Winning is a habit. But behind achieving the habit is hard work.
On Tuesday, the visiting Pakistan team showed why this team means business. Having won the first one-day International at Chennai, the entire team was out at the Eden Gardens and worked out rigorously for three hours.
The team’s attitude is clear: to win the series, possibly at its favourite hunting ground, the Eden Gardens. Having an enviable record at this venue and the form the team has shown certainly makes this side the one to watch on Thursday.
The Indians, who had arrived here in batches, preferred to take rest. Captain M.S. Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashoke Dinda and Mohammad Shami, who all arrived with coach Duncan Fletcher and support staff, and the four — Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ajienkya Rahane — who reached this afternoon failed to show up disappointing a large number of supporters who had gathered to watch the team practice.
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuvraj Singh arrived late owing to delayed arrival of the flight.
India’s chance of keeping the series alive till the third ODI at Delhi will largely depend on how the pitch is going to behave. The 22-yard strip, which was in the eye of storm before the third Test against England, is expected to be an ideal surface for the limited overs cricket.
After the Pakistan pace attack scythed through the Indian top order at Chennai, the team management wouldn’t like to walk into another such situation. In all probability, it will be a benign pitch tilted towards the batsmen.
The security is stifling to say the least and the Kolkata police is not taking any chance. The team’s wish, as reported in a local daily, to visit Sundarbans, was shot down by the Union home ministry. On Tuesday there was a talk of the Pakistan team members wishing to take a cruise on river Hooghly.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has decided to felicitate 25 former and present Indian and Pakistani cricketers during the break in the second ODI. The CAB has received confirmation from 22 players.
The State Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, will do the honours by presenting each one with Rs. 1 lakh each, a shawl and a silver salver. The cricketers would be taken around the Eden Gardens in open jeeps with each vehicle having an Indian and Pakistan cricketer of the same era.
The 22 who have confirmed are: Mushtaq Mohammed, Wasim Akram, Sadiq Mohammed, Imtiaz Ahmed, Intikhab Alam, Rameez Raja, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik (all Pakistan); Bishan Singh Bedi, Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Gundappa Visvanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, K. Srikkanth, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, M.S. Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.