For those die-hard Indian fans willing to stay up till
the wee hours of the night, there has been reward
aplenty in the three last-over finishes in the
Of course it is all over for India after the fourth
ODI at Port of Spain. For a team ranked third to lose
to one ranked eighth is a huge disappointment. Rahul
Dravid's post-match comments that the team had yet to
get used to the conditions is really an indictment of
modern touring schedules.
Michael Holding has commented that the Indians could
well have taken their opponents lightly. This is
possible on a sub-conscious level though of course
Dravid will vehemently deny such a suggestion.
Considering the appalling record of the West Indies
over the last five years or so, apart from Bangladesh
and Zimbabwe, any other international side would
definitely fancy their chances.
Both the teams will have to rapidly switch off from
mode and switch onto Test mode. With so little time in
between, barely a week, this will not be easy.
In addition Dravid's boys will also have to reconcile
themselves to the absence of Sachin Tendulkar.
How big a loss will that be for the side? Difficult to
say. Remember, he has just one century from 10 Test
matches in the Caribbean. On the other hand, his mere
presence in the side gives it a boost before any
In fact, Tendulkar's bad patch allied to his run of
injuries---could well be first traced back to the 2002
series in the West Indies. India lost 2-1 a series
they should have clinched comfortably and the master
batsman scored just one century in the five Test
The lone bright spot since then has been the 2003
World Cup in South Africa where he emerged as the top
scorer despite playing with a badly injured finger.
In the Test arena though, the last four years have
seen him being eclipsed by Rahul Dravid in the
national side and on the world stage, losing something
of his aura of invincibility which he first built
around himself in the mid-1990s.
Having taken the correct decision to miss the Test
series, it now appears likely Tendulkar will conserve
himself carefully in the run up to the World Cup in
the Caribbean next March, which will almost certainly
be his last.
In 1997 West Indies were also in a weakened state. But
they still had a strong pace attack. That was not the
case in 2002 and right now they are scraping the
bottom of the barrel.
Back in 1971 under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar, the
West Indians were in transition with the retirement of
that famous pace duo of Wesley Hall and Charlie
With the bowling lacking teeth, the Indians beat their
formidable rivals for the first time and now 35 years
later, we may never get such an opportunity again to
Even though no Test match is being staged this time at
their favourite Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain,
Dravid has it in him to emulate Wadekar's famous feat.
Indian fans demand nothing less.