Have faith in yourselves India!

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2004, 12:40 [IST]
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Now that the tour of Pakistan has been officially approved by the Government of India, Ganguly and his teammates need to look at their past performance in Australia to inspire confidence in themselves to tackle their Pakistani counterparts.

Primarily, the Indian batting was successful in every Test played Down Under. Ganguly succeeded with the bat in the rain curtailed Brisbane Test. Laxman (75 and 24 not out) and Dravid (43 not out off 46 balls) did well with the bat too. Zaheer took a five-wicket haul after some sagacious advice from Bruce Reid, showing that the Indian bowlers can do well Down Under.

In the second Test, Dravid (233 and 72 not out), Laxman (148 and 32 off 34 balls) and Kumble taking a five-wicket haul (which began his ascension to being the highest wicket taker in the series) showed that lightning could strike the Aussies twice in their home turfs. Oh! Not to forget! Agarkar's six-wicket haul leading India to win that Test.

Although India did lose the third Test handily, Sehwag who had been making good scores decided to cut loose and hammer 195, Dravid came good with 92, and Kumble took six wickets. The Aussies had to win one for sure after the tongue lashing Mr Buchanan gave them after their first loss.

Then came the final Test, Tendulkar blasted 241 not out in a record Indian innings score, Laxman once again thundered another hundred and nearly made a double-ton. Kumble took 10 plus wickets in that match and Dravid scored 91 not out which had the Aussies watching the clock for the first time in many years. Thankfully, Steve and his men had not forgotten how to tell time off the clock. India could have won, had Patel not missed crucial stumping chances. However, one thing is for sure, the Aussies were under pressure from the get go.

Pakistan on the other hand lost the most recent series to Australia by three Tests to nil. Mind you, none of those Tests were played either in Pakistan or Australia. Thus, on neutral venues, both teams had equal advantages and the Aussies triumphed.

I vividly remember how Wasim Akram in desperation tried the guilt trip on India by saying that they were afraid to tour Pakistan because of the fear of losing. Well, in the neutral venue of South Africa, India beat them handily in the World Cup, with Akram, Younis, and Akhtar in the bowling attack.

In view of the foregoing, the Indian team should dwell on the things that made them win. In addition, they were the only ones to give a good challenge to the Aussies Down Under, handling Gillespie and Lee very well.

Work on your strengths India! Don't let those pale into the background. Go into Pakistan with your heads held high. Pakistan is a good team, however, on current form the odds are favouring you India! Go for it and may the best team win! India, it may very well be you!

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