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Actions on the field and not needless mind games win test matches - Partab Ramchand column
by Partab Ramchand
Oct 16, 2008
You can always overdo the mind games. Just go through what the Indian and Australian players are saying and one is convinced that some of them don't really believe what they are uttering. It all boils down to one-upmanship or trying to gain a psychological advantage. When overdone though there is very little chance of scoring a valid point off the field.

Ultimately it is scoring a point on the field that matters. And perhaps that's what an exasperated Anil Kumble was trying to make when he wrote in his syndicated column that "I would really appreciate if certain people realize that cricket is not spoken, it's played and we the Indian team are out there to play it."

Kumble's dig was hurled at the media which he has accused of "sensationalizing every little action, remark or gesture." Perhaps he would do well in getting the message to some members of his team for they too seem to be speaking more and playing less.

Much the same can be said about Ricky Ponting and his men. They too have attempted to score brownie points by incessant and unnecessary talk. It is clear that players of both sides have crossed the line in the war of words and the mind games. Let's have less talk and more action, boys. This is a high voltage series and predictably expectations on both sides are high.

That said, it must also be admitted that both India and Australia have chinks in their armour. The Aussies are in the process of rebuilding, having lost several of their star players recently and they are also feeling the absence of a frontline spin bowler. Gallantly as their pace trio performed at Bangalore they have their limitations in Indian conditions. As for the hosts, half the team is over the hill and that's a pretty big load they are carrying. The inability of the Fab Four to perform in keeping with their exalted status thanks to the vagaries of Father Time and the intense pressure on them means that at best they will be grafters and not ebullient stroke players. Speaking of time, this commodity seems to be fast running out for the captain too. Finishing wicketless after bowling 51 overs and conceding well over 100 runs in the bargain is surely an unwelcome development for a bowler who has been a proven match winner at home.

It would be better if both sides, no doubt aware of their limitations, make efforts to improve on their weak points and score tactical points on the field of play. That's the way to win Test matches. Mohali would be a good place to start. It has always been a result-oriented pitch and initial reports have it that things are not likely to change. So let the action be confined to events on the field. Let's call a truce to the needless mind games and war or words contest. Let's have a pulsating contest on the picturesque ground and may the team that bats better, bowls better, fields better and is better led win. The team that talks better hardly ever wins anyway and the chap who said that talk is cheap really hit the nail on the head. Its actions that ultimately count.
 
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