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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Cricket Columns

This selfless bunch is like a breath of fresh air
Ravi Shastri, Hindustan Times
December 31, 2010
First Published: 00:41 IST(31/12/2010)
Last Updated: 00:42 IST(31/12/2010)

As we savour the Durban win, it must be remembered that it was VVS Laxman's genuis that again came to the fore.

On a bowler-friendly pitch, his performance stood out as one of the greatest performances by an India batsman in an overseas Test.

Indian cricket is on a high like never before. Lest it suffers the fate of the great West Indian sides of the 70s and 80s or the one which Australia are presently undergoing, one more year from these Golden Men would stabilize GenNext in 2011.

It is difficult to imagine an India side without Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh or Zaheer Khan. The Sehwags and Dhonis are together with these magnificent men on the golden curve but a few more need to be ready to take on the baton.

It is interesting how the support cast rallies once these men decide to lead the charge from the front. Zaheer in batting or Sreesanth in bowling were prime examples of this infectious spirit. India's fielding too punched much above its weight. Suddenly, they were all landing punches from all corners on the hosts.

So, Dhoni's legend as a general who escapes the noose grows.

A lot of it is due to individual skills. Still lot more is due to the camaraderie which exists in this bunch. It could be the most selfless India team ever. All of them prefer a common cause rather than a narcissistic attitude which often has been a bane in the past.

South Africa would be reeling under the impact. They had done all the talking before the series, gone to length to prepare pitches to suits their bowlers and stone-crushed the visitors in Centurion with their batting and pace artillery. So overwhelmingly did their juggernaut roll that they didn't expect an Indian rising. One suspects they didn't expect the Indians to be standing in Durban.

Thus, it's a moment of reflection for South Africa. Do they maintain the aggressive stance or retreat to take stock of the situation? India are on the cusp of a series win in Cape Town and this in itself is a shattering realization for the hosts. A lively pitch or a flatter turf to negate the Indian bowling would now be a matter of debate.

The Indians would enjoy this confusion in the hosts' ranks.

TCM


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