On the eve of the Sharjah triangular series, just in the nick of time I caught the Indian Captain, minutes before his evening meal. Quickly I asked him over the phone a few questions, which he graciously replied to in his inimitable style.
First congratulations on winning the one day series against South Africa. Does that put you and the team in a positive state of mind?
First of all, thank you for congratulating me. Obviously it has put us in a good frame of mind and we start the tournament on a high, but still it is a new day and a new game.
Did you have a look at the pitch, with the coach Kapil Dev?
Yes, we had a look at the track it is the same old flat Sharjah batting track but I don't think it will be a tournament like in India where there were 300 runs in almost every game. The outfield does not look to be that fast. It will be a good seven days of cricket.
Our track record against Pakistan is particularly bad in Sharjah, can you comment on this?
We have had a poor track record in Sharjah, but I think things can change and there is always a beginning. I hope we begin in this series.
As captain of the team, what will your message be to the boys when you go out on to the field?
Message to my boys will be to go and give your best, to give 100 per cent and we have to win. There is no second choice.
Perhaps it is premature to ask, but do you have gameplan in mind for the match against South Africa?
We've definitely thought of something. We've been playing them for the last five games, so we have a plan in mind, which I think everybody will see on the field!
Thank you, so much for your time and all the best.
Thank you and goodbye! By the time you read this, perhaps we would have already won the inaugural match in the triangular, or even have lost the game. But one thing is for sure, the captain of the Indian team on the eve of the tournament, began on the right mental note.