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Match, series and much more

India's journey to Pakistan ended on a high after beginning on a low. A tour that began with controversy (Ganguly's inclusion and exclusion, Dungarpur's purported remarks) and ran into controversy repeatedly (Dravid's opening, Shoaib's action, Inzamam's weird dismissals and subsequent outbursts, Tendulkar's obituaries ? not here though!), ended with the hope of a new beginning.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 18:55 IST

India's journey to Pakistan ended on a high after beginning on a low. A tour that began with controversy (Ganguly's inclusion and exclusion, Dungarpur's purported remarks) and ran into controversy repeatedly (Dravid's opening, Shoaib's action, Inzamam's weird dismissals and subsequent outbursts, Tendulkar's obituaries— not here though!), ended with the hope of a new beginning.

During the Test matches, at least the first two, the cricket was flatter than the wickets provided (despite the plethora of runs and records). And when India lost the Karachi Test and the series in an embarrassing fashion, pens were hastily fashioning epitaphs.

But if ever there was a time that a team rose from the ruins of their own making, it was India in the one-day internationals. Again, they were damned by one and all, when soon after that 341-run loss in the Karachi Test, they lost by seven runs in the first ODI in the land of Pathans.

But Peshawar was the last we saw of that depressed India. God knows what they were told between Peshawar and Pindi by Greg Chappell (apparently incensed after the defeats) and Rahul Dravid, but it worked.

Perhaps it was fitting that India wrapped up the series in Multan, the hometown of the Pakistani skipper, and asserted their absolute dominance over their cross-border rivals in the shorter version of the game in Karachi, the scene of perhaps their greatest Test embarrassment.

And perhaps it was apt that the two young men at the crease when India ended their tour were Yuvraj Singh, who has finally come of age on this tour, and Mahendra Dhoni, a player who doesn't know the meaning of failure.

In addition to Chappell's successful strategising, what has also been remarkable is the making and marking of Rahul Dravid as India's captain for the future. He has shown power and passion, aggression and an ability to lead from the front, foresight and the remarkable level-headedness needed to keep his young flock together. The future beckons.