Team India's sledging doctrine: No first use
The players are out of their pyjamas, real cricket begins on Sunday in Multan. There's pressure to win — and not to lose — but some guys will play their cricket exactly the way they — and in fact, we — want. That's what emerged at an informal interaction between the Indian team and the media on Friday evening.
Virender Sehwag is just a little disappointed with his performances in the ODIs. "Just one fifty in five matches", he says, implying he sets the bar higher. Will he change his game for the Tests? Veeru puts on the most serious expression he can muster and says: "I'll respect the new ball". And you cannot help but think "no way". (Even his mum has said of him: "Bowler koii bhi ho, peetega zaroor".)
Sachin Tendulkar, who opens in the one-dayers with him, says he talks to Sehwag a lot. "I tell him not to predetermine his shots, because he's good enough to decide what to play after the ball is delivered.” The question is, does he listen?
Tendulkar kind of thinks so ("well at least he hears me out"). As for himself, Sachin feels he's hitting the ball about as well as he did during the World Cup. He's now looking at how best to get "positive energy" flowing in his veins, as is the rest of the team.
"We aren't getting complacent. The team's pretty prepared mentally,” says John Wright. They have to be, because both sides will be looking to engineer concentration lapses on the other. Goodwill series or no, there's going to be plenty of chat during the Tests. Both sides carry an arsenal of expletives in their kits.
"We don't start it", says Sehwag with a little smile, "but we do know how to retaliate." The team's philosophy in these matters mirrors India's nuclear doctrine "no first use". Or in this case, no first abuse.
May the best team win.