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Home rule can help India soar

It is time to bury the ugly past and believe that the future will be bright for this Indian team, writes Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 04:41 IST

It is time to look ahead. It is time to bury the ugly past and believe that the future will be bright for this Indian team. It is the year of the World Cup and the next two months could see an overflow of the emotions called agony and ecstasy.

The Indians, over the past few months, might not have done enough to inspire too much confidence but the signs are not that gloomy either. The last eight games played on home soil can be seen as a meaningless strain on already overused bodies but victories can also be seen as a tonic for a team that is getting to winning ways.

There sure is a surfeit of injuries. There sure could be an uneasy feeling that India's batting order still seems unsettled. You could argue endlessly whether Dinesh Karthik, despite all his bubbling enthusiasm in the field and useful batting talent, was the right choice for a middle-order slot. And there still could be some of us sceptics (heretics for many) who would like to ignore much of what coach Greg Chappell says in his voluminous interviews (words of great wisdom for many) but, in the end, we all would like India to do well.

In this beautifully laid port city of Vizag and in a stadium whose hilly surroundings remind many of the West Indies, India did look like a team that was believing in itself and more importantly, in each other. A hug here, a smile there and those highly exaggerated leaps into each others’ arms did give the impression that this was not all being done for the benefit of TV cameras.

Rahul Dravid might still not be an inspirational leader but he has graduated from standing in the slips to moving around with alacrity at mid-off and seems ever willing to offer advice to the bowlers. His faith in Virender Sehwag, despite all the powerful opposition to his selection, may just have made his team realise that the Indian captain is his own man and is in control.

And then there is this young man called Robin Uthappa, who has this unbelievable ability and the confidence to smash even short balls off the front foot, and you do seem to be somewhere getting closer to raising an XI which could pose a challenge to even the best.

Even more significant on Saturday was Yuvraj Singh's imperious strokeplay, which means he is back at his best and would go to the West Indies full of confidence and not someone wondering whether he is fit and ready to play on the big stage.

Finally, the return of Sourav Ganguly has made this team look stronger and given that solidity at the top that India needed. He has not been the harbinger of doom that many predicted but one of great hope. Let us, for the time being, forget the past, move on and believe in the future and ourselves. This is not a catch-line for the advertisers but simple words to cheer up the real fan.

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First Published: Feb 18, 2007 04:41 IST