Monday, December 7, 2009

We are finally No. 1

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had once said in the 1940s that there are some good aspects of British culture that India should retain post Independence and Cricket was one of them. Almost seven decades later the Lok Sabha (amidst the controversial Librehean Commission Report) congratulated the team and the players of the victorious Indian cricket team for becoming the No. 1 Test team. This shows Cricket is just more than a game in India. Although Hockey remains our national game on papers, Cricket is a part of our popular culture now.

This is for the first time since ICC introduced the ranking system in the last decade. Looking back at the five day version of the game prior to the ranking system many might argue that Indian teams of the past might have come close to being the numero uno star especially Kapil's devils of 1986 season. But technically it is for the first time in 77 years since making out Test debut in 1932 under the leadership of C. K. Nayudu we are the best Test side in the world.

This has been possible due to some superb cricket played by India in the last 18 months where they delivered splendid performance in Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Ganbhir, Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Zaheer Khan all fired at different instance to win matches for India. Unlike T20, Test cricket test the patience of cricketers and it is not for boys (expect if you are a Sachin) but for men.

The reason this team under the leadership of MS Dhoni now and Anil Kumble in the recent past has been because the players have come up with match winning and match saving performances. The only sad part in this jubilant time was the absence of Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble in the team. After all many of the victories in the last two years wouldn't have been possible without these two giants. Indian cricket fans will never forget that it was under Sourav that Indian cricketers started looking at the eyes of the opposition.

As the nation celebrates there is criticism already and it has come form expected quarters. The Australian media slammed India's ranking saying that Team India isn't playing against stronger oppositions. The questions is did they slam Mathew Hayden when he scored 380 against Zimbabwe to hold the highest test score for a brief period? It is difficult for the egoistic Aussies to see some other team at the top and themselves slipping to the third position after being No. 1 for almost the entire decade.

The tough task starts here for MSD and his men considering they have to now retain the spot by keeping up the performance. Although we glorify the batsman Test cricket is all about bowling as you can only win when you take 20 wickets we finally seem to be having an army of speed stars who can take 20 wickets abroad (batsmen can just draw a test match!) Its now that the team's real character will be tested as it is much easier to aim targets set by others than make your own targets.


Paul December 7, 2009 at 5:53 PM  

The Aussies r sore loosers.. We beat then in their own den and if not for that uncle called Steve Bucknor we wld ve won the series there...

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