Indian way of overcoming tough days

Indian way of overcoming tough days
On-field performances often hold a mirror to the mood in a dressing room. The bickering within the England squad, which ended its World T20 campaign with a humiliating loss to the Netherlands to round off a forgettable season, is matched only by the bonhomie in the Sri Lankan squad, driven by their recent success in the Asia Cup.

Then again, often, extraneous factors act as catalysts to ‘unite’ teams. 
 
Unwittingly, the opponents provide the cause that cements players’ determination.

We saw how James Faulkner’s comments fired up the West Indies. 

We are watching what ‘positive’ effect the not-so-pleasant developments back home are having on the Indian team.

Given nary a chance against the backdrop of the spot-fixing and betting scandal in the Indian Premier League and MS Dhoni’s alleged involvement with a player management firm, India turned everyone’s calculations upside down to lift the Champions Trophy in England in June last with an unbeaten record. The criticism seemed to have fuelled India’s quiet resolve.
   
Dhoni and his men flew into Bangladesh with similar scenes clouding their departure. 

Things came to such a pass that Dhoni even filed a defamation suit against a television news channel for airing unsubstantiated material that, according to the Indian skipper, tarnished his image. 

One match into India’s campaign, things took a far worse turn with the Supreme Court coming down heavily on the BCCI for dealing softly with corrupt practices in the IPL. 

The lawyer fighting the BCCI just fell short of calling Dhoni a liar in the Gurunath Meiyappan-Chennai Super Kings issue. Rumours flew thick and fast that Dhoni had offered to resign in the wake of those charges.     

With the World T20 only in its nascent stage, it was hardly an ideal development. 

It wouldn’t have come as a surprise if the team had wilted under pressure but instead, India appear to have found an outlet to express their pent-up anger. 

They have let their cricket do the talking and have been the most dominant team in the tournament, winning all their four group matches en route to the semifinal. 

From having an outside chance of claiming the title to emerging as favourites, India’s fortunes have changed just like the complexion of a T20 match would in an over or two.

Like the proverbial saying, the team has managed to bring out its best in the face of adversity. And it’s not hard to draw similarities between their Champions Trophy performance and the current one.
 
“There is a lot that’s similar to Champions Trophy,” said R Ashwin, whose bowling has been exceptional in the four matches. 

“We never really came into this tournament as favourites. We wouldn’t want to have that tag of favourites. We’ll go into the semifinal, play yet another game and see if we can find ourselves in the final again,” he noted.

He hasn’t got to do anything significant with the bat yet, but Dhoni’s calming influence on a team under intense scrutiny has been obvious. Under the eye of the storm, Dhoni has managed to keep his wits about him to ensure a happy dressing room. 

“A good dressing room atmosphere and having belief in yourself and enjoying each other's success...” pointed out Dhoni, commenting on the team’s stellar show so far. 

“You can put everything onto it because a lot of things happen around cricket but you have to be focused when you are representing your country. That is one thing that this team has done really well. And of course, accepting the challenges, enjoying the challenges, trying to prove that you are one of the best when it comes to international cricket... It’s all about the dressing room atmosphere and we have kept it really nice,” he elaborated.

Ashwin echoed his captain’s sentiments.

“We’re enjoying ourselves,” he remarked. “For once, we’re not looking at results. We’re not looking at what we need to achieve. If we’re lucky enough, we’ll be here until the April 6 (final match). That’s how we look at it. The camp is pretty upbeat and we’re having a real good atmosphere in the dressing room as well,” he explained. 

Irrespective of where the Indian team finishes from here in the tournament, it can walk with its head held high.

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