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Time to salute Dravid and his young brigade

The series win clearly shows how youth has triumphed over experience, writes Bishen Singh Bedi.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 14:38 IST
Bishen Singh Bedi (UNI)
Bishen Singh Bedi (UNI)

Winning is one thing. No, winning is the only thing which matters in an Indo-Pak competition. Be it cricket, hockey or sadly skirmishes at the LoC. Aren't we glad our association revolves around cricket and nothing else. It is time for a grateful nation to salute Rahul Dravid and his brave youngsters. Clearly youth has triumphed over experience more emphatically. And see how quickly the loss in Karachi Test has almost vanished from Indian memory.

Multan boasts of the best cricket ground in Pakistan. This is a deliberate attempt to wake up the loud and hoary Lahorites. It is quite astonishing that one curator Agha Zahid was seen on all cricket centres. Perhaps there is not enough significance given to the curators in Pakistan. Like all professionals in any walk of life, the curator too needs to be proud of his vocation. Sorry to say, that professional and personal pride was just not visible on the face of Agha Zahid, a former Test cricketer in his own right, I am told.

The wicket in Multan had all the anti-Inzy elements rolled into it. There was sufficient juice for Rahul Dravid to avail of the winning of the toss, as it turned out Pakistan's batting might was exposed rather cruelly. For once Indian bowlers relished bowling first in Multan.

Like all batsmen who enjoy parking themselves for good on a sleepy surface, the bowlers too have their tails up when the response from the landing surface is encouraging. Indians might have surprised themselves with exhilarating work on the field. I was pleased to see Rahul effectively playing the bowlers' captain. Even so, I would have loved to see Ramesh Powar rolling his arm over. We must know if he is good enough to fill in the gap when Harbhajan is indisposed, as was the glaring case in Pakistan. Also, we must know how motivated or enthusiastic Powar is about keeping himself physically alert and fit. A youngster like Powar must be constantly seen with clenched fists, tight jaws and poker face. Powar is poker faced alright, but all his other assets are hidden. Once he returns home Ramesh Powar will get lost again in the crowd of aspiring internationals. It would be very sad if Powar is lost to Indian cricket on some pretext or the other.

Indian bowling is yet to give a big championship winning look. Sreesanth and R P Singh looked good but they are fragile physically. They must work on mental skills. As for sheer concentration, self confidence, coping with pressure and anxiety, persistence and perseverence, my safest bet is "Kumble". He may have slowed down in the field, but he will more than make up with his committed bowling. He is also a shrewd cricket brain to help Rahul from time to time. My remarks are aimed at Rahul and Greg Chappell. I am sorry I have little faith in our national selectors.

There is a tendency to burden Irfan Pathan with the job of a true allrounder. I am sure Pathan can take the physical toll but is he mentally prepared? So far he has abstained from being clubbed with the great allrounders of the past. Reason, he is perhaps aware of his limitations. Another development in Indian cricket which may have unpleasent repercussions is the role of a vice-captain. While these escalations are good for personal ego, it is not necessary the dressing room atmosphere will control all sorts of emotions, some strong and some not so strong. The good players think a lot about situations. Particularly how they are going to attack in the given situations. And if the load of captaincy (real or imaginary) is working on the mind, the net results need not be very heartening. And then let's get back to the basics and start thinking sensibly. The Karachi one-dayer will determine how the Indians can prevent a slump.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 14:38 IST