Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh remembered how Team India head coach Gary Kirsten’s advice helped them to handle the media pressure during the 2011 World Cup. The Indian team led by MS Dhoni overcame the weight of expectations playing at home to emerge victorious in 2011. And, after 12 years, they are in a similar situation of being one of the favourites entering the 2023 World Cup to be played in India as well.
“Those times (2011) were different. You could get away by not reading newspapers. Now, everything is there on social media. Gary Kirsten had set up a rule and asked us not to read newspapers,” he told India Today.”If you don’t perform well on a particular day, you will see what people will do on social media. I would advise players to stay away from social media. Don’t see your phones for the next two months.”
Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh played a key role in India winning the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 50-over World Cup as well. And, the 2011 World Cup victory remains India’s only ICC title on home soil so far as well where they beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai. On the other hand, former India opener Sunil Gavaskar opined on the ticket pressure on the players in a home World Cup as well. Gavaskar also recalled Sachin Tendulkar always wearing headphones to avoid the outside noise.
“You cannot avoid pressure. When you order room-service, they might ask for tickets. Someone might ask you about a hundred in the next game. Block youself from everything which is not going to be easy. Sachin Tendulkar had headphones on so he could not hear anyone,” he told India Today.”They would all be wishing him but the chatter of a hundred could add to the pressure. It’s not easy to do that in your room but you can block yourself when you go out,” he added.