargers and the Super Kings. Honestly, it hurt.
Yet, at the same time, I think it was good the losses happened when they did. Last year, we peaked too early, winning nine out of 10 games getting into the semifinals, before losing when it mattered. In this format, it's all about momentum, getting it going at the right time, peaking when it's exactly right and carrying on from there. So a dip in the middle should probably have us sorted.
What's also going to matter is that we stay injury-free and we really need some luck for that. It is exasperating to be injury-ridden and on an enforced break just when you've started hitting the ball well. I came into the IPL having recovered fully from a groin injury and then this hamstring happened, just when I was beginning to feel good about my game again. Now I have to start from scratch. This is what injury does to a player. This is also something that will be on my mind, as captain of the Daredevils and as an India player, over the next few weeks over the IPL and the lead up to the World Twenty20. You really can't predict injuries, but they can and do happen anytime on the field of play.
So while the IPL is great in the sense that we India players get 14 or 15 T20 games in before the World Cup to get into super T20 groove, it's a tough call when you know you're risking players to injury ahead of a major world event.
I think franchises what should do if there's no chance of their qualifying for the semis is this: Rest the players picked for India in the larger interests of the country. I can tell you that personally, if the DD are out of semifinal contention (which I hope we're not), I'll want to rest Viru and Dinesh Karthik. India comes first. I'm sure everyone understands that.