A series win against Pakistan is always great, but when it comes after a 24-year drought at home, then it has to be extra special. That said, I cannot get over the feeling that something has been missing from this ODI series. I am unable to put my finger on the exact reason but the intensity that is always associated with India-Pakistan clashes definitely seemed to be missing.
The lack of intensity between the teams cannot take anything away from the Indian victory at Gwalior. They played out a near-perfect match when the series was still in the balance and closed out the series with one match to go. Their efforts were best exemplified by the fact that the bowlers gave away hardly any extras. That meant the Pakistanis weren't given any freebies and it also meant less runs to chase.
What I would now like to see is whether the much-touted rotation policy comes into effect for the final match. I suspect there will be some changes, with at least one or two seniors, rested but then that's not what rotation is all about, is it? Having the courage to give your key players a break when the going is tough is one thing and giving them a day off when it's all but over - one way or the other — is an altogether different matter.
The one change I would like to see is the inclusion of Sreeshanth, if only because he seems set to play the opening Test. He is short of match practice, which would not have been the case if we really adhered to a rotation system. There's nothing like having at least one match behind you, whatever the form of the game.
If Sachin Tendulkar is rested for the final ODI, Jaipur will miss him. I myself can't get enough of him. He has been batting well all along but on Thursday, he took it to a far higher level. I feel that Pakistan are putting all their eggs in one basket, they seem to believe that all they need to do is keep wickets intact for the last 10-15 overs and then go for broke. It doesn't always work out that way. Skipper Malik insists that the two targets they have set the Indians were both defendable. He certainly got that wrong. He and his team have to be more ambitious than that.