India 1 Pakistan 0; Injuries 2 India 0

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2004, 11:14 [IST]
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What a way to begin a Test series! The Indians dominated the Pakistanis and for now are the 'Sultans of Multan'. It took 72 years but eventually it did happen. An Indian 300! No, not a grand total of 300 but 300 plus from one batsman! Congratulations Virender! Oh! Not to forget the bowlers, especially Irfan Pathan and Anil Kumble who added the icing on the cake.

I have a feeling that Virender Sehwag will equal Don Bradman in the very near future by becoming the second ever to score two triple hundreds in his career. He certainly showed a similar temperament. His batting average has now reached the 50 plus bracket. Don't worry Veeru, one day you will overtake Hayden's 380. You are still young and maturing. Keep your head up high! None of your Indian contemporaries can belittle your performance. Was it a flash in the pan? I don't think so.

As I look in retrospect, Sachin should have reached his 200 while Yuvraj was dominating the Pakistani bowlers. That was no time for him to be circumspect. Ponting and Inzy said they would never have declared in such circumstances (shows they are not egotists) and would've let their mate reach 200. But, a batsman of Sachin's calibre should have accelerated to reach the double hundred. But, India won and that's that.

What concerns me now are the injuries. Zaheer Khan seems to have chronic problems with his hamstring. Is he trying to outdo Ashish in terms of injuries? Does Zaheer need some other exercise regimen to strengthen his leg muscles which are so crucial for a pacer? Does he need to slow down as did Agarkar and bowl within his limitations? Time will tell. This is prime time for Pathan and Balaji to make their mark. But will past record win over current form? That seems to be the mantra of Indian cricket.

The declaration at Multan was explained as the new aggressive approach of Indians. If that was the 'real' reason, great! Now we would like to see it in the selection process too! In case Pathan and Balaji do well, is one of them going to be discarded in the third Test just because Zaheer gets fit? That would be a travesty because during the start of the series Zaheer appeared rusty and then he got injured with the same old hamstring.

Yuvraj Singh said that if he lost his place to Ganguly in the third Test he would not mind. Looks to me like the young man is already prepping his own coffin! Should he really be doing that? In the two innings he's played so far, Yuvraj has scored an entertaining fifty and an enthralling century. Both of those innings had very high strike rates. Is he going to be pushed aside to make way for Ganguly who is yet to play a Test innings in Pakistan? If 'the declaration' was a new dawn for an aggressive Indian approach, isn't Yuvraj being retained a move along the same lines?

What guarantee is there that Ganguly will deliver in the third Test if he is included? Yuvraj has already delivered on both batting occasions thus far. Isn't that proof positive? Or is Indian cricket still into the negatives. If the "picture" of Indian cricket is to be pleasing to look at, then the "negatives" should make way for the "real pictures". The lens through which selections are decided should be focused for what is clear and not what could be or would be. Please, move forward, not backward.

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