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I am sixteen. Going on seventeen.
by
Jan 21, 2008
By Rahul Namjoshi - Dreamcricket Columnist

There is irony in these lyrics from Sound of Music-

“I am sixteen going on seventeen

I know that I'm naïve

Fellows I meet may tell me I'm sweet

And willingly I believe...

Totally unprepared am I

To face a world of men...


I need someone older and wiser

Telling me what to do”

For Indian fans, the element of romance that a victory like Perth brings is unparalleled. After a two week long roller-coaster ride - from the depths of misery and frustration to the heady heights of elation, from ban to suspended ban, from captain to statesman, from war to sport, from unseen edges to unseen edges, from whiners to winners...

What a journey.

Many of us were not even born in the 1971 series triumphs in West Indies and England so maybe we 30 somethings might have no right to talk about which victory is better.

The circumstances of the Perth test, the complete underdog status and the quality of opposition make it the greatest test victory for India.

The fact that most of us were not comfortable even after setting a target of 413 speaks volumes of the aura of invincibility of this Australian team. Nothing seems impossible for this team of giants. The knack of winning those ‘crucial’ moments, the tenacity of never giving up and the ruthlessness of grinding the opposition down has been well documented by pundits. But these attributes are brought up here to get to the next point.

Will Indians now believe that they can be ‘champions’ rather than perennial ‘challengers’?

That the Australians have won 16 consecutive matches, twice, in a span of a decade says a lot. But Perth has proved that India is the only challenger to the Australian supremacy in Test cricket. Nothing more, nothing less.

For years India has displayed flashes of brilliance in cricket - Headingley, Kolkata, Melbourne, Multan to name a few.

I have deliberately excluded the 1983 and 2007 triumphs as this piece is focussing more on test match cricket. India have had a good away record over the last 4-5 years in tests and no body can call us ‘tigers at home’ any more. But where’s the consistency? Will Perth be used as a starting point of greater things in life? We shall see.

In tennis, Roger Federer’s opponents are happy to take even a set off him. But even a Roddick admits that there’s no rivalry between them because to start one, Roddick has to win once in a while.

To extrapolate this instance to cricket, taking a set off the Australians has sent us over the moon and rightly so. I am tempted to add, in this specific saga, the champion doesn’t possess the grace and humility of Federer. After beating Tipsarevic in the 3rd round at the Australian open 2008, the champion lamented that there are no draws in tennis. To him the fair result was a draw.

A draw is still a possibility in this series. I can’t wait for Adelaide to begin.
 
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