Want to put Sydney Test behind
Not surprisingly, the Sydney Test will not carry any pleasant memories for me. After all, I gave away 200 runs for my four wickets, something I hope will never happen in my career again. It was also the unluckiest game for me personally because it was really frustrating to get an early wicket off a no-ball in both innings.india Updated: Jan 09, 2004 02:38 IST
Not surprisingly, the Sydney Test will not carry any pleasant memories for me. After all, I gave away 200 runs for my four wickets, something I hope will never happen in my career again. It was also the unluckiest game for me personally because it was really frustrating to get an early wicket off a no-ball in both innings.
However, I must learn from that bitter experience, and right now my main objective is to ensure that I don't overstep during the VB Series. All in all, I would like to put the Sydney Test behind me and look ahead in a positive frame of mind to the one-day series.
These last two Tests have not been easy for me, and I have to admit that this Indian team, the batting in particular, is the best I have seen on our shores since I started playing the game. This does not surprise me, since I have always felt that India has the most talented batting line-up.
If they had a bowling attack to match and if they had done a few things differently in the last two days of the Sydney Test, things could have been even better for them, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, and in the final analysis I would say that 1-1 was a fair scoreline.
The final Test was a must-win game for us in many ways, first because we are extremely proud of our Test record at home, and secondly because we wanted to give Stephen Waugh a memorable, winning send-off.
It is to India's credit that they foiled our plans right from the start, thanks to a superlative batting display from Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. I guess you cannot always control the game, especially when you drop early chances, and that was a valuable lesson we learnt in course of the Test.
Fortunately, the crowds at the SCG did ensure that Stephen's send-off was special, with the captain himself playing a very crucial hand of 80. I have never seen such a farewell being given to any cricketer in the world, and it was proof of the fact that good things happen to good people.
The glowing tributes and memorable gestures on that day were a true reflection of the love and admiration Stephen the cricketer and Stephen the human being got from the cricket-loving public. It was particularly heartening to see that the Indian section of the crowd greeting him with as much warmth as the rest of the crowd, and I'm sure his charitable work and his cricket have ensured that he has the good wishes of the most ardent Indian supporter.
Coming back to the VB Series, I feel pretty confident going into the tournament because I have always enjoyed bowling to the Indians in the limited overs game. Things might me a little more challenging this time round with the Indian batsmen so high on confidence, but my aim is to keep it simple -- bowl fast and accurate.
I am really happy with the way 2003 went for me, particularly in the World Cup, and I would like to replicate that form in the VB Series.
Right now, an India-Australia final seems very much on the cards, but one must not take the Zimbabweans for granted. Many new players are coming into the Australian one-day side and that is a positive thing.
I look forward to serious contributions from Michael Bevan and Michael Clarke, who have been in good nick in the domestic circuit. Fortunately for the side, Ricky Ponting, who was felled by a stomach bug on Tuesday night, has recovered quickly and will be fit to lead the side.
First Published: Jan 09, 2004 02:12 IST