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Pathans indispensable to the Indian team

india Updated: Feb 11, 2009 23:03 IST

It was an exhilarating match, encapsulating the thrill of a format destined to be the game’s future.

In the end, India prevailed over Sri Lanka because they had batters till the end. But more importantly, they had belief of the world champions.

This side will be a dreaded outfit in the circuit, going by the number of match-winners in its ranks. It will win more than it will lose even in a format as fickle as Twenty20.

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka need not sport a long face. They almost upset India’s applecart even with a young and largely unknown side.

Lasith Malinga and Malinga Bandara should always figure in Lanka’s game plan. Malinga can always claim a clutch of wickets, and Bandara is equally bewitching.

Pathans, of course, were the toast of the evening. They swept the opposition off its feet. One is a brutal hitter while other is a sweet timer, but both are equally devastating. Both were fresh at the crease and yet they made a non-issue of the asking rate, which was in excess of 14 runs per over.

These two contribute hugely with the ball as well and now look virtually indispensable to the Indian side.

No less noticeable was the demeanour of the two captains. While M.S. Dhoni was his usual cool and composed self, Tillekratne Dilshan threw up his hands at every mistake his side committed. In a game as tense as Twenty20, I suspect captains will have even bigger roles to play.

The win puts Indians in the right frame of mind for the tour ahead. The defeat in the fifth one-dayer must have been a deflating one as this side has got so used to winning.

Now they are back on rail and can look forward to tour of New Zealand with optimism. The tour is one of many challenges and Dhoni’s men would be tested to the hilt in in all three formats of the game.

The challenge for a captain is greater on foreign soil than it’s at home. In many ways, the team would only now get on to the serious business of this year’s cricket. (TCM)