HT Image
HT Image

Raise the bar & break free

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's boys need to score psychological points in this match. Anil Kumble writes.
Hindustan Times | By Anil Kumble
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2011 02:32 AM IST

While it was good to see India maintain a no-loss record, watching them huff and puff their way to a win over the Irish did not make for happy viewing.

I have said this before but I cannot say it enough: India urgently need to inject life into their World Cup campaign, their approach so far, has been far too desultory.

Seize the moment
It's not that they haven't been challenged, but there is a big difference between scraping through or getting through comfortably in the end and putting your stamp of authority on a game.

India so far, haven't done that, except for an hour here and there, through some individual batting efforts.

If they do not use the game against the Netherlands at the Ferozshah Kotla to score important psychological points, India would have let go of a vital opportunity to proclaim to the other top teams that if they want to win the World Cup, they need to beat India to get a hand on it.

Crowd support

Cricket has always been about putting the opposition under pressure, on the field and off it. You need the other team to be feeling the heat when they walk on to face you and that only comes from their being wary straight off of your dominance on the field of play.

In India's case, there is also the solid advantage of a raucous home crowd wherever they play - they need to use it well, not like against the Irish, when the crowd was frequently silenced with the equally frequent ebb and flow of India's chase.

Nehra has to play
Today's game has got to see Ashish Nehra in play. This is his home ground, he knows it better than any other India bowler and, in any case, how long can he be benched?

Niggles are a part and parcel of the modern game. But, as England have shown with Pietersen (and Broad), in a competition as fierce and important as the World Cup, however big the player, and however important you think he might be to your strategy, you need him to be able to be fit to take the field. Otherwise, he needs to step aside.

Nehra is fit and India need to find the correct balance, this is the perfect game to do so.

They also need to bench Piyush Chawla, who had another poor game against Ireland on Sunday.

He bowled far too short and the Irish batsmen took full advantage.

If India play a second full-time spinner (which they might not need to seeing the form Yuvraj is in with the ball) then it has to be Ashwin.

The Ferozshah Kotla will be packed to the rafters today and the Delhi crowd will expect their boys --- Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, and Ashish Nehra, if he plays - to make this a game that will rekindle the fire in India's campaign.

I'm eagerly waiting for that too.

Hawkeye Communications

Story Saved