Having been there and done that in 2011, Gary Kirsten knows a thing or two about the challenges and expectations of a World Cup semi-final. On the eve of another such match, India’s only World Cup-winning coach said the team has the resources to beat New Zealand here at Old Trafford, but someone must be prepared to play “ugly” cricket to see the team home if need be. “Often the knockout games require someone to play ugly to get the team across the line. Someone must be prepared to do that,” Kirsten, who later became the coach of the South African national team, told Mirror yesterday. ‘Playing ugly’ is a famous concept in the world of sport and Brad Gilbert, a former ATP Tour regular and also a former coach of Andre Agassi, had famously popularised the idea by naming his biography ‘Winning Ugly’ in which he explained how one can win ‘without necessarily even changing their strokes.’ “The key to success is to become a better thinking player — to recognize, analyze and capitalize. That means outthinking your opponents before, during and much after a match,” the American had said. Kirsten did not dwell so deep into the concept, but he nevertheless elaborated on the point of winning ugly. “Be prepared to play an innings which might require really hard work,” the former South Africa opener said. Instantly, an ‘ugly’ knock that comes to one’s mind is Rohit Sharma’s century against South Africa in Southampton where he had to curb his natural instinct for the team’s cause. At least one Indian legend called that effort ugly but much-needed, and Kohli had no hesitation in saying it was the opener’s best century ever. Advantage India? Analysing the teams, Kirsten felt New Zealand have made the best use of their resources, but India can still win the game. Besides, according to Kirsten, Kane Williamson’s team doesn’t have the pressure of expectations that the Indians have. “New Zealand have been organised and they get the best out their resources. They have less expectations on them than India which makes them dangerous. (But) India have played a brand of cricket throughout the World Cup which suggests other teams have to play at their best to beat them. There are no guarantees in knockout games, but India look to have all their bases covered. They have many players who can produce match-winning performances,” he pointed out. Kirsten admitted that in MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, India have the experience that the team can make best use of. Both Dhoni and Kohli were part of the 2011 World Cup-winning side, with the former leading the team. “Both of them are experienced players in big games. I’m sure the rest of the team will feed off their energy and composure,” Kirsten analysed, and revealed that the Indian team’s support staff did not have to do anything different to motivate the players ahead of the high-voltage semi-final against Pakistan back in 2011. “We did not have to say much, the team was ready and motivated to play, after all, it was the World Cup semi-final.” Kirsten pointed out that India should keep backing their skills and gameplan as things may not always stay in one’s control. “You back your skills and gameplan, there are many things one can’t control in a cricket match,” he explained, adding that he would love to see skipper Kohli slam a century while chasing. “I would love to see him get a match-winning hundred chasing a total. That’s what he has become known for,” Kirsten signed off. Both of them (Dhoni & Kohli) are experienced players in big games. I’m sure the rest of the team will feed off their energy and composure