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Sustenance will be key

As for the team, now that a certain level of consistency has come over the last couple of years, the challenge ahead is one of sustenance, writes Anil Kumble.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2009 00:25 IST

There is nothing like a successful campaign away from home. How one part of me wishes I could have been in New Zealand, still part of the side. It is highly satisfying to win at home but the feeling when the task is achieved abroad is a real high. On such occasions, the Indian dressing room is the place to be in, the atmosphere would have been really warm even in the cold of Wellington.

The 1-0 triumph though is not going to satisfy everyone and there will be debates on the timing of the declaration. People must understand that a team cannot go by weather predictions. Also, 600 is a psychological barrier, one that puts the match beyond the other team.

Look at it the other way. New Zealand were given a little more than five sessions to bat and the weather intervened in the last session. They managed to hang on for more than four sessions in the bargain. Had the declaration come earlier, say with a target of around 450-500, and with more than six sessions available, the Kiwis could well have given the Indian team some tough moments.

Before I come to Harbhajan Singh's superb show, I must congratulate Rahul Dravid for his record number of catches. Catches are, unfortunately, not rated on the same wavelength as runs and wickets but the level of concentration needed to bring them off is something that needs to be experienced and cannot be explained.

Coming to Bhajji, the leadership role he's assumed has been tremendous to watch. He was one guy obsessed with proving that spinners could take wickets abroad too and simply translated that obsession into performance. His strength is off-spin and the variety within that and he's realised that. He is good with the ball that goes the other way, the doosra, but by bowling his off-spin in a variety of ways and using the doosra sparingly, Bhajji's found success.

This series wasn't about the right-handers alone. Besides Zaheer's outstanding performance, there was Gambhir who's amazed everyone with his ability to adapt to all three forms of the game.

As for the team, now that a certain level of consistency has come over the last couple of years, the challenge ahead is one of sustenance. With each victory the expectations only go up. My only fear is that constant change of formats will not help. With the next couple of months devoted to T20 and ODIs, I hope the lessons learnt in the Test series are not forgotten.

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