WC 2003 - World Cup teams wary of the home-grown enemies

Published: Friday, March 7, 2003, 3:54 [IST]
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Cape Town: It could very well boil down to India vs India, Australia vs Australia and New Zealand vs New Zealand in the World Cup Super Sixes.With foreign coaches fast becoming the order of the day in international cricket, the Super Sixes has thrown up some interesting situations where a team will have to counter one of its own plotting its downfall.So when India takes on Kenya on Friday, one of Kapil's Devils Sandeep Patil will be groping for strategies and use all his first-hand knowledge about Indian players to work it to the advantage for the team he has been at the helm of since last five years.And when New Zealand takes on India next week it will face a similar situation. Rapped for its poor performance on its New Zealand tour despite a Kiwi coach to fall back on, India will be keen to give one back to its rivals at the big stage. New Zealand, with no tailor-made conditions to rely on here, will be on its guard against John Wright's boys. Dave Whatmore did it to Australia in the World Cup in 1996. The Australian coach has done wonders for Sri Lanka, harnessing its raw talent to guide it to a World Cup title triumph by beating none other than Australia.On Friday when Australia takes on Sri Lanka, it will sure be wary of Whatmore who knows their weaknesses and strengths inside out. There is another Australian doing the rounds Geoff Marsh donning the mantle of Zimbabwe's coach.But do the coaches suffer from split feelings before a match which requires them to plot against their own flesh and blood? "No," is the vehement reply of Patil echoing the sentiments of all of his brethren. We are all professionals. There are no mixed feelings," Patil said hopeful if a good show against the big boys on Friday.Patil, who has also coached the Indian team before being dumped unceremoniously, has hinted that he was willing to take up a job in the cricket establishment in India. But at the moment his priorities lie solely with Kenya. Wright was placed in an uncomfortable situation when India toured New Zealand recently. However much the Indians tried and Wright improvised, nothing worked in their favour. To make matters worse there was speculation that Wright may be asked to coach the New Zealand till the world cup.World Cup is the stage for cut-throat competition and bloodletting with no mercy for anyone. Undeterred by the defending champions, Whatmore insisted his side was looking forward to clashing with Australia and was confident of "his boys" doing well against their "rivals"."We are mentally tougher. The boys want to do well and keep playing good cricket," Whatmore said adding he would "help them to perform better against the Aussies." With the boundary of nationalities blurred, it will all count down to sheer rivalry and the hunger to do well against the opponents when the Super Sixes get underway on Friday. PTI


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