Adios’ Sachin!

Sachin,

Thank you is too small a word really. Yesterday tears rolled down my cheeks when I saw you struggle, pause, choke, struggle through your speech to convey your thanks to the people who really mattered in helping you realise a dream. If not for them perhaps you would have been doing a 9-5 office routine balancing most things in life like a large majority of us do living a domestic civil life.

But then you were cut out for something special, by no means was your life just fun and frolic but I absolutely understand the hours of practice you put in, the sweat, your crazy craving for perfection, the insecurities when it came to choices which you made perfectly at all stages that you got to live a dream that was not just your’s but of a lot of others. Not just that you told a lot of us growing up kids that there is hope, that you can play and still make a life. For me you signified hope, you inspired us, you provided joy, lifted us up on numerous occasions and took a brunt of our expectations on your shoulders.

My growing years and your career almost together I have followed most of your career and there are some unbelievable memories.

Your batting in Pakistan against Waqar/Wasim/Imran even after being hit in the nose and bleeding told us that you were not going to be rattled, however, we had quite a few gritty players before you and so whilst we felt that you were not one to throw in the towel we still didn’t know how special you were. But then it was only the beginning and you were just 16. Then came your century in England which perhaps told you that you were to be here for a while and be a part of Indian cricket for a while.

But then better things awaited, for me your defining moment came in our disastrous tour of Australia and even more significantly when you smashed that 100 in Perth, the worlds fastest pitch, the rowdy Aussie fast bowlers and we Indian’s always dreaded the thought of Perth. Perth signified terror for us. To see you score that hundred, defy the bowlers and actually scintillate and dominate was something we Indian’s had never seen an Indian do. Unfortunately this being a team sport we didn’t win much then, but you gave us hope, that we could dominate. Though we lived in the subcontinent and the pitches here didn’t bounce it was not a deterrent for us to go and play around the world, not just play and compete but dominate.

The word ‘Dominate’ was rarely used for Indian cricket, I may be wrong, but I cannot remember too much of the word Dominate being used for any Indian Batsman overseas. Yes, they scored runs, grinded the opposition out and eeked out a ton but watching you Punch of the backfoot through cover, Hook, Pull, Square cut was a completely wonderful feeling. I guess after that tour of Australia you and the whole world knew that you are here to stay for a long long time.

Over that long decade you provided with so many memories that its difficult to list them down, we cried with you in Chennai in that pain staking century which ended in a defeat and we were thrilled when you raised a desert storm in Sharjah. I can for one never forget even more than your performances your dedication to your sport and the hours you put in practice. For me the tale of you preparing for the 1998 tour of Australia, with L Sivaramankrishnan bowling to you around the wicket with the pitch dug up told me volumes of how much you worked at your craft. The innings of 155* that followed where you collared and completely obliterated ‘The Warne Myth’ is what every one remembers and is stuff of legends. However, the hard work you put in for that performance to follow is what defines you for me.

The legendary battle that took centre stage in Chennai... The Myth that the world could not decode was smashed to all parts of the ground. With arguably the Best Bowler in Cricket History acknowledging that he got nightmares of Sachin running down the pitch and smashing him...

The legendary battle that took centre stage in Chennai… The Myth of Shane Warne that the world could not decode was smashed to all parts of the ground. With arguably the Best Bowler in Cricket History acknowledging that he got nightmares of Sachin running down the pitch and smashing him…

I hated it when people called you lucky, you weren’t, you damn worked your ass off for your successes and I salute that effort you put in day in and day out.

Innumerable memories will remain and I for one cannot even imagine what you might do without playing cricket. I guess your love for the game can be second to none, what came out in your entire playing career was your sheer passion, enthusiasm and love for the game. I hope and wish you a very good time ahead and hope you can find something to engage with equally passionately in your life ahead.

For me and an entire generation you were a Superman, a dream, an inspiration and gave us a lot of reasons to smile, feel joyous on a tough day and I would actually like to thank you for that.

Baffling…

The selection policy off late is baffling really…

Why is Vinay Kumar played ahead of Shami Ahmed?? Beyond me…. unless the selectors feel that its better that Vinay is bashed about more in such conditions and want to protect Shami from losing his confidence there is no reason why it happens.

Why Ishant can’t be released from the ODI and Test team and allowed to play Ranji away from the limelight is beyond me. His confidence must be in tatters after the Mohali mauling and it would only make sense to send him away for a while. He is 25 and might still become useful if he can learn to convert potential into performance.

Why Zaheer is not in the Test team against the West Indies is another shocker!! Selectors are also saying that he is in very much in their plans for South Africa and yet they ignore him against the West Indies. Would you not atleast make him play one Test and check it out if he is fully fit rather than directly allowing him in a Test in SA?

It is completely beyond me how the selectors are going about their work as far as the bowling is concerned.

I also seriously hope that MSD does not alter his theory of 5 batsman in Tests. With Jadeja now out though his resolve on this issue will be really tested.

To consider that West Indies will be no match will be foolish, I actually think if West Indies bat well, it could be a close series.

I hope Sachin’s retirement is downplayed by the team atleast and they focus on playing. As much as Sachin has been a joy to India, Sachin’s joy is in India winning and lets hope the team can focus on just that.

Impeccable

was what you could call the master’s performance yesterday. I saw all of the 128 deliveries he faced, perhaps on one occassion the ball didn’t bounce as much as he expected, maybe one ball from Lyon he padded up that he shouldn’t have but apart from that, the master, it seemed, was on the top of his game. No discomfort, either pace or spin, pin point precision footwork, foot to the pitch of the ball, completely in position and not leaving any loose ball go unpunished. It was vintage Sachin, without trying to really dominate, it was a complete exhibition of wonderful batting. No, this is not a minefield of a pitch, yet! still the most heartening thing of the day was to watch him at the top of his game.

Yesterday only 71 runs were scored by him however more than the quantity the manner in which he got them told you what you had missed in the last year. 2012 was perhaps the worst phase of his career, hopefully its over. I don’t want to jinx him by predicting a century, but as long as you have a batsman batting with such aplomb, it would be unwise to not use him.

Sachin you play till you think you can play and till you think you can contribute. I on my part will just watch with goosebumps and gooseflesh like I used to watch you 23 years ago…. I still get nervous, like you do, I still get over excited like you do and I still darn love watching you as much as you love playing your favorite sport. :) :) :)

Pic Courtesy : espncricinfo.com

less than 24 hours to go and the wait cant get any longer…

The butterflies in the stomach cant flap their wings any more stronger, the adrenalin rush continues unabated, all sites giving all information have been read out, all views taken, all opinions read, heard, seen. Nothing still seems enough and you just cant pass the day. Being a holiday its even more difficult to pass, the constant highlights the past whole month on Star Cricket have not helped make matters any easier.

Tomorrow at 5.00 am(IST) its time to begin the games…

Over my growing up years it has always been the most exciting place to play and watch cricket, Australia. The country with hard sun-baked pitches, huge playing grounds, sea-gulls, flies, traditions, hats, beers and the crowds that were tough to win over. Also the fact that after I took to cricket around 1985-86 and the growth of the Australian aura coincided made me an even bigger fanatic of the tour of Australia. Ever since 1998 when Sachin after being made a bunny in the first innings by Warne in Chennai churned up that brilliant 155* the battles between these two teams have been most engrossing and mouth watering. The only abberations could be the 1999 tour of India where they were white-washed and subsequently M S Dhoni paying the favour back on Australia’s last tour of India where they beat them 2-0 in a series of 4.

Those two series apart the 2001 series was one of the best ever seen by me, if not the best ever played, where the world champion team was brought down to ground by rookies. Waugh’s Australians were on a record streak of consecutive Test victories they had won 15 consecutive tests and came to India to Mumbai. Waugh billed it as the Final Frontier for this all conquering team and India had a new captain and were without Anil Kumble. It seemed the Final Frontier was going to fall. Whilst India had a slender chance when Australia were 99/5 in their first innings in Mumbai the game changed after Gilly and Haydos decided to simply sweep the Indian off-spinner, apparently turning the ball square, to individual hundreds. The Aussies thereafter romped to victory after 3 days. I was in Wankhede to see that pasting we got. :(

Surely, after 16 consecutive test wins it was only upto Steve Waguh’s men to turn up at Kolkata and victory would be theirs. India were following on with a deficit of 274 runs and it was all but over. The biggest optimist of Indian cricket could not have fathomed what was to come. Two men batted as if they were possessed, the best bowling line up of my era had gone wicketless a full day, a Hyderabadi artist would collar the world’s best leg spinner and a defiant Banglorian would not cave in. They scored and scored and scored, the bowlers went from grumpy to red hot angry to eventually wow at the contest and applaud what they had just witnessed. Herculean efforts was what it took to stop Mcgrath and Warne and deny them a wicket one whole day. The last day a young brash captain inspired his equally brash off spinner and they decimated the World Champion batting line-up in little over 2 sessions. The visions of that Test Match and the mad crowd of Eden Gardens is stuff of Legends.

India took the final Test in Chennai and it was 2-1.

Indian cricket turned a new chapter in their history, for me Indian cricket has two era’s one before this series and one after this series.

The 2003-04 series which was seen as a chance to avenge the rude shock in 2001 by the world Champions. Quite contrary to the talks of Chin Music it turned out to be one of India’s best batting display down under. The Australian’s were wowed by the batting line-up and they genuinely even admitted that at times they got a feeling the Indian batsman were meditating!!!  India failed to seize the initiative in Sydney where they didn’t enforce the follow-on in the last Test after being 1-1. Winning in Australia still eluded India.

Australia finally won a Test series in India with a stand in captain, India was robbed of their chance in Chennai by rain and the series went 2-1 to Australia.

The following tour of India to Australia under Anil Kumble in 2007-08, was most troublesome and the Aussie captain was lambasted for his win at all costs attitude. Anil Kumble’s remark of only one team was playing in the spirit of the game after Sydney rankled the Aussie media and public and they all went after their team, after being 2-0 down India put on a steely performance that mirrored the image of their captain and they won a famous victory. Once again Australia had won 16 consecutive test matches and were poised to win their 17th in their favourite hunting ground where astonishingly India stopped them and although India couldn’t push victory in Adelaide the 2-1 series ensured India’s pride was restored and Australians were left with a victory 2-1 but a bitter taste in their mouth.

Then began the Aussie fall and India’s rise and India blanked them 2-0 in a 4 test series. This series was slightly one sided with India going to become the best team in Test Cricket atleast in terms of ranking.

Now in 2011 on Boxing Day these two teams take will be in combat once again on the biggest stage of all at the MCG. This time though both teams don’t seem confident, which is new for the Australians, especially in Australia. Plagued by injuries and form loss they converge on the most awaited Test Series of the year. Its this series that will make some careers where as some will bid good bye to their legendary careers.

I can’t wait for tomorrow to see Sehwag take strike and Pattinson bowl to him with wind behind his back. Its show time… let the games begin !!!!! :D No I am too superstitious to make any predictions. :) **touchwood**

Hey btw I read this very encouraging and interesting article inquiring when is the first 500 in tests going to be scored !!! No prizes for guessing who is the batsmen being expected to do this  ! He is no one else but our very own Veeru :) :) :) and the writer and Australian !!!!!!

Time for an encore Veeru !!!!

Cheers to this love, hate & admiration between Indian and Australian Cricket !

PICS Courtesy : Cricinfo.com

so begins the world cup !

Yes…. the world cup has started and I have not yet made a single cricket post !!!!!! Geeez…. !!!! If only I would be able to sit more on the computer.

I even missed the most colourful opening ceremony live… and the pre show for the India Bangladesh match… but I was there before the national anthems started… ! I frantically drove my scooter from office parked it and made a dash to the hall & put the TV on.

Albeit I am not the biggest fan of T-20 and ODI cricket, I am a die hard Test Cricket fan, however my favourite team India must be watched in all forms.

Over the years I have always blindly supported them, I can never hear anything against them. Yes I do take in the criticism about their play, but if someone talks about their intentions being malicious or their integrity or anything other than their cricket, they immediately become my non liked people !!!! I seriously hate such people, infact wonder why they watch or discuss cricket if they think so…

Yes… do take note of that.

I consider myself to be their biggest fan, I never quit watching even when they are losing. I always have my logic that all will leave the team when they are losing but how can I leave my heroes when they are having a bad day. Infact if I were asked if Cricket was my first love or the Indian team… I did really have a tough time replying to it.

My team is my team and I dream of being in the midst of them in the dressing room one day… STILL !!!!

Sigh….. AMEN… !!!

Anyways… for this World Cup I am too scared to make my prediction… I dont want to jinx anything… ! I wont discuss my team and their strengths and their chances…. Let it just wait till the cup ends… !!!! I am praying and hoping for an Indian Victory.

But before I would end the post… following are the 3 new young players that I think are going to be the ones to watch out for in this world cup and the future… !

Virat Kohli – well this post is a day late… he already proved quite a bit… but he is the one to watch out for in the future… A huge future I think lies ahead for this starry eyed boy… !!!! and I mean HUGE !

Darren Bravo – I think this junior of Dwayne is a sensational batsman though I would like to see a bit more of him…there are so many shades of Lara in his style… ! Watch out for him !!!

Steve Smith – I think this Aussie Leg Spinner is very talented, however I think the Australians dont give him enough backing. He has a lot of potential… lets see how the Aussies use him…

and I have lots of predictions… but I will keep them to myself… !!!! I am too Superstitious to share them… !!!!!!

For the moment I guess all of you sit back and just enjoy the Runs… yes there will be wickets too but few and far in between…

God save the bowlers this World Cup !!!!!!

The Renaissance Man

French meaning of the word : Renaissance : from ri- “again” and nascere “be born”

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“The key to change… is to let go of fear” – Rosanne Cash

Accepting changes to the norm is never easy, bringing them in is even more difficult even more so when it involves getting others around to accept that change and get them to channelise their energies towards the change…. If ever an Indian were to be named the man who brought about a change to Indian cricket it would have to be Sourav Ganguly.


SOURAV GANGULY – The man who taught us to look in the eye of the enemy and not blink !

People who have followed Indian cricket closely since the late 80’s to till date would definitely know what has changed. Indian cricket was a bunch of talented cricketers before in the twentieth century. Some magnificient players, super talented who on their day could single handedly put any team down but consistently and regularly be beaten by a more organised unit. The twentieth century also witnessed an Indian team who were tigers at home, however the less said about our performances abraod the better. A few victories apart, cricketers abroad licked their lips at the prospect of a visiting Indian team.

However in the beginning of the 21st century one temperamental Bengali often termed as spoiled child or quota player was given the reins of the Indian team at its nadir.

India under Sachin had been badly bruised in Australia 3-0 in tests. In 8 one dayers against Pakistan and Australia we managed to win 1, incidentally in that 1 ODI win it was Sourav who scored a century. Coming back from that tour Sachin had lost the will to lead but he was asked to carry on for the South Afrian Tests and that was the time disaster struck and the Proteas sneaked the Test Series which was after a very long time that a visiting test team won a series in India.

Ganguly was made ODI captain and we won the series against Africa but that was not the headlines, it was Hansie Cronje…

People lost faith, people like me who loved the game dreaded discussing it as people would only say one thing… Its FIXED !

Sigh…

Indian cricket couldnt be any lower than that point… faced with another THRASHING… as Steve Waugh’s side was to tour India. This Steve Waugh side was being compared to the invincibles of Bradman. They were the best team that ever was, better than the windies in the 80’s as they even had a spinner and were not only reliant on pace. It was all conquering and they didnt even play draws. The only thing missing in Steve Waugh’s portfolio was a Test Series Win in India…

They had won 15 consecutive Tests and won the first in Mumbai inside 3 days convincingly to make it 16 in a row. In Eden Gardens in the second Test India were staring down the barrel having been made to follow on. The only hope India had was if Steve Waugh inflicted the follow on. Steve Waugh was ultra aggressive and in the process he left a door open for India. It was slight, but in the second innings what followed was mind boggling as two men played as if possessed. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted out the fourth day without losing a wicket.

On the fourth day evening after Harsha Bhogle interviewed VVS & Rahul he went to Sourav to discuss how would the match progress and Sourav just put his hand around Harbhajan and told Harsha this guy will win me the test match tomorrow and the rest as they say, is history!!!!!!

Yes, Sourav will forever be indebted to VVS and Rahul who enabled the fightback, but leadership is about belief, it would have been not at all a worthy Test had it been drawn. The belief that Sourav had in Bhajji and the confidence he gave his players was something extraordinary.

“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

More than just the victory in this series one thing was most noticeable, the Aussies are sledging champs and they prided in the fact that they never could be gotten back at. This was the series, this was the time when the Indians learnt to give it back as good as they got. No one could get away saying what they liked. The new confident India which was economically becoming a strong power now seemed evident on the cricket field.

Sourav’s keen eye for talent has given India discoveries that we are still gushing about. Sehwag, Yuvraj, Zaheer, Dhoni they all came in while Sourav was at the helm.

I also remember this particular story when Mr. Pradeep Magazine was going to a Indian Airlines match and met Sourav on the way and he told him to watch out of the the keeper, saying he was a “Chabook Player” !!!

That Chabook Player is no one else but our own M S Dhoni !!!!

Yes, it was Sourav who told Veeru that he is too good a player to be sitting out and that while there was no space in the middle order he must open the innings and today we all gush about our greatest possession in Virender Sehwag’s Dare Devil Act.

Sourav’s belief in his men and the confidence and security he provided them led to some famous overseas wins like Headingly and Adelaide. Indian team was no longer just one or two talented spinners or a wristy batsman… They were a team, a galvanised team. Not many captains preceeding Ganguly could claim that feat.

Sourav’s contribution to Indian cricket cannot be measured, but all who follow Indian cricket understand what changed since 2001.

Another favourite Sourav story…

When Andrew Flintoff in Mumbai after equalling a ODI series took off his T-shirt and ran amok in Wankhede, Ganguly caught on camera smashed a bottle of water in disgust as his team was unable to pull off the series win. The hurt man never forgot this act it was to be returned yes, a world record chase by two young kids was set up and the response to the series levelling win in Mumbai was a series win in England. Yes the brash in Sourav was out there at its best on the Balcony when he took off his T-shirt and waved pronoucing the choicest words… !!!!! The guy didnt forget and yes, what was given to him was returned with interest.

Hisaab Chukta...... !!!!

We were most proud then Sourav… Most proud even now of you… !!!!! As you hang your boots and retire from cricket you can rest assured you will never retire from our hearts, we shall always remember you as a man who changed Indian cricket forever, the man that brought in the change, the man that injected the steel, the man who galvanised the team.
handing over the baton... !
Your contributions are second to none !!!!

bring them on…

Corrie van Zyl has fired the opening Salvo by saying records dont lie and India’s record in South Africa wouldnt scare anyone… He also feels the pace and bounce of South African conditions would be of trouble to the Indians. That playing in IPL in Africa wouldnt help…

Steyn has plans for Sehwag…

Morne Morkel awaits duel with dangerous openers…

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The more these opponents fire salvo’s and keep announcing statements I kinda love it. I think it will only deepen the resolve of this team. Captain cool Dhoni rarely reacts, but I am sure he is listening, so is Sehwag and Co.

This is the beauty of Test Cricket, this build up, the threats from the opposition bowlers to knock the block off the batsmen. This talk of Chin Music I am just loving it. Now each and every time an Indian batsman will sway or hook or comfortably play the bouncer it will just gladden my heart. This is the moment of reckoning, the Indian batsmen can brace for some short, pacy stuff…

Thank God we have Ishant, SreeSanth and Zaheer to give it back. This will eventually prove to be the difference. Lets see who utilises the seamer friendly conditions more… !!!!!!!

As much as I want Sehwag to deliver and perform in this series, I somehow have a very sneaking suspicion it will be Gambhir and Ishant who will win the honours in their respective departments.

One day to go… and the adrenalin couldnt be pumping any harder…

Enough of talking, time for some action…. bring them on… sez me… !

The journey into the unknown

It is always good to be on familiar territory and show case your skills. Its always easier and you perform at ease in comfort and probably give out your optimum performance. You can also at times be lax and get away with it. But true champions are those who perform in adverse conditions, under pressure, when the opposition is baying for their blood…

On 16th December Indian cricket will begin another one of such tests. The series in South Africa begins and India will be looking to forget their ghosts of the past and actually put one across the Proteas. India has managed to win just 1 out of 12 test matches in South Africa. South Africa even more than Australia has been a difficult country to tour for India. These two frontiers are still not captured by the Indian team and I will only feel our team is the best one if they can win a test series in Africa and Australia, that will be the true benchmark. Something I am sure the ageing stars would love to have in their CV. I will stick my neck out and say even more than the world cup !!!

Amazingly India has always been able to bring out their best when playing Australia, even when touring down under. However against the Proteas somehow the same cannot be said. Last time we toured South Africa, we were 1-0 up, but, then suddenly the lack of experience of winning in hostile environments came about, India played defensively trying to hold on to their 1-0 lead and some unexplicable batting led to us losing the series 2-1. However the scenes after the 1st test in South Africa are still fresh in my mind. SreeSanth running down the track and smacking Nel for a six and the celebrations after winning the test with Sachin running about trying to pour water on his team mates was something that told you how much it meant to him, and them as a team.

Make no mistake about the fact that Sachin, Rahul, Laxman are probably the ones who want to win the most and not just win but set their own records right, Sachin averages 39.76, Rahul averages 33.60 and Laxman averages 41.11, even Sehwag averages 26.44. India and its famed batting line up have been cut to pieces once too often in South Africa. At times there have been brilliant individual batting performances however they have been few and far in between.

The only test that India have won on the South African soil was because of a blistering spell of bowling by SreeSanth, who to be fair has not delivered any performance anywhere near to that day in Johannesburg where I could not believe I was reading the score right watching South Africa in tatters !!!!

But the one thing that is different from all other sides that have toured earlier is this team is certainly not lacking in belief, Dhoni and his men surely believe then have it in them to do it. The stalwarts all want to set the record straight and thankfully for a change we have a seam attack where we have 3 really good options.

The batting will surely hold itself up. They might falter once or maybe twice, but its difficult to imagine this line up failing 3-4 times without a decent score. The reason I feel optimistic about this team is if served with green pitches, which I am rather sure they will, this Indian team has the fire-power in the bowling department. I am really hoping that Ishant and SreeSanth can be consistent, fit and provide support to Zaheer. If these three bowl well in the three Test Matches I think India will have the Proteas under immense pressure.

Taking 20 wickets and scoring runs is what is going to win you test matches. Sounds simple doesn’t it ? It is a whole lot more difficult then it sounds. But what India can ill afford to do is to get bogged down in the batting department. I am hoping and praying Rahul will find his touch. His, is a crucial number, he bats at his best when the ball is coming on to the bat and he is trying to score runs. If Sehwag falls early and if Rahul gets bogged down it can be infectious and dangerous for the team. India will have to attack and that does not mean mindless attack but when there is a loose delivery it must not be spared.

“Champions aren’t just optimists. They are people who have risked everything in order to win.” – Serena Williams

India would do well to attack the loose balls and keep the South African pace battery under pressure, for if they allow them to bowl, the four seamers will be relentless and India can play into the hands of the opposition. India has an attacking line-up and it must play that way.

This South African team might not have Smith thanks to his injury and that could be a huge plus, because Smith is a very strong leader and not having him will be an advantage for India.

This tour could well be the make or break for Raina, if he performs in these conditions and is able to overcome his ghosts against the short pitched stuff he would have cemented the no.6 position or else his Test Career may well be destined to just success in Indian conditions. He is the most obvious weakling in the Indian line up and I actually want Pujara in the XI ahead of Raina but the Indian skipper has immense faith in Raina and I think he will be in the first XI starting on 16th. Also Dhoni as a batsman will have to be his own natural self, no more prodding all the time, he needs to bring out his cut and pull and smash them. His performance will have a huge bearing on the psyche of the team.

If Sehwag can succeed and run away with starts then India will be really difficult to hold back, coz if India score runs, this time they certainly have the bowling attack to take on the Proteas. Sehwag & Steyn will be the contest of this Christmas and it will be one where none will take a backward step. It should be really exciting to watch. India must keep Steyn quiet, difficult it will be for sure, coz he bowls a great line and swings it at pace. Morkel will be relatively easier to work with if Steyn is leaking runs. South Africa has their own headaches about their 3rd seamer and Kallis I don’t think is a force he was in the past. This lack of support bowlers could be India’s biggest advantage. Paul Harris I doubt will have a major impact in the series.

Amla and De-villiers will be the men to watch out for in the Proteas team. They are in great form and both of them bat for longer periods of time so India will be hoping they can get them cheaply. It will be an exciting series with so many young batsmen who will be the future icons going at it, Amla, Gambhir, Sehwag, De-villiers et all will hold centre stage. Kallis would probably be his consistent self and drop anchor, he like Dravid will be the critical factor in South Africa’s line-up.

It goes without saying, that I cant wait till the first ball of the Indian innings bowled by Steyn is smashed to the point boundary by Sehwag. However there is a very, very good chance that Steyn would have Sehwag ducking to the first delivery !!!!!!

Nothing calms you like Laxman…

Thats what the team members say… but to say that I was calm, while watching the final moments of the match would be a lie… I was like a cat on a hot tin roof, muting the sound at the end of each over, a silly superstition I have, I think that way we do well… :|

The amount of time that Laxman has while playing is phenomenal, the ease with which he batted actually was unbelievable, Sachin went and so we thought India might, but then the unsung hero stood there calmly… Dhoni ran out… and Laxman, but watched, so went Bhajji but still stood VVS !!!!!

Ishant buckled his chin and decided to take a leaf out of VVS’ book… both batted calmly, risk free and were cruising, Laxman was particularly brilliant during this time and some of the shots were so beautiful you cannot quite imagine that the guy was playing under such huge pressure, but then, Ian Gould erred… and India were surely cursing themselves for not using the UDRS.

Sport can be cruel, but for a change, the God’s smiled and Ojha who was plumb out, wasn’t given, the icing on the cake was that while Ojha was wandering out of the crease, the usually accurate Australians missed and gave away 4 and the rest as they say is history !!!!!

What amazes me is that VVS has played two back to back matchwinning Innings on the last day of a Test match. This is Australia and invariably Laxman preserves his best for them !! It was heartening to see Ishant get behind the line of the ball and gutsying it out.

Ponting will have to wait for his first victory in India, but to be fair, the Australians fought and fought very hard. Unfortunately for them they were on the wrong side.

Test Matches are not the real contest for nothing, this match just tells you that no T-20 or ODI can ever match the frenzy of the last one hour today. The scenes when Ojha ran the last two runs were unbelievable… :D :D :D :D :D

I am sure, Australia will be keen to offer VVS an Australian nationality !!! This is one Indian, I am sure they want to be on their SIDE !!!!! :mrgreen:

Lets not debate who is the biggest match winner for India, lets just gloat over the fact that the team fought and the team won !!!! Lets not forget the bowlers who set the match up for us. Lets not forget the first innings and yes we will most remember VVS’ calm, composed innings.

Finally I can sleep with peace.. actually I just cannot help but feel all elated today, the world just looks so much better today.. ! Cant wait for the next match in Bengaluru !!!!!!!! :P :P :P :P

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P.S. – The biggest joy of the day came, when the calmest of all, VVS, shouted at Ojha and even threatened to hit him with the BAT !!!!!!!!! The scene was the the best !!!!!

images : Cricinfo