The Big Bang: Part Two

If someone in Wellington had missed Wednesday’s tour opener in Christchurch,it would have been tough for him to guess the result of the match.

Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | Wellington | Published:February 27, 2009 9:48 am

If someone in Wellington had missed Wednesday’s tour opener in Christchurch,it would have been tough for him to guess the result of the match. Within minutes of landing at the airport,the Kiwis changed into their all-black training gear and headed for a hectic nets session. The Indians,on the other hand,took the day off.

Interestingly,both the sides were justified in their contrasting attitudes. Dhoni’s team made it clear that they weren’t panicking after the loss — the feeling in the camp is that the ignition key had turned in the right direction and only a minor error in gear change was responsible for the mishap at AMI Stadium. As for the hosts,they were keen not to concede the lead,as has happened a few times in the past,after a blazing start.

When Yuvraj Singh was asked at the airport if the loss in Christchurch was a setback,he was almost taken aback. “Setback? It’s not a setback. It’s the first game of the series,” he said. “We’ve got five one-days,three Tests,and another T20 to go. It’s a long tour. We played a lot of big shots in Christchurch,and we just need to assess the conditions better. The batsmen need to take more responsibility,” he said.

Even after the game on Wednesday,skipper Dhoni was confident that his team would learn from their mistakes. “It’s not about winning each and every game. We have youngsters who are,fortunately,willing to learn from their mistakes. If we don’t make these errors again we’ll have a very good chance,” he had said.

But New Zealand coach Andy Moles,standing next to the luggage conveyor belt,was cautiously confident of a T20 clean sweep,even though the Kiwis had faltered recently after taking a lead in Australia and during the West Indies series at home. “This time we want to win the series. We’ve had a lot of drawn series in the last couple of months. We’re trying to become a winning side,and we need to move forward and do that. The team know that they are up against a very,very talented bunch of Indians. We’ve got our noses in front,and we want to stay there,” he said.

Despite their bravado,India will have some other issues to discuss at the team meeting,besides asking their batsmen to be more cautious. With the dimensions of the ground changing with each venue,a fresh strategy will have to be put in place. Fresh wagon wheels will have to be drawn as the square boundary in Wellington isn’t as short as it was in Christchurch.

There could also be a debate on retaining Irfan Pathan as the third seamer in the team. Irfan’s batting will put the captain in a dilemma,but Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar could be far more effective with the ball in their hands. So if Dhoni doesn’t want to make a hard choice,Irfan,as he says,will have to learn from his mistakes.

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