The race to the top !!!!!

 

The lions have aged and retired… the cubs still to mature into lions… the territory is up for grabs… Every week there is a new number one in the rankings these days… these indeed are exciting times for cricket and the top of the table was never as open as now…

 

Australia is no longer the powerhouse it used to be, their aura of invincibility shattered. The 6-0 series lead notwithstanding the fear of the Kangaroos is gone… The Indians defeated them 2-0 in 2008 in India which incidentally was their worst defeat in 25 years. The South Africans beat them in their own den. The top spot in all forms of the game is open for all and there is going to be an interesting race in the coming two years which will firmly establish who is the best. The Sri Lankans are the only other team that may harbour any such aspirations of trying to contest this claim of the top team in the world but for that their overseas record needs to improve.

 

That leaves us with two contenders, the Proteas and the Indians.

 

The Proteas have always been a bunch of hardened cricketers who always give their best however they have always been humiliated time and again by the Aussies and even though they beat the Aussies in their backyard for the first time last year the Aussies promptly exacted their revenge. Over a period they have never matched up against Australia and so we need to see if they can do this over a consistent period of time. The one problem South Africa face is their selection policy with quota’s and second their over dependence on just seam bowling. However the emergence of Johan Botha and Paul Harris augurs well for them. They have some exciting youngsters and it will be interesting times for them as they seem to have finally got the Australian monkey over their back.

 

However lets take a look at India’s fortunes more closely…  

 

India started playing test cricket in 1932 and from then to the November of the year 2000 India had won just 13 Test matches abroad. We always had a couple of stylish batsmen and a bunch of excellent spinners with maybe a seamer thrown in here and there. However the true test of a cricket team is when they go abroad and it is only fair to say we had an abysmal record. We were favourite whipping boys when we travelled abroad.

 

But in November 2000 Sourav Ganguly was handed the reins of Indian cricket while it was probably at its nadir with the match fixing controversy. Under him a group of youngsters gathered, he along with Sachin, Rahul, Anil and Laxman have laid a great platform ahead. The new crop of youngsters have tasted success very early in their careers and the fearlessness that we see in the Sehwag’s, Yuvraj’s, Zaheer’s and Bhajji’s can be attributed to this early success in their careers. Sourav Ganguly injected a steel in Indian Cricket which was missing, this led to the change of attitude and a team that used to dread going abroad suddenly was raring to go abroad.

 

The talent apart the sudden transformation of Indian cricketers under Sourav’s leadership where they would stare the opponent in the eye and not blink and the tendency to give back as good as they got or even better then what they got has gone a long way in helping India building a fearless image in the cricket world. They psychologically even disintegrated  the father (Tugga – Steve Waugh) of this theory called Psychological Disintegration 

 

India started playing test cricket in 1932 and from then to the November of the year 2000 India had won just 13 Test matches abroad.Quite amazingly since November 2000 when Sourav became captain to today India has won 19 Test Matches Abroad including series wins in England, West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They also were leading in Test series in South Africa and Australia but eventually squandered the lead.

 

 

 

Mindset has changed today when India travel’s abroad it goes with a belief that they can win. The main reason behind this has to be the amazing bench strength of fast bowlers to choose from provided they all are fit. Ishant Sharma is already the envy of all cricketing nations. Zaheer at the peak of his career and they are well supported by Ashish Nehra, R. P. Singh and Sree Santh. They have back up and even in the domestic structure there are still quite a few who can make the cut like Sudeep Tyagi, Munaf Patel & Irfan Pathan to just name a few. These fast bowlers are a big reason why India is starting to win tests and for a change we don’t have just one or two fast bowlers like a Kapil here and a Srinath there… we have 4-5 bowlers and that is the most heartening thing.

 

 

The batting line up is as awesome as it can ever get. Today arguably we possess the most explosive opening pair in Tests in Sehwag and Gautam followed by ever solid Rahul Dravid, the never ageing Sachin and the elegant Laxman. The best part is this doesn’t end here, we have Yuvraj who can be mercurial on this day and Dhoni a player who can easily be in any Test Team in the world just for his batting. The prescence of the youngsters like Rohit Sharma, Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Raina, Yusuf Pathan can only be a blessing.

 

 

The spin department is also well taken care of with Harbhajan, Amit Mishra & Pragyan Ojha. Thanks to the IPL the Indian domestic players will receive a lot of encouragement and also exposure to top flight cricket. It also means a lot more cricketers can now harbour living life simply playing domestic cricket even if they don’t get to play for India coz they can earn enough. More cricketers could only be a blessing.

 

 

In the coming two years India will have to stake their claim for the top spot, the race is tight between Australia who are undergoing transition, South Africa who are at their peak probably and India who have consistently given Australia a run for their money and beaten them on several occasions for almost a decade that too while Shane Warne and Mcgrath were playing.

 

 

Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni we have a skipper who will have to carry on the good work started by Sourav and place India on a pedestal befitting its following… the interesting times they say are just beginning… The Champions trophy will be ideal place to start this new season and a victory in all the matches should put us on top of the ODI rankings….

 

Quite interestingly since the 2006 Champions trophy India has won 11 out of the 17 ODI tournaments it has played and we currently have won 6 ODI series on the trot. Is Champions trophy going to be the 7th on the trot ????

 

Tighten your seat belt folks !!! Its gonna be a helluva interesting period for Indian fans to watch…

 

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Last but not the least… please remember to Vote for me HERE for the blogger job challenge.

6 days remain… there are lots of contestants… !!! VOTES NEEDED !!!!

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72 thoughts on “The race to the top !!!!!

      • Rakesh says:

        Yeah, you know the way you write it, I dislike SG a little less 😛 he he…

        I agree that India is peaking right now but I guess, this is the first time that India have carried their form so long. I guess the bench strength is the reason behind this. In case of injuries to key players, you have even better players waiting and this fact also keeps the players on their toes.

        Yet I still feel, selection of Dravid is a step backward. He has exhausted his use in ODIs. His sticking around means a better young player will be deprived of match practice.

          • hitchwriter says:

            that was the funniest reference I got !! lol…

            Dravid is not a step backward… a reality check…

            the way the Raina’s coped against short pitched stuff… he was brought in…

            Everyteam is going to Target Indian Ribs in this Champions trophy and that is why he is back… and he will prove his worth Rakesh… just you wait… !!

            SG has to be liked… he is the sole reason the last 9 years have been much more watchable for cricket fans… Thanks to him I have more days teasing non India followers then them having an upper hand ridiculing my team..

            • Rakesh says:

              Dhiren if you give a donkey a 100 chances, he’ll prove his worth. The point is when India was kicked out of the world cup in the first round, there was no responsibility. Dravid who was responsible for being defensive by putting Bangladesh into bat after winning the toss was not sacked from the team.

              Every time I see him, I remember his flustered face when Tamim was thrashing Zaheer Khan.

              And just a few matches before the world cup, Dravid had decided not to enforce a follow on against England in the test series – remember and then he batted for 87 balls for 3 runs. For God’s sake, he’s India’s captain. He sure ought to be better than this.

              Agreed, he was Good. But that is a BIG WAS and it WAS a LONG TIME BACK.

              • hitchwriter says:

                Rakesh… !!!!

                have a lemonade !! chill !! that was a couple of instances… and those were low points… !! its sport !! happens…

                Also remember the joys he gave us… the headingly hundred… the adelaide hundred… the hundred at Johannesburg… !!

                He is a class act… and form maybe temporary class is permanent… !! and trust me.. with Sehwag out, Rohit injured you needed someone who could stand up to pace bowling…

                in this champions trophy everyone is going to bounce India… everyone thinks bouncers are our weak point and that is where he will be most useful… wait and watch… !!!

                Plus the Raina’s and the other youngsters will benefit from his experience and discipline… !!

                • Rakesh says:

                  So you’re telling me that Dravid is the best hooker and puller we’ve got???

                  What good is he when he can only jump in an ugly manner and just keep the bouncer down.

                  • kanagu says:

                    I never seen him keeping the bouncer down in ODIs recently Rakesh…

                    I never seen him hooking the ball.. but a best puller of the ball at present and he will do well in SA… I am sure..

  1. kanagu says:

    I am also waiting for this extravangza to begin tomo…. but this tournament is tightly scheduled and no comebacks for the teams…

    so the Indian team must be careful.. and also Indians are becoming a good test side which is heartening to see…

    we have got a awesome batting line-up and also our bowling looks good now… its time to grow another spinner along with Bhajji… I think the ideal spinner would be Amit Mishra… as he is a leg spinner and flights the ball well…

    Pragyan Ojha is also really good… he is an interesting prospct for India as he is clever in varying the flight and also Indians made the blunder of not playing in the match against England in T20 world cup..

    anyways.. all the best for this Indian team to win the trophy and make us happy 😀 😀

    • hitchwriter says:

      Already India/Pak match is going to go… as i will be in train.. going to mumbai for a training.. !!!

      but the more important match is on 28th India v/s Australia.. on Dusshera… !! I cant wait to see us square off against the Aussies… and in the semi’s against the Proteas… they are teh two teams to beat… !!!!!

      I just cant wait for the series to start…

  2. Crafty Shines says:

    cricket in so much detail is beyond crafty…

    but u know, crafty is beyond cricket too!

    didn;t make sense? doesn’t matter!!! this post didn;t make sense to me either!!!!!!

    hugsssss anyways!!! coz hugsss has no reason!!!

    *crafty dances around yelling gibberish while ppl are looking up the number for the loony hospital*

    • Rohini says:

      hahah! Cricket something I don’t get too! Not very long ago, in school when I was, I loved Rahul Dravid! Used to fight for his Center Fresh cards (anyone remember phase?) Anyway, to me Cricket is handsome Ozzie cricketers, and used to be a day full of “Don’t you dare change the channel!” from Dad, Mom and Brother…
      Now, its husband getting up in the middle of the night to check the scores… 😛

      BTW.. wola Crafty! Whats going on? Did you go for a Garba anywhere?

      • hitchwriter says:

        Centre Fresh Cards ??????

        guess your quite younger than me… !!!! I know nothing of this… !!!!! 😀 😀 !!!!

        handsome and rude ozzie cricketers lol… !!!

        This crafty na… is like me… only does virtual dance… !!!!!! lol…

        • Rohini says:

          Yes… center fresh cards… it was quite some time back when I was in school. Say around 97-98..

          Anyway, Crafty! Now you absolutely have to dance garba on a nice number!

  3. umsreflections says:

    OK !!! CRICKET IT IS !!!!

    Hitch, are u practising the job (your dream job) on us ??????

    Even though, I understand the game and watch many a matches with my hubby, I just cant read stuff like that. But I an attempt – I started reading every para and slowly, slowly, my eyes will go to the next para. Sorry, not my mistake. OK !!!

    But surely will make my hubby read it !!!! 🙂 😆 🙂

    All the best, for your dream job !!!

  4. Monika Agarwal says:

    Ok………My first time here
    I used to be a big cricket fan but somewhere along the line lost it. Guess I might just get back now with your prediction.

  5. Solilo says:

    Hitchy, I voted and also recommended yesterday. Last I checked, you had some 20 votes but the topper was almost 60 votes ahead of you. Where is everybody?

    VOTE for our dear friend!

    • hitchwriter says:

      SOUTH AFRICA = FAST PITCHES + BOUNCE = SOS = DRAVID…

      Coz in the 20-20 world cup the Raina’s were exposed in the brunt of high quality pace… we are going to be bounced… and hence Dravid… !!!

  6. Suji! says:

    Dude… I don’t see either India or proteas conquering the Champ of Champs trophy. Instead I have a strong feeling that the T20 finalers are likely to have the ultimate words – SL and Pak. If at all there is a chance for another team apart from these 2, I guess it’s the aussies purely on their regained confidence.

    India does not have a supreme bowling line up except for a Bhajji. Their fielding is at all time low. And apart from Sachin and Dhoni, not many are having a good bat.

    • hitchwriter says:

      Dont say that… !!! Southafrica wont win.. I agree… they choke… in big events..

      !!!!!

      watchout for the men in Blue… !!! we have a really good chance… just wait and see…. !!!!!!

      the pitches also seem to be good for batting… !!!!!!

      Yuvi will also rock… Dravid will also prove his selection is right… and gauti is back !!!!!!

      the bowlers will improve…

      have faith… !!

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