INDIA has created history in NZ by winning the series 1-0 and this being first series win after 41 long years and the only 13th series win overseas makes it even more cherishable. But India’s Wellington woes still remain. Its sad that it could not be 2-0 thanks to the weather gods and debatable captaincy from Dhoni but as soon as the match was abandoned and the test drawn congratulatory messages started pouring in. India is perhaps the only country where the president congratulates the team for their victory .This was no World Cup but India being such a cricket crazy nation it is bound to happen. BCCI didn’t waste any time and they announced a cash reward of 15 lakhs to each member of the winning team. Click here for the final day pics
Some figures worth looking at the end of the series:
· Gambhir was the top scorer with 445 runs at an average of 89 in 3 tests
· Sachin was behind him with 344 at 69 per innings.
· Harbhajan was the top wicket taker with 16 wickets. Who says spinners cannot take wickets on NZ pitches. The turbunator is back with a bang.
· Zaheer might be the second best with 13 wickets but he has been the spearhead of the Indian attack and his contribution has always been crucial to India’s success.
Looking at the positives to come out of the series.
Gambhir has been quite a revelation and has come of age. After Ganguly I rate him the best left hander that India has produced. I say second best because Ganguly had to face better bowlers than what gambhir is facing right now but I won’t take away any credit from him. Gambhir’s success as an opener and able partner to Sehwag has helped India get of to rollicking starts in all the three formats of the game. This one fact about Gambhir shocked me and will definitely shock you too. He is the fastest Indian to reach 2000 runs in test cricket leaving behind greats like Sachin, Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar. He has matured a lot and can now play an aggressive innings like he did in Wellington and also play a determined knock like the one in Napier which saved the match for India. Way to go Gambhir and for his superb play he was awarded the man of the match
Every batsman has contributed. Sachin getting his 42nd ton and hitting 2 50’s was at his best in this series. Laxman got a strokeful hundred in Napier and 2 50’s to go with it. Dravid’s scores have been interesting. He has scored 4 50’s which is surprising because he is one player once he gets starts goes on to make a big one but nevertheless he contributed to the teams success. It will be a series to remember for him as he displaced Mark Waugh from the top with most catches in test history. He was not as agile as mark or Fleming or mark but his hardwork has got him here. Sehwag was one player that NZ bowlers feared. Although he didn’t make a big impact in the test series but the kind of fear that he had created in the NZ bowlers minds was tremendous and each time he got out we could see the sigh of relief on NZ players faces but INDIA is not a team of just one player and you need to get all of them out to win a test which NZ failed to do in the 2nd test.
Those were some of the positives to come out of the series. Pardon me if i forgot. Now comes the interesting part. I love criticizing but it’s mostly constructive :). Though India is making rapid strides in test cricket the fielding standards are yet to improve. The ground fielding is modest and some crucial catches were missed the last being by ishant of Sachin when he dropped O’Brien which would have made 2-0 a reality. The Question that is being posed on every channel is whether Dhoni is the best ever captain?? Every time INDIA wins overseas this issue crops up. My answer to that question is simple. He is a good captain but not the best by any means. Judging captaincy only by win to loss ratio would be inappropriate. There have been better captains in the past. Ganguly, kapil dev and pataudi being some of them. To be a successful captain you need to have a steady mind and the resources in the bowling and the batting department. Luckily Dhoni has had both. Initially when Dhoni was the captain i was amazed seeing his captaincy, the way he handled the players and was so cool in tense situations but off late he has made some poor decisions which is forcing me to take a different view on his captaincy. In this test when India had a lead of 550 i thought that was the right time to declare but Dhoni was looking for records(sadly Every Indian is after records).Dravid was perhaps the only captain who made a shocking decision when he declared the innings with sachin on 195 against Australia. It was very well known that the weather would play spoilsport in Wellington but that didn’t change Dhoni’s thinking. And when Indians came onto the field the intensity was lacking. If it was 0-0 then i guess it would have been a different case scenario but a great captain should have the same mindset in any of the situations. Indians are the second best team after SA according to me and if they are to make it to the top then they should have this killer instinct to go out there and look to win all the matches rather than being happy with a series victory.
The last thing that I would mention is about the Umpiring which i felt was not at its best. Both Indians and NZ players got some rough decisions and the worst of them was when Simon taufel didn’t raise his finger when Vettori was plumb which could have given India a 2-0 series victory. I don’t understand this theory of turning the clock behind by 1 hour for the last 3 days of the Wellington test. Because of the decision to start the play 1 hour late resulted in atleast 30 overs being lost which could have proved beneficial for INDIA.
Indians have had a successful tour of NZ with 4-1 ODI series which again could have been a whitewash but Indians are always sympathetic enough to grant one victory to the opposition as they did to Srilankans too. After such a grueling tour the players will have 10 days rest before they head off to SA to play in the IPL which I am very excited about.. Congrats to the Indian Team once again and hope they continue to win more such series overseas