has taken two short of a couple of decades to achieve this
distinction. It has taken years of misgivings, mistakes, shortcomings
and shortchanges before the final mix was prepared and ready.
It has taken years of toil, effort and teamwork to finally
rock the infamy over. This team certainly stands over the
rest that has ever worn a crest emblemed cap, for it has certainly
accomplished the deed that lured the public ever since India
started to compete at the international level - beating the
enemy in its own backyard convincingly and comprehensively.
Pales before this distinction, the processions that carried
burning effigies of the senior members, when they failed,
the arm chair critics who shot off their mouths and wielded
their pens, tearing through the team, even for their natural
and inevitable mistakes and finally the lingering doubt that
this team could be THE ONE that would go down as the true
dream team in the annals of the Indian cricket history.
at the leader before you at the team, quoted an erstwhile
famous cricketer. Haughty, brash, opinionated, impulsive,
arrogant, volatile and fragile are just some of the adjectives
that come to mind when the image of Saurav Ganguly flashes
in the mind, especially when the going is getting tough and
the image of locked brow captain shouting at his troops, in
the veil of commandeering it, is displayed on the television
monitors. Aggressive, demanding, uncompromising, result-oriented,
ruthless are just some of the adjectives that appear on the
other side of the coin, when the every move and every tactic
that he makes and he takes seems to pay off and yield rich
dividends. Whatever quality one would attribute Ganguly to
or whatever adjective one would associate
Ganguly with, he remains as the one of the finest captain
that India has ever produced - the most winning this and the
most prolific that statistics aside. Raw, animal hunger for
a real brutal win seemed to replace the nice gentlemanly goal
yearning for an earnest victory, which has by far plagued
the Indian cricket team before he took over. If what it took
for a win were a sharp look over a fumbled attempt, a profanity
laden yell at a bumbling comrade - irrespective of the meritocracy
or seniority, the boiling over aggression and the ultimate
drive to excel - the proverbial Indian captain steered clear
of the above and remained waiting on the sidelines patiently,
for fate to call out his name and award him the highest honor.
Enter Ganguly who has meager respect for authority and short
temper for a patient turn. Opportunities were seized, rules
were trampled, and traditions were side-stepped and destiny
It was so not long ago when a baby face cricketer slogged
Abdul Qadir to successive sixers and plundered 24 runs in
a single over, to announce his arrival to international cricket
in a loud and a clear voice - with his bat doing all the talking.
Soon before his knowing, the Indian team became synonymous
with his name and his successes and failures dictated the
fluctuating fortunes and unfortunate fate of the team single-handedly.
The work horse slogged at every department of the game, trying
to desperately change the fate and fortune of the team, seldom
with succeeding efforts. He drove, he cut, he pulled, he glided,
he turned, he twisted, he tweaked, he zipped, he fell, he
run - but the collective fate of the team could not have changed
with a single minded dedication of a puny looking person.
Success eluded him while statistics held his name high. It
was like having the ability to change everything but his fate.
It was pretty ironic and quite fitting that India re-wrote
its fate, turning over a new leaf, leasing a new life, in
the same soil that Sachin Tendulkar debuted 15 years ago.
rag tag band that was assembled consisted of Rahul Dravid
who was declared unfit for one day play, VVS Laxman whose
confidence might have been dented beyond repair by repeated
walks in and out the team, Virendar Sehwag who was considered
to have no technique whatsoever, Kumble - the non-turning
tweaker whose charm and spell did not extend beyond the country's
boundaries, the pace bowlers, who were only marginally faster
than Kumble but fell way behind the international standards
dictating speed and pace, the fielding, which was clean and
tidy at best. All the elements fell right in place, when all
the non-performers and under-achievers would be groomed and
ironed out, for that big finale. Recounted right, the path
that the Indian team has taken, would make a great inspirational
tale, if not an exciting movie script. Times were when, the
idea of a foreign coach, a physio-therapist, a psychologist
were laughed at, and all that the team got were job-jugglers,
who were both manager and coach, physio-therapist (read, Iodex
master) and nutritionist, travel arranger and batting coach
and the like. The transition from that period to the current
times, when the question that rages is not whether there should
be a bowling coach but who, is remarkable in regard to the
attitude of the BCCI to support the team, in case of need
and back the team up with solid deeds (contracts), which was
a far cry from yester years, when the relationship between
the board and the players were lukewarm at best.
it happens once, it is a flash; when it happens twice, it
is luck; when it happens thrice, the run is a fluke, and when
it starts happening over and over again, it is much more than
flash, luck and fluke put together, like it is meant to be.
It is a payoff that was long overdue and it is a great yield
that is ripe for harvest. It tows the line of "what we
sow is what we reap".
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