Former Indian wicket-keeper batsman Ajay Ratra has revealed that the former Indian captain Saurav Ganguly and senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid gave a same message to the team in the 2002 Natwest Trophy final against England. Ratra disclosed that the morale of the whole team was down when England had racked up 325 runs in the first innings.
326 was hardly chased back in 2002 and thus the whole team felt a bit low in the innings break. Subsequently, the three senior players in Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar said, “We will play our natural game” and it added a shot in the arm of the whole team.
It was Kaif’s best innings – Ajay Ratra
Ganguly and Sehwag then provided a fine start to the team as they added 106 runs for the opening alliance inside the first 15 overs. However, India veered off the track as they lost five wickets for the next 40 runs and found themselves behind the eighth-ball at 146-5.
Subsequently, both rookie batsmen in Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif added a fine partnership of 121 runs to get back into the contest. Yuvraj scored 69 whereas Kaif smashed an unbeaten 87 to take India to a famous win.
#OnThisDay in 2002, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif put on 121 for the sixth wicket in the NatWest Series final at Lord's to resuscitate India's chase of 326 against England.
India eventually won by two wickets in the final over in one of the great ODIs. pic.twitter.com/UNYSQAZLc6
— ICC (@ICC) July 13, 2019
Meanwhile, Ajay Ratra was not part of the playing XI but he was part of the squad. Ajay Ratra recalled the conversation between Yuvraj and Kaif when the partnership was going strong as he was carrying drinks for the two batsmen. Ajay Ratra recalled the whole incident while rewinding the clock.
“325 in 2002 was a big score and that too in a final at Lord’s, which is England’s stronghold. England were playing very well in that tournament. So the atmosphere inside the dressing room was not that good in the beginning when our innings had started but everybody was positive. Sachin, Rahul, Dada said that we will play our natural game and let’s see where we end up. That lifted us all,” Ajay Ratra said while talking to Hindustan Times.
“I had gone there to give drinks to Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif since I was not playing that game. The conversation was on that grounds that we just need more than a run a ball. All we need to do is stay confident. But the way they played their shots, pulls, over covers, I think it was one of Kaif’s best innings,” Ajay Ratra added.