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This is how it’s done

cricket Updated: Oct 07, 2009 02:03 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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It’s one thing to become the No 1 ranked team in the world through a series of wins in bilateral series and mini tournaments, but it's another thing altogether to come to a big tournament and beat all the opposition that come your way.

If Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team really want to be known as the best team in the world — and this is quite different from being the No 1 ranked team — then they need look no further than Ricky Ponting and the Australians for what needs to be done.

Even as the Australians were lording it over England, eventually winning 6-1, they had an eye on the Champions Trophy in South Africa, and were plotting just what needed to be done to peak at the right time. Despite a serious scare against Pakistan, where the game went down to the last minute, there was little the Australian team did wrong.

If anything, they adapted to the varying conditions at Centurion and Johannesburg better than anyone else, with only New Zealand, the other finalist, coming close.

For the third time in the last four 50-over world competitions, Australia did not drop a single game. If anything, their one defeat in four competitions, against the West Indies in the Champions Trophy in India in 2006, only goes to underscore just how dominant they have otherwise been.

To win three World Cups on the trot and then two Champions Trophies sets the Australian team some way ahead of the rest of the group, even if the rankings and points systems will tell you otherwise.

That this team does not have the aura of Aussie teams of old is undeniable and only inevitable, as the likes of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath have moved on. But Ponting made a pertinent observation about how his team plays even today.

“One of the great strengths of the Australian team has been that if some of the bigger names don't get the job done, then we find someone who puts their hand up and does it,” said Ponting after Australia crushed a brave New Zealand by six wickets in the final, thanks mostly to a 128-run stand between man of the match Shane Watson and Cameron White.

What stands out about this Australian team is their constant search for betterment, and an attitude that being second best is not good enough. While it is a fact that they have more skilled players than many teams, it's also undeniable that their players are willing to work harder than most others when it comes to achieving the goals they have set out for themselves.

It is these traits that make a team the best in the world, not rankings that the ICC or anyone else put out.

India, in their quest for glory, will do well to realise that.