I would not be a true supporter if I chose not to comment today just because I decided not to, about two weeks ago, when the times were a bit different and the future was hazy. Now however, it is perhaps ok for India and us, to soak in on all the adulations only for a day at the maximum. More work is at hand, guys.
But first, I have some really strong things to say about the commentary at Adelaide. Extremely partisan to say the least. Throughout the last two days of the match, at least during the sessions India was batting, one constant item of discussion was the Barbados Test of 1997, which by the way is about a light year old (well, a light year in terms of cricketing form). We have had 2 World Cups after that, almost the same number of away wins by India since then as they had in the previous 20 years, a new world record for the max runs in an innings, a team that won the maximum number of tests in a row - all records involving the atleast one team that was playing in Adelaide and still.... All the talk was of Barbados. This statement took the cake - "This pitch is similar to the one at Barbados where India collapsed for 81 chasing 120". Duh... Is comparing pitches - where the runs scored in one is almost double the runs on another, any relevant?
And read this extract from the match report - It is doubtful if any batting line-up, the Australians included, could have repelled West Indies yesterday. Franklyn Rose was outstanding in an opening spell of 9-2-19-3. He produced three near-unplayable deliveries to take the first three wickets in the first hour, giving his side the belief they could carry off a victory even they must have thought unlikely. It rivals the one here against South Africa in 1992 when West Indies took the last eight wickets for 26 to win by 52 runs.
Rose, whose length and direction were spot on, immediately removed Navjot Sidhu with a snorter that reared up just short of a length, took the glove and flew to third slip. Rahul Dravid was equally helpless when Rose got one to lift and leave him. Courtney Browne took a regulation catch.
Rose reserved his best delivery for Venkata Laxman, who had his off stump clipped by a leg-cutter. Laxman played inside the line and walked off shaking his head.
This pitch was no way similar to Barbados where bounce was very very uneven where as here, other than the rough, the bounce was true and never over the knee, unless the bowler pitches on his half. And I can safely say that the Windies attack comprising of Ambrose, Bishop and Rose (who had 3, 4 and 3 wickets respectively in that innings) were anyways a better bowling attack than the present Aussie lineup which sorely misses frontline bowlers plagued by injuries. So why were people comparing the two scenarios at the end of the 4th day? Duh.....
If one of the Channel Nine people are reading this or if someone knows them, it should be brought to their notice that Australia collapsed to India in 1981-82 for 83 chasing 142. So their record chasing totals while under pressure is not worth carping either. And will the Indian media stop giving newsprint inches to the Australian (ghost-written?) diaries. I am sure the Australian newspapers did not carry Laxman's quote that the Australians are beatable. When are we gonna learn that we don't gain anything from knowing what others think about us. The team seems to have learnt, but is the Indian media working against the team in this regard?
However even the Australian media pundits (the team's diary writers - Waugh and Ponting incl.) have almost done a volte-face. At the post match talk with Steve Waugh (Saurav Ganguly could not be found for a comment immediately after the match where as Steve was cornered right at the edge of the boundary as he was coming in), Tony Greig asked him what he felt about his record of losing just two home Tests in his 5 year reign as captain. Steve's reply conveyed more about the Aussie dread about losing the series (even more than Ponting's second day comment that the follow-on will not be enforced). He said "I hope it stays at 2". Way to go India!!!!.
The Australian media is now similarly mixed with their comments about the outcome of the series. A mere glance at the cricket section at the Sydney Morning Herald bolsters my opinion. These are the six headlines relevant to the test series on that page.
1. 1-0 India as Dravid slays Goliath
2. Send for the doctor, we've come over all gracious
3. Hussey keen to bring tourists back to earth with a bang
4. One man took the garlands, but this comeback was an amazing team effort
5. Waugh laments lessons of Brisbane sloppiness that went unheeded
6. Pace problem as Dizzy drops, Pigeon grounded
The Indian media and the people from Kolkata (which was incidently and in fact aptly, the word for the foregone on Channel Nine yesterday) have as usual gone overboard and everyone worth a bit of soundbyte is asked to give their opinion. Thank fully, the man at Raisina Hill has been spared, or did I fail to notice his statement, to fulfill his usual duties as usual, but why has no one sought Mr.Lele for his comments? His prophecy about a Aussie win with a 3-0 or a 2-0 scoreline has come to zilch too. Has he gone underground? He deserves to be buried underground!
Well done guys. But as Kirmani mentioned, one party only and back to work again... As I mentioned sometime ago - The battle has perhaps been won, but lest the victors rest, the war is still on. A series should ideally not be decided before the last day of the tour. Give us some good cricket at Melbourne and Sydney. Even the Aussies expect us to do well at Sydney (as the Channel Nine team thought it fit to tell us, even though we were winning at that very moment, mebbe with a performance that was invisible to their learned eyes). Lets live up to their expectations. But before that live up to our expectations and fight on at the MCG. We are behind you!