Down but not out. That seems to be the mood in the Indian camp after suffering a 337-run loss in the opening Test at the MCG. In terms of runs it was India's worst defeat in Australia but the side is giving off vibes of being confident enough to bounce back.
The team chose not to practise today, despite leaving for Sydney tomorrow, only two days before the second Test begins. There is a feeling that the batsmen need to free up the cobwebs in the mind, changing their mindset and breaking the over-defensive mode. "We were a bit too defensive during some phases," the assistant coach Lalchand Rajput said, "but we need to change our mindset. We have a few strategies and you can expect a better showing in Sydney."
In an informal team meeting last evening, the mood was one of disappointment rather than shock. The Australian bowlers hadn't so much stunned the Indians as much as thwarted them with a planned approach.
"It's not as if it's something new to us," Rajput said when asked about the Australian strategy of drying up the runs and applying pressure. "The Australians are usually one up on the mind-games and we need to make sure we avoid the same mistakes in the next Test."
Predictably the main focus of the meeting surrounded the approach of the batsmen. Though they had endured a collective batting failure, the concern seems to have surrounded set batsmen giving it away. Four Indian batsmen passed 20 in the first innings, and two of them did the same in the second, but India couldn't manage to pass 200 in either innings.
"It's a one-off Test and it's not the time for drastic changes," Rajput said. "We are looking to work on our batting approach, our intensity on the field and our running between the wickets. Everyone knows there is a problem about taking singles and rotating strike. We have to be hard on them in that aspect."
There hasn't been talk of changes in the team composition, insiders confirmed. Any big change immediately after such a loss would appear too knee-jerk and the plan is to take a final call on the playing XI once the team has an idea of the SCG pitch. There was no practice scheduled on Sunday or Monday and the side was only planning a few informal meetings to work on the mental side of its game.