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Team India give lessons in professionalism

This Indian team has taken a firm step forward into history. The entire nation is rejoicing at this victory, writes Arun Lal.
PTI | By Arun Lal
UPDATED ON APR 03, 2004 05:55 PM IST

This Indian team has taken a firm step forward into history. The entire nation is rejoicing at this victory. An innings win in the first Test is quite unbelievable. I had felt that maybe this was not the right time for this series, back to back with the exhausting Australian series. The way this team has shrugged off all fatigue, injuries and pressure is remarkable.

It has been a tremendous team effort. There have been the huge performances by the stalwarts Tendulkar and Kumble but the difference in this team is that the youngsters have really stood up to the pressure and have come up with amazing displays. Sehwag has created history for himself, Pathan six wickets, Yuvraj a quick 59 and the match winning run out, Chopra the usual solid start and a magical catch, even Balaji's consistency lent a hand. The standout feature however, has been Dravid's captaincy and that has been the revelation.

More than anything else, I would like to applaud and learn a lesson from the professionalism exhibited by this team. Actually it's a lesson for the entire nation.

So much has been said about the declaration and Tendulkar being left short of double century. Lots of emotions have run over time but look at the result and then look also at the attitude displayed by Tendulkar. Always ready to bowl his heart out and pestering Dravid with his suggestions. This attitude, more than all his centuries, is what is the hallmark of a true champion and a great team.

Take the case of Agarkar, who a couple of months ago took six wickets in an innings and won India a Test in Australia. He was the main strike bowler of the side and was dropped to make way for a relative rookie -- Tendulkar and Pathan were given the opening spell on the fourth day ahead of Kumble and Zaheer, the frontline bowlers.

Another typical example is, Pathan, having taken four wickets, was changed after only a four-over spell and was not given the chance to make it five. The strategy was obvious, the follow-on had to be enforced and no bowler should be given a long spell, lest he gets tired.

The very fact that the follow-on was enforced even though the main bowler was out due to injury, leaving only three regulars who would also have been tired, speaks volumes for the positive energy emanating from this team. Even the loss of the captain just before the start of such an important series was shrugged off. Yuvraj Singh in only his second Test, made a gallant and significant contribution.

Dravid, the stand-in captain, with his handling of the team and amazing decisions -- declaration, follow-on, team composition etc., has shown that he too, has what it takes to make tough decisions and be a successful captain. The support staff of Wright, Leipus and King has also to be credited with inculcating this professionalism. The team now has a terrific momentum about it. God help you if you get injured, you may have to wait a long time to get back in.

Two huge lessons are screaming to be heard:

1. Don't fret over what you don't have. Concentrate on the job at hand.

2. The individual does not matter; it's the team and country first.

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