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As the rain came down, Team India kept themselves in good humour

Devendra Pandey

Posted: Jun 25, 2013 at 1104 hrs IST
      

Mumbai: The six-hour rain induced delay could potentially have been a nervous time for this new-look Indian team, but according to a BCCI official who met the players at Birmingham, the atmosphere was calm and relaxed, punctured only by wisecracks and one-liners, throughout the day of the final.

What South African Gary Kirsten wished he could bottle and sell for a premium and what Micky Arthur would have craved for in his Australian dressing room, was a relaxed team environment and a bunch of confident youngsters, unfazed by the big ocassion ready to take on the world.

While facing off against England, India possessed all these qualities, ensuring that no nerves interfered with their winning of the Champions Trophy title. This, despite, a shadow of the spot-fixing scandal that was supposed to loom over their burdened heads.

In what was expected to be a tense lead-up to the final, in the hours just before the toss, the boys were cracking jokes, the official said. While the official was attempting to give a pep-talk, a player, who had an exceptional Champions Trophy, quipped, “Sir, that’s fine, but how much reward will we get if we win?’ His remark was followed by uproarious laughter.

Brief team meeting

The brief team meeting on Sunday morning wasn’t intense, but a gentle reminder from the skipper MS Dhoni on just how strong they had been throughout the tournament. The team had flown down after IPL-6 and its multiple scandals and Dhoni had been tight-lipped about CSK owner N Srinivasan’s son-in law Gurunath Meiyapan’s arrest.

When rain halted the game for six hours making the Champions Trophy final a 20-20 affair, the players had found cheer in the familiar format. They wanted this win desperately and as one player described it, ‘only a win’ could help them balm over the bad image of the IPL.

When the top BCCI official who is in England for the ICC meeting came to meet players to stress on the importance of a win, most players were confident.

In a casual chat, most of them quizzed him on what would happen to the three cricketers who were booked by the police and what the penalty would be, in order to clean up cricket.

They were also worried about the disaster in Uttarakhand. “We all were focussed but once we met the BCCI official we asked him about the fallout of the IPL scandal and the mood back home. We were aware of the flood in Uttarakhand we wanted to know more about it,” a player said.

As India clinched the close encounter pipping England by five runs, Dhoni, who became only the second captain to hold both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, made sure he handed the Trophy to Shikhar Dhawan. During the victory lap, Dhoni brought up the rear allowing his team to bask in the glory.

Dalmiya call

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel made a call back home to BCCI’s day-to-day in-charge Jagmohan Dalmiya who spoke to the captain.

However, N Srinivasan couldn’t speak to him then, as sources in the Indian team management informed that he had slept off already. The party continued till early Monday morning. However, for Dhoni, the morning wake-up call came in the form of BCCI president N Srnivasan, wishing to congratulate him.

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