Afraid(i)….!! and naturally so !

 Srinivas Nyapathy Writes,                                         March 29,  2011
Champion Captains from previous world cups, Clive Lloyd, Kapil Dev, Allan Border, Imran Khan, Arjuna Ranatunga are featuring regularly on Indian TV
during this World Cup season. It was nice to see some knowledgeable comments come in these shows about the ensuing matches.
Each a legend in his own way, sitting right there in our drawing rooms, making a point !

Of all of them my favorite was Imran Khan. i was fortunate to watch him captain Pakistan at bangalore on a mine field of a wicket. an injured Abdul nadir was replaced by a flown in for the game Iqbal Qasim.. it was a treat to watch Imran run in  a galloping horse..what a run up..  what a competitor.

While a day was still left for India to clash with Australia in Ahmedabad, there was a discussion as to Imran’s reaction about a possible clash in the semis between india and Pakistan at Mohali.

Instead of being diplomatic about such a irksome question he actually said, Dhoni would be under tremendous pressure because India are the favorites,and also because they are playing infront of the home crowd.I was actually surprised, Imran accepted Afridis men are under dogs, inspite of having won all but one of their games in Group A, and said that Indians are the Favourites.  Captain Dhoni will be relieved to hear it, i am sure. As the indian media and experts went to town about the brittle middle order that made 29 for the loss of 9 wickets against S Africa and no better against WI, and were questioning if India will go anywhere beyond the group stage. If playing in Mohali gives Dhoni sleepless nights according to Imran, would Dhoni be happy with the alternative ? Playing Pakistan in Bangladesh Or at the Premadasa? Mohali for Dhoni is a dream come true , a semi final in your own back yard.

Just as i was swallowing this comment as something he had said in a hurry, then came the real one ..Imran advising Dhoni and his boys to take sleeping pills the night before the game..I think Cricket has come a long way since Inzamam Ul Haq had the loosies before a World Cup Semi Final, under Imran Khan’s Captaincy and Imran advised him to play ” ..he even if you are puking Blood “.
Cricket is no longer about taking sleeping pills before a game. At least indian cricket is not about that..
its about Aggression,Will to win, Strategising, Refining the Doosras, Redefining Reverse Swing, and fighting for better ICC placings feverishly, not for 5th and 6 th positions but with the best in the business for first come out on TOP ! Its not pills you need to be on top its Skills.

Phew ! umm.. Now im not surprised that Pakistani fast bowlers are always in the news for taking drugs..if this is what their Iconic figure Imran advises them.

Its been years since official cricket is played in Pakistan and its just that they may have forgotten the wonderful buzz and the thrill of playing infront of a home crowd.
Its quite motivating to see ur home crowd lose themselves in adulation for every boundary scored, and wicket taken..  .. The crowd erupting into a high – decibel mexican wave.. When the ball is caressed to the boundary from Sachin’s willow or the turbanator’s doosra ripping open the defenses, a winner would see this as a positive , home advantage !…A loser would see it as pressure.

Imran Khan is just playing, what he thinks are mind games..In reality they are mindless games.
You should see Afridi answering during the press meet today in Mohali..He was pensive !

He had a go at Sachin and his 100th hundred..saying even if sachin got a Hundred India lost many a time.
He said Shoaib is not 100% and that they will decide about his presence in the team by evening..Well, When was the last time Shoaib was 100% anyway.

Afridi wants to win this for his country more than anyone. Pakistan needs to win badly, for Cricket to survive in Pakistan. ( ya, ya .. i know they no longer play  official Cricket inside Pakistan )..even if its to be played on foreign grounds, Abudhabi , Dubai etc.

Left to Afridi he wont be liking the fact that he’s playing India in Mohali. For heaven sakes,Semi Final with India at Mohali, thats the worst case scenario for the Pakistanis.

When he walks to the toss with Dhoni, Mr Afraid(i) will get a feeling the whole world is against him.. thats the power of the home crowd vis a vis India …and Mohali.

Have a good one guys !


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