As cricketers, this is the moment we all live for. Having been there before, I can sense the nervous energy that must be flowing through both camps, who will be itching for the action to begin, because, often, the longer the wait, the more edgy you tend to become.
The Pakistan game was a very high pressure one, as any India-Pakistan game is, and it places huge demands on your mental reserves. India came through that examination brilliantly. When you are involved in such a draining game, there is a chance of a letdown if you have 4-5 days before the next match. Here, they won on Wednesday, travelled on Thursday, trained on Friday and will play on Saturday. Perfect, I feel!
For India, it’s a great opportunity to win a second World Cup title, and the ideal script would also include Sachin getting a hundred in his home town, in a World Cup final.
Without intending to compare the quality of the two sides, I think this team is better prepared for the final than we were in 2003. By that, I mean that they have won more finals and trophies than we had going into the 2003 final, against a tough Australian side. The current outfit has players who were in the World T20-winning side in South Africa, in the tri-series in Australia in 2008, in various other triangular tournaments and in the Asia Cup final last year. They know what it takes to win the finals.
Lanka hardly tested
The teams have taken different paths to the finals. Sri Lanka have hardly been tested, and while that shows that they have won convincingly, I would rather be in the position India find themselves in. India have been pushed, they have been in pressure situations, all their players have been challenged, and they have overcome all those challenges.