'SA pitches have a lot more zip and bounce'

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Saturday, March 30, 2002, 14:58 [IST]
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Bangalore: It is a different world and a wonderful one at that to be back to work and to a totally different atmosphere. Having been away from work due to national commitment has not in any way deterred my appetite for work.

If anything it has made me see how blessed I am to be a journalist because when you are away playing cricket, it normally gives you the blues when you have to get back to work. But in my case I am itching to be at office and to be getting down to work because it is so exciting to be a journalist.

I apologise to our browsers (as we received a few complaints) that I was not in a position to send across my 'Tour Diary' on time. It was basically because of lack of time. The days used to be so filled with activity that I hardly found time to even recoup from exhaustion.

We, invariably, used to be back late in the evening, which used to make it impossible for me to visit the Internet parlour. But I assure you that next time around we will set right this technical problem.

Getting back to India's tour of South Africa, it may not have been an all-and-all success, however there were gains with regards to a lot of aspects. First on those list of gains is the character displayed by the team to rally from behind and finish the tour on a high.

It is not an easy thing - especially when you are on foreign soil - to bounce back the way we did after having lost the first two One-dayers and with it the series. The girls dug in deep and made it a point that we went back with our heads held high not only for our sake but for those people back home, who had done so much for us and pinned all their hopes on us.

I must admit that after the recent 5-0 drubbing of the English side, we as a team had received a lot of attention and perks, and it was but right that we gave our well-wishers a positive result.

One such act of encouragement that we received before we set sail to South Africa was the function presided over by Mr Kapil Dev and graced by the members of the Indian men's cricket team.

It was such an inspiration to have Kapil Dev give us words of encouragement and also to have the likes of Harbhajan, Dinesh Mongia, Sehwag, Nehra and Sharandeep wish us well for our South African sojourn.

We as a team take this opportunity in thanking them for their kind gesture and are glad that we did not let them down and made their effort of bidding us farewell worthwhile.

Second on those list of gains is the experience we received as a team playing on South African pitches, which is going to hold us in good stead for the forth coming World Cup in 2004-2005.

What a world of difference there is to playing on Indian pitches and the ones in SA! There is so much more zip and bounce off the wicket that your entire approach to batting needs to be reframed.

It was unfortunate that we didn't get practice matches to get accustomed to those conditions. The only one that we received at the beginning of the tour was a curtailed one due to wet wicket. However, since we are blessed with technically sound batsmen we were able to adapt to those conditions without letting the non- availability of practice matches play on our mind.

There were a lot of other small gains but one last major gain was winning a Test match on foreign soil. Yeah, we did lose the One-dayers but winning a Test match takes a lot more skill and resolve and by beating South Africa in South Africa, we as a team did women's cricket back home a lot of good.

At the end of the day it has to be women's cricket that is the victor and not any individual.


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