Experience has made Sourav uncomplicated and direct
* Sehwag on Sachin Tendulkar after the tour: “There is no other God in cricket.”
* Sourav Ganguly on Rahul Dravid : “He is a champion at everything. I really admire him.”
Such gushing remarks confirm that harmony and understanding prevail in the Indian dressing room. It sounds boring, and people searching for sensation will be crestfallen, but Indian players are well-adjusted and comfortable with each other. They are cohesive, they bond - they are a family.
The team works, and wins because top players respect each other and are proud of each other’s performance. One example: Everybody is completely convinced Laxman is pure class. Each time he sends a ball through mid-wicket they gasp admiringly, wonder how he strokes the ball so effortlessly.
Another example: Team-mates feel Yuvraj is the next big thing. Their take? He should score 15-20 Test hundreds.
Instead of factionalism, the team has friendship, there is no masala or, as they say in Pakistan, no masla at all, everything is theek thaak.
Before the players boarded the flight in Pindi, Sourav thanked his colleagues, said he was fortunate to be part of a great team. In his moment of triumph he remembered players, even those whose contribution was tiny, and made a special mention of Dravid for setting up the series with a win at Multan.
Such open praise, and asli appreciation for others, is Dada's special quality. As a leader of men more than a mere captain on the field, he understands the value of team work, knows how to fit individuals into a group for maximising results.
Experience, and the accompanying stress, has taught him that a captain mustn't have personal agendas, that is why Sourav's captaincy is direct, uncomplicated and uncluttered.
Other captains are obsessed by thought/strategy/theory but Sourav focusses on individuals, backing quality and picking players capable of delivering under pressure. He, like Gabbar Singh, thinks that jo dar gaya woh mar gaya.
The only agenda Sourav and the team pursues is to perform. The team knows it is good and wants to win, more so abroad, to erase past failures and correct overseas record.
This challenge is not about making a statement, just a strong desire to play to potential. As Sachin reminds us, it is not a matter of fulfilling the expectations of others, he is more concerned about not letting himself down.
Others in the team share this feeling, they too are remarkably assured, confident without being cocky about their abilities. Gone are the days when Indian players were impressed, and awed, by goras and their huge reputations. Opponents are respected not feared and it does not matter whether the bowler charging in is Gillespie or Gul .
At one time raw pace terrorised Indians. Now the attitude is: jaldi aayegi to jaldi boundary ke bahar jayegi!