It was heady stuff today by Tendulkar and Nehra

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2003, 5:11 [IST]
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Bangalore: India's emphatic win over England would have warmed the cockles back home all over again. Every nook and corner will be buzzing with this win with the whole of India caught in a dizzy.

I had thus far refrained from writing a piece on India after I initially wrote one after its first match against Holland.

I did not want to write one on the match against Australia because as I had mentioned in my piece on the that it was essential that we don't rub salt into wounds or in other words be critical of our team at this point in time. By this point in time I mean, while in the midst of the tournament because that is not going to do them any good.

After the battering the Indians took against Australia I chose not to key in a few lines because it was pretty difficult to say anything on that match without being critical.

And frankly speaking, I did not want to read much into the Zimbabwe and Namibia match; however, overwhelming the performance.

So I was waiting for India's next big test after the Australia match to see how the Indians accounted for themselves.

And boy, are they looking good!

After all the battering they have taken off the field they sure do look to have shaken off their slumber and are back to doing business.

In my I had mentioned India will set the alarm bells ringing by putting up a few box office hits. Well, today's was the first of them and probably they will have a few more.

For the kind of stars they have on show it is highly improbable that they will lie low for long and so it was inevitable that India conjured up a few big wins. But will they be able to turn this into much bigger things is the question in contention?

Well, I had thought otherwise because I feel against more professional sides India is still found wanting in a few areas.

But I had mentioned that I hope they prove me wrong, and only time will be the judge of that.

Coming back to today's performance. I must admit it felt like India was in a totally 'different zone'; a phrase that we normally paint the Aussies with.

Sachin was simply scintillating but that is something that we know he is capable of. But to see Nehra perform the way he did (in fact Srinath and Zaheer too) was simply out of this world. It sure was heady stuff out there.

The Kaif run out, the Flintoff catch added to the drama and it all seemed like a dream out there.

I must admit that although I am a supporter of this Indian team, I am critical of the way Ganguly conducts himself and of his batsmanship in the 5-day version. And he hasn't done much to change that opinion of mine, although he looks to be much less arrogant in his ways than those initial days.

But when credit is due I have no hesitation in giving it and I must say he needs to be patted on the back today for the way he has backed his horse. He was certain he needed a third seamer and not a second spinner and he stuck to his guns in spite of criticism.

He also has done well to step down from that opening slot that he clung on to with so much of fervour. Albeit he did it after a lot of hesitation, it's always better late than never.

But I must throw in a note of caution here. All seems rosy when things are going well - your bowlers are firing, your fielders are taking everything that is coming their way and your batsmen are firing again, but the true test is when things get hotter and you are faced with tougher opposition.

India has done well to find its feet at the WC and probably looks to be peaking again. But its true test of ability will be as the tournament progresses and that is when they will have to hit the high road.

Lets hope for India's sake they do hit the high road and bring home the glory. It is tough but not impossible. If Tendulkar can continue in the same vein, and Sehwag and Ganguly can join the party, well it could just be India's cup.


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