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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2643

What to learn from a 2-0 win?

By Ramu Sharma - Syndicate Features

India’s triumph over Australia in the home series was not only unexpected but a very convincing one. Pre-series forecast on even chances was based on India’s determined show down-under last year but there were also serious doubts because of the form in recent matches of the so-called fabulous seniors. In the event, except for Rahul Dravid everyone else came across with good scores and a comparative newcomer and yet to become permanent, Gautam Ghambir, sealed his spot as an opener with rare consistency. He was, in fact, the highest run getter in the series.

The coming back into form of Laxman, Ganguly and Tendulkar was a very big bonus for India and it solved some immediate problems concerning their retirement plans. Ganguly, of course, had been committed to retire and so he did retire but in the process showed his detractors that he still had a lot of cricket in him.

Apart from the batting there was the bowling of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma and in part the contribution from Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh. Zaheer proved that he was still the top man in the country but it was Ishant Sharma who proved to be more of a problem for the visitors. Though he never touched the speed which earned him a reputation in Australia, he still bowled fast enough and more importantly bowled consistently at the wicket. He has a long way to go yet but he has, it can be said without hesitation, already covered quite a bit of way only in his third series within a year.

Apart from the positives of batting and bowling there was the captaincy issue. It was a pity that Kumble had to miss one match and forced to announce his retirement before the final match of the series. Quite clearly, irrespective of his injury problems, Kumble just did not seem to be able make an impression in the series. The cricketer and the man he is, he saw that it was the right time to call it a day. That gave M.S.Dhoni the chance to prove himself and came trumps. There will be many who will criticize his defensive stance in the fourth Test but few will deny that it was what eventually turned the tide in India's favour. Dhoni, it could be said without reservation, is the future of Indian cricket.

All these qualities of the Indian team in the series against Australia apart, one must sound a note of warning. The team looked good against Australia on home wickets. How will the same players fare against hard and varied pitches in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere?

Unless India gives more sporting wickets to its bowlers within the country, our cricketers are not likely to improve. At the moment, because of the money at stake more and more youngsters are taking to the game. Hence the tremendous output of talent in batting and medium pace bowling. But unless our wickets are made more helpful to the bowlers, Indian cricket will remain where it is, good at home, and totally vulnerable outside.

The Board must invest in new surfaces, pitches which will help the bowlers. This will encourage pace bowlers and also provide the batsmen the right type of experience needed to play in matches outside the country.

- Asian Tribune -

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