This one is to savour and remember forever

  • Sourav Ganguly, PTI
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  • Updated: May 16, 2004 13:40 IST

It's the biggest day in my life as a cricketer and probably also for the rest of the team. Beating Pakistan in Pakistan for the first time ever is a unique achievement and all 19 of us in the dressing room will be proud of this day. And will remember this for the rest of our careers.

It's a great sign for Indian cricket that it's going forward and the whole world has started to take notice of this team and consider it the second best team after Australia. I made this point four months ago and it must have raised a few eyebrows but I'm very happy that I am being proved right with time.

I think that this has been a dream series for each and every individual in the team. Very rarely do you see a series where every member has performed and not one person in the team is likely to go home feeling disappointed. It was an important toss to win and although I did think 10 times before deciding to put Pakistan in, at the end of the first day, it proved to be a good decision.

I hate putting oppositions in after winning the toss but I was proved right this time. A lot of talk before this series was about the Pakistan bowling but Balaji and Pathan, with their line and swing, have proved that it's not just pace that brings you wickets. It's control that matters. Both have improved by leaps and bounds since the time they made their debuts in Australia and I hope Zaheer will improve his fitness levels and with Harbhajan coming back, it will be a serious bowling unit that can match up to the superb batting performances that we've given for some time now.

Everybody keeps talking about Pathan and Bala but the biggest positive on this tour has been Parthiv Patel. Not only has he kept well but his batting has improved tremendously. I have always been looking for a wicket-keeper who can bat well at No. 7. All good sides in the world have a keeper who can bat well at No. 7 and Parthiv is on the way to solving the problem for us.

Once we got to 600, we batted Pakistan out of the game but what disappointed me most was the lack of fight they showed in the fourth innings. They are a young team and their application with the bat is not going to take them forward if they don't change. It's still a good wicket to bat on and it was a question of seeing the first hour through. But too many big shots caused their downfall.

It is just not possible for Inzamam to see them through all the time and every time he has not performed in this series, they have collapsed. They have a very good man at the top in Javed Miandad, who I think can help with their game because he has immense knowledge about batting.

But for us, it's the best thing that has happened in our careers and the lay-off for the next three months is going to be even better after this victory.

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