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Shell shocked but brought back to reality

The finals was hyped as the two best teams of the WC fighting it out for the cup and the $2m prize money.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2003 12:08 IST

The finals was hyped as the two best teams of the WC fighting it out for the cup and the $2m prize money.

Unfortunately, this WC has been dominated by just one team - a team tat is supremely confident with a very fit and atheletic team, a team that is streets ahead of the rest in terms of talent, physical and mental fitness, commitment, hard work and team work.

Let us not shed tears (sorry Murali) over this loss. A win for India would not be very deserving against this team. Only a flash-in-the-pan performance by India (and a below par performance by aust) could have given India any chance to win this game.

What did India do wrong? Virtually nothing. The decision to bowl first made a lot of sense. The pitch had quite a bit of juice in it - early in the morning. My take is, had India opted to bat first, we would have been shot out for less than 200, max, 230. And Australia would still have romped home (maybe with a few jitters in the middle overs for Bevan to finish off the innings).

Ganguly's captaincy - cannot really fault him if there is nothing he could have done. His bowling was in tatters even before the game had begun. India lost mentally before taking the field on sunday. This was an Australian jugernaut that could not be stopped even by the 'best Indian boowling attack' ever.

On Tendulkar's dismissal - he wanted to go after the bowling from the word go - specially with a target of 360 - and perished as it was really too early in the innings. Sehwag flourished due to Ponting's urgency to finish 25 overs. And I must say that I was very impressed with Yuveraj's and Mongia's batting. They batted very well and were fighting to the end.

Dravid could not do much when the requirement was to hit long and hard.

To sum up, the loss was to a much better team. A team that India should try to emulate. As Ponting said, they deliver when it matters most. And I hope India listened to that. All is not lost, we could still build a string team in the next 4 years, with the current team as the nucleus. This team prepared for this WC since the Natwest trophy. We can see what different an year's planning could make. I wonder what difference a 2-3 year planning could do.

Another important aspect is physical fitness. Wish this is given its importance at the Under-13, Under15 categories and cricketers are fit even as they reach the senior level. Le Roux and Co can only mould the team to an extent. Physical fitness should be part of one's schooling. It was a pathetic sight to see the Indians (which I believe is the most fit side in the last couple of decades) next to the aussies (Hayden, Bichel, Gilchrist, etc were like people straight out of a heavy weight boxing ring).

First Published: Mar 24, 2003 12:08 IST