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'The Indian team is human'

March 19, 2003 15:14 IST
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Sandeep PatilKenya coach Sandeep Patil has proved all those people who called his team a box of candies waiting to be licked wrong.

As he sat down for an interview with Assistant Editor Faisal Shariff in his hotel lobby in Durban, he also refused to speak to the television channel that gave his team the candies box tag.


This must be a surreal phase in your career as coach.

I know how much hard work went in before landing in South Africa. I give credit to the team for what they have achieved.

Twenty years ago you were part of a stunning World Cup win for India. What are your feelings today with  Kenya in the semi-final?

As a player in 1983, the joy was different. I will not forget that day. Luckily, it has happened again 20 years later. I am in a different position and team. I remember the same feelings and am happy about it.

Can you draw a comparison between the two World Cups?

Luck favours the brave. You can't call a team that won the World Cup a lucky team. Likewise, you can't call a team that makes it to the semifinal a lucky team. Luck is very important and we had our share of luck. I want to see how luck will favour us against India.

What did Kapil Dev tell the team before the 1983 final?

I don't remember the exact words. We were on cloud nine. We wanted to go on. He told us to stay positive and enjoy our game.

I have told the Kenyan team the same thing -- to stay positive and enjoy themselves. We are playing good cricket.

You always congratulate Sourav Ganguly after a win. Will you do that if India beats Kenya?

I have done it for so many years. I wish Rahul (Dravid), Sachin (Tendulkar) and Sourav. It is a good practice to wish the team you like and love. The next two days will be difficult because I am a professional and I want to beat them. I know it is not easy, but it is cricket.

Countries like South Africa and England have a support staff, a league structure and thick pay packets and yet they failed to make it to the Super Sixes. How did Kenya do it despite lacking all these facilities?

Cricket is a game of uncertainties. You have to play to win. No team can say they can beat any side in the world. When we arrived Canada was the team we wanted to beat and the other teams were supposed to beat us. When we look at this World Cup we beat Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. I will be happy if people stop talking about how lucky Kenya is to be here and how we are the fluke of this tournament. I feel bad for South Africa, the West Indies, Pakistan and England.

You have to play and say we are here to win.

What does it take to win?

Kenyan team celebrates an Indian wicketTeam work. Not the coach nor the captain nor any individual in the team. 

The support we got from everyone. It has all paid off today. The stage where we reached is because of the effort and our ability to give it our best shot.

Many senior players excelled because they believe this is their last chance to announce to the world that they should take note of Kenya.

You could not create the same results with the Indian team is a complaint one hears often.

I worked for five months with India. Ask someone to work for five months and produce results. I can't say if I work with any team at any level I will produce results and work wonders. It is up to the entire team. My job is restricted to the boundary line. Ultimately, it is the team that goes there and performs. I can take the horse to the water but the horse has to drink the water. Our plan has worked on the field and I am happy about that.

Is there any desire to prove that you could be productive to Indian cricket?

I have a burning desire to give back to Indian cricket. I want to be with Indian cricket at any level. It will be the Indian Board's decision. No one has approached me from the Board. I don't know if they will be happy to have my services.

It is me who is saying I will be happy if they give me an opportunity. I don't know the Indian scene. I have been in touch with (Board president Jagmohan) Dalmiya and I will meet him after the World Cup.

Would you accept the post of Indian coach if it was offered to you?

John Wright is a great guy. He has done wonders for India. Why should you change him? I appreciate his hard work and am happy for him. Why lose John Wright?

Would you take the coach's job if offered?

It is not fair to talk about it now. After the Cup is over I will be happy to contribute to Indian cricket.

You said you were in an unique situation for the semifinal between India and Kenya.

I am in a win-win situation. If Kenya wins, I win. If India wins, I win. It has happened at the right time. I will not carry any regrets. We are happy to be in the semis. It is not the end of the journey. We want to give it our best shot.

The Indian team is human and they will have to beat us. We will wait and watch.

I cannot compare the two teams man to man, but they are different teams. Our approach is different, our thinking is different. India has great results behind them. They can destroy any team. I don't want to say anything before the game that I would want to change afterwards.

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