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Time to put the Indian team in harness

Team India has had no time to savour the extraordinary win at P. Sara Oval. Very few gave them chance on a wearing pitch after being 53 for 3 on the second last evening. But most hadn't reckoned with Laxman's virtuosity and Kumar Sangakkara's generosity. Ravi shastri writes.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2010 00:02 IST

Team India has had no time to savour the extraordinary win at P. Sara Oval. Very few gave them chance on a wearing pitch after being 53 for 3 on the second last evening. But most hadn't reckoned with Laxman's virtuosity and Kumar Sangakkara's generosity.

Both did some extra-ordinary deeds.

Laxman was at the centre of India's revival once again. His footwork was exemplary, made to look only better by some very defensive field placements. Yet to get a hundred plus runs under pressure on a day five track is a remarkable achievement. A truly special innings.

Sangakkara didn't see any point in resisting the might of Tendukar and Laxman. For whatever reasons, Malinga was under-bowled. Dilshan brought the notice on himself when he dropped Tendulkar at forward short leg. Suddenly everyone realized that he was standing in for regular Parnavitarana. Indians suddenly realized the game was there for the taking.

Now there is a major reshuffle for the triangular series. India ought to set themselves some target in fitness and form. Winning the trophy would be fun but the bigger priority is to sort outs its batting and bowling order.

Individuals must now be assigned roles and asked to grow in it. This series and the next few ones are only dry runs for the big event,

It's time to put the team in harness.

In a way, young bowlers and batsman have a god-send opportunity.

Without Zaheer, others need to put their hands up and look to be spearheads. The likes of Pragyan Ojha must build on Test's success and shouldn't come out any lesser than Ravinder Jadeja or Yuvraj Singh. Ishant Sharma and Mithun should similarly look to Push Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar. R. Ashwin has the opportunity to emerge as Harbhajan's genuine under-study. Yuvraj needs to quell the young guns' charge in the middle order. The absence of Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar is a moment for others to put their hands up. Its an opportunity to grab with both hands like Raina did in the Test series.

Team management also need to get tough on fitness. Diet and training are two good tools but it must not just be left to an individual's sweet will. The support staff need to be code enforcers. Team India has an obligation towards its adoring masses.

New Zealand is below-strength for the tourney but this experience in the sub continent will be invaluable.

They always play as a team and has a couple of good practice wins under the belt. Sangakkara alone among the three teams has a full-strength team. He can rouse them to victory provided he is smarting enough from the Sara Oval reversal.