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Will the 'Huddle' do the trick?

Will the 'Great Indian Huddle', which has begun to symbolise the country's resurgence, do the trick for Sourav Ganguly on Sunday?

india Updated: Apr 19, 2003 13:32 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Will the 'Great Indian Huddle', which has begun to symbolise the country's cricketing resurgence, do the trick for Sourav Ganguly and his band of brave warriors in the final of the TVS Cup triangular series against South Africa here on Sunday?

The football-style huddle was introduced during the recent World Cup and the Indians have continued the practice after the fall of each wicket in this tournament hoping to maintain the winning habit.

After a disastrous tour of New Zealand and a rather dismal beginning in the World Cup, the intense pressure to perform and satisfy millions of restless cricket fans back home prompted the players to hit upon some novel ideas to not only foster team spirit but also back each other in that tormenting phase of Indian cricket.

With cricket fans going on the rampage blackening houses and burning effigies, the cricketers had to get their acts together quickly and the huddle provided the perfect platform for the team to encourage each other and to plan out an on-field strategy to claim the next wicket.

Captain Ganguly himself admitted that the fans' ire at the continuing poor performance in the early stages of the World Cup propelled the team to greater heights.

"We knew we could not have returned home if we did not play well. It brought us together and we backed each other," Ganguly had said on returning home after losing in the final to Australia.

Infact, the huddle changed India's fortune dramatically. After losing to Australia by a huge margin in the group match, Sourav Ganguly and his men convincingly won eight matches on the trot to reach the final where they eventually went down to the defending champions in what turned out to be an one-sided contest.

But it was a remarkable turnaround for a team which seemed totally clueless on the seaming wickets in New Zealand only a few months before the World Cup.

What do the players talk when they huddle together?

The players are not too keen to disclose but the contents of their discussion centre around the match situation. Basically, it is an opportunity to pep up the morale and back each other.

It's not always serious stuff though. Occasionally, when the situation is in favour of the team, there are some light pranks to keep the momentum going.

Sports psychologists say that in any team game, the spirit of being together was the key to a good performance and a physical demonstration of that togetherness often helped to bring about the desired result.

Although such huddles are quite common in football the world over, the Indians have brought the practice to the cricket field which is now proving to be quite contagious.

The Kenyans, the surprise package in the World Cup, started doing it during the later stages of the mega event and now even the South Africans have showed signs of getting infected.

If anything, the huddle sends out the message to the opponents that the team is united and fight that way till the very end.

The dismal tour of New Zealand had prompted the Indian Cricket Board to hire the services of renowned sports psychologist Sandy Gordon to have a couple of sessions with the players who opened up with all their problems.

After the sessions with Gordon, the motivational slogan 'Now or Never' was made the motto of the team during the World Cup. Though the team missed fulfilling that dream by a whisker, it had set the team on the right path - winning matches consistently.

First Published: Apr 19, 2003 13:32 IST