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Sunday, January 20, 2008 

Awwww Yes!

The last year or so has actually been pretty good for the Indian test team if you recollect. But somehow each of these victories has had a great sense of occasion and charm. If in South Africa it was the first victory in the country, in West Indies and England it was series win after a huge length of time. But what about this one? Down 0-2 in the series, mauled by issues not within the teams control and feeling hapless and cornered. To come back from there and win is what expresses strength of character. If anyone of you remember the famous dialogue right at the end of the movie Ab tak Chappan, Nana Patekar clearly highlights the difference between Strength and Nuisance Value, if you know what I mean. India at Perth, showed strength not just of character but of skill, for they outplayed their opponents in every part of the game.

India batted well, which will never surprise me against any team as the big four have more than 30,000 runs among themselves. They were expected to. But India outclassed Australia in the bowling department as well. Shaun Tait looked as feeble as Geoffrey Boycott turning in his right arm slow medium in the 79’ world cup final. Johnson was ok in patches. It was really Lee and Clarke who ever had good designs to get a batsmen out. RP Swing and Pathan did what they could do best, Ishant Sharma wasn’t so bad either. And do not forget that India in the field, at least catching, was far better than Australia who looked clumsy and inelegant for slip fielders. Probably the final score line of 72 runs doesn’t well reflect that Australia were outplayed, but I think it was better as it kept Australia interested all the time and gave them a bigger heart break.

The Sydney episode was sad, and I hope it doesn’t happen ever again. But if you have to take some positive out of it, it must have brought the team together. The dressing room will have been warmer and internal conflicts must have been put aside to fight the external pressure. And the man who did a great job of reminding his team that unity doesn’t mean that we go out on strike together and protest against the bad taste of the previous test, but Kumble ensured that the cohesiveness was put to good cricketing use and improving the performance of the team on the field. The respect I have for this man can only multiply. With the dignity and integrity that he has conducted himself off the field and on the field, is something else. I would long to be as respected a man as him than be as successful as Sachin Tendulkar or the Australian team. And what’s more is that Kumble has shown that you can win with those traits and do necessarily have to play the game ‘hard but fair’, oh god that line still splits me into pieces with laughter.

A great win for the Indian team, but I don’t want to give them everything just yet. Another win at Adelaide will be the knockout. And there is a lot of other cricket left in Australia as well. But definitely an outstanding start, lets capitalize and then celebrate. To be honest, I thought of 4-0 after Sydney, I never had the hope of pulling it off, but the way this Indian team has done it, is quite sensational.

By the way here is what I think of the 11 that played in the test match:

  1. Wasim Jaffer: he hasn’t quite hit his straps and has struggled all summer. But it will break my heart to see him go. He is a fine player and elegant, should be given some more chances.
  2. Virender Sehwag: not my initial choice for selection, I would rather have had his opening partner from last tour who was making a hundred against UP in the Ranji finals first innings. What Sehwag did was exactly what was expected, but you cant be sure he will do it again. But those two wickets give him an edge over karthik and sehwag should be an automatic selection for Adelaide. I hope the good work done by karthik is not forgotten quickly and Sehwag is used in Australia as part of a horses for courses approach.
  3. Dravid: good heavens he finally clicked, but he agonised me even more by playing that no.11 stroke after having played beautifully for 93. It was an absolutely uncharacteristic shot for him. Still a great contribution and my no.3 for Adelaide.
  4. Sachin – played very well and survived some tough spells from Lee and Clarke. Dropped a sitter at 1st slip, I initially thought why was Dravid not there since he is the best in the world, but then when he took ponting at 3rd I thought, just as well. Sachin can’t imagine horizontal catches.
  5. Ganguly – you would think that his failure would be a great opportunity to throttle him. But he has been the most consistent of late and one failure is ok. What always bothers me is that he never looks like a part of the team. He stands mostly on the boundry and there he can never be inspirational when a lot of running is involved.
  6. Laxman – absolutely not a lax man him. He should have been the vice captain here for me. Played as well as he does. Caught as well as he does. Needs a lot of work with running between wickets.
  7. Dhoni – impressive, fighter and understands the situation very well. Each of his 38 runs in the second innings was its worth in gold. And his keeping, well he is among the top 3 keepers in world cricket right now. He didn’t let anything go I don’t think so.
  8. Pathan – bowled well with pace, swung the ball from the right length. Inspirational batting performance and deservingly the man of the match. But harbouring thoughts of opening the batting with him in Adelaide will be detrimental. Will be difficult to fit him in for Adelaide, but should get picked somehow
  9. Kumble – great captaincy, great bowling no less, but for that brief hammering from Mitchell Johnson. He has been a great leader and much different form Ganguly who was also successful but synical. Kumble will always lead from the front because he knows the moment his performance drops he will quit the game now.
  10. RP – he is getting better everyday, and his typical bhaiyya like languaze is adorable. Did so well with the bat also and his innings was the final blow without which all the earlier blows would have ended up nowhere. Perhaps should have shared the man of the match with Pathan.
  11. Ishant – one superb spell to a great batsman, should be enough to earn him a place in the team. Early to say much else about him, but looks like he has the intent to do well.
By the looks of things I think for the next test match, bhajji in and Jaffy out will be the verdict. But still India should look do what they did here and nothing else special.


for once i totally agree with ur analysis of the 11 that played the match... including dada :D
tho i think the timing of the declaration of the ODI squad cudnt have been worse...
but yes.. the test match ( all 4 days of it)was something special... and if anil and his men can put it across the aussies in adelaide.. well i wud love to see what once mr ricky has to say then :D

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