The last week we played three games and have not been able to win a single one. Of the three defeats, the first was against Delhi, and that was entirely due to the magnificent innings played by Virender Sehwag. Thereafter, we have had unsuccessful outings against Jaipur and Hyderabad. In both these games, we lost too many wickets upfront, and since this format gives you little time to recover from a poor start, we lost the matches as soon as we lost wickets in the first six overs. A winning total after a poor start might happen in one out of 60 games, but most often it means that the team will not have enough on the board.
The Twenty20 format is all about keeping wickets in hand and all teams have to plan accordingly. It might be a shortcoming in the format, but every format does have its negatives and positives, so it’s important that the team’s strategy factors in the lack of recovery time.
Among the teams we have played against, Jaipur looked like a side that is really executing its plans well. The game had a special experience in store for me because I got to face Shane Warne for the first time. Looking ahead, we meet Delhi once again. Things might be a bit difficult for them this time, because conditions are quite different. The wicket at Chepauk offered a lot of bounce and couple of balls really took off when they were batting. The wicket in Delhi might be better suited to us, but it is important for us to stick to our plans. We must bowl with discipline and make the batsmen take risks, and when we bat we must not give wickets to Delhi’s opening bowlers.
At present, we are really learning the value of having four wins in the bank. We are planning a few experiments with the batting and will be trying a slightly new combination as well. All this is possible because we do have a few wins on our side, and the situation is not do-or-die just yet.
It’s when a side is losing that the team spirit and togetherness is really tested, and we are coping pretty well at the moment. We have plenty of activities and have been enjoying our time together. Most importantly, we are really enjoying our cricket, which helps in such times. For me personally, I am happy with the way I am keeping to Muttiah Muralitharan now. It was a little difficult in the first few games, especially under the lights, but I have started picking his doosra quite well now. At present, I am focusing on cricket and not on singing, and contrary to reports I have not recorded our team song in Hindi. I am a bathroom singer, and plan to keep it that way for the time being. Gameplan.