Win completes healing process
It’s difficult to not feel exhilarated after a comprehensive victory over an Aussie team that hasn't lost a series in the last three years.cricket Updated: Nov 11, 2008 01:14 IST
It’s difficult to not feel exhilarated after a comprehensive victory over an Aussie team that hasn't lost a series in the last three years. And it's difficult not to feel proud of an Indian team that pretty much achieved all that we had set out to accomplish over long discussions during the Irani Trophy and the pre-series camp in Bangalore. We had told ourselves, 'This is where we want to be after Nagpur' and that is exactly where we are.
That was our short-term goal, to beat the Australians, the longer one lies ahead - to try and be the No.1 Test team in the world by April.
And even while we faltered against Lanka, I think we can.
At the moment though, we're all savouring the sweet thrill of a win that we wanted badly. After the events of the last series in Australia, where, if circumstances had been different, we should have won the series if not leveled it, this feels so very good. That hurt, this finished the healing process.
Still, given the conditions and our form going into this game, I never thought we'd lose this game, a fair reflection of the way we've played this series.
Dhoni has led extremely well and stood out when it mattered with the bat. I must mention here that those who criticised the tactics he used on Day Three should know that he did what was required to change the momentum. To execute an 8-1 field is not easy. We've done it a couple of times, in England, and to a certain extent in Sydney, when we used a 7-2 and 8-1 to Hayden for a while against Ishant.
India's tactics ensured Australia had gone nowhere by lunch. Then, that run-out of Hussey made a huge difference, along with the other two top order run-outs in the game, also reflecting the Australians' nerves and vulnerability.
For us, it was a major bonus. That and the fact that Australia didn't turn the screws the only time we were under pressure, during the post tea session on Day Four. To not bowl your best bowlers in that situation is strange.
Captaincy isn't about running to the bowler every two balls to tell him what to do, or about strategies devised on the field. It's about getting on with the game, trusting the men who've come through for you in the past, encouraging players to make mistakes and learn and keeping their faith whether you're on top or under pressure.
Our bowlers were standout. Bhajji and Amit had some brilliant spells, Zaheer has been aggressive right through, and Ishant has shown so much character. It's brilliant for a youngster like Ishant to be Man of the Series and will definitely give India confidence for the future.
Even as some of us bid goodbye, it was an emotional time for Sourav here as for me in Delhi, the future itself looks good. What is most important from this series is that for many of these youngsters, there is no baggage of the past. A couple have played Australia for the first time and beaten them. Others have held their own in the Australia Test series and won the one-dayers there, so there is no Aussie bogeyman in their heads. And that's vital, that they do not think this team is invincible. That attitude might make all the difference in the years ahead.