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This is the best Indian team in decades

The Indian cricket team attained new heights in Rawalpindi on Friday. In my opinion, this is the best team of the last three decades, writes Srinath.
PTI | By Javagal Srinath
UPDATED ON APR 18, 2004 11:31 AM IST

The Indian cricket team attained new heights in Rawalpindi on Friday. In my opinion, this is the best team of the last three decades. India has produced some good cricketers in the past, but this current side has some great players. Similarly, our team had played good cricket earlier but this time it has been playing some great cricket. Sense of commitment and alignment are the two main characteristics behind this extraordinary achievement.

Forty days ago, just back from the exhausting tour of Australia, this very team was a rather reluctant starter for the tour. There were security fears, anxieties and feelings of too much pressure. But the boys were brave enough to put all those thoughts behind and performed to the fullest.

The on-field performance made it clear that India was definitely the better of the two sides.

But pressure was certainly more on the Indians than the hosts. On the other hand, with quite a few players trying to establish themselves in the international arena, the Pakistan team is currently undergoing a period of transformation. The Indians are a more experienced side. It made the difference.

Virender Sehwag, the hero of the new generation Indian cricket, has redefined the art of batting. Calculated aggression and free mind are the framework of his batting. Yuvraj's hundred was a revelation.

The circumstances under which he got is maiden hundred would go a long way in helping him to be a more matured player. I am sure the big guns in the team were able to make him understand that Test cricket is what brings stability in one's cricketing career.

Irfan Pathan, I am sure, is a 300 Test-wicket material. At 19, the Baroda lad has shown tremendous maturity. He has understood the nuances of fast bowling well enough to become a strike bowler. Cricketing sense is what is required at the highest level. In years to come, he will surely add a few more yards of pace. In fast bowling, you always get to see a raw pace bowler entering the international cricket. Within three to four years, the same boy starts working more on the line and length, sacrificing on pace. Here, it appears that this lad is already there with four years of experience and few yards of pace still in the kitty. I can promise you this guy will be a devastating fast bowler.

Balaji has proved to be the dark horse of Indian cricket. He is another bowler who has performed beyond expectations. The Tamil Nadu bowler operates with simple philosophy of line and length. He has understood the relevance of corridor bowling. His immaculate line and length gives credibility to the bowling department itself. His fitness is equally commendable.

Balaji's economical, open-chested high arm action is an injury free action. In my opinion, Balaji will seldom have injuries because of his action. I still have a lot of hopes on Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra to come good in the future. Is it almost an embarrassment of riches in the Indian fast bowling department. Frankly, I have become quite a fan of these youngsters.

Now, far away from the action, I feel that my decision to quit international cricket is fully justified. After all, had I continued playing, it would not have been beyond the Australian series. But that could have delayed the emergence of the two new stars. My decision to quit cricket has come good for the team.

It is evident that the senior members of the squad and the back-up team have done good work on the new entrants. It's only when the younger lot delivers, the that team wins consistently. If Rahul, as a senior, delivered with the bat, the young bowling attack perfectly complemented his efforts.

This is only the beginning of a new era in Indian cricket.

Chivach Sports

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