India would have had barely a day to try and recover from the hammering they received from Sri Lanka which meant that they had lost the second consecutive match of the tri-series. By the time a team settles in a new hotel and new surroundings, they have to play the home team who have been there a couple of days earlier. It is not going to be easy at all and it is here that Duncan Fletcher has to step up and show how good he is.
Since Dhoni is out of the equation with his injury, he cannot be the rallying point for the team and so it will have to be the coach who has to do the pepping up. Virat Kohli is the captain now but it will take him some time to assert his authority. If he can produce the big hundreds that he has been doing in crucial games then automatically that will create the belief in his leadership for the rest of the team.
His style will be totally different from Dhoni’s and that will take getting used to by the team. Dhoni is more laidback and does not show his emotions easily. On the other hand Kohli's feelings can be heard in the next Caribbean island, and that is the style that the team will have to get used to now.
The drubbing by the Lankans was a total one with the bowling and batting looking inadequate and the fielding wilting under the pressure. When Jayawardene gets going the opposition does not know it is being sliced into little pieces, for he is so smooth with his execution, and before one realises it the bleeding is unstoppable. Then the whoppers like Tharanga and Mathews can take over and do pretty much as they please.
Upul Tharanga, for some strange reason, does not find a regular place in the Lanka eleven, and but for the injury to Dilshan may not have played in this tri-series too. Have a look at his record and you will see a player who has got loads of runs and got the team off to a great start.
Sometimes we get so excited by a young talent that we overlook the tried and tested, and that is what seems to have happened to Tharanga as Kusal Perera took his place in the Champions Trophy. But now he is back and Sri Lanka will be hoping he will deliver consistently.
The hosts West Indies showed good temperament as they sneaked a win over India in the first match and that is what India must improve on. They know that the West Indies can be pressured, and sustained pressure can make them crack, what with the expectations of the home crowd being an additional burden.
At this time of the year, the rains are never very far away in Trinidad so there will be the temptation to field first. It is a dicey call, but with a place in the final on the line it is one that Fletcher will have to take.
Professional Management Group