It has taken 77 years, oodles of disappointment, a nation’s enduring adulation and a high-adrenalin shift from the ‘nice guys’ of yore to the charming aggression of Dhoni’s lads for Team India to clamber to the top of a ranking that really matters in a country of over a billion cricket crazy citizens. For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about and still call yourself Indian — no matter where you might be — we’ve finally arrived at the top of the International Cricket Council’s Test cricket rankings. Pity, though, that we might be able to stay on for just a wee bit, but then beating bottom-of-the-barrel Bangladesh in the sole Test series of 2010 won’t keep the hyenas at bay. So, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India lavishes Rs 25 lakh each on the men of the moment, a penny each for a billion thoughts of those who gave the initial heave-ho.
Team India’s growth numbers would put the Chinese economy to shame. In the last two years, we’ve pocketed series wins against Pakistan, Australia, England and Sri Lanka, brought one back from faraway New Zealand recently, and drawn at home against South Africa. Cynics might not be satisfied till we pull off a Trojan surprise in Oz and grind the Proteas to dust in Durban, but for all true-Blue Indians who have spent eight years gazing wistfully at the Australians up there, it’s time to celebrate. Period.
Cynics may also be pre-occupied with looking over their shoulders at the South Africans and Aussies hot on our tails in the rankings chart, but for the cracker-bursting, dhol-whipping, bhangra-boogying aam aadmi, tomorrow’s definitely another day. The one-day table beckons but we’re at the head of the five-day feast for now. Let’s enjoy the high. At least till tests do us part.