If not Lanka, Indians can do it in Africa!

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Monday, September 3, 2001, 16:26 [IST]
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Bangalore: At the end of another away tour, we are practically left pondering with nothing. The enigma of Indian cricket continued as the India balance sheet swayed like a pendulum.

The series at the outset was doomed - at least in the minds of avid cricket fans - as maestro Sachin Tendulkar had to stay out due to a toe injury suffered in Zimbabwe.

There was hope that Sachin would be available for the Test series. That was not to be as he had to consult South African orthopaedic surgeon Dr Mark Fergusson. The Indian spirits were further dampened with the return of V V S Laxman and Ashish Nehra with injuries after the One-day tri-series.

More injury woes plagued India as Srinath - back into Tests after a break - had to return after the end of the first Test with an injured left hand. The many youngsters in the team had opportunities galore. But, for a few one-off performances none of them showed consistency.

Only the tried and tested Rahul Dravid acquitted himself to some extent on the batting front. On the bowling side, Zaheer Khan continued to hold promise. But, he appears to be suffering a niggling shin injury. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should take up the onus of grooming the young speed merchants - Zaheer Khan and Ashis Nehra.

The Indians thus returned empty handed leaving the question "Why does a team with some much of potential always fail to perform?", unanswered. The Indian cricketers have the knack of making the fans put their hearts in their mouths.

The One-day series was no different. After two insipid performances, the Indians came back strongly raising expectations to the sky. But, the final was one another dampener. The Test series followed the same pattern of down, up, down and the dream of an away series victory still remains the same.

But, there is always eternal hope. Thanks to the government decision, the Indians will not participate in the Asian Test Championship. The cricketers get a near one month break and then they get set for South Africa.

So, if not in Sri Lanka, the Indians can at least try in South Africa. Is it asking for too much? Especially as the Indian cricketers will be carrying fat contracts with them.

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