| All eyes will be on Sachin
Calcutta: Given the weird travel arrangements from Hyderabad, most Team India members — including coach John Wright — had a Do-Not-Disturb for much of the day at their hotel, on Sunday.
In the evening, though, Wright managed time to briefly interact with The Telegraph.
“Tuesday’s final (against Australia) is a one-off affair… Sure, we need to learn from the defeats in Mumbai and Bangalore but, really, we’re looking ahead positively,” he remarked.
Clearly, the top lesson has to centre around trying to restrict the world champions’ awe-inspiring line-up. After all, Adam Gilchrist isn’t the only one who explodes.
While India lost by 77 runs in the Mumbai game, the match in Bangalore saw a 61-run defeat. Those losses cancelled out India’s victory in Gwalior by 37 runs.
Of course, much of Wright’s confidence stems from Saturday’s huge win over New Zealand.
“It was a crunch game — a semi-final, for all purposes — and we emerged convincing winners… More than anything else, (Virender) Sehwag’s return to form is cause for happiness… Now, we have another batsman in form,” he pointed out.
After scores of 31, 0, 0 and 39, Sehwag cracked a career-best 130 at the Black Caps’ expense. It would appear he is peaking at quite the right time.
Sehwag’s return among the runs hasn’t gone unnoticed in the Australian camp. Coach John Buchanan didn’t specifically talk of him, but did say: “India certainly put on an improved batting performance…”
Buchanan, in any case, has already gone on record to insist the final isn’t going to be influenced by what happened in the league stage.
Moreover, he acknowledged: “Playing at the Eden is a very different proposition.” He hasn’t forgotten the March 2001 Test here.
Meanwhile, as the teams focus on their second summit showdown in less than eight months, the attention will invariably be on the leading lights. Sachin Tendulkar, for example.
Incidentally, one-day cricket’s most prolific run-getter has completed a ‘century’: He now has 36 hundreds and 64 fifties.
“Oh, is it' Frankly, I hadn’t counted… But, yes, it’s nice to get such a different century,” Sachin quipped, speaking exclusively.
For the record, the champion’s solitary hundred at the Eden was back in the summer of 1998, in the tri-series final versus Kenya.
Being superstitious, Sachin won’t talk about Tuesday’s face-off. However, if he continues with the form exhibited in Bangalore and Hyderabad, Ricky Ponting and Co. may end up in an unfamiliar role.