Columns - Colonel's Commandment

India look to break 15-year old Asia Cup jinx

By Dilip Vengsarkar
Thursday, June 03, 2021

While it’s been sometime since the World T20, real big cricketing action will return when the Micromax Asia Cup gets underway from June 15 in Sri Lanka. In fact, for India it will be much bigger to prove a point as they haven’t won the Asia Cup for the last 15 years! The last time we won was in Sharjah. Besides, Sri Lanka will be keen to retain the trophy at home and Pakistan are keen to prove that they still a force to reckon after their loss in World T20 semifinals to Australia in a humdinger.

Things haven’t been as smooth for Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co of late and he would surely like to show the world that he is a fighter and a captain of repute. The debacle in the West Indies may have put his role under the scanner but I’m sure that he would be eager to put the record straight and what better way than winning the Micromax Asia Cup, the biggest battle for cricketing supremacy in the sub-continent.

When Dhoni’s troops reassemble for the battle they would look at the ways things have gone and generate ideas to put their act together. I wonder would they be a little superstitious too! The last time, Dhoni emerged victorious in the Emerald Isles in the One-dayers even sans the great Sachin Tendulkar. The ride for now is more challenging and yes they will need every little bit to be at their best.

I remember that in our team of 1983 Prudential Cup they were quite a few players who were superstitious. That Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath would carry a red handkerchief in his back pocket is known to all, we had one more player in Yashpal Sharma whose attention was more on his kit bag than on the field. Yashpal would carefully place his kit bag and leave it open during a match. He would even tell us all to ensure that it should not be closed while he was on the field. Kapil Dev and Sandeep Patil would however play a prank on him and would close the bag off and on. It was fun though surely not for Yashpal but it was in good humour all the same.

Sunil Gavaskar too was a believer in superstition and used to always ensure that he had something new in his armory like a shoe-lace, jersey, a new pair of pads or a bat. In fact on his first tour to the West Indies, I believe, Sunil was shielded from Gary Sobers for whenever Sobers touched Sunil before batting he would score big. Towards the end of the series Sunil evaded him and Sobers failed to score and India won!

As for me, I always tried to defy superstition and never play with the same bat with which I had scored a century. Can’t elaborate why exactly but that’s how it was.

Would the wonder boys of today be behaving in a similar manner in the dressing room? Don’t know for sure but yes superstitious ways are still there. Like, Sachin Tendulkar believes in wearing the left pad first and Zaheer Khan loves to have a cup of tea before he gets bowling. The cool as cucumber captain Dhoni hasn’t been caught with any such fancy but maybe he believes to stay relaxed and smiling before marshalling his resources on the field.

Maybe the Micromax Asia Cup will reveal more of this. However lets all do our little bit for Asia’s biggest battle and bring home the cup.