Australian streak not tedious but worth admiring

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2005, 11:10 [IST]
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With Aussies back to their winning ways after that brief hiccup in India has many wondering if the Aussies winning non-stop is boring. Instead of viewing it that way look at it as a lesson of what perseverance can do.

The Aussie climb up the ladder in both forms of the game did not come overnight; it took little over a decade to reach there. Now that they are there why be bored about their dominance. It took a lot of shrewd planning, hard work, and tough decisions on the part of the Aussie think-tank to get Team Australia to the present lofty status.

Let them enjoy the fruits of their labour and as for the observers, continue to observe and learn instead of gripe and complain.

The Aussies never went with the TINA (There Is No Alternative) rule which we know the Indian cricket think-tank is famous for. If a player did not perform or got complacent, he found himself consigned to twelfth man duties or simply warming the bench with occasional stroll to the park if any one in the playing eleven is injured or off the field for some reason.

Reputations and past laurels were no saving grace, current form ruled the roost. In following this policy, Australia did endure some defeats. However, everything didn’t happen on a platter. Gradually, the Aussie players in their domestic circuit were challenged to raise their performance by several notches to earn the Baggy Green and we see the results now. Their up and coming talent is truly that "Up and Coming" not "Down and Going" as in another much touted cricket circle. Keep up the good work Aussies! Your winning ways are not boring but exciting and worthy of imitation.

Also there is talk going on that Tendulkar may upend Lara as the fastest to reach 10,000 test runs. However, I believe that he won't due to two reasons: First, Tendulkar is a tired shadow of his former self although he denies it in every interview.

His frame is broken down from negligent overuse. Indian cricket did not allow him to grow gracefully and just did him in by relying too heavily and putting a lot of expectations on him.

Second, India's next series is not against Zimbabwe, but against a wounded Pakistan led by a smart Woolmer. That is a recipe for an Indian disaster. The Indians are on a high after defeating Bangladesh! How sad!

True to our worst fears, this win over the Bangladeshis is not being kept in its proper perspective. If not adjusted quickly, see team India go from the skies to an ignominious defeat in one sickening thud. The Pakistanis have Tendulkar's number and I fear that when they dial it, he'll oblige! Furthermore, if the South Africans win their series against England by a one test margin, it will move India to the number two spot in the ICC Test Championship ranking.

Watch that go to the heads of the pampered Indian bunch quicker than a clap of thunder following lightning. They'll be wined and dined and doted to no end and in the midst of all this, their preparations for the Pakistan visit will be about as bland and blunt as a dish without spices.

Pakistan holds all the trump cards over India. They have quality batsmen who can play spin and in the pace department Sami and Akhtar as much faster than Zaheer and Irfan.

How about Shahid Afridi? How many times has he been India’s nemesis? If the Indian cricketers are not careful, they'll be humiliated on their own home turf. What excuses will they come up with then? Who will come out with their batting and bowling reputation intact?

Isn't it funny? The Indian team makes more progress up the ICC Test rating ladder by not playing than when playing! It seems that every time they play, they do more harm than good to their current ranking.

Are we seeing the Indians preparing for the visit by the Pakistanis? How many pictures of their practise session, if any, are floating on the Web? In contrast, are they running to and fro doing advertising obligations and getting their fitness regimen in that way?

As I had mentioned in an earlier column, even with such a lackadaisical preparation for the Aussie visit, they only lost 2 - 1. Had rain not played spoilsport at Chennai, the outcome could have been 2 - 2? What a good payoff for being under prepared for the Aussie visit that would have been?

Instead of reverting back to old ways, why not pull up your socks Team India and show your fans that the Bangladesh series success is just a rung up the long ladder to success. Don't get carried away and think that now the world owes you the #2 spot for all your "hard work."

That would hardly work out to your benefit. Show that you esteem your place in the playing eleven rather than a favour that everyone owes you. Show that you truly are #2 spot material. True, you'll never catch up with the Aussies and quite frankly, if you don’t mend you lackadaisical ways, you really don't deserve to.

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