New opponent. New series... so a new Training camp, at a new venue.
You may feel our Indian boys concentrate more on advertisements and less on their cricket, but that's not the truth. You feel that way because those tv channels shoot those ads so many times at you - that you dream what Mahendra Singh Dhoni is endorsing... Ever realised those advertisements are at higher voice pitch than the live match commentary itself?
9 hours of non-stop same ad video is played on your television on an ODI day, and you have no where to run away but to keep rehearsing it.
The fact from our Indian boys is that they work as harder at their cricket as any other cricket team. If not more than them whenever a tough tough tours like South Africa comes along. We lost their because we genuinely don't play fast bowling well, and unless our BCCI changes how our domestic cricket is played - it will continue as it is.
Even if he played bad cricket in South Africa, the work put in was never the less. South Africans were well prepared with their plans, and we fell short of hunger to push and win our first series in South Africa in the second test match itself... as we have done so many times.
Another myth that's floating around is that we are not going to be a force at the World Cup this year. Anyone who thinks that way - surely does not understand his cricket. With Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh - we have most prolific batting in World Cricket right now.
With Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni - we have two wicket-keepers who are capable of entering playing eleven even only for their batting skills.
With Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh - we have top two ODI spinners and with Ramesh Powar joining in - we have a spin department which no one can match - for those slowing-down Caribbean wickets.
With Ajir Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and S Sreesanth - we have a young, diverse and proven swing bowling department, and if everything goes well, Munaf will be back as a sportsperson.. from a common man that he was on South Africa tour.
Another good thing that Greg Chappell has done is finding that batsmen in our bowlers. Indian cricket team don't have no tailenders at no. 9, 10 and 11. We can hope for 20-30 runs from them everytime, whereas our down order batting is dangerous for anyone with Yuvraj Dhoni, Irfan capable of murdering any bowling..
People asked me why Indian think tank were spoiling Irfan Pathan's career by sending him at no.3 again and again. I am sure they will have their answer when Irfan starts winning matches for India not only with ball but with bat. We have give him enough confidence by batting up the order, and now whenever he comes to bat for us - he will think as a batsman... not as a bowler who can bat. That's what we have achieved from Irfan Pathan at no.3.
I am sure it will start showing soon now..
And last but not the least, we are at least 7 pointer fielding as compared to the best in the business like the Kiwis, Proteas and Aussies. And the Sri Lankans.
The only two things we require now - is to discover those 14th and 15th names (other than above mentioned) for that Indian team to World Cup 2007. The two places are for a good seamer if we can find, or an all rounder like Joginder Sharma will be just perfect... Second name we need is a batsman. In 4 names mentioned above, we have two right handed and two left handed batsmen. What we ideally want is someone who can strike the ball, either right-handed or left-handed. "six hitting" ability is the creteria for him..
Dinesh Mongia had a nack of taking too long before get going, and gave impression that he was playing for an individual score.. not for the team. Someone like Raina or Uthappa will be fine, but I feel sorry for Gautam Gambhir, as does Selector Dilip Vengsarkar. Gambhir is a deserving Indian cricketer, but somehow he isn't the man we want right now.... unless he proves us wrong in India vs West Indies 2007 Pepsi Series.