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‘India were probably just better here’

The best compliment is one you get from your adversary. And India have seen few greater rivals than Allan Donald, one of the greatest ever fast bowlers.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2011 14:04 IST
Subhash Rajta

The best compliment is one you get from your adversary. And India have seen few greater rivals than Allan Donald, one of the greatest ever fast bowlers. So, when Donald says this is the best Indian side he has seen, and goes to the extent of terming India a better side than South Africa in the series, it's bound to fill Indians with pride.
Excerpts:

Who do you think was the better side in the Test series?
India showed in the second Test why they are the No. 1 side. I have never seen an Indian side making a comeback like this away from home. As much as I would like to say that both the sides were even, I think India were probably just better.

How do you compare this side with those in the past
To be honest, I thought South Africa would beat India here, but I have seen a different team this time around. Ever since we played them first after our readmission into world cricket, this Indian team looks better prepared and mentally stronger. They look tougher than they used to, and I say that because I have played against Indian teams in South Africa. They were not gutsy enough, but this team is.

How crucial is the role of Gary Kirsten in building this team?
Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton, the mental conditioning coach, have played a huge role. It's easy to see Gary's thoroughness in how well the team has prepared. Anyone will tell you how vulnerable this side has been while travelling abroad, but this side looks far more mentally tuned.

Your take on Sachin's showing in the series?
How much does he want to play? How much does he still have in the tank? That's what I asked him the other day, and he told me he would play till he enjoys it. You can't get a straighter answer than that. If he can keep churning out runs the way he is doing, why hang up? The world will be a very sad place when he is no longer around. What he has done to the game can't be described.

A more successful Sehwag could have given India a head start….
Wickets here have been effective. It's not like in India where you can just swing through the line. We always knew Sehwag would struggle whenever the ball went sideways. You need to be tighter technically on these wickets. But that's how he plays. But he will be back to scoring runs when he bumps back into South Africa.

How would you rate this series?
It's been a wonderful series; I really enjoyed it. It was a series of unbelievable skills. Individuals made massive contributions. Big players like Tendulkar, Kallis and Styen stood up to the occasion and that made the series all the more interesting. I suppose one-all is the right result for the series.