Rediff Logo World Cup 99
April 22, 1999

Weatherwise and otherwise

jeet: thanks prem, for writing an article which makes everyone think and realize that winning the world cup is not only about dedication but also a lot of strategic thinking. the suggestions are very analytical in their approach and should be thought over by the indian think tank, if not outrightly accepted.just to add on to your list i would suggest 1) the team think tank/coach (angshuman, azhar, tendulkar, jadeja and kumble etc) should gather around analysing the videos of the recent matches (with IND and others) of their opponents in group A (SL,SA,ENG,Z)and identify their key weaknesses and strengths and capitalize on them 2)it would be great if gavaskar, kapil and shatri who apparently are the cricketing gurus, can suggest strategies against each of these teams...who better than gavaskar who has been seeing these players by virtue of his commentating career..and he is a very sharp analyst of all aspects of the game...does he want to keep all the analysis for the commentary box or does he really want to help his country with inovative ideas????or is the board, coach and the players think he cannot contribute 3)the art and importance of playing with a lose bottom hand and rotating the strike with quick singles, should be highlighted to all 15 players and PRACTICED in the nets . it will be very crucial & deciding in England 4) can srinath practice a bit on getting an effective slower delivery...with his experience it would not be very hard to master in the nets and take tips from venkatesh, ajit etc. as they have effective slower ones and because it is such an important part of the game 5)they need as prem suggested a lot of english condition practice for fielding, running between,apart from the key areas of batting and is an excellent suggestion by prem to take extra bowlers and boost lower order batting strength.......thanks again prem, glad that you sent a copy to the board....i would also go to the extent of sending one to azhar and angshuman's residences (forgive me if that is outrageous)....but definitely a very positive contribution rather than blatantly critisizing our players and selectors!!!!!!!!!

Naidu: Very logical. Why don't our think tank thik like this? As you pointed out the weakest link in our team is the Manager and Skipper. Somebody like Sunny, Ravi, Kapil or Mohinder working with Bobby should make a lot good for the team. It is the time for the Board to think in these terms.

Weatherwise and otherwise:
Shailesh: I don't understand why we (reader/critics) are expending so much energy on analysis when we all know that it falls on deaf ears. That India will fair poorly is a foregone conclusion. The main question we should address is to how to eliminate these scummy creatures like Dungarpurkar, Dalmiya, Lele, Rungta (though he is not in frame now) from the sports scene. These suckers have been infecting Indian Cricket for years and threaten to go on forever till they are alive. Let's put our brains behind this problem first.

Vivek Jain: The folk tale about England in April is that you see all the 4 weathers every day. It got quite warm a week before last but since then has become very cold. Therefore, indoor practise facilities is a MUST. The wind here is so strong that you and me can throw the ball in the air and see it going from wide outside leg to wide outside off. I pray that the board listens to you. Can't say that they think about what you write - they know not how to think and we can't finish God's unfinished work. Forgot to write - the weather is totally unpredictable so all these forecasts are useless here. It will be sunny in the morning and will rain in the afternoon. The only saviour is daylight till about 6.30pm Your articles speak the truth and truth we want, however bitter. We check your web site every 15 minutes to see if you have posted another article - tells you how much we value your writing. Great work !! I just hope that the indian team reads you and see how much people like you and me are investing in them. Can you please get this reply window fixed. It is 20 characters long where as it should be 60-70 characters long. Looks like a bug in its size setting.

Britto Marceline: Mr. Prem! Could you pl. stop criticizing Azar for every thing. You are looking at Ajay as captain only in very few matches. Currently, every body is looking at Ajay's success and Azar's failures. You brand, the success to individual player's success and failure to the Captain. Look at Azar's record, it speaks for his success. I can understand, if the media writes against him before the selection. Now having selected Azar, analyzing who is a better captain, Azar to be dropped and what is the strategy to drop Azar from playing, do not in any way boost the moral of the team and it looks rubbish. You guys, want to write some thing and you got a topic, so that you can sell yourselves. Did ever Gavaskar criticize Tendulkar for his failures as Captain. No, he is very partial and so is Ravi shastri. I feel, you better stop writing about captaincy now. Write about team planning. Pick up one player and write about his batting skills, his weekness etc. Let us wait till the end of World cup. You will have enough material to write about on captaincy. Replace Azar if he fails in the world cup. Britto

Balaji: Hi Rediff, It seems like Mr. Prem Panicker is the person with maximum cricketing knowledge. If I had the power I would like to appoint him as BCCI president, National Selector, Indian team Consultant, Indian team coach and the captian of Indian team. Fortunately or Unfortunately I do not have the authority to do that.

cricfan: As always a well thought out column. To this I would add another thing that the indian management must not overlook. And that is cleats. As you know, playing shoes come with different size cleats and that will be very important in the early part of the world cup. When the grounds will be soft and slippery. The players will need to have just the right cleats in order to not injure themselves and also to field effectively. The bowlers will need hand warmers to keep the feelings in their fingers from going numb. These warmers can be placed behind the shirts of the players. And between overs these players can make sure their hands are warm. I played cricket this weekend and I had no control over the ball (because of the cold weather this weekend). My thoughts immedietely went to the world cup and how the bowlers their will have to cope with the cold weather early in the tournament. For India to feel confident it must perform well against S. Africa in its first league match. I would appreciate any information regarding Sachin seeing a doctor after the "tamasha" match the other day. What are the reports. How is sachin feeling in the aftermath of that outing. Your reporting is much appreciated.

Rahul Rajaram: If its not too much to ask please fax this copy to the Board too!!!!!Well instead of just praying atleast as ardent fans of INdian Cricket lets help them to extent we and then lets see where it goes. Thanks

Rahul Rajaram: If its not too much to ask please fax this copy to the Board too!!!!!Well instead of just praying atleast as ardent fans of Indian Cricket lets help them to extent we can and then lets see where it goes. Thanks

Chand Ahluwalia: Sir, Look at England's record in ODI at home in May/June and you will notice that it is excellent. New Zealand are the only team to take a series from them in this decade in the early English season. I suspect that New Zealand's early season provides similar conditions to those in England and therefore I wouldn't be surprised if these two teams make the first cut. As concerns home advantage; Australia, India, Pakistan and the West Indians will be well supported in England- probably better than England and certain players react to home support/pressure better than others.

Nandu: Even better than your previous article. I wish we had more people in India like you not to mention the selectors and other personnel involved with cricket. Regards Nandu

Sainath S.: Hi Prem, Another good article. Just a note...knowing the unpredictable nature of one-day cricket where the better team on that day wins, I say it would be very unlikely for say SL (or for that matter any team except South Africa maybe) to win every match it plays. This means that even if India gets into the Super Six with zero points, more than likely SL or SA may also have zero or two points. So the scenario that you suggested about India not making it to the semis with zero points could happen; but what if the other two teams from group A also have zero or two points and the standings have to be determined by run-rates? I think Mohanty will be a revelation on this tour. Cheerios. Sainath Suryanarayanan

Anubhav Sharma: Prem, I see a bias on your part against Azhar. Though your analysis on most part, is quite clinical and intuitive but you seem to single out Azhar, more so in your recent columns. All said and done, Azhar is quite good strategist, may not be as wildly innovative as jadeja was, but Jadeja had luxury of no pressure and inbred enthusiasm to take the chances that he took. If you will see, all the captains after gaining experience, become less experimental, but more refined in their strategies. Given that Azhar lacks personality and is a big question mark when it comes to motivating the team, he is quite good when he is on the field when it comes to marshalling the resources. But you seem to have singled him out for everything wrong with the team. He has to take a large share of blame for captaining the side, but that does not warrant slugging he gets in your columns. Well, I am not saying that Azhar is not to be blamed for team's performance and his lack of ability to motivate this team and I am not taking anything away from Jadeja either. But you, being in position and power to communicate with large base of fans and readers, should be exercising a bit more of self-restraint and try to be fair in your assessment.

Vikranth: Did Azhar or for that matter the team management ever gave a thought as to why South Africa has its fastest and best bowler(donald) coming as first change rather than opening with him. If they have then we should'nt be opening with srinath may be he is not that fast but can still go for runs and that to in plenty if he does not maintain a good line and length. So what I think is we are better of with prasad and ganguly to open the bowling and srinath and agarkar to follow them. I like your idea of team composition based on opposition and I think that should be the policy always not just for the world cup.

Sudhir: Hi Prem, Always ejoyed your analysis and prognosis. You are one of the few writers that actually have a strategy in mind. I have seen the cricket admin in India up close and to say it is inefficient an callous in its treatment of the players, ex-players and potential players would be an understatement. Keep up the good work and why don't you run for Board President - I am sure you can revitalise our approach and thinking to our national obesession with this magnificent game. Cheers ... Sudhir.

Kamal Ahluwalia: Prem, Excellent suggestions BEFORE the event. Very refreshing. Looking forward to more articles.

Arvind: : I think we ought to start a "Panikar for BCCI President" !!!

Raj: Hey Prem, U seemed 2 be pretty focussed bout each detail. I wish, you should have been on the board. I really appreciate ur keen sense of observation. Yep, being captained a team myself, i can tell you that having some senior players to advise the team would be the most wonderful thing. It should be as if we are planning for a do or die situation and there shouldn't be any room for failure/error. There has to be a sort of "craziness" or "madness" to win. There should be a "junoon" to get 100% success in any game,something which miandad had, which tendulkar has now. And this attitude needs to be developed by our team.

Ketan: I truly like the idea about using the champs of 83 to tour with the team, I just hope a certain Mr Kapil Dev does in fact take the intiative like he did when went to Madras. Cause I'm postive that Mr Dungarpur & co. WILL NOT act on any or all of it, as they will be thinking that all the 11 have played in England previously SO they can easily adjust. Freaking morons, BTW u faxing this one over to Mr dungarpur's offc too or what ? Matter of fact I'd luv it if if u (Prem) could talk to Raj Singh & see what his reaction was about this article being faxed over to him. 9 to 1 Raj singh would tell Prem that u stupid journo mind ur damn business & leave the thinking (which they really CANNOT do!!) to us!!

Deepak: Hopefully this has been faxed to the Board, Azhar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil dev, other 1983 players, and of course TENDIYA!!!

Kedar: Prem, Why don't you point these things (rains, extra bowler) to new Indian Cricket Manager, Brijesh Patel. I'm pretty sure you'll have contacts to call him up and suggest him about this. and then let him to try to fix things up in his capacity of Manager. ( Sice of these things fall under resources, it's the job of the maager to ensure that they are provided).

samir: samirbakul: It is excellent. board shoud understand. but you know our board is just give excuse like captain and Giakwad. We need help or our senior. who can tell them? we have one of the worst cricket board in this world. curruption and LAGVAG. we all need to do something. can't this people like Kapildev. Shastri and Gavaskar help by their own to our team? if we convence them? hopw they understand . by the way this is very good thinking what you did. i liked it very... much. go on and talk to board and do fax them how many time they ignore you? good wishes to you and our team samir

Atul Shah: Excellent Analysis. Hope, authority could understand this. Good luck, -Atul

Sandeep: "A winner does all the little things that the loser does not have time for" It is such little things that end up making the difference between victory and defeat between two sides....of course, its much more complex than that....but if our cricket Board were hoping to win the cup, they really should be thinking along these lines, But alas u cant teach an old dog new tricks.....The world Cup is a month away and I'm already feeling pretty pessimistic about India's chances......Its a pity that the people in charge of our team are not looking out for its best interests, but rather for increasing the Board's revenue....I think that the Cricket Board cares more about that than winning the world cup........

prashanth: why dont you get one of the above mentioned "seniors" to make such an offer to the board. maybe that will get their attention.

Ketan Patel: Prem Based in UK, I feel I must point out some facts about that you have highlighted in your two-part report. Firstly, the case of having extra bowlers to be brought over with the team. As I understand, all the teams will be supplied with some local players during practice. Although these players may not be of top level caliber, they are very equipped to exploit the local conditions in terms of movement in air and off the pitch. This in fact I can vouch for from my personal experience. Being a local club player, I come across bowlers able to move the ball around very frequently. In fact, I find myself being able to move the ball around much easily than in the sub-continental conditions. Therefore, recruitment of good local players will stand them in good stead. Other point is about the weather. At the moment, the weather here in England is very uncertain. There have been some warm, dry and sunny days. However, its generally very cold, bitter and rainy. In fact the first day of the county season last week saw snow and the typical temperatures are 10-12 degrees celcius during the day. Since its few weeks from the World Cup, we can only hope it gets better. Going on to the point about the indoor facilities, well only handful of counties have this, mainly the test grounds. This will therefore be difficult to achieve and I doubt if ECB will allow changes in the practice schedule be made at this stage, since the arrangements and fixtures of the counties involved have been made to an initial plan considering each countries requirements. On the point of clothing, I think BCCI should provide some warm underclothing for the players. To recall an incident during the 1996 tour, the game at Hove was played in very cold weather. A local NRI asked a certain player about what he thought about the weather, he asked the person if he could get him some thermal underwear since his genitals were frozen by the cold sea breeze. Anyway, to summarise the points that I want to make, I think BCCI should try and get some local like the Pak team and get a local to assist in the pre-tourney arrangements and information about the local situations. P.S. The resignation of Javed Miandad today as Pak coach, I believe, is more to do with an appointment of a foreigner as an assistant. I believe that he felt his authority and suggestions would be undermimed by the intrusion of a foreign input.

Sanat Chowdhury: Prem, Another excellent article from you. Please keep on writting and make sure that it reaches our indian think tank. They don't understand the well-being of a cricket team, and thus jeopardises our any chance in the world cup. We would like to see your articles as frequently as possible till the world cup. One thing I don't agree with you. I don't buy your idea to stick with Azahar. Can you tell me how many man of the match awards ha has received in his last 50 ODI. I don't think his absence will have any impact on the Indian team. Look at the Pakistan team. There are so much allegations, so much infighting, so much politics, still they play their best game against India. If he is kicked out from the team, Sachin will perhaps aggree to become our Captain. Azahar's performance against Pakistan is miserable. Given your analysis, if we are in the super six, we will have a fair chance against Pakistan if Azahar is not there. Never he has played well against Pakistan except one or two occassions. Even a club cricketer will perform better if he gets so many chances. Anyway our voices will not reach our so called selectors. So, Please help all Indians by getting our message to those bunch of jokers. Regards, Sanat

Dileep Menon: Dear Mr Paniker, An excellent analysis worth reading. I hope India will reach to the Semi Finals and we can anticipate a lot of motivation from Jadeja to make this happen. Keep the good writings up. Best regards, Dileep

Satish Alapati: Yes Prem, I would like the Indian "think tank" to look into what u r writing here. Make sure they do it. I might mean "Make efforts to help the horse drink the water". Whatever we can do, let's do it. I mean u might call them etc. or do whatever. I don't like India losing because we were stupid. Thanks. Satish

sanjay: hi, Prem, don't ever apologise for nitpicking. Some of the most useful suggestions come from the wise critics sitting in the corner drinking. Even if the suggestions are not taken, you are begging to be proved wrong (something we will all enjoy on TV). So keep the yelling and screaming going. The fact that all this is not post-trauma finger pointing is gratifying. There is still time to do those little things. Hope they will listen.

Raj Agalkot: Prem, You two columns about preparing the WC Team regarding sending extra bowlers and getting the thinktank of ex-players (already in england thru media work) seems to be excellent suggestions. You also mentioned that your suggestions has been faxed to board's office. I was thinking if this would help communicating this to the board: Given that Brijesh Patel is the administrative manager to the team, I think it is a good idea for you personally convey your suggestions to him. I know he commands a lot of respect from the players and is a strict disciplinarian. May be he can see if he can do anything in this regard. Atleast from the practise perspective (finding alternative locations given the rain) he could definitely do something bring admin manager. Just another channel to communicate, as I would hate to see your invaluable suggestions go waste. thanks, Raj

Siva Pochimcherla: This Guy is Good. Keep Going Man!

Keeping a watch on Azhar:
raghu: Drop azaruddin,then india will win the world cup,remember we lost three world cups when he was doing good.Now just in case if it goes to final not due to Azar.In batting order his position is very crusial and we need reliable player like sachin.I have lot more to tell but any how , i feel he should not play the world cup because he do not have any fihting spirit now.

Priyank: India will win and we will be there to share each and every moment of glory in every matches in England.

shekar: Prem, You have made some very valid points in your article. Hope the board is thinking on similar terms. Anyway, faxing your article to the board may be a waste of time, since I am sure it would never reach the right person. May be you should find some way to fax this to Brijesh Patel, the newly appointed team manager. I think most of the stuff you are pointing out is probably the job of the team manager. I think, the BCCI President would be more inclined to listen to the suggestions of the team manager than from a member of the press.

Venkat Gopalakrishnan: You are pretty good at getting at the bottom line and this time it's no exception. I like the idea of tagging along players like sunny,srikanth.. who can involve the players into some kind of brainstorming sessions pre and post game. Given that we have dearth of thinking brains in the present team , barring a few, it would be a cardinal sin to not to use their expertise and street smartness when it comes to the crunch. I would also be a good idea to keep board officials accompanying the team to the bare minimum and have more ex-players on board. And finally. i hope we atleast make the semis to keep our interest in the tournament alive. "If wishes were horses beggars would ride" Good Luck! India Venkat Gopalakrishnan North Carolina, USA.

amol: Hi Prem, I have been reading your columns quiet regularly. And I agree with most of your views. I liked your suggestion of taking 5 extra bowlers to England for net practise. I think it would be a very wise decision. That way not only will the regular bowlers get some rest but the batsmen will be able to practise for longer period of time against a varied attack. However your second column lacks any insightful views and suggestions. The English weather is known to be highly unpredicatable and there is no guareentee that changing the venues whould provide clear, sunny and pleasent playing conditions. There are some things which are beyond our control and there are some basic limitations under which the Indian cricket board has to operate. To expect them to guarentee perfet weather conditions is too much to ask for.

sumeet durani: the points raised are valid.....but IS mr. Dungarpur listening???????? HE better do...otherwise ..... it'll most likely be 1992 repeated again......

Anandam: Ah! There again! Prem, when will you ever sit contented that the board for once has got it right about sending the Indian team early to practise under biting cold conditions. A true columnist must commend as much as he recommends, I feel. Agreed you have logically correct views, and so do the 900 million of us. We really can't have elections, can we? But who can blame you, you're doing your job in the best way you can, "Criticize"! For the betterment of the team, of course!

Ashok Mittal: Ok, I guess let's make a grocery list of things that the board should do. Will they ? Only they know ... (1) Send reserve bowlers of calibre so that all get good batting practice. (2) Make sure all the players have what they need in their kit for the tour. (3) Make sure alternate arrangements are made in case the whether is bad in Leicestershire. (4) Get the players of the like Kapil Dev and Sunny Gavaskar to increase the bench strength in the Think Tank Group. (5) Decide who to play in the eleven based on: (a) The opposition. (b) The pitch conditions. (c) The current form of a player.

vivek kedia: "Azhar is, well, Azhar" without abusing azhar u have done what u n we wanted to!!! that was really nice of u please mention azhar avg. against pakis in recent years

Kaushal: Hi Prem Why don't U do a favour on behalf of us all Indians, just go ahead and inform the senior players that no matter what the BCCI thinks about them, we all sincerely feel that they should come forward and help our team in whatever manner they can. And if they do so than we all will be grateful to them for not only winning the 1989 World Cup put also making our chances bright for the 1999 World Cup. I sincerely thank them in advance and hope that they will come forward.

Shashi Singh: Please fax this to Azhar and Gaikwad. Prem,I like your all articles . You are great analyst.

madhav: Hi Prem, Yes, this has been a fantastic analysis. I think even this should be faxed to the Indian Board. I think the players also should start concenterating on the strategies to be adopted for specific bowlers/batsmen instead of attending tamasha "tilak" ceromonies. Regards, Madhav Regards, Madhav

Vishal: A couple of things i saw some mistakes were - "It is inevitable that South Africa will go through to the Super Six. So the real fight is for the other two berths, and it is between India, England and Zimbabwe." you made this statement and later you contradicted it by saying that England will not get into the Super Six but the teams will be SA, India and SL? you also have the wrong date for the match to be played between India and SA. The match is supposed to be on 15th May 99 rather than 19th. The suggestion for 5 bowlers was awesome. But the weather one, I am sure they must have taken care of that. What this means is that starting with its first league match against South Africa on the 19th, India will need to go out to win every single game it plays. And against teams like Zimbabwe and Kenya, it will have to put in an extra effort to make sure it wins big -- because in the event of a tie for one of the Super Six berths, net run rates come into play.

Sundeep Dendi: Hi Prem I read all your columns and I am really impressed with your analysis. I only hope that the Board looks into these minor details which will make a major difference. Hope those hot headed asses understand the importance of this World Cup. I enjoy ur columns. Thanks Sundeep

Phani: hi Prem Panicker, I have been closely following your columns, ever since i left India. It is very nice to see some thoughtful columns. I do agree to what is said about having experienced players (kapil, sunny, krish) to help out the indian team. i hope your article, will open the eyes of the management committee. as regards to your picking teams from Pool A. i was suprised at omitting Sri Lanka (rather choosing Zimbabwe), any particular reason for that?? Phani

sameer kaushal: Prem you really analyse everything very well.but my question is regarding something else. When you give statistical record of every player you tell all the things about players but not height why? so if you could please add height that would be nice. thanks

Rekha: Dear Rediff , This article has many interesting thoughts , but only time can decide how many of them will be put into use . I hope there are people on our cricket board who analyze and think in these terms , from different perspectives . All the pre-calculations are important , then the team will be in a position to know what it needs to achieve , how to achieve that ,is left to them . We are hoping that the team has the support of our experienced veterans in England , and a collective effort will bring the result what we all are dreaming about , the WORLD CUP .

Munish Gupta: Prem, Good article. Will just like to point out that instead of always looking at the opposition's strength, you should look at your own strengths too and then play the game. If you don't have 4 first rate bowlers then picking another one might not make much of a difference but it will definitely weaken the batting. Could be wrong but just a thought.

Sushil Dravekar: Hi Prem, I love your columns as much as i love the game of cricket. i know everybody is now discussing the fate of the indian side in the world cup after those big jolts after jolts in the recent tournaments. Some questions come to my mind and i'd like to share it with you. Hope you'd also be thinking of the same. I'm a big fan of the NBA here is US and rarely miss any game and anything related to it. These guys put so much effort in their game that i sometimes think that they are surely crossing their physical limits. but that's OK for a game of short period, but you can always appreciate the strategy and planning that goes in winning the big tournament. These players watch and study their opponent's moves and keep a handy plan ready to tackle them in the field well before entering the arena. Is it not possible for our players to study the video coverage of the famous batsmen, bowlers and fielders to plan a strategy to tackle them beforehand. I guess they have that kind of money to invest in aquiring the related material. But only if they had time from their so called busy schedules. I mean, after watching so many games on video, one after another, i can make out some solid consclusions about the flaws is one's game. So are our players doing that or they don't want to improvise their game. I guess they just go out in the field and play without a personal or for that matter a team gameplan. Everyone in the team is rather having an ego-istic approach to the game. Don't-tell-me-what-to-do-i-am-better-at-it approach won't do any good for their personal/team game. they should rise above these things. whatever, nobody's listening, the more you think about it more you get depressed. bye for now, keep up the good work, you're the best. best wishes, Sushil

Vadi Madhwaraj: Prem, I follow your articles on a regular basis & I agree in your analysis. See I don't get to watch any of the matches as I stay out here in US of A, but would visualise it through your column. Now my request is could you do a huge favour to the Indian Team and to the fans of Indian Cricket, use the same phone get an appointment/Interview with the concerned authorities at the cricket board and please put forth your thoughts. One sending some extra bowlers to England along with the team & use some senior players expreince to guide the team & mainly make the team mentally strong. At times our team sounds like a bunch of nerve less woosies, more so against Pakistan. Sir, Keep up the good work, I really enjoy your column. Regards, Vadi

shashi k rao: i agree with all the points except involving too many experts in planning the world cup campaign in England. there would be conflicting opinions and the manager's authority would be undermined. also we have bob simpson (is he with the team during the world cup??) to take care . so dont worry with too many experts once again best of luck of india. only a miracle can get us the cup

Dinesh: This team lacks fighters like Jimmy Amarnath,Yashpal,and hitters like Sandy,Kapil dinesh

Abhijit Limaye: Excellent article indeed! The idea to send these columns to the board is good. I have one more suggestion here. Recently, when watching a match, I saw Harsha Bhogle interviewing Anil Kumble about his world cup Web site. There, Anil said that if he gets a mail message on the site, he can make it reach the players in the Indian team since he is the part of the team. The point is, the columns need to be mailed to Anil Kumble's Web site as well. And let's hope that it really reaches the players who, inturn, can approach the board with specific requests. I am sure that, if the players themselves make the request, board will have to fulfill it. Thanks, -Abhijit.

Geethakrishnan Narasimhan: Dear Prem, YOu are very right in your assessment that the Indian team should go to England with some extra bowlers so that our frontline bowlers don't fag out soon or get affected by injuries very early in the tournament. Going by the way the board is planning for the World Cup makes me doubt their sincerity and application to Indian Cricket. Going by certain decisions they take makes me wonder why they are there and what are they doing in that high office. They don't seem to realise the expectations of the Indian public through they earn all their money. Leave alone the money, they don't seem to have a desire to see the Indian team on the top. Despite having players of high calibre to help us out, the Board doesn't seem to be taking the initiative to use their experience and expertise to the advantage of our team. I would like to see how the board acts when they are stripped of all the sponsoship money and go bankrupt. They only seem to exhibit and patronise the characteristic Indian mentality of letting things out of hand and then lamenting for it. I feel even God would give up any hope of reforming Indian Cricket save his grace for giving us someone like Sachin.

manav: good one again but I have my reservations with involving too many experts even though such experts maybe of the stature of Kapil and Sunny with the Team's think tank.

Abhijeet: I am not sure I agree with your team selection criteria based on opponent. You have gotta go with your best lineup, and that is all there is to it. Some flexibility is needed, iff it can be claimed that say "so and so is zimbabwe's nemesis or so". But in cricket there is not very much of that these days. I hope you understand tha you can be the selection committee and I (or someone else the critic and say we should have gone with 'the balanced team' instead of 'bowler oriented' or something of that nature. I do also not agree with your acclimatization also likely are part of the majority that makes fun of weather forecasters. You can not plan weather beyond a certain level. I do not think there is very much to that point in general. The points that are major are: professional attitude, will power and killer instinct. I think we indians lack these to a good extent. The cup can be won iff: 1. we have better motivation coming from captain 2. The palyers are really fit 3. They play with real professional attitude..winning more imp than anything whining

Suresh Padmanabhan: Excellent ! very comprehensive column.If the Indian think tank use this as a benchmark (I hope they do!!) then surely India will take the cup back home for the second time. Could you Please forward this to the Indian think tank. Thanks Good Luck.

Gautam Jagtiani: Don't waste your time mentioning the people who 'criticize' you - they aren't worth it!

Senthilkumar: Yes! I think it's hightime the board starts thinking about these things. Let's hope they don't turn a blind eye again and leave the players to be faulted when the whole blemish lies somewhere else.

Chaitanya Kuber: That is great news about SRT. Hope he does play like last year (98), I think then the others will lift around him.

Alok Agrawal: I think BCCI should use the services of Ravi Shashtri and Srikant for team selection during the preliminary league phase based on the opposition and the grounds where the matches will be played. Rediff - Kindly inform BCCI to keep checking the weather at LCC club where Indian team will be camping and also ask them to make alternative arrangements in case weather hinders the team of practice ahead of their world cup.

nisant: all the best

Murali.K: Prem! As you say, you can not make them think. We only hope that they will take our suggestions at positive spirit and send 5 extra bowlers and change the base venue if possible. BCCI is rich enough to do that. Is it not the richest of the boards?

Subramanian R. Iyer: Yes, I do agree with Prem Panicker on the issue of consultation with the more experienced players of our past. We will have the best of past cricketers in England and their advise to the team will be very fruitful. Bear in mind that all of them will be covering for the media from the commentary box, and will be in a better position to guage the strength of the opposition. Their tips at the end of the day after commenting on various matches will be of utmost help. The board certainly has to give a thought about it if at all they want to get India anywhere in the top six

ASHWIN NIVSARKAR IN CANADA: Hello again Prem, Great thought about 4-5 more Indian bowlers going along to England to bowl at the nets.Also equally important, the "Think Tank" comprising of experienced past players. However as far as I know,the Indian team will have services of some local County players who I say are at par with the ones we leave behind in India.I think it would be futile expense to take our bowlers.I would rather have the Board spend money on hiring these bowlers and even hiring a psychiatrist to give some pep talk on the eve of matches.I would also like the Board to spend money on hiring a "Foreign Brain" and look at India as an impartial outsider weighing in our strengths and weeknesses.This could be say 5-6-7-8 different people,preferably one from each country participating.This would not only enable us to work out our problems but also aid our team management to chalk out strategies against the opposition. I would also like to make another point here about the playing 11.You are absolutely right about changing the composition of the team depending on the opposition,but I would also insist on changing that depending on how the "repalcable" players performed in their last game. My ideal 11 for the match against S.Africa would be, SACHIN and RAMESH to open.Followed by DRAVID,GANGULY,KHURASIA,ROBIN,JADEJA,AGARKAR,SRINATH,KUMBLE AND PRASAD. Yes I havent included Mongia cause Dravid can keep wickets too.Either this or drop Kumble against S.Africa and play Azar.Khurasia should play the first game though. Well just thinking aloud though and hope you publish my guest colloumns too. Thanks and best regards. CIAO

JAYAKUMAR JANAKIRMAMAN: As a ARDENT fan of SACHIN TENDULKAR, watching from the days of his debue , I feel very happy to hear that his back is good. In fact I made a special PRAYER at pittsburgh Temple,here in USA, for that CHAMPIONS GOOD Health. Thanks for your information Regards JAYAKUMAR JANAKIRAMAN

Prem Sanjay V.: Prem, I think it is a good idea to keep the cricketers warm in England and make sure that they get their gear before they leave for the World Cup this time! Why don't you send a fax to Mr.Dungarpur and Co., about requesting the former cricketing superstars to help out the Indian team in Strategy-101? Thanks, Prem

Nikhil Shah: The news about Sachin is encouraging. I still believe the bowlers hold the key to this Worldcup. This edition of the World Cup will be a bowler's World Cup and to win is to bat for for entire 50 overs,Sachin or no Sachin. Rahul/Ganguly it's time for action and time to prove ur class in front of the people who matter the most in the Cricketing World.