It had to end some day. A feat, that even the mighty Aussies haven't been able to register under their name, has finally found its home back in the square one.
The young 'uns under the baton of The Wall accepted one mighty challenge after another against teams of good repute, and
recorded a winning tune 17 times in a row - quite a remarkable feat in the modern era of the one-day cricket. And the way it ended will also remain memorable - 2 runs required in as many deliveries, last batting pair at the crease, a batsmen who was firmly set facing the ball, the entire stadium on the edge of its seats - the adrenalines, the blood-pressures and the pulse rates all in a game of upmanship of their own - it could not have gone down any better.
As the losing captain
clarified in the post-match conference later, it [the falling of the
record] was not a question of whether, but just a matter of when. So,
the when happened in the second one day in the series setting up what
would be a see-saw between two teams - one that has reached the peak of
its performance in the various match ups running up to this series and
the other tottering at the bottom of the table, sharing the honors with
minnows and minions of the cricketing world. And then the unthinkable
happened. The tables have turned, the fortunes have reveresed and the
see-saw tilted in favor of the other side. What was written off by one
and all, pundits and public alike, that the series would go a 4-1 or
5-0 in favor of the favorites, did in fact go 4-1, but in the other
Prides humbled, records tumbled and normalcy was restored.
It has been an all or nothing deal with the Indians in the past few
series and as records would have it, it ended up on the nothing side
West Indies have a way of humbling the Indians time and again,
particularly in the shorter version of the game. When they toured the
country last, four years ago, the Indians were almost invincible on
home turf - flat pitches, sweltering heat, intimidating crowds and a
formidable batting line up - only to find themselves at the receiving
end of equally strong and quite resilient West Indies batting and their
controlled and measured bowling perfomances, by the end of the tour.
The result was a 4-3 that time in favor of the Windies.
offers history a great way of measuring up the performances of the
teams against each other through the way of recording the ups and downs
in the series - the great partnerships, the spurts of brilliant
bowling, the agile fielding and the ability to hold on the nerve in
tense situations. If these were indeed the yardstick by which the team
is rated, then West Indies does certainly (and should) rank above the
Indians, at least in the one-dayers, the ICC charts' standings and
Facts be told, Indians, who had been running
through a purple patch as far as records and rankings are concerned in
the one-dayers, amassed all that solely under the sub-continental
conditions. 6-1 against Sri Lanka in India, 2-2 against South Africa in
India, 4-1 against Pakistan in Pakistan, 5-1 against England in India,
1-1 against Pakistan in Abu Dabhi - the team has never left the shores
for greener pastures and bouncy pitches and the conditions have been
quite conducive to the Indian style of play and their temperaments.
Though it is not to imply that conditions alone contributed to the
success of the team, but realising the fact that they played a great
part in those results would help looking at that record in a different
Though the 4-1 rubber does not quite shed the light on how almost all
the games were played down to the wire, to either the last ball or the
last over or the last wicket of the match, to the point that the result
would have read 3-2 in favor of the Indians, it could certainly be
argued that Windies would have sealed the series 5-0 too, had Kaif not
hit the boundary in the first match to give them their lone win.
series never played out as it was meant to be, right from the start.
While the first match showed the inexperience of a young Windies squad
fumbling and bumling in the field like an amateur cricket club,
dropping comfortable catches, misfielding at the drop of the hat,
missing the wickets by miles, the Indians wrested that honor from the
Windies in the subsequent outings, upping the ante with even more
slipshod display on the field, unable to fire as a single unit, both in
the bowling and the batting departments, looking completely lost even
before losing the match, calling all the records set in the previous
months into serious question. More baffling was the fact that the
conditions in Carribean weren't all that foreign - the pitches were
slow, the tracks weren't bouncy, the weather was hot and humid and the
crowd support was substantial, if not overwhelming.
On a man to man
comparision of the two sides, the West Indies looked like a mirror
reflection of the Indian side - strong batting, mediocre bowling and
just a shade above/below par (depending on the day) as far as the
fielding was concerned. With similar strengths (and weaknesses), it was
quite commendable of the hosts to have swept aside a side that was five
places above it in the ICC table and ranked only next to the Aussies
and the South Africans.
The series was a certain shot in the arm to the struggling Windies
side, weakened in the past few months (if not years) with everything
from politics to contract deals, from sponsorhips to just bad
performances. It definitely showcased the captaincy of Lara, right from
the first match when everything was going against him, particularly the
fielding, and he still made a match out of it, simply by calling the
shots right and moving the troops accordingly, down to the final one,
when he allowed his bat to speak for his prowess.
With the World Cup
only a few months away, and the venues promising to play out much like
how they did in the just concluded rubber, it should be a great boost
to the morale and confidence of the team to put up the performances day
after day like how they just did and put to shame the records and
reputations of a top team.
And then there is India... Off day, off
series, out of office? All the experiments with the batting order that
paid rich dividends only a month ago now looked completely off color.
But for a brilliant innings here and there, the batting just didn't
click, a problem that was compounded by the bowling that was just too
ordinary to make any real dent in the opposition. India's primary
strength lies with the bat and only when the right numbers start
showing up in that category, does the team find itself in a position to
contend, with its otherwise weak bowling department and an above
average fielding unit. Now that, the one day series is done away with
and the record reads absymal, it is not too farfetched to entertain
healthy thoughts about a good performance by the Indians in the tests,
considering how it has been an either/or vis-a-vis tests and one-days.
Now, that is wishful thinking, going by the record that the Indians
have yet to win a test series in the Carribean since the past few
decades. But then, going by the record, the series should had read 4-1
in favor of Indians!