The focus shifted from longest version to the shortest than shorter version. Few pairs of old legs (in fact just one, the other pair of legs were dropped in India itself) for the ODIs and as usual, there was lots of hype and hoopla from cricket greats like Surinder Khanna, Nikhil Chopra, Vijay Dahia, Saba Karim etc. The 20-20 champions got themselves thrashed in the only T20 match and the batting started poorly with team bundled out for 190 odd in the first ODI. But the bowlers did a terrific job as they had been doing all summer to restrict Australia at 51/3 when rain god decided to party. It was “got out of the jail” situation for both the sides. The experts voiced their opinions about how the team is missing experience in batting line up and all that. But we reached the final without taking out the calculators in the last league match of the tournament which has been our tradition. We comprehensively defeated Australia in the first of the final something which most of the current Australian players would not have seen – opposition winning comprehensively.
Now, Australia being the world champions can still beat us to lift the last of the tri series trophy and it is still very much possible. If they do, they deserve it. But that won’t take any credit away from the current Indian side. And selectors deserve some credit for it which they normally do not get.
India has a lot of positives to take from this tour. First is the fast bowlers department. Zaheer Khan maintained the tradition of returning back home after the Boxing Day test. S Sreesanth was already enjoying the Kerala winters. But RP Singh took it over from in and he found a very capable Ishant Sharma in him. Zaheer’s absence meant Irfan Pathan’s MoM on his comeback test match. RP lasted till the second or third day of the last test match. But Ishant Sharma, Sreeshanth who was back for ODIs, Irfan Pathan did well in the ODIs with the all rounder getting wickets as well as few runs. So far, Praveen Kumar has done well.
In batting, Gautam Gambeer has been extremely good although he wasn’t facing the best bowling side in the tournament because that was his own side. Apart from being solid behind the stumps, Dhoni was solid with the bat as well. He showed the glimpses in tests as well though without any big scores – remember those crucial 38 in Perth? His approach to the batting, calmness and disaster management technique have been really impressive. Rohit Sharma has also shown some talent. Biggest worries have been Yuvraj but may be he is not fit because he injured his knee while fighting with Ranbeer Kapoor. With two Sharmas doing so well, a third Sharma from other side of sexual divide might offer some help.
One big positive from launching a new side in Australia against Australia – You have seen the toughest. If you survive here, you will survive in most of the situations against most of the opposition. The same could be said about this side. So irrespective of the outcome of the finals, we have a few good probable for the future in form of Gambheer, Sharmas, Praveen Kumar, Chawla apart from the Dhonis and Pathans. With RP and Zaheer expected to be fit in near future, I hope we use the bunch of fast bowler intelligently so that next time Zaheer spends the New Year in Australia. Future, at least now, does not look that bad in ODIs. For tests, we need to start the phase out process.
Although, If we win tomorrow or in the 3rd match, Dhoni and his team might well get the second open bus ride in the same financial year. But if the result turns out to be same as test series result, good luck selectors. Supporters of the oldies would be sharpening their pens, mouths and swords while we are appreciating the efforts of this team.
Lets all hope Brisbane throws a good party for Gilly’s and Hogg’s farewell.