| Rahul Dravid and Mahendra Singh Dhoni during practice at the Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad. (AFP)
Ahmedabad: Generation X. It is not known if someone with any definite motive had this sticker pasted on the rear windscreen of the Team India bus, but nothing could have better signified the attitude and vision of Greg Chappell.
For the ones who thought that with the fate of the Videocon Cup already decided, the Indians would take things a bit easy, here’s what the coach had to say on the eve of match No. 5: “There’s going to be no let-up in our effort.”
The winds of change that are sweeping through Indian cricket have made the players realise that there is no room for complacency and scaling one peak after another remains the challenge. To his credit, Chappell is trying to imbibe the virtue of ruthlessness among his players. In his scheme of things, it’s as if a 4-0 scoreline isn’t all too pleasing but a 7-0 will take him closer to achieving his goal. And the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Yalaka Venugopal Rao are aware of the responsibilities.
“There’s always a possibility that players tend to relax in this sort of situation. Giving the youngsters an opportunity obviously keeps everyone on his toes. The idea is to keep the momentum going,” Chappell explained. The city ' already bustling in the festive spirit ' will sure have something more to look forward to at nearby Motera on Sunday.
The experimentation with and implementation of new ideas and concepts will not stop. Chappell’s task of getting the predictable and the stereotypical out of the window will only gather impetus. The competition will not just be limited to their opponents, the players will also have to contend for a hidden fight among themselves.
“It’s tempting to try out everyone in the next three games,” Chappell announced. It should come as no surprise if Rudra Pratap Singh is tested out here. The Uttar Pradesh fast bowler may be named as super sub.
Who will be the new No. 3' The hosts have tried out different players for every match in this series and it shouldn’t amaze anyone if someone new is tried here. While Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been instant hits, Jai Prakash Yadav and Yuvraj Singh have come a cropper with their respective roles up in the order.
Yuvraj will have to deliver. He has failed to be among runs in this series but enjoys the coach’s backing. “I look at him as an allrounder along with Virender Sehwag. He saves a lot of runs on the field, besides batting and bowling. Fielding is an important aspect in one-day cricket. Players have to perform two of the three options and that is important,” the Australian remarked.
“The important thing is to get our focus on the right areas. It’s essential for all to perform their own roles to perfection. If we manage to do that we will continue winning,” he added.
Chappell also did not waste the opportunity to shower praise on Dhoni. “He’s a competent individual. He commands a very good mind about match situations... what one can do and should do. The confidence gained from his batting is rubbing off on his wicketkeping and the rest of the team.”
Despite murmurs in certain quarters, till late on Saturday night there was no confirmation that Sachin Tendulkar would be rested. The maestro, it may be recalled, had hit a superb 123 against Pakistan in the last game here.
The transformation in the Indian morale is such that none even spoke about the dew factor which normally has a huge impact on day-night matches. Chappell, though, informed that he was contemplating on “piling up a big score and putting pressure” on Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka, no doubt, will be benefitted by the return of Mahela Jayawardene, who came back after tying the knot with Cristina. “I quite enjoyed my stay at home but it’s back to business,” he said.
Tom Moody is also staying positive. “India came out punching and took their chances in the last few games. It’s clicked for them,” he said. “We’ve had our best in the last two games. We have been short on some areas and look to rectify them,” he added.
But Moody knows that it will take a lot of efforts to make a dent in the Indians’ confidence.
INDIA (from): Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Jai Prakash Yadav, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Y. Venugopal Rao, Harbhajan Singh, S. Sreesanth, Murali Kartik, Suresh Raina, Rudra Pratap Singh, Gautam Gambhir.
SRI LANKA (from): Sanath Jayasuriya, Maravan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Chandana, Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Fervez Mahroof, Chaminda Vaas, Upul Tharanga, Lokuhettige Dilhara, Muttiah Muralidharan, Dilhara Fernando, Thilan Samaraweera, Nuwan Zoysa.
Umpires: Mark Benson, K. Hariharan. TV: I. Sivaram
Match Referee: Alan Hurst.
Match starts: 2.30 pm.