हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Arduous task awaits the men in blue!

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2004, 16:54 [IST]
 
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After their stupendous roll over African minnows Kenya, it's the Pakistanis whom India has to counter next. Surely, India needs to view Pakistan not as a tropical storm but as a hurricane, cyclone and twister all rolled into one. Every hurricane has an "eye", so does Pakistan - a man named Shahid Afridi. Coach Bob Woolmer has definitely transformed him to a force to reckon with, both with the bat and the ball. Even the Pakistan team has been been graded to a "Hurricane Warning" from a less lethal "ropical Storm".

With master blaster Tendulkar cooling his heels outside the playing arena for more than a month now, the Aussies hopes of conquering the final frontier and make Steve Waugh proud, have brightened to a large extent but this is not meant to undermine the abilities of the other guys in the Indain side.

The Indians have looked listless so far and the absence of Tendulkar is filling up India’s cup of woes. Winning one match and that too against Kenya is hardly any solace. It is sad and depressing to see the Indians paint a rosy picture after the win over the Africans. That is definitely indicative of their confidence levels dipping instead of soaring up.

Sachin's elbow injury has been a body blow for India. Even if he had not sustained the elbow injury, the strapping Hayden would still have overtaken him in the ODI rankings for the simple reason that he has been amazingly consistent unlike Tendulkar's who of late has mellowed down late as far as playing slam-bang cricket is concerned. No doubt, Tendulkar is trying to build an innings these days probably on instructions from the team management and in the process losing his consistent flow of runs.

From the looks of it, the Tendulkar could even be forced to give the first test against the Aussies in Bangalore a miss. In that case, we'll definitely see the Aussies have a head-start over the Indians. Will the Indians then be able to rise to the occasion and repeat their superb performance dished out down under?

How about Ajit Agarkar- Hasn't the Mumbai lad rubbed salt to Tendulkar's wounds by bowling a rising delivery to Tendulkar when the latter just padded up to get some much-needed batting practice as he was confined to the comforts of his dressing room as he wasn't able to lift the cricket bat let alone doing anything else. He could have been better off maiming the opposition than injuring any of his own teammates?

Talking of the Champions trophy, the Aussies looked well equipped to lay a claim to the coveted trophy. Can India be a thorn in their flesh yet again? That can only happen if India manages to put it across Pakistan. If the Indians are swept aside in that game, the next stop is a much-hyped Test series against Australia.

Significantly, from the Indian point of view their morale has hit a low ebb and only a Champions Trophy triumph would bring back their self-belief they badly need at this point of time. I feel sorry for coach John Wright, for the New Zealander has his hands full in stitching a winning combination ever since our boys stepped into the new season with the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

However, on the positive front, Rahul Dravid deserves more than a pat on his back for the two awards he garnered at the ICC awards ceremony and nobody deserves it more than the Bangalorean. New kid on the block Irfan Pathan also deserves accolades for being the best emerging player. He is truly a hard working cricketer and can be a learning example for some bowlers in the side!

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