SYDNEY: Like a racehorse trained to peak for the big race after months of preparation, India’s cricketers are confident they have timed their run to perfection at the World Cup.
The Indians have already spent four months in Australia with nothing to show for their efforts.
Beaten by Australia in the Border-Gavaskar test series, then by Australia and England in the Tri-Series, India’s hopes of winning the World Cup seemed slim when the tournament started more than a month ago.
However, after seven straight wins, India are starting to resemble the team that won the sport’s greatest spectacle four years ago and on Thursday they will play Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the right to join New Zealand in the final.
“Our mission is to win the World Cup,” said batsman Rohit Sharma. “So when we finished the Tri-Series, I know it was two and a half months then, none of the guys thought about going back.
“We were right there and we just wanted to feel history. Yeah, it’s been tough, but … we have to make the last four months we spent here work by staying in the semi-finals and finals.”
After struggling in their lead-up games, India has bowled out their opposition in each of their seven World Cup matches, as well as piling on the runs with the bat.
“We’re playing some different cricket now,” said Rohit.
“So what happened (before) we never wanted to carry into the World Cup. We always spoke about this. We know how important the World Cup is and to come out and play some good cricket.”
Rohit was dropped from India’s squad for the 2011 World Cup but has been making up for lost time after being promoted to open the batting.
He holds the world record for the highest score in a One Day International (264) and like his team mates, he has found form at just the right time.
Last week he was named man of the match after scoring his first World Cup century in the quarter-finals against Bangladesh.
“We’ve all played big games … so it brings the best out of everyone during those big matches,” he said. “So, yes, we’re looking forward to this and hopefully it will be an exciting contest.”