Indian team beacon of religious tolerance


Melbourne : “I think that the diversity is a special part of our team, and it sends a good message to people in our country. There is no problem, and everybody respects the others’ beliefs,” interim coach Lalchand Rajput was quoted as saying in The Age, Melbourne.

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The Indian cricket team is made up of players from various religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism.

“Everyone is very respectful of each other’s religion. Whether it is Diwali for the Hindus, Eid for the Muslims or Christmas for the Christians, we all make an effort to observe the holy days,” said Rajput.

On Tuesday morning, Christmas Day, the Indians gathered to wish their logistics manager Russell Radhakrishnan, before heading to the home of local doctor Uma Pathy for Christmas lunch, said the paper.

While most of the players in the present team are Hindus, there are three Muslims (Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and Wasim Jaffer), one Sikh (Harbhajan Singh) and one Christian (Russell).


Dhoni, the macho Indian batsman

While describing Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India vice-captain/wicket-keeper, as the “macho” batsman, India’s interim coach Lalchand Rajput has predicted the he will gain a lot of popularity with the Australian public by the end of the tour.

“He is our flamboyant macho man with the bat, and he has become a very crucial member of this side. I am 100 percent sure the Australian public will love him by the end of the series,” said Rajput.

After India’s win at Twenty20 World Cup, Dhoni has reached a status previously attained by only Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in the modern era.

“Dhoni’s image and 20,000-watt smile appear on billboards, magazines and television screens from Kolkata to Kerala, and his name is regularly raised in parliament and film and gossip columns, where he is invariably linked to Bollywood’s brightest bachelorettes,” added Rajput.


Symonds’ plan took Australia to World Cup

Former Australia coach John Buchanan has disclosed that Andrew Symonds’ secret 10-point plan helped the team win the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

“Two years ago, Symonds couldn’t work the 101 message bank function on his mobile phone. It’s hard to believe the same man devised a secret 10-point plan that yielded the Australian one-day side World Cup glory earlier this year,” said the Age Wednesday.

The “Victory 101” lesson was written while Symonds was injured and watching his team crumble to five consecutive defeats in One-Day Internationals (ODI).

“… because of his injury, he couldn’t do that on the training pitch. He came back into the camp after we lost five games in a row and he was very keen to make sure that outcome wasn’t repeated during our World Cup campaign. So he sat down and wrote a 10-point plan on how we were going to avoid that and for Andrew to actually write something was remarkable,” said Buchanan.

“He pulled me aside during the course of a practice game and said: ‘There are some home truths I need to tell you’. So we sat down and he took me through his plan and, actually, it had a lot to do with our success in the tournament.”


A pub chat with Taylor led to Lee’s revival

Australia’s pace spearhead Brett Lee has attributed his growth as a speedster to a pub chat with former captain Mark Taylor.

There have been injuries that sometimes made Lee wonder whether he could be the fast bowler everyone thought he was destined to be. “It was a really tough time,” said Lee, referring to his four for 201 against India in the Sydney Test of 2003-04.

“I was in serious pain with my left ankle and every time I landed it was like a knife going into the back of my ankle. I had tears in my eyes every time I bowled. The last thing you’re worried about is where the ball is going to go,” Lee told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Lee’s revival began after the 2005 Ashes. “Conversations at a Sydney pub with Taylor last year stressed the value of a simple approach and patience. He learnt to set up a batsman rather than blast him out,” wrote the paper.

“I have matured a lot. I have had some great chats with Ricky (Ponting), Steve Waugh, Glenn (McGrath), Shane Watson and my brother (Shane Lee), but the chat with Mark was what got the ball rolling,” Lee said.