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Are Indians bad winners?

By Gaurang - 21 Oct, '02
October 21 2002

India just crushed a talented but poorly led and motivated Windies team, and the media and experts in India are already busy lamenting the fact that the new Windies aren't a shadow of the Windies of old. But has anyone considered that the new Indians are not the Indians of old?

When was the last time that the Indians displayed the consistency and hunger to win they have done so far?

In over 30 years of following Indian Cricket I do not recall a single instance where not one but two key members of a team confidently said to the media "We will win in 4 days" as both Sehwag and Bhajji did, and then make good on their word!

They are taking the "mental" game to the opposition, without having the Captain - the force behind the team - being taken to task by the ICC for "belittling" the opposition, or some other such "offence" they are liable to dream up. Now, Ganguly can instead appear magnanimous in victory like a true winner and wax philosophical about the shocking decisions he has received from the umpires in each of the two innings he has played in this series so far (blatantly wrong LBWs, both inside the first few balls, both from Ashocka De Silva). Damning the umpires with faint praise and suggesting the way forward at the same time. Brilliant!

Another sign of change is the increasing non-reliance on Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin is a magnificent batsman, a superbly alert and thinking fielder, a very useful bowler, and a great team player. But he is now only one of eleven. This is how it should be.

Yet another sign of India's hunger for victory was the way Sehwag stepped it up into overdrive when the rains threatened to delay or derail the Indian victory. He couldn't care less about personal batting average or "being there" when the winning runs came. All he wanted to do was make sure India won...

Why don't our media and experts focus more on the Indian positives instead of the Windies negatives? How about looking at:

  • how well our tailenders batted under pressure
  • how superbly young Parthiv Patel kept wicket to spinners and pacemen alike
  • how well fast men Zaheer and Srinath bowled on a flat pitch
  • how solid our openers looked
  • and of course, how ruthlessly Harbhajan and Kumble shot out the opposition on a track that, after all, simply wasn't as much a turner as the articles want you to believe. Even Hooper said it was a fine wicket, much better than many others they have played on.

One positive aspect that the media did celebrate was the fact that Sachin's unusually below-par effort fetched him 20,000 runs, a first for an international cricketer. Who cares? Not Sachin, I'm sure. This is the cult of personality over team that has hurt India in the past.

Jay notes: The focus of the new Indian team is on ONENESS (all eleven players performing as a unit) not on ONEMAN (Sachin Tendulkar). That's a recipe for success in a team sport like cricket.

It is about time the media and fans STOP feeling sorry for the Windies and celebrate India's superiority in every department of the game. So what if the Windies are in the dumps right now? Crushing them feels good and it still requires professionalism to beat them inside 3.5 days in both Tests. It is very small payback for all the crushing defeats India has received at West Indian hands in the past, including 5-0 wipeouts in the Carribean and thrashings at home.

I for one am totally enjoying this! As the poster said, "Yeh Dil Maange More!"

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