Chapter 2:

Champion's way (part2)

Hit wicket


Hearing that everyone turn their heads in the direction from where they heard the voice and found it surprising that it was their own captain who had said that. After hearing those words, the coach quickly turns his head towards kamal realizing that it was he who had said that. The coach feels little relieved, he looks at kamal with a suppressed smile on his face. Seeing the coach smile, kamal grins at him. Everyone else couldn't tell whether Kamal was serious or not, whereas the coach had a feeling that he really meant it.


#coach: you... really believe that you can do that?!


#kamal: (looks at the coach like it was obvious) Yeah!!


The whole team stares at him curiously, they were totally amazed at his confidence levels, but at the same time his attitude made them feel little worried. Unable to stand his own curiousity mandeep steps forward and talks to Kamal.


#mandeep: How can you be so confident,... aren't you even a little bit worried?


Kamal : (frowns) worried?..... why...Why would I be worried?


Everyone were totally amazed to see thatthere wasn't even a shred of anxiety on hisface, Mandeep (Mandeep singh) gives him an incredulous look.

#Mandeep: I don't get it,.... I mean It's west Indies that we are playing against,..... don't you remember, even the rest of the power house teams struggled to put up a good fight against them, then how can you be so confident that we will win? don't you feel atleast a little bit tensed? (Speaks with a worried expression on his face)


#kamal: (frowns at him) Tensed ?...why?.... what's there to be tensed about? 
Everyone stares at him with totally surprised expressions on their faces, they didn't know what to say anymore.


#kamal: (speaks calmly) why should I feel tensed.... When I know that we're gonna win, anyway.


Jimmy knew that he was going to say that,everyone else were left bewildered by his reply.


#Balwinder: How can you be so sure?


#kamal: well... I can't think of any reason for us to lose (speaks little impatiently)


Most of his teammates seemed taken aback due to his tone, seeing them getting dull due to his words, he feels sorry for them.


#kamal: (calms himeslf) I don't understand why you guys are feeling are this anxious.


Jimmy immediately steps up and replies to him.


 #Jimmy: Because it is the current defending champions that we are facing, they are not some ordinary team. after hearing him kamal looks at everyone, after observing their face expressions, he understood that they were a lot more discouraged, than he thought.


#Kamal: (sighs)... Come on guys, there is no need for you to get this worked up,..... Don't you remember we have already beat them once in this same tournament.


Everyone looks at him with puzzled expressions on their faces.


#kamal: what?...Don't you guys remember our first match?..... Don't you remember that it was against these same guys?


suddenly It dawns on everyone. They remember their 1st match against the so called defending champions. Remembering about that match made everyone feel a little confident, especially the bowlers feel a little hopeful after remembering how their bowling had worked against these west Indians, whom they considered so dangerous. But that alone was not enough to completely boost their confidence.


#Jimmy: yeah!.....But...that was a league match, also most of us feel that that was a fluke, cuz if it was not a fluke, we would have won against them the second time we faced them.
hearing his words the whole team feels discouraged again, they were back at square one...Seeing his efforts, to motivate the team, go in vain, kamal shoots a furious glare at Jimmy.


Realising his mistake, Jimmy avoids eye contact with Kamal. He then turns again towards the team.


#kamal: look guys, we may have lost a few matches on our way here, but the first match that we played against these same so called gaints and when we defeated them by a huge margin, that's when i realised that, this team is meant for something more than just participating in the world cup. At that very moment, I completely felt certain that even if we don't win this tournment, we have the potential to leave a everlasting impression on everyone's minds........Trust me......, Back then our winning against the world champions, West Indies, wasn't some random fluke......and we don't need some dumb thing known as luck, for us to win a match.


Everyone looks at him enthusiastically, kamal notices that, one last push was enough to get them going.


#Mandeep: (asks hesitantly) Do you really believe that we can still put up a good fight against those giants in the upcoming innings.


#Kamal: (showing of lot of determination in his eyes, he speaks as if it is obvious) yeah...!! Ofcourse!!......what else do you think I was trying to say all this time?..... I'm not saying this on just some whim... Ok?....... This is the opinion that I've reached after seeing you guys throughout the tournment,....... You know?... in a lot of matches, there were many instances where I felt that our team was clearly on the verge of losing the match, then at that time when no-one, not even me, was expecting any great plays from our side, one of us would pull off some of the craziest plays, that I've never seen before, which would turn the whole match into our favour........ and at the end, those plays from a particular player amongst us would leave everyone, including the players of both the teams, literally dumbfounded. Saying that Kamal looks at everyone,.... suddenly his eyes land on Jimmy, he stares at him for few seconds and then turns towards everyone and starts to talk again.


#kamal: I mean, don't you guys remember?...like in our semi-final match against england, how Jimmy had outfoxed their most skilled middle order batsmen and took their wickets. I mean, during the whole innings, their's was the only partnership that made me worried, but right after their dismissals, things pretty quickly started to turn into our favour, as the rest of the line up collapsed pretty easily and were bowled out for a low scoring total..... I think that even I couldn't have done that. Infact, Without him we couldn't have win that match and come to the finals...


Jimmy feels little embarrassed as kamal was speaking highly about him infront of everyone.
Kamal again Silently stares at everyone, after few moments his eyes gets fixated on someone else amongst his teammates, and after few moments of staring, he again turns towards everyone and speaks to them.


#kamal: ..... and in the match against Australia, who were the guys, who totally demolished their batting line up and led us to a complete comfortable victory?Everyone Immediately knew, whom he was talking about. they turn their and look at stuart Binny and mandeep singh (Both of them were standing near each other). Both of them feel little uneasy, with everyone staring at them.


#kamal: That's right! It was them (Points his finger at both binny and madan) who completely smothered their batting line up. Their top order didn't stand any chance against Binny's extraordinary bowling spell and their middle order batsmen were completely cleaned up by Madan's relentless attack, which left them helpless.


Saying that he looks at everyone with a bold expression on his face.


 #kamal: there are so many more of such instances, where many of you have outdone yourselves and showed it to everyone that the Indians are no less to others........(speaks with a suppresed smile on his face) When I've such an amazing team backing me up, what's there to worry about?!


saying that he looks at the whole team, and keeps on staring at them for few moments, with lot of confidence. Everyone could clearly feel his seriousness, looking at him, out of nowhere, suddenly they felt that as long as kamal had their backs and led them from the front, they could achieve anything.


Noticing that the whole atmosphere in dressing room had changed as everyone appeared to be really fired up, the coach didn't see the need of his pep talk anymore. With an impressed smile on his face, he looks at kamal and speaks to him.


#coach: well! If that's how you really feel, then there is nothing else more for me to say, except to wish you good luck. (Speaks with a bright grin on his face)


Kamal smiles back at him.


# Coach; well! let's get going then, we're gettinglate for the match.


#kamal: Right! (speaks enthusiastically)
Saying that he looks at his teammates.
#kamal: alright guys!... This is it!, Let's play our best and make this innings count....,(Noticing that some of his teammates were still feeling little nervous, he adds on).... Just remember one thing, no matter what anyone says,......No matter what,.....Just Ignore them and believe in yourselves until the end of the game. At this point of time different guys may say different things about us, they may say, we don't even deserve to play the finals or us playing the finals is just a fluke and all other kinds of stuff...., but as I said, just ignore all of them, let them say whatever they want,......... but just remember this, at the end of the match,.. no-one must be able to say we didn't even put up a fight, that's all.


Hearing him, gets everyone feeling little better, now they felt that they can atleast try to take on the giants.


Looking that their morale had raised considerably, kamal speaks to them, with a grin on his face.


#kamal: alright!... Let's Go and get this done.
Saying that he leads everyone out of the dressing room towards the stairway, in the common hall, most of his teammates follow him feeling totally fired up, with only a few amongst them still feeling little nervous and doubtful...... Just as kamal was about to exit the dressing room, the coach calls out to him. 


#coach: Kamal!....


Kamal turns around and looks at him.


#coach: one second (gestures him to come near), i wanna talk to you.

#kamal: ok...

He then turns and looks for Jimmy,.....and finds him walking out of the dressing room, with the others.


#kamal: Jimmy!!(Calls out to him)..
Jimmy slowly turns and looks at him, with an uninspired look on his face.


#kamal: Take the team and go to the ground and wait near the boundary line, I will be there in a minute.


Saying that kamal turns and jogs towardsthe coach, with a confused looking Jimmy watching his back. After few moments of staring at kamal (who was talking to the coach) Jimmy sighs and turns and exits the dressing room with a lot of unrest in his mind.


Immersed in his thoughts, he jogs acrossthe corridor and through the common hallto catch up with the rest of the team, who were slowly climbing down the stairs. As he reaches near them, he slows down and starts walking with them. The whole team climbs down the stairway and enter the ground floor, with the officials working in that stadium, watching them with different kinds of emotions. Ignoring their looks, the team walks out of the pavilion and enter the ground.


Until then the only thing that was running in their minds was the strategies on how to outplay the opponent team and other small individual tactical stuff,... nobody was aware about what was awaiting them as they entered the ground.


As soon as the team enters the ground the whole crowd bursts into a loud roar,Everyone in the team gets taken by surpriseby their sudden roar. The whole team turnsand looks at the crowd in the stands, suddenly everyone in the team feels as if the crowd was much more bigger than before.


#Kripan: (giggles nervously, as he looks at the crowd) woah! that's a really big crowd,.... didn't notice that it was this big before.


Upon observing closely the team realizesthat not everyone of the shouts from the crowd was intended as a cheer, infact they could hear a whole lot of Jeers,..... much more compared to the cheers. Even though they were mentally set on Ignoring any kind of distraction, the sudden roar from the crowd, and the sheer number of audience, catches them off guard, they look at he crowd with a surprised expression on their faces. After few moments of staring at the crowd, Jimmy gets a feeling that the team's morale was dropping again. Not knowing what to do, he looks in the direction of the pavillion entrance, for kamal. With each and every minute of waiting for him, Jimmy grows impatient. He then turns and looks at the team. After few minutes of looking at everyone's faces, he realises that most of them weren't actually feeling nervous, rather they were looking at the crowd in a challenging way, but he could also tell that a few of them were feeling little nervous. He was feeling pretty amazed at the guts of those who were showing unwavering determination, he felt that it was mostly because of their captain's speech. But he was also worried about the few giys who were feeling little nervous. As he was lost deep in his thoughts, kamal comes out of the pavillion, with a smile on his face, and after spotting the team, he Immediately Jogs towards them. 


#kamal: (speaks to them as he reaches near them) Alright guys this is it, this is where we put all our efforts, and win this match.


Right after they hear what he says, the ones who were feeling enthusiastic before, look at him and nod in a determined manner, while the ones who were feeling nervous, look at him worriedly.Noticing that everyone in the team were not feeling the same way, kamal speaks to them again.


#Kamal: So, you guys ready?..... (Asks them enthusiastically and then looks silently at them, expecting them to reply)


Everyone shout out in unison.
#everyone: Yeah!!!!


Kamal looks at the guys whose voices were not as loud as others, for few seconds and then turns his gaze at everyone, and speaks.
#kamal: while you are playing, just remember this,.. no matter what anyone says, I think we have done a great job in getting here, during this innings whenever you feel inferior to those giants, or whenever you doubt yourselves, just think about all you have done and achieved in this tournment and all the sweat you have shed to get here...... 


Everyone looks at him with inspired expressions on their faces.


#Kamal: Just remember this, no-one is more worthier than us in being here.


Everyone nods in agreement.
#Kamal: trust me, our natural game is more than enough, for us to win......... and if winning and losing distracts you so much that it is spoiling your game then..... You just forget about it and just concentrate on giving your best on the field,.......so that....you aren't left with any regrets later.


After few minutes of staring at them, kamal notices that everyone seemed to be convinced with what he said, everyone looks at him with a lot of determination in their eyes.


#kamal: (speaks with a smile on his face) Alright, then!...... Now, as for the plan of this innings.....


Hearing those words from their skipper, everyone lean in to listen more carefully........
Meanwhile the 2 west indian openers ( Mark haynes, steve greenidge) were waiting for their opponents on the pitch. Steve was observing the pitch that they were about to play on. He notices that ,as the clouds had cleared out little bit and the sun was almost out, the pitch was more dry than before. 


#Steve: (lets out a chuckle) this is gonna be too easy...


#Mark: ( responds absentmindedly) hmm....
Looking at his face, steve notices that he was looking a little serious than his usual self. Feeling little curious steve knudges mark with one of his gloves. Mark immediately comes out of his deep thoughts, by getting little startled, and looks at steve.


#Mark: huh?!


#steve: what's up man?, Why are you, all serious, like that? Mark stares at him, for few moments, with a surprised look on his face.
#Mark: Nothing..... It's Nothing....., I was just thinking about Eric's words to our skip...., His words just keep ringing in my ears...
Steve stares at him thoughtfully for few moments and then he too remembers Eric's words to their captain......


"Few minutes back, Inside the west Indies dressing Room"Eric enters the dressing room, with the champagne bottles in his hands. Walking into the room and looking at his teammates, he could clearly sense that everyone were pretty chilled out. There wasn't any kind of tension or seriousness in the room, everyone were totally relaxed , as if the match was over. Eric looks at them worriedly. From the opposite end of the dressing room, the captain of the west indian, chris lloyd, comes out of the wash room. The champagne bottles immediately catches his eye. Seeing those he immediately strides towards eric with a delightful smile on his face.


#lloyd: Oh great!! you've brought them.
 Saying that he quickly takes one of the bottles into his hands.


#lloyd: Ahhh!! (Exclaims ecstatically)... Aren't they gorgeous?!...(saying that he gently rubs it against his cheeks)


Eric looks at him with a worried face.After few moments of fawning the bottle, lloyd notices the worried look of Eric.


#lloyd: what's up?! Why do u look so tense?


#Eric: Huh?!(Gets little startled)....Nothing...
Lloyd intently stares at him. Feeling that he can't hide anything from the skipper, Eric decides to pass on Kamal's warning to the whole team. He starts narrating the whole conversation that took place between them. By the time Eric had finished telling everything to lloyd, everyone in the dressing room had gathered around both of them, curiously listening to what Eric was saying. After eric finishes speaking, he notices that the captain and the all of his teammates were seriously staring at him. No-one spoke anything for few moments, eric stares back at his captain with a worried expression on his face, he was having mixed thoughts on whether he did the right thing, in telling about his conversation with kamal, to lloyd and the rest of the team. But the reaction which came later, took him by surprise...After hearing Kamal's Warning, from eric, lloyd remains silent for few moments, later he suddenly let's out short snort and then bursts into laughter. Seeing him even the rest of the team bursts into laughter. Eric stares at everyone with a confused expression on his face.


#lloyd: (tries to talk while trying to control his laughter)H...He... said what, now?!


#Eric: aa..(looks at him in total confusion).... Th...That.... 


#Marshall: that, it's better if we don't let the current score go to our heads. The tables can still be turned around  


Eric turns in the direction from where he heard the voice. It was tom Marshall (one of the top world's fastest bowlers). He slowly directs his serious glare towards eric.


#Marshall: something like that, right?


Before eric could say anything, he hears a chuckle (from the same direction as before). He turns and looks at lloyd. 


#lloyd: (speaks, while forcefully stopping his laughter) you're kidding, right?! 
Feeling little awkward, Eric answers him by nodding hesitantly. Lloyd looks at him feeling little surprised. Eric avoids eye contact with everyone, by looking down on the floor, not knowing what to say. After few minutes of silence, he hears a voice from one of the corners of the dressing room.


# anonymous voice: huh! Now that's really bold of him....  


Everyone looks in the direction where the voice had come from, it was one of the most prominent players in their team, Bob Richards, he was leaning on his locker with folded hands and was casually looking at everyone.
#bob: I knew that he was different from other average cricketers, but never expected him to be so cocky.


#Marshall: (speaks with an arrogant smile on his face) They must be thinking that, Just because they beat us once in the league stage by luck, they can beat us again.


#Lloyd: (looks at Marshall and speaks casually) Well! then, I think it's our job to beat them and show them the reality.


Hearing this, everyone started feeling a lot more determined, about winning the ongoing match, than before. In just few moments, Eric feels a sudden change in the atmosphere. Just looking at everyone's faces, he could tell that most of them were not thinking about just winning the match anymore.After few seconds, one of the most tallest players among the west Indians, Bill Garner steps ahead and tries to speak on everyone's behalf.


#Bill: (let's out a sarcastic chuckle and speaks with a proud look on his face) The fact that they're playing in the finals, must've totally gone to their heads. (He turns his glare towards Lloyd and speaks to him). We should totally crush them and make them realise the difference between us and them.


Lloyd looks back at him with a bright grin on his face.


#Lloyd: That's right!!


He then looks at everyone and speaks to them.


#Lloyd: alright guys! I guess our objective is crystal clear now. Until now, I didn't care even a little bit, in our matches against all the other teams, about how the score on the scoreboard would turn out to be. But now the situation is different,..... Our opponent is not just challenging us, but rather they're warning us.... I mean look at their guts (let's out a small chuckle out of disbelief), so to show them that winning an international tournament is not everyone's cup of tea, we should totally crush them in this match. Right from the start of the match we will attack very aggresively and before they can realise what is going on, we must finish this match. I want this match to be a clean sweep.(He stares at everyone with a serious look on his face, for few seconds, and then speaks in a stern and loud voice) IS THAT CLEAR?!!


#Everyone : (shout unanimously) YEAH!!!
Dissatisfied by their shouts, Lloyd shouts out again.


#Lloyd : I Said, ISS... THAT... CLEAR?!!


#Everyone: ( roar unanimously) YEEEAAAH!!!!!!


# Lloyd: Good!!


He then turns his gaze towards the coach, who knods his head, looking at him. Lloyd then turns towards the team again and looks at them thoughtfully for few moments. 
Due to the little outburst from before, everyone's morale was pretty high, except for 2 players, eric and mark. Both of them were looking at the rest of the team with worried looks on their faces.


#Lloyd: Alright! then, Here is the plan for this innings.


Everyone gives attention to him.


#Lloyd: Just like our bowling, even our batting is also going to be aggressive, we're gonna start attacking right from the first ball. As far as I know their bowling is not good enough to defend a low scoring total such as this, so all we are gonna do is attack.... and remember this, I won't tolerate any fall of wickets, it's an easy target and we have what it takes to win this match easily, there is no way second grade players like our opponents can outplay us. So put your everything into your batting and crush them totally, so that they realize that them being in the finals is just some dumb luck...... (Looks at everyone with intense determination in his eyes)... CLEAR?!(Shouts, while particularly looking at his 2 openers).


#Everyone: (unanimously) YEAH!!! 


Everyone of them shouts at top of their lungs, with both mark and eric looking worriedly at everyone. They had a feeling that something was not right.

#Lloyd : good! ...now let's get this done with, quickly.


"Back on the pitch"

After few minutes of thinking about what their skipper said, steve couldn't understand what was mark worrying about. He looks at mark, who was contemplating something with a worried look on his face. Feeling little concerned about him, Steve gives him a nudge. Mark slowly turns towards him maintaining the worried expression on his face.

#Steve: what's wrong in what capsy said?........Don't tell me that you're feeling nervous, because of that.Mark looks at him with a blank face.


#Mark: it's just that I feel like we're underestimating these guys too much. I mean they did beat us once, didn't they?


#Steve: Come on! That was just dumb luck. 


#Mark: (looks at him in a questioning way) Is it, though?! 


Steve looks at him seriously 
#Mark:(speaks with an irritated voice) look, this is the finals of the worldcup, and no-one can reach the finals by winning every important match just on some luck, can they?!


Steve gives no reply to him, but from his face expression it was clear that he was not ready to agree with Mark.


#Mark: (tries to convice him) I mean, what are the odds of them winning against england,...australia,.. and us?........ Nobody expected them to win against anyone of us, right? and yet here they are, playing finals against us.


#Steve : (frowns a little more) I'm not getting what you are trying to say?


#Mark: (lets out a gentle sigh) I think that we should play this innings carefully, we shouldn't get overconfident and play so aggressively and recklessly that we end up losing the match.
Saying that he looks expectantly towards Steve.
Steve looks back at him with a frown on his face. Realising that he was not ready to agree with him, Mark speaks to him again, with a worried look on his face.


#Mark: Look It's okay to be confident and optimistic, but it's better if you don't let your guard down, cuz I think it's gonna hurt us really bad, if they somehow gain momentum and somehow turn this match around..... so it's better for us, if we play defensively at first,...... only until we get the hang of their bowling pattern and current condition of the pitch.... and then take the charge and attack.


Steve looks away from him, impatiently. Watching him not agreeing with his plan, Mark again tries to convince him, while speaking impatiently.  


#Mark: we have to do this only for few overs.

#Steve: pfft....! (shaking his head in disagreement and disbelief, he turns his back to Mark and walks towards the striker's end, while tapping the pitch, in diferent places with the toe of his bat, checking the condition of the pitch absentmindedly)


At the same time the whole crowd in the stands burst into loud roars, as the Indian team enters the field.


#Mark:(impatiently shouts out to steve) Fine! Ignore me, but lemme tell you this, you're gonna regret it later.


Steve: (shouts out of Irritation) Oh yeah?!, Well, I'm gonna ignore you anyway, ...... you know what?....... Why don't you do the thing that you think is right, and I'll do what I feel is right, let's see who is gonna regret it later...


And without anymore further ado, he marks his guard position, on the crease,with help of the umpire opposite to him, and waits for his opponents to set their field and start bowling, while avoiding any kind of eye contact with his partner.


After a few moments of waiting, Steve feels little surprised that Kamal himself was the one who was about to start the Indian bowling attack. Looking at Kamal, Steve could tell that he was radiating with a lot of confidence, Steve could tell that just by looking at his face. As he continues to look at kamal, suddenly kamal turns his gaze and their eyes meet each other, Kamal looks at him with a blank expression just for few moments and then suddenly gives him a casual smile,..... He then turns his gaze to different parts of the ground, to check the field setting for the last time and then gets ready at the starting position of his run-up and waits for the umpire to give the play signal. Not understanding why kamal had smiled at him, Steve ignores him and takes his batting stance and waits for the umpire's signal.


Meanwhile, in the deep midwicket region, near the boundary line, Jimmy was standing, waiting for the match to begin. As he waits for the start of the match, his gaze anxiously lingers on his captain as he couldn't find any logical reason behind the calmful face of his captain. The plan he had told them, a few minutes before, seemed to be too simple to Jimmy. He feared that kamal was taking the whole thing too lightly, and also, he feared that Kamal's attitude was affecting everyone's mindset. Even though Kamal's words to the whole team kept on ringing in his ears, he couldn't shake off his uneasy feeling. Feeling helpless, Jimmy stares anxiously at the pitch and the players near it......and watches his captain start his run-up just as the umpire, at the non-strikers end, gives the play signal.....

Hit wicket


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