Team India gets an attitude makeover

The Indian team was never known to be mentally tough or aggressive, but all that seems to be changing.

updated: October 09, 2007 17:18 IST
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The Indian team was never known to be mentally tough or aggressive, but all that seems to be changing.

In fact, in recent times when it comes to Team India, the bat and ball are not the only ones doing the talking.

At heart, they are still boys, but in the tough nonsense world of sledgehammer cricket, Indian cricket's Generation X has learnt the art of stares and glares.

If the T20 World Cup was indication, the Indian team knows how to put on the war paint.

From Munaf Patel to Yuvraj Singh and even the mild-mannered Irfan Pathan - the son of a cleric - proved that pumping fists could do as much as prayers on a cricket field.

But what stood out most was S Sreesanth's ground-pumping celebrations after dismissing Mathew Hayden in the semifinals, which was almost like a war cry.

"It was Australia and they are the world champions, and there was an opportunity given, and it was a great opportunity to test yourself. The Australians really intimidate you with their looks and the way they talk and I thought why not, they may be huge and they stare at your eyes."

"So I thought why not give them a stare back and if they talk why don't you talk back and I think it worked. I can get anyone out. I don't have to get scared just because someone is huge but off the field, no I'll just say, 'Hi what's up?'" said Ssreesanth.

But it was not just the bowlers who took the mantle of being aggressive. The batsmen too were not politely backing off or looking the other way if a bowler tried to browbeat them.

Andrew Flintoff and England got a first hand demonstration of the new Team India, as Yuvraj Singh gave back as good as he got and with a little extra as he unleashed his wrath smashing six sixes off Stuart Broad.

NDTV: In that England game what set you off was that chat with Flintoff that set you off?

Yuvraj Singh: Whenever you have a chat it's always when both teams are competing you want to say a few things to each other.

NDTV: So what did he say?

Yuvraj Singh: I can't say what happened over there. So I got fired up and made me play a good innings. So I was happy about it.

However, this new attitude has led to several discussions with match referees around the world.

Sreesanth, for instance, was docked half his match fee on the recent England tour, and the veterans have already called for caution.

"Aggression is fine. But you have to be careful of the match referee. Performance is all important," said Dilip Vengsarkar, Chairman of Selectors.

But for skipper MS Dhoni, who leads the brave new brat pack, it's all in the game.

If fear was the key earlier, this band of boys epitomizes the freedom from it.

NDTV: We have never seen the Indian team so charged. You were talking back to the Australians, giving attitude to the South Africans?

Robin Uthappa: I think we got to fight fire with fire. And that's going to be the attitude from hereon. You are going to see a very aggressive Indian team from hereon.

Clearly Team India has found a new aggressive streak which they believe will now propel them to greater heights.