Rediff Logo World Cup 99
April 4, 1999

The Pepsi Cup final

The Pepsi Cup, and the upcoming series in Sharjah, are part of the Indian team's build up to the World Cup. India lost -- and badly at that -- in the final of the tournament. What the consequences of that defeat are, in the larger scheme of things, remains to be seen. Meanwhile, your comments on the defeat:

Tanuj Pakistan played a normal game, its just that the Indian team showed a marked lack of interest and determination to win the match .

Muthukumar Ramasamy: This match was lost even before the first ball was bowled. The Pakistanis were having everything going right. They were a highly motivated team, with their 5 top class bowlers firing. Imagine, if they can ask Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed to sit out, what kind of attack they had. And Indians on the other hand weren't ready to take them up on the big match.

To come out well against the Pakistan bowlers meant that the Indian batsman should all have been striking form, should have done their homework and should have been confident. but what did we have. Dravid, Jadeja and Ganguly were the only batsmen who had been playing right through and were confident enough. Looking at the others, Ramesh played just one match in the series and is not yet ready for the one day game. It was too evident that he would fail. Robin Singh wasn't in the best of form either. He got a couple of matches and he was well short of match practice. Khurasia of course got a bad decision but I doubt if he would have been a match winner today.

The selectors have got it all wrong in trying to experiment a little too much. This meant that the established players were more pressurised to perform with the players without any experince, even more tensed, to make an impression. Either the selectors should have tried the new players throughout or tried only a handful of players.

So, the loss was on cards from the start. Nikhil Chopra should have definitely played this match and it was a loss. Also, Indians should have sent in a pinch hitter to open or at one drop. That Ramesh/Ganguly or Dravid though are class players, cannot disturb the line and length of Akram or Akhthar with explosive batting was the need of the hour.

It's really a pity to watch such a talented Indian team loose. And we keep blaming someone or the other and keep losing.

Ketan Patel: kpatel@savillemail: As far as World Cup is concerned, this tournament was supposed to have been a display of better temperament and use of brain. India has only two persons in Jadeja and Prasad to have good mental calibre. We do have little chance of winning a losing game and that never does make a champion! With all around flaw in thinking we can only pray as an Indian.

Deepak: Kumble & Srinath rescued India in the match against Mark Taylor's Australians, not the World Cup quarterfinal. Please correct it. I always look forward to reading your match reports. Your analysis is pretty good. I would go to the extent of saying you are the Tendulkar among reporters. Keep up the good work.

N.V.Balaji: Though Pakistan batted well , India was unlucky. Afridi was plumb in front of the wicket and Indians could only see the umpire playing with their chances of winning. Yes, the 34 runs might have made a difference and more important is the wicket at that statge. As a whole it's a good show of Poor Umpiring. ICC should try to find a way to save the teams from the Poor Umpiring.

Rahul: First of all Afridi was out by Agarkar by LBW but the stupid umpire gave a wrong decision and secondly without Tendulkar and Azhar its like a man with no trousers. So Pakistan got lucky with this win because of lack of some Indian players. If Tendulkar and Azhar were present then I would be 100% sure that the matches would be easily won by India and so also the Pepsi Cup. One more thing, Pepsi Cup organizers should find some better umpires next time and not select such losers.

Surendranath R bada: Batsmen were scared to chase the daunting target, pity they could not even last for 50 overs, they even forgot the basic things to stay at the wicket before setting the reasonble score to chase further. At this way of play, we even can't think of qualifying for the second round of the World Cup, i.e, the super six. I still want the BCCI to rest Azhar and Tendulkar and try with the same team and give fair chance to Kambli, Khurasiya and Ramesh in Sharjah so that they can get confidence and giving fair chance to prove themselves and also with bowlers. Also this gives sufficient time for Azhar and Sachin to recover from injuries.

My way of selecting the team is six consistent batsmen, four bowlers( 3 + 1 all-rounder), as we have Sachin and Ganguly have proven experiance as part time bowlers, between them they can easily bowl 10 to 15 overs. India does not have real proven depandable all-rounders like Kapil, Imran, Botham or Akram, Pollock and Kallis. So it is better not to depend on this type of all-rounders. Induce the will, attitude and professionalism into the players.

N.V.Balaji: No doubt. Umpire Parthasartahy has played a good role (!) in this match. Well, now It's about crowd behaviour: We say "crowd behaviour is bad ". But have we given enough thoughts to find out why it's happening?

Over a period of time , we have sensationalised the cricket. Even reputed magazines like The Hindu likes to keep sensational headings (The headline in the sports column on the eve of Jaipur tie against Pakistan in the same Pepsi Cup). We see ads "Wasim Akram's Scud Vs Sachin's Agni". (This ad was Published by Punjab Sind Bank on the eve of second Test match between India and Pakistan at Delhi ). A big hype created by Pepsi for the World Cup! The after effects? Very much predictable. The crowd who comes all the way to the stadium (paying money in thousands) to witness a great victory could not digest a bad defeat; they try to stop the game or at least try to show the anger by throwing bottles.

Srinivas Murthy: The regular reaction of the reader community seems to be heaps of praises on a victory and cribbing about how Azhar doesn't lead from the front whenever we lose! But the last two defeats against Pakistan seems to be the last straw! Wimps. That is one word I have for these highly paid, highly over-rated "Uttara Kumar"s We do not mind the team winning some and losing some, may be losing more than what we win,but the way they have been losing against Pakistan in the last few matches, without a whimper, proves that they have no such instincts as man-hood or self respect

BISWAMOHAN PANI: sheer determination, aggressiveness and the will to win at any cost for a "revenge". I think they put 200% .

Deepak Raghavan: India sucks without Sachin!!!

Pepsi Cup final:
Manish Sharma: I commend Prem for his incisive observations. I always enjoy his ravings and rantings.

India will pull up their socks by the time the World Cup arrives. I think they will do much better than Pakistan there because although Pakistan seems to have a master strategy for the sub-continent, I doubt that they will do very well in England. Apart from Shoaib and Akram they have very little seam support (that include Mahmood who can be very expensive and becomes wayward once the batsmen read him). Saqlain will be economical sometimes at best because the ball will slip out of his hands on many occasions. India on the other hand has many seam weapons in Ganguly, Sachin and Robin supporting Srinath, Agarkar and Prasad who have just enough pace to allow the pitch and ball to do their devil's dance.

So I am pretty optimistic.

Shashidhar: Wasim Akram's World Cup preparations seem to be headed in the right direction with the Indian team helping them gain the psychological advantage game after game. Pak seem to have the right mix of players at this point of time. Afridi, Inzy, Moin - all dangerous players, all in form.

Arun: Well all the problem with the Indian team is that they don't stay at the wicket to make runs. Let me tell you this: this match could have been won if the Indian hung in there to frustrate the Pakistanis. Classic example of this kind of thinking is the game between England and Pakistan in 1987 WC match. Pakistan were 25 for 4 (??) down with Javed Miandad and Imran Khan at the crease. Already 15 overs or so have been run down. But all that both these greats did was defend defend defend which frustrated the English. All thought that score would not even cross 200 but in the end Akram came and blasted 48 runs in 25 balls taking the final tally to 248. Will someone come up with a statistic that list the number of matches that Indians were all out when chasing a total. All they have to do is to stick to the crease and make sure no more wickets are lost. Remember what Javed Miandad said when the Indians were blasted by the South African pace back in 1996...." all that the Indians have to do is to hang in there and the runs would come automatically", which incidentally none of our players listen to when the going gets tough. I am really frustrated with the lack of spine display in the Indian batting time and again. And Azhar says "We will bring back the cup."...laughs!

kedar vartak: A shameful behaviour by the spectators at Calcutta, a few missiles that found their way towards the Pakistani outfielders at Mohali and now at Bangalore repeated bottle showers.

Can someone explain why this malady is seen in the Indian cricket fans so regularly? Those who were regarded by many touring teams as the most impartial and knowledgeable viewers are now displaying a grossly distorted version of their patriotism.It will not be long before teams like Australia refuse to play in India citing fears of physical injury or abuse.They will have this additional reason besides pollution.What are we waiting for? A slingshot injury to a foreign player? or hospitalisation of a crowd abuse victim who just happens to be a key member of the opponent team?

The BCCI must deal with these incidents the way soccer hooliganism is dealt with.Or else the ICC will very soon stop int'l cricket in India.

So much for the famous "Indian Hospitality".

Ramesh Sankaran: Pakistan played good (Read positive) cricket and deserved a win.Our team played as usual,no big deal. Defeat once in a while is okay (and good too)but then it has become a habit for our team esp against Pak

PS : I hope Ramesh understands that footwork is impt in this game and also hope our players will play positive cricket(ughhh) and give a fight rather than surrendering meekly

Paari Santhanakrishnan: Its true that we have to accept the defeat same as a win. But there is no point in continuing the support for India who as a team would never suceed. Atleast one guy will contribute for India's loose if not for a win. Cricket has been given too much weightage in India and if we can treat the cricket as any other game then it will do a lot of good for India. I really wonder in what department did the Indians match with the Pakistani's from the tri nation test championship? Was there any significant improvement in the part of any individual? Was there any patriotism in the Indians to atleast go down fighting. Yes the crowd did a mistake in throwing missiles at the opposition rather they should have throwed it at the home team who were poorer than a Ranji team in matching the opposition. After all why are these people playing when they cannot match? See the repeated failure of Rahul Dravid against Shoib Akthar, did he really do anything to change his strategy of playing time and again he was castled, Did Agarkar atleast bowl to the field who was time and again belted, barring his three wicket haul in the first match against the srilankans didn't worth for a single match. I read many times in the Rediff regarding the selectorial procedures and poor team managements, what can the management do if the players didn't even offer themselves to play fighting cricket if not winning cricket. It really a waste writing the articles about Indian cricket and still following cricket that India will be winning consistantly, the blue moon may come but never India will play consistant quality cricket. Emotions rush from within me when I think of the pathetic stage the Indian cricket is in. These are the words of a past Indian fan who like any other guy was eagerly supporting India. When sponsorships and big money started governing the Indian cricket then sincerity, hard work and dedication will die pretty soon. From this day I'm stopping to follow cricket hoping for a India win, but only as a fan of the game would always watch the game irrespective of the team. Would anyone like to join me?

Abdul Hussain: Good to see Inzi back in form. Agree with you that Youhana is getting too irresponsible, with Malik supposedly back in the WC side, his days maybe limited. Still think Ijaz is too inconsistent. Prasad will be a handful in England.

Ahamed Thameem: To me, it seems that , right from the beginning, the Pakistanis were in a clear frame of mind to make this INDIAN tour a successful one. And finally they achieved it by winning the Asian Test Championship and Pepsi Tri-series. Now they build confidence to get the WORLD CUP.

Abdul Hussain: Agree with you on the fielding of the Pak side. Javed deserves some credit there I think. I still beleive India can get it right for the WC if they just believe in themselves. In Prasad, Srinath & Agarkar they have a potent bowling lineup. With Sachin and Azhar back in they should have a more solidity to the batting. I would open with Ramesh and Ganguly and leave Sachin to guide the middle order through. In England the 1st 15 overs are going to be all about wicket conservation, with the run chase come later if wickets are in hand.

For the Pak batting, many questions remain. Anwar, Ijaz, Youhana, everyone actually. That is why I still think the are a longer shot than India, even though they have the most diverse bowling side in the world.

Dravid: they took good advantage of suckky bowling and the worse fielding. I am ashamed of mentioning the word "cricket" in front of anyone I know. I feel that our selectors, cricketers including ganguly, srinath, kumble should quit and start teaching youngsters "the art of losing a hundred time in a row".

Harshad Pandit: After every Indian defeat, Prem has blamed Azza for his captaincy. Well, I guess after this poor performance of the Indian Team against Pakistan I was a bit surprised to see Prem praise Jadeja rather than bashing him thro' his writings. May be now he must have realised the plight of a Indian captian. He cannot do anything with a team of unreliable batsmen. The bowling too lacks a cutting edge and any motivation. So may be Prem rather than blaming azza for his mistakes supports him (This is what every captain needs to boost the confidence and morale of the team. The morale of the team depends upon the captain.) Also we readers are kind of now tired reading his articles which are full of criticism rather than any constructive support which may do wonders for this Indian team and also the team captain. Hopefull we readers may expect to get something which raises the spirits of the Indian team rather than pulling down.

vishaal: vishaal1@ao;.com: well, only if the stupid/corrupt selectors have not done their brainless experimenting at mohali and boosted pakis confidence with the easy win , India might have been able to do better , credit also goes to umpires for the big loss, pakis could not have done it without their help

Imran khan: I'm writing this from new york and I wathced this final match at banglore and I think pakistan played superbly and absolutlely outplayed india throughout this series. India couldn't even managed to score over 200 against pakistan. eventhough, they were playing without sachin and azhar but a good and well balanced team is not a one or two men team. everyone has to contribute to their team's effort. now it would be a dream come true for indians if they beat pakistan in future. also, i'm really having terrible feelings toward indians crowd and i think pakistan shouldn't play in india again becuase their victory doesn't look sweet when indians' crowd behaved horrible against pakistani's palyers. I think next time, india should play in pakistan and let's see the comparison between indian and pakistani crowd behavior. excuse me for this, i'm really having terrible feelings toward indian people.

Mandar Lele: Sheer determination and confidence flowing throughout the match and what promises more is support from the TEAM MANAGER and his participation ! What India was lacking was just what mentioned above.

ppkr: Not a surprise to me that we lost the match. Even though I knew it was going to take a stupendous effort on the part of our team to win I religiously woke up at 4 am my time to watch it on the 'net'. All this because I didn't want to miss out on a miracle happening, just in case. What really ticked me off is the behaviour of the crowd. Like you said they might not have behaved thus because we were losing but only to express discontent over the abject surrender. I get a feeling that the cricketers are taking us fans for granted. They seem to have etched it into their minds that public memory is short. One good perfomance will again raise hopes they always seem to think.

I now have lost all hope that we will win the world cup. But I will ofcourse be rooting for India. After the world cup there will be the inevitable finger pointing and heads will roll. Azharuddin will be the first to go. He's still got so much in him that it will be a shame to lose him. Gaekwad will go too. Somehow I don't think he has a good cricketing brain. I think it's time we got a full time foreign coach. Not because there are no competent ones in India but to get modern thinking into the team. He should be given full charge and with one objective - 'to get the best out of the team at all costs'.

Anuj Agarwal: Hi, I live in the States and am a staunch follower of World cricket I was following this match live on the net and when the presentation ceremony was going on, I recieved a message on ICQ from my cousin in India, that Shahid Afridi spit in the Pepsi Cup he was holding, while showing Ijaz that this is another use of this cup

All I can say, is that, if this incident is true, then I would pray to God to give India the courage and mental strength to beat the PULP out of the Pakistani team from now on, as they Always try to do to us!! This incident can only be described in one word and that is Disgusting!!

I am a cricket critic in the very technical sense and have been following it since that past 17 years. Believe me, I have always rated Pakistan as a superior team to India in general and have only hoped that Indians get the motivation to perform their 100% everytime they face each other and not given wild comments that India is the greatest cricket team and always beats Pakistan (like a layman). But, this action on part of Afridi gives their arrogant state of mind which is like winning the 3rd India-Pak war! The greatest sporting term coined in the latter part of this century - Professional, looks to have no meaning here!!

Aaargh...leaves a very bad taste, extremely!!!!

G. Ramkumar @ Singapore: While Pakistan plays with 100% determiniation, our guys play with 0%. I wonder whether they do any homework before entering the ground. They look absolutely clueless on the way to break a partnership while bowling and absolutely clueless on what to expect when they come out to bat.

Pakistan is a side to bet on for winning the Worldcup 1999.

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