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Team India: No Worries - Column by Partab Ramchand
by Partab Ramchand
Dec 18, 2008
The notable victory in the Chennai Test against England has underlined the fact that there is nothing really to worry about as far as the Indian team is concerned. Just think. Two all time greats retire at the end of the series against Australia and India go on to register one of their finest wins in the very next match successfully chasing the fourth largest target in Test cricket history.

This Indian team is high on confidence, they can do little wrong at the moment, they are hungry for success, they are mentally strong, they are led by a charismatic leader who right now can walk on water, they still have a lustrous batting order and a balanced attack and at home they are virtually unbeatable. In the last eight and a half years they have lost one series - to Australia in 2004 - and when they defeat the top ranked side in the world by a 2-0 margin in a four Test series it is clear that no other visiting team has a chance.

The Indian squad has a well-settled look and the bench strength is strong. They have so many factors in their favour that rising to the numero uno spot is no more a pipedream. At the end of the current series against England they are bound to be No 2 and with Australia increasingly vulnerable the Indians can certainly mount a charge to take over at the top.

Oh yes, these are upbeat times for Indian cricket. They are being led by a charismatic figure who now has led the team to four successive victories in his first four Tests as captain. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly led India to victories in their first two Tests as captains but Dhoni has taken the art and science of leadership to a new realm. He is by no means a great strategist or an astute tactician. But then he has many of the other qualities that go into the making of a successful captain. Luck of course has played a part. No captain can be successful without some good fortune. But too much should not be made of the luck factor when it comes to analyzing Dhoni's leadership credentials. His trademark qualities - cool and calm under pressure, an ability to get the best of the players under him, being the motivator supreme - have stood him and the team in very good stead.

Yuvraj Singh has come good at a most opportune moment – when there was urgent need for someone to fit into Ganguly's shoes. I am confident that now that he knows he is in for good he will fulfill his potential and go on to greater things. The 27-year-old left hander is a match winner as he has proved time and again in the shorter version of the game and it is high time he shows that he can help win matches regularly at the Test level too.

Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have still much to contribute to the Indian batting while Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are already the best Indian opening pair since the heady days of Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan. The bowling is in capable hands as the four-man pace cum spin attack showed in Chennai. And of course Dhoni is in a class of his own in his double role. And to think that the reserve bench has plenty to offer right down the line - opening batsmen, middle order, pace bowling and spin bowling. And then there is Gary Kirsten a coach who backs his boys to the hilt and expresses his confidence in their abilities whole heartedly something that Sehwag has publicly acknowledged.

The very fact that the selection committee meeting to pick the Indian squad for the Chennai Test was over in a jiffy tells its own tale. Here you had a scenario wherein the selectors had to pick a team that had two all time greats missing from the line-up that played the previous Test because they had retired. And yet there was hardly any time wasted in naming the replacements. No, the selectors were not being flippant. It's just that everything is firmly in place as far as the Indian team is concerned.
 
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