Chappell calls for fearless approach
It couldn't have been easy for India's cricketers to pick themselves up this morning after going down in their opening match against Bangladesh. Simply winning their next two games may not be good enough - India will also have to keep a close watch on the run-rate situation. It's going to be one mighty climb uphill and coach Greg Chappell urged his side to approach the task fearlessly.
"Being scared is not going to help us," Chappell said after India's two-hour practice session at Trinidad. "We must concentrate on playing good cricket, not worry about the outcomes."
He admitted that India had been outmanoeuvred by Bangladesh in their World Cup opener, going down by five wickets. "It was a disappointing defeat, I wouldn't be much harsher than that," he said. "Bangladesh played very well, they bowled and fielded brilliantly and batted with courage and flair. They were too good for us on the day. It wasn't the kind of start we wanted, but it happened. Now, we face a challenge ahead of us. That was what the World Cup was always going to be. We knew that there might come a situation where we would encounter a lot of matches that were going to be must-wins. From our point of view, it has started too early."
Chappell did not rule out changes to either the batting order or to personnel. Indications are that Sachin Tendulkar, who has batted in the middle order since the start of this year, will join Sourav Ganguly at the top of the order, with Virender Sehwag dropping down. Anil Kumble, who wasn't part of the opening game against Bangladesh, is also likely to be drafted in the place of fast bowler Ajit Agarkar.
"There are some issues from yesterday that need to be discussed," said Chappell. "We need to get back on track and start putting ourselves in the same frame of mind as in the last two series, which was being relaxed and confident. Yesterday unsettled it a bit. But we have been in such situations before and bounced back. This side has tremendous resilience, as we have seen in the past. If anything, the boys were perhaps too keen to do well. They knew that if they didn't play to their potential, Bangladesh might hurt them. We can't panic about what might go wrong, because if you panic and start worrying about the negatives, you won't play good cricket."
Chappell felt that Rahul Dravid's decision at the toss was the right one, adding that the batsmen had not put up a good enough total. "It was the right decision at the time. You can't blame the pitch for our defeat. Yes, it was better to bat in the afternoon than in the morning, but it was not the deciding factor in the game. We thought it was important for us to get a good score to put pressure on them. We didn't get a big score. Even so, I though we should have defended 191. But the openers came out with the desire to play aggressively and shock our bowlers. They did that."
Up against India will be Bermuda, trying to make some sort of impact in their maiden World Cup appearance. They were completely outclassed by Sri Lanka in the first match but Gus Logie, the former West Indies middle-order batsman who's coaching them now, was in an upbeat mood. "It's part of the learning exercise," he said. "We've have set ourselves little goals. If we can bat out 50 overs against these teams, then that's a plus for us."
Bermuda captain Irvine Romaine expected India to come out firing but added that Bermuda would take inspiration from Bangladesh and Ireland. "They can be very dangerous in their current position, but we are looking to take something out of the game. We have had a good three days training and we are working continuously on our fielding, which I think can make a difference to us. Some of the smaller nations are showing what they can do and we would love to join in the upsets."
Teams India (likely) 1 Sourav Ganguly, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Rahul Dravid (capt), 6 Virender Sehwag, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Anil Kumble, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Munaf Patel
Bermuda (likely) 1 Clay Smith, 2 Oliver Pitcher, 3 Saleem Mukuddem, 4 David Hemp, 5 Irvine Romaine (capt), 6 Janeiro Tucker, 7 Dean Minors, 8 Lionel Cann, 9 Delyone Borden, 10 Kevin Hurdle, 11 Dwayne Leverock