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Did India prove to be No. 1?

January 6, 2011

Indian team backed up opinion of every Indian fan to be No.1. Still few critics may doubt them to be undisputed No. 1, but the display of mental toughness and gusty performances to level the lively series 1-1 should convince them, India deserves to be No. 1. This series showed how great test match contest can be, if played between quality opponents. As predicted every session and every phase of match was a deciding factor. Cricket lover love such contest and was proved by amazing crowd in all the test matches in this series.

To be on top in the test match is not easy, specially playing in foreign condition and hostile environment. Apart from the skill & talent, it requires great preparation, 100% efforts when you step on the field, mental toughness and strong character. Skill & talent is a Gift (God gifted), but its our Choice which decides how you utilize the gift.Choosing not to be hardworking, respectful and a team player is a wastage of this Gift. Kudos to coaching staff for making every team member understand the importance of these choices and this is a key to success of every team.

Being down in game 1 and coming back so strong in remaining 2 games showed the self belief and confidence of this team. Many reasons can be pointed out for loss in first test e.g. less time to adapt foreign conditions, lack of practice match, losing the toss, absence of Zaheer, etc… But can’t deny the dominance of South Africa over mentally unprepared opponent. This loss brought best of Indian efforts in remaining matches. They showed how strong they are mentally and how weak they can make their opponent in their own backyard. Perfect favorable conditions for the hosts, but the fearless Zaheer & relentless Laxman tasted South Africa the bitterness of loss. This also silenced the critics and made them accept the fact that this is not the same old Indian team who use to surrender to adverse hostile foreign condition. They showed they can win anywhere and in any conditions. Series poised with 1-1 and a deciding test to follow, some favoring India and some South Africa but pressure was definitely back on hosts. India succeeded to keep that pressure all long the 1st inning until Kallis showed how great he can operate in front of his home crowd under pressure. South Africa managed to maintain the game and series poised by restricting India to equal their 1st inning score. First time witnessed, a fiery cannonball with 90mi/hr can be made dance on a music. Steyn’s spell can be ranked top in all time best, who was moving this fast ball in air, leaving his hands from over the wicket and swinging it to leg stump and after pitching on leg, cut it almost a feet to miss off stump. Again, Sachin showed why he is “The Best” in the world, facing most of these swinging fast deliveries from Steyn who was awarded by only 2 wickets for his great bowling. Sachin’s one of the best century, in tough condition and pressure situation helped India to level the score and gain little edge with 2 wickets by Bhaji to end Day-3. India was in commanding position by lunch of Day-4 and started seeing the glimpses of first ever series victory in South Africa. But the in-pain Kallis turned those glimpses into nightmares with his gusty century stand and made India clueless, who now was trying to be away from shadow of defeat. This inning of Kallis puts him right on top of best players ever played for South Africa. India again showed the mental toughness on final day to flash a headline “Gritty India secure 1-1 draw”.

Many commanding efforts and positive’s for India. Performances from Gambhir, Sachin and Laxman will mark India with a stamp of strong batting in Year-2011. However, lower middle order batting is an issue outside sub-continents. Dhoni needs to back up his captaincy with batting performance and likes of Raina, Pujara, Vijay needs to be groomed under the guidance of most experienced players in world cricket. Bowling showed the same pattern from last few years, exceptional in one session and below par in  another. Fitness is a key to strong and consistent bowling performance. Team should find best 5 speedsters and keep rotating them and very important to groom a leadership in bowling department, one to match Zaheer. Overall Year-2011 looks great for Indian cricket and in very strong position to be on top of ranking table. Next big challenge awaiting in England, Go India !!!

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3 comments

  1. Nice article Ravi.

    In my opinion we could have won the last test if we had another spinner in our artillery. Ishant Sharma proved useless in SA’s second inning.

    But yes apart from that we proved our number 1 status. What amazed me is the tussle between top two test playing nations. At the same time entire world witnessed downfall of Oz’s in Ashes.


  2. Well written (as always)
    I am really satisfied with the way the team performed in SA.
    India doesn’t need to show now why it is the number 1. It was really a show of mental and physical toughness.
    Some remarks like “India will lose 3-0” , “Indian batters will face problems with speed of Styen & Morkel on bouncy pitches”, “India are only good at home” & “Indian bowlers are not good enough to take 20 wickets” are ALL answered.
    I saw the press conference where Shreesanth mentioned that Smith said to him that “you are not good enough” which actually motivated him to perform well later on.
    Really we are having a good phase in Indian cricket, however we should also look at near future and start nuturing talented players under the likes of Sachin,Laxman,Zaheer.


  3. Though I would have wished that India win the series, I have absolutely no complaints about the end result or how they played. In fact, I think the 1-1 draw only implies that the contest is not yet over & both the teams need to continue to watch out for each other!

    Overall it was a good contest and well fought series….and for once, news from South Africa was more awaited and more interesting than the Ashes series, being played elsewhere 🙂



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