Sydney, March 23: Is the Australian media, which generally goes all-out after the opponents before a high-profile cricket match, has already conceded a defeat ahead of the high-voltage semifinal clash with India?
According to a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazaar Patrika, the Australian media is drawing a parallel between the current Indian side and the side led by Arjuna Ranatunga that had toured Australia in 1995, just months ahead of winning the island nation's maiden World Cup title.
But why this parallel? In both cases, the visitors were beaten decisively in the series leading up to the World Cup but the experience had taught them hard lessons to go on and win the trophy.
Just like the Sri Lankan side that had won the title in 1996, the Indian side led by Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni had failed to win a single match in the tour of Australia ahead of this World Cup but once the mega event started, their performance took a 180-degree turn.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq had said after his team's quarter-final loss to Australia that India will be ahead in the semi-final in Sydney. Recently, former Australian captain Ian Chappell also wrote that Pakistan had exposed Australia's weaker points in the quarter-final and India could benefit from that.
Australian captain Michale Clarke, who refuted Misbah's views about a spinning wicket in Sydney, on Monday asked supporters to cheer his team at the SCG for it looked as if India could outnumber Australia in terms of support at the SCG! The hosts are also a bit perturbed by the nature of the wicket at the SCG, said the ABP report.
The mind war has started between India and Australia ahead of the big clash. The team that can hold itself together for a longer time will win.