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Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Ind vs Pak – Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 – I would have smiled even if we had lost

This explains what an ICC mixed media zone is. After the official press conference, the teams will make available two players, each of whom will be about three minutes apart to talk alternately with written media and visual media. After they are done, they switch to the other media. Not much comes out of so little time and so many reporters, but it’s a more relaxed sitting.

While some of us were talking to Arshdeep Singh, we saw that Hardik Pandya was a darbar with the visual media. He sat down on the floor while all the reporters did the same. He laughed, joked and ignored the instruction of the Indian team’s media official to end the interaction.

It was to be expected after the kind of match India had won against Pakistan, but he said something in the written media interaction that pricked my ear. In the midst of what sounded like self-help mumbo jumbo – and I’m not denying he doesn’t believe in it or it doesn’t help – he said he was over the fear of failure.

I thought, “Really? What if you lost today?”

“I said so,” Hardik said. “Even with three balls left, I said to the boys, ‘Even if we lose the game, it’s okay.’ I said I am proud of the way we fought in the game We are a team that worked very hard individually, together and collectively so even if we lost the game I would still have a smile on my face and would have just said we gave it our all, and they were just fine that day.

“Somewhere along the line I have accepted the fact that this sport will give me ups and downs. The more ups I have the better, but even the downs I will cherish, because failure teaches you many things.”

It says a lot about the team’s mood when two of the batters can put all the eggs in their own basket like Virat Kohli and Hardik did and still be philosophical about the result. In the end it came down to two freak shots, as Kohli said, to keep India alive and then a no-ball, two walks and three byes from the wicket over in the final.

During the collaboration, especially when the asking price started to spiral out of control, Kohli said Hardik kept repeating, “Believe. Believe.’ Hardik was asked to elaborate.

“This quote is about believing in yourself and your abilities,” Hardik said. “There are so many distractions: the opposition, the pressure, the fear of failure, everything. If we didn’t believe in ourselves, I don’t think what we did would have been possible.

“For me it was very important that even if we have a hard time it’s okay. We have to believe that we’re going to hit the next ball. That’s all I said to Virat: we’re going to do it no matter how ugly we look “It’s good. But we’ll do it, and I think it continued. That’s why we were able to build a partnership even when we were struggling. We don’t think this was a smooth innings, but it was very important for us to fight it out and get the result we were looking for.”

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