Not too much significance should be read into India's
comprehensive series win against a weak Sri Lanka.
It is though a welcome relief after the disastrous
last home season.
Remember, Australia beat us 3-1 and then a raw
Pakistan side held us 1-1 in the Test series before a
shock 3-2 verdict in the ODI series.
Although fans almost take it for granted that India's
spinners and batsmen will easily wrap things up on
home soil, it should be remembered that the Lankans
had the better of the truncated first Test match at
Even though the much-vaunted Indian batting
was skittled out for 167, that setback did not affect
the course of the rest of the series, though the
Lankans scored some points in the rain-affected Test.
But right through, the top half of the Indian batting
had a tendency to crumble and that is a worrying
On the plus side the emergence of both Irfan Pathan
and Mahindra Singh Dhoni as genuine all-rounders means
the Indian tail is shorter than ever.
India's series win coming at the same time as
England's 2-0 loss at the hands of Pakistan does
assume some significance in that it now places India
second in the ICC Test rankings, behind world
champions Australia. It is the highest position we
have attained so far but all that can change pretty
The acid test for the Rahul Dravid-Greg Chappell
combine will come next month in Pakistan where they
face a side much more powerful, disciplined and
determined than the one they came up against last
There are unlikely to be too many surprises in the
touring side which will be announced on Saturday. That
is unless Sourav Ganguly's political string-pulling
and arm-twisting results in him slipping in as the
16th member of the side.
Even that would not guarantee him a place in the
playing XI and we then might see the sorry spectacle
of the former captain reduced to 12th man duties.
Assuming he does get to play, Shoaib Akhtar and co.
will soon sort him out with the short stuff. One way
or the other, by hanging on he would only ensure an
ignominious exit for himself.
It is time though that Zaheer Khan came back into the
team. Whatever may have been his attitude and fitness
problems in the recent past, he has shown by his form
in domestic cricket that he is ready to return.
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has already promised
that the tracks will be hard and fast as he is now
looking to his pace battery to produce results as they
did against England.
That would mean India need to take four pace bowlers,
three spinners, a wicket-keeper and seven batsmen to
Pakistan. The final combination will no doubt produce
plenty of debate, especially on the streets of