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'Dhoni & co lifted Indian cricket'

cricket Updated: Mar 15, 2008 19:13 IST

PTI
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Celebrated cricket writer Peter Roebuck on Saturday said the rise of limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his side marked the latest phase of India's elevation in world cricket.

Roebuck said Dhoni and his young teammates heralded a new era for Indian cricket, which has emerged as a force which wanted to prove its worth.

"The first major stage was Sunil Gavaskar. He was seen as the voice of protest, 'we will do it the Indian way.' The next stage was Sachin Tendulkar, 'I am comfortable with what I am.' He is a great player who is graceful as well.

"The third phase was in Sydney (Test) with Dhoni, (Irfan) Pathan, Ishant (Sharma) and such people, who came from villages, backyards and outstations. It was an expression of democratic, passionate, committed and self-dependent India. It was a sense of true independence, not any protest against anybody," Roebuck said at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi.

The Australia-based Englishman said the Aussies and the Indians have a lot of things in common. "They are rivals but also partners. They speak the same language."

Roebuck, however, cautioned India against getting overboard in their celebrations and thereby losing the momentum for the future.

"The challenge before India is to sustain their success and maintain their long cricketing culture. There should not be any delirium and going overboard in success. No confident nation does that. Dhoni did not get carried away in Brisbane (in tri-series final) as he knew it was a matter of three balls."

Making a passing remark on the Indian hockey team's debacle in the Olympic qualifiers in Chile, Roebuck said Indian cricketers were looking forward to prove their worth in Australia.

"They thought 'we expected the success, it was not a surprise.' But the hockey team is not saying that yet." Roebuck said the media which went overboard about the Sydney controversy should show some restraint in handling contentious issues.

"Sydney got a little bit carried away. The media, including me, should have shown some control. We pick up stories and the 24 hour TV channels also have not helped. We should be careful in handling contentious and aggravated issues," he added.