I?m looking ahead but one for 83 still hurts
I have many fond memories of playing in Brisbane, but I certainly did not add to them during our game against the Indians on Sunday. The Indian batsmen are in great form, and once again it was very difficult to contain them.india Updated: Jan 21, 2004 12:48 IST
I have many fond memories of playing in Brisbane, but I certainly did not add to them during our game against the Indians on Sunday. The Indian batsmen are in great form, and once again it was very difficult to contain them. However, conceding 80-plus is completely unacceptable. As a sportsman one must look ahead since you cannot change what has gone by, but one for 83 still hurts a lot.
The fast bowlers from both sides had a tough time on a surface that has traditionally helped pace, and it certainly was the flattest wicket I have seen at the Gabba.
Every sportsman has peaks and troughs, so it is important that one has support when the going is not good. I am happy and touched to see that Ricky (Ponting) is backing me, and is there for me during this rough period. We had a chat on Monday and another one today, during which he raised some interesting points about where I was going wrong.
Ricky told me that it was important that I did not panic because this was my first bad game in 12 months. He reminded me that I had been named man of the series during the VB Series exactly a year ago, and at the World Cup I was the leading wicket-taker in 2003. Ricky added that there were some positives that emerged from the Brisbane game, for instance I did bowl well in patches, and I was consistently hitting the 150 mark.
According to Ricky, I am bowling the wrong length, because right now the ball is landing a foot or so shorter than during the World Cup, when I was bowling well. I have taken this point on board, so hopefully the results will be there to show in the next couple of games. It's great that the captain is sticking up for me, and I hope to thank him with a good show at the SCG.
The Indian batsmen right now seem to be enjoying themselves while playing us. It is obvious that they relish their encounters against us, which is why they save their best for us. For example, the Indians under-achieved with the bat on Tuesday against the less-fancied attack of Zimbabwe.
Looking ahead to Thursday's game, we will be without the services of Matthew Hayden at the top of the order. There is no serious injury but the team decided that this was a good time for him to take off and look after a few niggles. It will also give him some time off with his family so that he can come back rejuvenated for the final phase of the tournament.
We have reached the middle of the league phase of the VB Series, and it is obvious that there is very little separating us from the Indians right now. While both teams have defeated Zimbabwe twice, Australia and India have beaten each other by identical margins in their two games.
The finals will almost certainly be between these two sides, but there is no letting up from either camp in the remaining two league games they will play against each other.
Moving away from the action, it was a great shock for us to hear of the tragic death of David Hookes. He was an awesome personality, and for guys of my generation, his commentary on radio and television brought us closer to the game.
I felt sick when I heard the news, and it took all of us some time to come to terms with it.
We maintained a minute's silence before our team meeting, to remember and respect one of the great characters of contemporary Australian cricket. (Gameplan)
First Published: Jan 21, 2004 12:48 IST