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India grows in confidence

The India-West Indies series, has ended in a 2-0 win for India. The series if at all emphasized West Indies? declining status in world cricket.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2002 14:31 IST

The India-West Indies series, has ended in a 2-0 win for India. The series if at all emphasized West Indies’ declining status in world cricket and also once again showed that India is a tiger at home.

The series also showed that for some more time Indian pitches will remain a spinner’s paradise and all ill-advised schemes to convert them into pace bowlers’ tracks will hopefully be given up after enough money was spent on the pitches in the three venues before the season without much success.

All the Indian players reasserted their respective strengths as if by right. Though he has the potential, it is too early to believe that the teenaged baby-faced Parthiv Patel is a long-distance runner. He showed a maturity far above his age so now he has to be protected from a burn-out. Unless the selectors want to believe that 17-year-old wicket keeper is better than a 22 year old keeper.

There was a chance to blood some youngsters too, but that was wasted. But it may be argued that the team has enough youngsters already. A home series though would have been the right time to try out some more bowlers, but no attempt was made. Which leaves India with the weak pace bowling line-up when at least two more fast bowlers could have been tried out in turn.

Though there were centuries galore and the Indian star batsmen dug in, it is Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan who shone brightly during the series. Harbhajan Singh has emerged as a big hitting batsman, a good omen for the one-dayers. Alone among the bowlers he is also being marketed well, this time endorsing the services of the Bank of Punjab. Punjab needs a big icon and this young spinner looks set to fill that vacuum. One suspects that his new-found ability to hit sixers is cultivated more to suit the Punjabi macho image which a spinner does not have. This in turn will help him endorse a more robust Punjabi product.

Srinath too, while trying to cement a place for himself in the World Cup squad has returned from his third retirement as a better batsman and a worse bowler. His two good innings in the series showed that what he lost in his bowling has been made up in his batting. So, finally do we have a No 10 batsman who can stay there and hit?

During the series Saurav Ganguly also won a new friend, Raj Singh Dungarpur, who has now suggested that Ganguly should be made captain for the World Cup and even longer. For Ganguly, that endorsement will be a great relief.

The fading away of Shiv Sundar Das is a bit tragic. He is a compact batsman on Indian pitches and should have been given at least one chance out there in the middle. Now he has to wait for a very long time and what will happen to his confidence during that time is anybody’s guess.

More tragic is the fate of West Indian cricket. There is a lot of work that the youngsters in the team have to do. Carl Hooper is a patient and mature leader and if his team continues to get defeated then he will lose heart as well. There is no other captain in sight. The return of Brian Lara might should do wonders to the team which will continue to revolve around him, Chanderpaul and Hooper for some more time. It was a pity though that Nagamotoo was not given as many chances as he should have after his bowling lack bite in the first Test.

First Published: Nov 05, 2002 13:11 IST