'We expect support and backing'
Over this past week, there’ve been lots of things happening from the team’s perspective and it’s not been a particularly happy time.
What is far more important to say, on behalf of so many other players too, is that we are shocked and saddened by what has happened in Jaipur. Terror attacks are always senseless and cruel. They can never be justified by any logic and my heart goes out to all the victims who have suffered and the families they have left behind. Life will obviously never be the same again.
Lack of momentum doing us in
Coming back to the Royal Challengers and the happenings of the past few days, while I totally understand that everyone's upset about the results so far... as players and professional cricketers, we are all very upset too.
We all want to go out and win every game that we play. The problem? We haven't really got any kind of momentum and something or the other has happened when we have managed to get something going. In the last game too, Misbah started brilliantly and then got out in unusual fashion.
What's important though, is that at this time, you need all the support and backing you can get. You need the people around you, the people who matter, to understand what sport is all about, to realise that no one goes out there to lose.
What’s unfortunate is that, invariably, everyone starts pointing fingers at the captain. So it stands all the more to reason that people within the camp then stand up and say 'we believe in you and your team. That’s what’s most important in this kind of situation.
Corporate look but still cricket
I do understand that the IPL is different and there is a corporate look and feel to the whole concept. But having said that, at the end of the day, it is a cricket match — one that a cricketer does not want to lose.
As players, we go through various ups and downs in our careers, there are phases when nothing one does is wrong and there are others where the same things that come so naturally to you seem like alien concepts. But as cricketers, we also know the bad times will pass, that we will pick ourselves up and bounce back. There’s nothing new in that and I expect we will here too. It might be somewhat late for this tournament and that's unfortunate, but we have a bunch of proven quality players and nothing can take that away.
People have to understand that the most important aspect of becoming a sportsman is the joy of winning and the successes you have, the successes you taste. The whole aim of playing sport is in the challenge, in competing, in giving your all to do better than the guy who's facing you.
At the same time, most of us will have our fair share of failures but there's another sweet joy in coming back from those defeats, almost always much stronger.
Adaptability the key
T20 cricket is a totally different format and as an international cricketer who has played this game for so long, I clearly understand (as most of us who play the game do) that Test cricket is the ultimate joy, the absolute challenge. If you are a Test cricketer, you can adapt to any form of the game, but the other way around, it doesn't always work out.
If you look at the successes that teams playing in the IPL have had, it's mostly been about the top three batters going on to bat the team to a big score. That will clearly be the focus of our discussion ahead of the game scheduled for Saturday. The Rajasthan Royals have had a fantastic run so far, they have gelled really well as a team, although at the start, not many gave them any chance of going the distance. At this point, they're right up there.
They've never lost a match at their home ground and depending on prevailing circumstances allowing us to play there, it's important for us to change that.
We'll be giving it our best.