India-Australia Pre match conference.
Ganeshbabu Venkat | 8:32am gmt 23 Mar 2011
If India loses the game tomorrow, One thing is certain MSD will not get out of the press conference early. There were about 350 people in a room probably fit to hold 120 tops. There were some questions about India failing in the power play, mental strength of the Indian team, Zaheer being the only wicket taker etc. However most of the time the Indian journalists were cribbing and whining about not getting a player to the media when they wish. Dhoni hit the nail on the head when he said " less media interaction, less controversy". The Indian media is like a predator waiting to pounce on it's prey. I asked Dhoni" What is the value of the 7th batsman when you have not really got much production out of him and would you ever bite the bullet and play three spinners"? plush came the reply that "it's very tough" with a smile to boot. All in all, Dhoni is under severe duress to win this game, Anything other than that the media and the public won't be kind on him. For good measure, India-Pakistan semis is taking shape as I type this for West Indies are becoming the hunted on the very ground where they were the hunters not so long ago.
Ricky Ponting was playing his usual mind games ahead of the crucial India-Australia quarter-final clash at Ahmedabad. In a press conference overflowing with media in a small crowded room, he sounded pretty bullish. He said retirement has not crossed his mind and he is looking forward to playing cricket for some more time. He added that he was excited about playing India in India even if it was in the first hurdle. Asked what would it mean for the world cup since it's imminent that either himself or Sachin Tendulkar will not feature after tomorrow, He said it's more than an individual and hence that should not be a big deal. For a very interesting question about not playing the "Australian Way" he said he will be happy as long as they win and the verbal wars had slowed down since Glen McGrath and Shane Warne retired. He also said that he needed to draw some inspiration from his 2003 world cup final knock.
A bit about the Ahmedabad cricket ground and it's facilities. I think this game should have been in Chennai. Chennai has a magnificent and world class facility without a doubt and probably the best in the country. Ahmedabad resembles the old Indian way of running things i.e in a hap hazard way. Not a great facility to host a quarter final game. Of course the ground looks fabulous, but the press box is old and pretty crowded, the stands look really torn down and these folks should probably take a lesson from TamilNadu Cricket Associataion(TNCA).