Before undertaking any project, it is imperative to make plans as to how various aspects of the project will be addressed. Each side has its own plans and methods depending on the conditions, and some teams even select different players for different conditions following a horses-for-courses policy. India on the other hand do not seem to have any particular plan in mind - and this is why the opposition sometimes dictates terms. So India must have a plan A and a plan B as backup on how to tackle each team in the World Cup, especially because each team has a different approach to the game.
Now that the Indian team for the World Cup has arrived in Leicester, it is time the think-tank got together and decided a course of action for the world cup games. I think it is essential that the Coach Anshuman Gaekwad, Cricket Consultant Bobby Simpson, Captain Azharuddin and also Vice-captain Ajay Jadeja sit down and make plans on how to approach each game depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent.
To make things simple, the think-tank could divide the planning into three parts - batting, bowling and fielding.
India's batting revolves around Tendulkar. If India are to do well in the World Cup, it is imperative that Sachin scores runs and more importantly, bats for as long as possible. His mere presence lifts the team and the other batsmen bat with much more freedom
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Therefore, he must be instructed not to throw his wicket away, whatever the situation Saurav, Rahul and Azhar must not look for boundaries all the time but reduce the number of dot balls and rotate the strike as often as possible. Most one-day games are generally won by the batting side which keeps the dot balls down to a minimum, as rotating the strike through singles adds to the total without the opposition feeling the impact.
If the first four batsmen do their job, it will be easy for Jadeja and Robin Singh to throw their bats around, and a score of about 235-260 should be a good one in the early English spring.
The bowling department looks to be the best settled at the moment. Venkatesh Prasad is definitely going to enjoy bowling in the prevailing conditions. Agarkar also likes bowling on seaming wickets and swings the new ball well. But he must be warned not to bowl short pitched stuff, which he has a tendency to do especially when striving for pace. Srinath and Kumble are already well-experienced in English conditions, having played county cricket. So we definitely possess one of the strongest bowling sides in the tournament, if they bowl to their potential.
Our fifth bowler will be Robin Singh, who could share the burden along with Ganguly and Tendulkar. Azharuddin thus has seven bowlers to choose from - a situation any captain will envy.
The Indian team's fielding has always been its weakest link. It is crucial that they field well and hold all the catches, especially in the slips because the ball is bound to find the edges in the bowler-friendly conditions. Also, I'm sure Bobby Simpson will drill it into their heads that one run saved is one run scored, and applying the same logic, one run gifted away means one more run to score.
The Indian fielders must practice the latest diving and throwing techniques not to mention hours of practice at hitting the stumps at close range. We all know that a couple or run-outs can change the course of any match.
All in all, the Indian team has at least three weeks to work hard at these plans and put them into practise during the warm up games against county sides. So let us wish them all the best in their endeavours.