Generally, pre-World Cup meetings are long, full of tactics and strategies and some motivational quotes. However, in India’s case it was totally different, as just before Indian eves were leaving for London to take part in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, coach Tushar Arothe marshalled the Indian team to a room and asked just one, to the point question: “Why are we taking this flight?” To which a couple of women replied, “To win the World Cup.”
Following those women, several others repeated the answer dashingly, others nodded enthusiastically. “I heard that, I saw the group and I said the meeting was over. The team had belief and a clear target. There wasn’t much to say,” says the 50-year-old Arothe.
It might be the shortest pre-World Cup team meeting ever. However, that one, to the point question and its answer, is still etched in the mind of the players and the biggest proof of that is, India is just a step away from clinching their maiden Women’s World Cup.
India is going to take on England at sold out Lord’s and despite being the visiting side, the stadium will be filled with Tri colour and chants for Team India will be loud enough to be heard from a vast distance. Also Check: India vs England Women’s World Cup 2017 Final Preview: IND a Step Away From Maiden World Cup Title
While heading back to the hotel, a day after India defeated Australia in the semi-final, the team bus passed by St John’s Wood Road that homes Lord’s. “It was a crazy scene. They all started cheering as we passed Lord’s. The final was two days away but it seems they couldn’t wait to be out there on the ground. A majority of them had never gone inside till that day. These are what dreams are made of,” Arothe told The Sunday Express.
Arothe, an expert of over 100 first-class games and Baroda’s one-time Ranji Trophy run machine, is leading to the biggest assignment of his coaching career and is a step away from accomplishing the mission.
As they say, to achieve something different and extraordinary, you need to think differently. That is exactly what Arothe does, as he left no stone unturned to make sure that Indian eves are confident enough to face any challenge, throughout the tournament. The coach played the role of motivational speaker, a mind reader and what not.
Arothe would even look for speeches of orators that could inspire the team and other than the mandatory masterclass of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Arothe include Martin Luther King and Swami Vivekanand. “These are all small, small things that are very effective. That is what a coach should understand. This can’t be an overnight transformation. I would have one-on-one discussions and talk to small groups,” he says.
Arothe is a keen reader and he occasionally passes books to the small group of readers in the Indian dressing room. Also Check: Women’s World Cup 2017: Harmanpreet Kaur Doubtful Starter For Final Against England?
Some of the books being traded among the girls are the ones written by David Gower and Ian Bothan, and one interesting non-cricketing biography. “I picked up this book on Madonna, it’s about her music and life. That’s also being read with interest. There is one with inspiring short stories, even that has been exchanged a lot.”
These books, the coach says, are to relax. The mainstream lessons are taught by showing the great innings by legends of the game, to the girls. Arothe’s approach is quite practical as he methodically broke down an ODI game for the women. “We used to talk about batting in the first 10 overs, power plays and last four to five overs. I would show them how the greats approached these phases. For bowlers, it was about how to bowl and when, plus the kind of fields to set,” he says.
To stress the point while explaining his method, Arothe drops in an analogy. “Say if you need 120 runs in 15 overs, you should know how to bat during that situation,” he says. So whose video did he show them to make them understand this situation? Arothe gave a chortle. “M S Dhoni during the World Cup final against Lanka. Aur kaun (Who else)? That’s a copy-book of approaching and meeting a target,” he says.
Arothe would also be hoping for a Dhoni-like knock on Sunday, which led Team India to World Cup victory on April 2, 2011, at Wankhede. Also, there isn’t much difference between the two teams, as was the case with Dhoni and Co., Mithali Raj’s women too have shared the burden. “We have had this motto, ‘Individuals win matches, a team effort wins World Cup’,” he says.
His statement and philosophy were on point as India witness six different ‘Player of the match’ winners from eight games, Mithali and Deepti Sharma in line to be highest run-getter and wicket-taker respectively, four centurions, two five-wicket hauls and finally Harmanpreet’s 171, making her the superwoman of the game. Also Check: Arjun Tendulkar Turns Net Bowler For India Ahead of Women’s World Cup Final Clash Against England, Watch Video
Other than praising the girls, 50-year-old Arothe also talked about his dream. “In 1983, we all kept awake late in the night to see Kapil Dev lift the Cup from the Lord’s balcony. I have been to Lord’s but never to that balcony,” he says.
Now, when India is playing the final of Women’s World Cup, Arothe will have the opportunity to live his dreams and sit in the Lord’s balcony and who knows he might witness history being made if Mithali lifts the cup at the end of the match.