‘Mumbai Indians deserve to be in final; love to see Rising Pune Supergiant win’

In his column for Hindustan Times, Gautam Gambhir previews the final of the 2017 Indian Premier League between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant

ipl 2017 Updated: May 21, 2017 09:59 IST
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Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steven Smith (L) poses wiith Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma at the trophy presentation on the eve of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 final in Hyderabad.(AFP)

My house is bang opposite a park which at most times is buzzing. Sitting in my bedroom I can gaze at it for hours. I did the same on Saturday as I wrote this article.

The park is full of stories which define different virtues. There are young mothers helping their toddlers to learn to walk. They walk, they fall, they get up and they fall again only to try once more. This is perseverance.

In the other corner a bunch of young boys play cricket. Their motto is to try to hit the ball long...very long. Each time I see them, they seem to have improved. This is self-confidence.

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Then, there is an elderly couple who walk around the park. At their age, the walk looks arduous and painful but they hardly miss it. This is determination.

I am lucky to see almost extinct sparrows here. Each morning and evening they’d chirp away adding energy to the atmosphere. This is optimism.

So, my neighbourhood park has given me perseverance, self-confidence, determination and optimism — assets that define winners. Assets that define a sports person’s life too.

10,000 hours of practice

People have questioned author Malcolm Gladwell’s claim that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a given field.

Having played at the top level I’d like to be in Gladwell’s corner. Nothing can be achieved without perseverance which then leads to confident expression of one’s skill sets.

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We had it all in the KKR dressing room. Throughout the season we had uncompromising training schedules. We gave confidence to all our players to express themselves.

Had we won the title this year we’d have been the most successful franchisee. This was one more reason to be determined. Optimism? We kept pulling it out time and again after every reversal.

Then, why did we lose? To me the reasons don’t go beyond playing a better prepared opposition. KKR gave its best but may be our best wasn’t good enough.

Homework key

Mumbai were better prepared. They had long-on in place for Chris Lynn keeping in mind his inclination to hit straight. There was deep midwicket lurking when I batted against leg-spinner Karn Sharma.

They cramped both Sunil Narine and Lynn. Colin de Grandhomme who’d have seen little spin back in New Zealand was dished out a googly first-up. Cross-seam deliveries, slow bouncers were well-stocked and well used. In the end, the better team won.

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Sanjiv Goenka, the owner of Pune franchisee, is a dear friend.

I know what it would mean to him if his team comes out on top on Sunday.

Eyes on Tripathi

I hope it adds value to Pune as a city as well. They have some real sparklers in their lineup and I am quite keen to see how their opening bat Rahul Tripathi performs.

While Mumbai has the experience of two finals, Pune has personnel like MS Dhoni and Steve Smith who have won crunch moments in their IPL and international careers.

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For once I’d like to be politically correct and say may the best team win.

As I finish writing this article, I can see a little pug announcing his presence in the park. The owners call him Battery. I have never seen Battery relieve himself in the park. This is discipline.

(Gautam Gambhir is the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. He writes exclusively for Hindustan Times.)

First Published: May 21, 2017 09:53 IST