Time for India to rework 2008 tri-series magic

Written by: Aprameya .C
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012, 16:00 [IST]
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India can repeat 2008 tri-series feat

Rewind to 2008. Team India achieved a historic victory in Australia by pocketing the tri-series title. By defeating Australia 2-0 in the best-of-three finals, India, under MS Dhoni, for the first time in Australia, won a tri-nation tournament.

Four years later, Dhoni will lead the team again Down Under in a new tri-series competition and the opponents, like in 2008, are the same - Australia and Sri Lanka. However, this time around Dhoni and his men are a different lot, as they are the reigning world champions having won the crown in April, 2011, in Mumbai.

After a humiliating 4-0 rout against Australia in Tests, India can salvage pride and lift the gloom surrounding the Indian fans by repeating the 2008 heroics.

If at all the team needed an inspiration to erase those bad memories of Tests, they need to look at the videos of both the finals in 2008. They were brilliant. On both occasions, Sachin Tendulkar led the way, making 117 not out and 91.

Competing in the three-match title decider, India won the first contest by six wickets in Sydney and the next by nine runs in a Brisbane thriller on March 4 for a historic success.

Then, India had a bunch of talented youngsters in Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Piyush Chawla, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar and S Sreesanth. The focus was on youth. With some of them also part of the current outfit, those happy memories should help.

Then too India were coming off a Test series loss (1-2) under Anil Kumble and more worrying was the "Monkeygate" controversy involving Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh in Sydney. The players drew inspiration from those lows and in three months time from the Sydney events, they had triumphed in the ODI contests.

That was also captain Dhoni's first major silverware in the 50-over format. Of course, he had won the bigger prize of World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa a few months before the Brisbane accomplishment.

Gambhir had topped the batting charts with 440 followed by Tendulkar (399) and Dhoni (347). If the same three click again and with the emergence of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Rohit, there is no doubt that this Indian team can be successful yet again.

Praveen, with 10 wickets, then, bowled superbly in the second final with figures of four for 46 in 10 overs. The right-handed paceman's swing did the trick. Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma too had memorable outings with 11 wickets apiece.

In Zaheer Khan's absence, Praveen, Sreesanth, Pathan and Ishant Sharma had shouldered the responsibility of the attack. This time around, Zaheer will be the leader of the pack but Ishant has missed out.

Australian crowds are still dreaming of that world record 100th international ton from Tendulkar and if the Master Blaster gets going, that dream will be a reality soon over the next one month.

Dhoni, the inspirational captain in the shorter versions, will definitely be the key not only with his leadership skills but also with batting. Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Kohli will also have to pile on the runs during the tournament that starts with India-Australia clash in
Melbourne on February 5.

India's ODI form has been good in the aftermath of World Cup triumph. At home, they thrashed England (5-0) and West Indies (4-1) before arriving Down Under. India hold the second position in ICC rankings after Australia.

Last time, when the team landed back in India from Australia, there were hundreds of fans extending the players a huge welcome and also Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced cash awards for the success. Can Team India find itself in a similar situation?

They definitely can.


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