Related Link : Sri Lanka in India
Its taken two months for India to resurge as a formidable force in international cricket. These two months have seen moments of potential and promise, translating itself into performance. What is really interesting to note is that the winning habit has not dried down, but is soon rubbing onto the other form of the game too and today’s win is a clear highlight of the very fact. The new combine of Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid has been successful in developing a unit that has the ability and the potential to play both forms of the game and also take on roles and responsibility assigned to them.
The fact that was very interesting and encouraging to see as a fan and as an analyst of Indian cricket, was the sense of purpose that the 11 men walked out into the ground with. Perhaps, past teams from India have known to be the ones that prefer going through the motions and try and react to situations rather be proactive enough to create situations of strength. But, with a change in approach and a change in mindset, what we are seeing is a side with shades of ‘Australianism’ or in simpler words – dominate and be ruthless. Character wise, the team deserves full marks, simply because even when they looked a bit dry as far as the wickets were concerned, the bowlers continued to peg away and persevere and create chances, rather than wait for the sun to set and the batter making mistakes. Another fine aspect that one sees in this team is the amount of flexibility of talent available. This very flexibility is thanks to the forward thinking attitude of the coach and the team management and the great amount of faith shown in players like Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Ajit Agarkar etc. Many critics would read into Irfan Pathan’s promotion to open the innings as yet another “experimentation” tactic, but to be fair to Chappell, it was a clear ploy and strategy to upset the Lankan line of thinking and venture into unconventional methods that could well put your side on top at the end of it all. So, with clearly one eye on the future, Chappell and Co have shown that they are ready to delegate responsibilities to players, and to Pathan’s credit, he has not let anyone down – except maybe himself, with regard to the missed century.
It is really good to see the team performing as well as it is now. After days of dejection, the moments of delight are slowly coming back. But, the problem that has plagued Indian cricket ever since times immemorial is consistency or the lack of it. The outlook of this team has been different, but can Greg Chappell and Co usher an era in Indian cricket, where consistency rules the roost ? Maybe, we are just getting to see glimpses of the C-factor coming into our game. Or maybe I am being too early to judge it, but for the record, India has been unbeaten at home this season – thus far. Right from the first ODI at Nagpur against Sri Lanka, to the last wicket taken at the Kotla, the Indians have looked like a side, that have been striving to hit their mark and improve every time they take the field. Maybe, these short-term factors will lead to the larger issue of consistency. It will be really interesting to see if they can maintain this intensity and hunger when they take on better oppositions like Pakistan (next month) and England (in February).
The Not-So-Good aspect is the fact that 79 runs were not exactly the amount the team management was expecting from Ganguly, which eventually triggered his downfall and omission from the Test team for the third test. A word of praise for Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer, who has managed to fight his way back into the Test team. A man with immense talent and ability, Wasimbhai has been scoring heavily in the domestic games, and is rightly rewarded for his efforts. His 267 against Delhi for Mumbai in the Ranji opener was a strong enough indicator for his candidature, and it will be good to watch him bat against the Lankans at Motera. The world has a place for conspiracy theorists after all. For we have been getting reports about his selection as “a Pawarful” blow to a replacement from the East Zone (Ganguly).
For the Indians, it’s time to forge ahead in their quest of excellence. After such a brilliant performance at Delhi, with expectations soaring large, it will be interesting to see how they turn up at Ahmedabad. Of course, as usual, they should leave complacency behind at the airport, as it has cost them matches in many, most recent being the last test match at Bangalore against Pakistan earlier this year. But, with people like Dravid and Chappell at the helm, what one can expect is an effort and an aim to improve from being better to being the best !