Gayle and Bond will give us impetus
We start afresh after a much-need break, having played three back-to-back matches at the start of the tournament. This time it's an away game against Rajasthan Royals at Ahmedabad. Generally, the pitch at Motera promises a run-feast and it should be no different this time.
Rajasthan have lost all three matches so far and will also be without Graeme Smith and Dimitri Mascarenhas, both having gone home due to injuries. But that shouldn't be a matter of interest for us - we have to look at our own game and need to sort things out to get back to winning ways.
Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, has joined the team and will definitely add to our strength. He is one player who, in any format of the game, is a captain's delight and an opponent's worry. He has been in good form recently and we hope he carries it into this tournament. Besides his tremendous batting prowess, Gayle's bowling will add to our already existing variety.
Any team in this tournament will target full points from the home games and every away win will be a bonus. A loss at home means one has to try and make up by winning away. That is what makes our game against Rajasthan Royals' more crucial; a win in Ahmedabad will definitely calm a lot of nerves and set the record straight.
Our last match didn't go the way everyone wanted it to. We definitely disheartened our fans at home. Without offering any excuse, one needs to say that any team can have one bad match. Bowling first, we fared badly only in the last five overs. Before that Shane Bond, Ishant and company did keep things under control. Bond showed a glimpse of what he is capable of, having arrived in the city just a day before the match. I am confident that as he settles down and adjusts to the heat and sultry weather he will be some bowler to deal with.
It was not that our bowlers were haywire in the last five overs but Dhoni played a fantastic innings under pressure. Badrinath also chipped in with a useful contribution and the Dhoni-Badri partnership helped the Chennai team get past the 150-mark.
The target set for us was not unreachable. But for that we needed a good start and at the same time, to keep wickets in hand, and push the chase. Instead, we started losing wickets from the very second ball and from there on at regular intervals. We were ahead of Chennai on run aggregate till the eighth over, just indicating that we could have turned it into an exciting match if only we had enough wickets in hand.
We need to regroup quickly as we have some very crucial matches away from home. If we can put it across Rajasthan, I am pretty confident that we will definitely regain after the loss in the last match. A few away wins and we can become a force to reckon with in the tournament by the time we resume our campaign at home next month.
(Professional Management Group)
Sourav Ganguly led India in 49 Tests between 2000 and 2005, winning 21