Australia give India a pounding of a farewell

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 14:38 [IST]
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Australia's reminder to India just before they left could very well read, "You may be able to beat us once or twice, but we can do it more often to you and more convincingly!" That about sums up in a nutshell the VB Series.

Honestly, was anyone expecting India to really win against the Aussies? India performs well in flashes but Australia does it consistently. Flashes of brilliance are momentary, consistency is enduring. India does not have an enduring quality in their cricket - be it ODIs or Tests. Bishen Singh Bedi also mentioned regarding the lack of stamina among the Indians. Now, people may say that Bedi is being too caustic, but, isn't the truth always bitter to bear especially for those who don't want to be confronted with it?

The Indians have always lacked stamina. So what else is new? When Ricky Ponting takes a few matches off to rest, he comes back and bangs all the Indian bowlers over the park ala the first VB Series final. When Matthew Hayden takes some time off, he comes back and bludgeons the Indian bowling in the second VB Series final. That is stamina.

Now let's take a look at the Indians. Sehwag comes back from injury and he performs with the bat as if he is still injured. Tendulkar comes back from a layoff and performs like he is still on vacation! These two show flashes of brilliance and not consistency. They blow hot one day and Arctic and Antarctic cold the next. Ditto for the bowlers.

Another thing that puts the Aussies light years ahead of the Indians is comebacks. After being the first of the two to lose a Test match in the recently concluded series, the Aussies came back like a hurricane, cyclone, and tornado put together to whip India in the very next Test.

Had India been the first to lose a Test in the recently concluded series, we would have seen them lose the rest without a shred of fight. Case in point, the VB Series final. One could see clearly that when the second final began none of the Indians came to the field to win. They just came to fill the gaps.

Had India won the first of the best of three finals, we would have seen the Aussies win the second for sure and then the third. That's the fight and endurance in the Aussies, something the Indians don't have and will always lack no matter how many psychologists and shrinks they go to.

The die-hard doting Indian fans should not be angry over their idols not being ranked highly in the international arena. It takes consistency, not flashes of brilliance to be reckoned worthy of the top spots. The Indian players get tired very quickly. However, Bedi should not come down too hard on his countrymen because he himself was not much of a stamina guy or gutsy man himself.

Ricky Ponting said it best, had Parthiv Patel not muffed easy stumping chances, India could very well have won the Test series. But, remember, consistency is not in the Indian scheme of things only flashes of brilliance, and that too few and far in between.

So now India is confronted with two problems with a population of a billion plus as its resource - one world-class fast bowler (with stamina and consistency) and one world class wicketkeeper (with consistently safe gloves). For India, that really is asking for too much.

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