Just the right stage for India to bounce back
Joint winners in the last edition and runners up in 2000, Champions Trophy has proved happy hunting ground for the Indians but that's where England 2004 beckons, writes Kris Srikkanth.
Will it be third time lucky for India at the ICC Champions Trophy? Joint winners in the last edition in Sri Lanka and runners up at Kenya in 2000, the Champions Trophy has proved happy hunting ground for the Indians in the past without fetching them the ultimate prize but that's where England 2004 beckons.
I agree that things do not look great for the Indians at the moment. But it is exactly under such circumstances that the Indian team does well. They almost always rise to deliver when nothing much is expected of them, a case of being able to do well when the pressure's somewhat off.
Two other factors should goad the Indian team to perform. Firstly, the confidence that they would have regained after that close win over England in the final Natwest Series game will help. Next, there is bound to be a huge spin off thanks to the recognition bestowed upon one of the team's most well-liked members.
I felt really proud when Rahul Dravid was named the Player of the Year besides being chosen as the Test Player of the Year at the ICC awards on Tuesday. This is indeed a great honour and one that is fully deserved. The modesty he displayed during his acceptance speech that evening was really moving. Rahul and the team have to use the award as a pedestal for moving ahead.
Much will depend on how the Indian vice-captain and the skipper Sourav Ganguly perform in the days to come. They have to lead the way in more ways than one.