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This has been a good year for Indian cricket

This has been a long year for Indian cricket. We have played 12 Tests and 34 ODI's which is quite a lot in terms of cricket but other nations around the world too have travelled around the globe.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2003 00:08 IST

The year 2002 has come to an end. Before I get down to write this piece, I take this opportunity to wish the readers of Hindustan Times, a happy new year and lots of luck and happiness to everyone back home.

This has been a long year for Indian cricket. We have played 12 Tests and 34 one-day internationals which is quite a lot in terms of cricket but other nations around the world too have travelled around the globe.

We have criss-crossed from the Caribbean Islands to England, Sri Lanka and at present are on the beautiful shores of New Zealand. It started with the one-day series against England. The series ended level with each side winning three games each. Then came the Zimbabweans in February. We won the Test and the one-day series convincingly and then boarded the plane for the West Indies.

West Indies has always been a great place to play cricket. Our performance there was good, though it could have been better. We won the one-day series but lost the Test series 1-2, after having won in Trinidad after 27 years.

We had a couple of days off and then departed for England. It was in England and in the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka that we played our best cricket. We won the one-day series convincingly, beating England in the final at Lord's in a huge run-chase. The one-day series saw the emergence of two young players in Yuvraj and Kaif. The two are going to serve Indian cricket for a long, long time.

We played well in the Test series as well, beating England in Headingley. It was one of the bravest wins I have seen from an India team. On a pitch, which did everything, there were three high-class centuries from Dravid, Tendulkar and me.

We reached the final of the Champions Trophy where we were unlucky with the rain, as we were chasing only 222. Then came the West Indies where we won the Test series convincingly, though we failed to clinch the one-dayers.

We are in New Zealand at the moment where we are not performing very well. If I sum up the year, I would say this has been a good year for Indian cricket. There have been a few ups and downs, which is understandable when you play so much of cricket. It was a year when it made people sit up and take notice of the team and think that it could be a major force in the World Cup.

It saw the emergence of players like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Kaif and Zaheer. It was a year when the team, for the first time, showed togetherness, not a familiar sight in Indian cricket. It stood as one under a lot of pressure and that showed in the performance on the field.

We, no doubt, are having a very rough time in New Zealand but knowing the character of the boys, I know anything can happen in the five one-dayers still to be played.

The year has also made me a strong person. And as captain of the team, I take this opportunity to thank all my team-mates for the hard work they have put in, the togetherness they have shown under trying circumstances and wish them good luck for the future.

First Published: Jan 01, 2003 06:18 IST