While the people were busy celebrating this year’s diwali, the Indian cricket team was busy celebrating another diwali – the death of the complacent and lazy attitude. They too burst crackers at Nagpur, Mohali, Jaipur and Pune. In fact Dhoni sent a lot of rockets (10 of them) in Jaipur and gave the perfect Diwali gift on the eve of the grand day. Soon after Diwali the team came up with a home series win, first time in about 20 months.
One thing is for sure, Ganguly is going to have one hell of a time trying to get into the team where once he was the proud prince. There is no doubt in that he is a world class player and he can get to his best form sooner, but form wasn’t his problem. (A rigorous practise can save him against the fast bowlers) It was his ATTITUDE and they don’t change too soon. I am not very sure if Greg said only truth in his mail, but there were certainly glimses of what every Indian felt about Ganguly at that stage. His running between the wickets was pathetic to say the least and his attitude of keeping the strike (running 2s instead of pushing 3s and even stopping those who did push) was too bad.
He built this team when it was in shambles. Azar was convicted of match-fixing and the team was at its dead end. Ganguly stepped in and turned things for the team. He was a captain who lead from the front and showed all the way. His aggression kindled a hunger in the youngsters and he nurtured them in their growth. But at one stage about 3 years ago (just after the world cup), Ganguly started suffering from ATTITUDE problems. He was trying to ride on the occasional wins and instead of making him and the team any better, he started to avoid problems. And that is where the trouble started.
But old days are gone by. When they started to chase 298 and Tendulkar was out in the very first over, I said ‘Not again’ and waited for the rest to crumble. But surprise, As I was waiting for Dhoni to play a rash shot and get out, he went on to hit 183 and that rash shot never came. What more, he seemed to have decided to stay till the end. But the closer match was the 4th ODI when chasing 261 almost everyone contributed. Tendulkar and Yuvraj went in quick succession leaving india 34/2. In came Dravid and he is no more the old Dravid who takes time to settle. Straight away he took the match under his control. Sehwag looked a lot mature too and they went on to around 130. When Sehwag was out I did not expect Venugopal Rao to hit 38 of 37 deliveries and help Dravid. But the greates surprise was when India was 180/6 and requiring 80 runs from 81 balls, in came Dhone and Raina and they played absolutely superbly. Raina made 39 from 30 balls while Dhoni played so sensibly that I thought I was dreaming. He finished the match in style with 2 sixes of arnold (He finished the earlier game too by hitting a 6 off Dilshan) and made 45 in 40 deliveries.
I just pray that this young team should always feel this hunger for victory and even when they lose they must ensure that they fight till the end.