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Wankhede will be the key to India’s spirits

India are moving into a very exciting phase and this upcoming tour to Australia should showcase their immediate and long term worth.
None | By Dennis Lillee
UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2007 12:03 AM IST

What a match the sixth ODI at Nagpur turned out to be. This is why one-day cricket between two evenly matched aggressive teams draws so many spectators through the gates and that great medium called television. Weren’t Kerry Packer and World Series Cricket onto a winner when they realised that people were ready for instant cricket through one-day cricket?

The match treated the short game fans to a top contest — one that Australia narrowly won, but the result could have easily gone India ‘s way. History will show that Australia easily won this series if they win the last one on Wednesday.

Even if India succeed on Wednesday, looking back at the resulting 4-2 record, it would appear that Australia did it easily. This is where pure statistics sometimes don’t tell the real story, because apart from one game, these teams have been so closely matched and each contest fought tooth and nail, with either side in with a chance for victory.

Australia, being the great side that it is, has been able to win games under pressure from other good sides including India. The public and worldwide viewers will soon be treated to a competitive and top Test series on the back of this one we have just witnessed.

India will arrive in Australia full of confidence believing that they can beat Australia on their soil, something not easily achieved, particularly in the last 15 to 20 years.

Australia can claim to have had the best team ever in all forms of the game. Their dominance over such a long period of time was only matched by the West Indies during the mid seventies to the early eighties, which is a similar length of time.

We have seen what happened to the Windies since that all conquering era but a word of warning for any country hoping it will happen to Australia — although there will be no Warne or McGrath, the cupboard is not bare, with many rising stars like Johnson, Tait, Clarke and Bracken being around.

Apart from these newcomers stepping up at the moment, there are a heap of virtual unknowns to the world stage waiting in the wings.

It is worth noting that India’s last coach Greg Chappell found objection to his attempts to inject youth as a policy for India’s future success but he didn’t stay long enough to witness first hand the great results due to the implementation of his wishes. While Dravid has been a good captain for India, his resignation will allow Dhoni, his heir apparent, to continue the good work we have seen from him so far.

India are moving into a very exciting phase and this upcoming tour to Australia should showcase their immediate and long term worth. They must now go all out to win the last match to somewhat regain the momentum and keep their spirits high before their tour of Australia.

They will have the Mumbai ODI and a T20 match plus a series against Pakistan to prepare themselves for the Australia tour. They must utilise to the hilt the last match against Australia. What would help them most is Dravid getting some form back. It’s only a question of time, this loss of form happens to every cricketer.

Chivach Sports/Hawkeye Communications

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