Monday, Feb 17, 2003
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By John L. Paul
``The team appeared as if they were not mentally prepared for the match. I think that they have not yet got over the New Zealand debacle,'' says C.G. Anandaram, manager, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (Under 25).
``The players adopted a club-game approach. Many of the innocuous balls did not deserve any wicket. Our players should not have attempted some confusing balls. The problem is that we are still resting on our past glory. Ours is a talented team, but recent matches make me wonder whether they are a spent force. They lost even the warm-up match. A Dutch batsman walked away with the `man of the match' prize despite India managing a win,'' he says.
A better batting order was possible. Sachin Tendulkar should have been allowed to be the opener. Above all, some major yoga and meditation sessions would help the players to concentrate on the game, feels Mr. Anandaram. His only wish is that India gets into the super six and makes a repeat of the Sharjah Cup match when it had restricted Pakistan to a pitiable score, after a not-so-convincing batting performance.
The Ernakulam Range DIG, B.S. Mohammed Yasin, who had played a major role in starting one-day cricket matches in the Kerala Police in 1998, feels that the Indian cricketers make good businessmen, not good players.
``The players have become paper tigers and their talent is visible only in the commercial advertisements that they star in. It was painful to see the team walk out with its lowest score in any World Cup. After all games like hockey, badminton, football and even chess have been suffering badly because of people's craze for cricket. The cricketers achieved a demi-God status, having enjoyed so much media coverage, but they have let the people down,'' he says.
They should be made accountable for the money spent on them by the BCCI. The team's so-called batting strength must be translated into runs on the ground. Instead of disk jockeys on the ground, we need players who take the game seriously, he adds.
Many people switched off their television sets after seeing the Indian performance. ``It was quite disgusting to watch the match, after the big hype that was made about our players,'' says Saroj Madhav, who is a keen follower of major cricket matches.
``Perhaps the players have lost focus after spending too much time on advertisement campaigns. At this pace, it is doubtful whether the Indians will make it to the super six,'' she feels.
The Olympian, T.C.Yohannan, father of the cricketer, Tinu Yohannan, feels that the batsmen lacked confidence. ``Sachin became tensed up after Ganguly fell. The players have to be more consistent in their batting,'' he feels.
Anyway, Indian cricket is likely to enter a decisive phase after the matches with the Kiwis, the Namibians, the English and the Pakistanis.
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