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Opening batsmen showed the way

This series has been a revelation for all concerned. More so for the players and supporters of Indian cricket. So far we have felt that expectations from the hard to-please Indian supporters have far exceeded the performance. But this is one occasion where the reverse has been true.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2004 00:57 IST
Arun Lal

This series has been a revelation for all concerned. More so for the players and supporters of Indian cricket. So far we have felt that expectations from the hard to-please Indian supporters have far exceeded the performance. But this is one occasion where the reverse has been true.

The most important plus from the series has been the morale and the realisation that we can hold our own against the best in the world. Cricket is predominantly a mind game. So this performance will not only elevate the Indian team but the new found confidence will cascade down to domestic circuit as well and lift the standard across the board.

Nobody before the series began, could have dreamt of a result like this. Hats off to Sourav and his boys. Saurav has not only become the most successful captain in Indian cricket but he has etched himself permanently in everybody's mind. His captaincy may have appeared to lack imagination at times but he more than made up for it by his ability to get the best out of the team. He made the right decisions and most importantly lead from the front with courage and example.

The batting has reached an all time high. And everybody is performing. Ganguly started it all with a fighting hundred in the first Test. Dravid is peaking, looking even more solid than before. He has started playing a lot more freely. Laxman's talent was always evident but his newfound maturity, consistency and confidence has elevated him into the realms of world class. Sachin with over 300 undefeated runs in the crunch Test has reinvented himself.

The consistent opening partnership is what has set this batting up. Chopra has shown all the attributes of a traditional opener. He needs to work on his ability to concentrate, as after having done all the hard work, he gets out. Sehwag has now established himself as one of the most dangerous players in modern day cricket.

He was the one man I was counting on to play a blinder that could matter in the end. As it turned out, he did play that spectacular innings but that came in the Test we lost. Besides obvious talent, Sehwag has an astute cricketing mind and contrary to popular belief, he plans his innings. He is definite about what works for him and that leads to an uncluttered mind.

Kumble has been the proverbial phoenix, rising from the ashes. Many felt that he should not have been on the tour -- another feather in Ganguly's cap. I have never seen him lose his will to fight, whatever the situation.

Agarkar has once again shown brilliance in patches. The additional responsibility of the senior strike bowler will greatly help his cause. Irfan Pathan, another plus, has shown that he can use the old ball well and importantly, is not overawed by the occasion.

Parthiv Patel's keeping has been a disappointment. He needs to do a lot of work under expert supervision; otherwise a promising career may begin to flounder.

First Published: Jan 07, 2004 00:57 IST