Deccan Chargers captain Adam Gilchrist on Wednesday said losing five successive matches freed his teammates’ minds as the defending champions scripted a dramatic turnaround to reach the semi-final of the Indian Premier League.
“After five losses in a row, we knew we could not afford to lose another game. That freed us a lot, from the cloud of uncertainty and we knew what our job was,” said the Chargers skipper ahead of his team’s semi-final clash against Chennai Super Kings at the D Y Patil Stadium here on Thursday.
Australia had a similar predicament in the 1999 World Cup in England when they had to win seven games at a stretch to lift the coveted title which they did in style under Steve Waugh. Gilchrist said that thought did not cross his mind while conceding that there was some similarity.
“I had not really thought of it. There’s a lot of synergy there. Seven games we had to go undefeated (in the World Cup). We won five, had a tie and then won the last one (final against Pakistan). Seven (successive wins) is the number for us this time (to clinch the T20 title),” he remarked.
Talking about Thursday’s semi-final, Gilchrist did not think that having won the two league matches against the Super Kings gave his any advantage.
“We know anything can happen. Chennai is one of the stronger squads in the tournament. You look at their bench strength. We were fortunate to get a couple of positive results against them in the last couple of times, it gives us a nice positive feeling,” the retired Australian wicket-keeper said.
“As for the wins over Chennai, we won those games, otherwise we would not be with the opportunity to play the semi-finals. But tomorrow, there are different conditions and different set ups. We both are none for none at the start of the game and we (Chargers) don’t start 50 runs ahead because we won two games prior to this.
“Obviously we have to watch the game (first) semi-final tonight and get a bit of an understanding how the wicket behaves at short notice,” he said.
Gilchrist was not too concerned about his own indifferent form that has fetched him just one top score of 54 in 14 games.
“I’m not losing sleep about my form. I’m looking at leading the team well and giving the franchise the chance of winning the tournament,” he said.
Gilchrist praised the performance of Indian players in his squad, especially T Suman and Pragyan Ojha, and said he was pleased to be part of their development.
“They have been very impressive. They had contributed in various ways last year and this year. (They have) taken responsibility. Everyone has contributed in some way whether it’s 30 or 20 that was crucial or a bowling spell. (I’m) happy to be part of these players’ development,” Gilchrist said.
He also gave credit to Harmeet Singh for having developed a slower ball and said the variations he has brought into it have foxed rival batsmen.
“He can take all the credit for developing that. (He had) thought a lot about change of pace, taking the pace off the ball, worked on it and started to master it. He has been very accurate with it. It’s his variation I guess that has troubled the batsmen,” Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist, who used a squash ball for getting a firm grip on the bat and scored a match-winning blistering hundred in the 2007 final against Sri Lanka, said he had not used it after his retirement.
“I had not been using a squash ball pretty much since I retired,” he said.
On the Mongoose bat used by his former Australia mate and current Super Kings rival Mathew Hayden, Gilchrist felt there was a place for it in cricket.
“Yeah have talked about it (with Hayden). It’s a unique bat and in focus since Matty started on fire. The focus is gone off the Mongoose a little bit (after Hayden’s form dipped). I’m sure it has got a place in the game,” he said.
Gilchrist did not agree with the view that absence from playing any other competitive cricket, except IPL, has taken some edge from his batting.
“It’s not difficult at all (playing in IPL straightaway). I have no desire to play domestic cricket, I am done with that,” he said.
“I am going to play a few games for Middlesex in winter (Australian). It’s good to play a few games at Lord’s, which is a unique experience. I will be with the MCC, which is such a prestigious cricket club. To be involved with them and Middlesex is something I’m looking forward to. I would be ready to go into next IPL,” he said confidently.