Monday, December 18, 2006

When Dravid and India did the 1-2-3 over South Africans

By John Cheeran
One. Two. Three. 1-2-3.
Yes, India's margin of victory could not have been better conceived than that.
Let this be the 1-2-3 into a great pilgrimage for Indian cricket.
When India did the 1-2-3 over South Africa at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, it, indeed, was a historic moment. Not because Sourav Ganguly came back into international cricket but for the first time India crushed South Africa in a Test on South African soil.
It is remarkable that Rahul Dravid, the man who fashioned India’s first Test triumph in Pakistan, has inspired his humiliated troop to reinvent themselves and produce a stunning performance, sustained over four days in an alien atmosphere.
Those who were – make no mistake, the Bengali and North Indian lobby -- baying for Dravid and coach Greg Chappell’s blood must flee the scene for the time being.
Dravid has pulled off what the highly over-rated Ganguly could not deliver in 2001. And this 1-2-3 over an arrogant bunch of South Africans had Dravid’s deft touches all over it right from the moment he chose to bat first in, what was intimidating conditions, after winning the toss.
To be honest, I was surprised when Dravid chose to bat. But of course being the 24x7 cricketer that he is, he knows best.
Dravid is the boss.
"Whether we bat or bowl first, or who plays in the XI, is going to be my call," Dravid said after India routed South Africa by 123 runs in Johannesburg on Monday. "I do discuss things in our team meetings and with some of my senior players but at the end of the day, it always starts and ends with me. I felt that batting first was the way to go on this pitch."
And now Dravid stands vindicated for having cautioned us on the eve of the match that Indian cricketers are too dangerous to be written off. None expected this incredible turn around in Indian fortunes.
"I don't blame the people for criticizing us," Dravid said after the refulgent moment. "South Africa were always going to be favourites heading into this Test, but I knew there was a lot of quality in this team. We showed that in the last few days. We had players who stood up and were counted."
Let me allow Dravid to hold forth on the victory.
"This victory is great because this is the first time we have done it in South Africa in four visits over the past 14 years. As a cricketer, your special moments are the ones that you share with the team; the celebrations, the joy you get from winning and just being a part of the group that has stood by you for three-and-a-half days and put in everything they've got to come out victorious."
"It's not that we haven't done this before. "We lost the one-day series in West Indies but came back to win the Test series. I think it was nice to get away in Potchefstroom and hang in together.
"The team was pretty hurt with the one-day defeat and we just got together and said whatever happens, we'll try and put in a better performance. We came here with a bit of confidence having won the warm up-game. I'm glad the boys displayed a lot of fighting spirit and character."
And unlike the snooty lordship from Calcutta, the gentleman that he is, Dravid did not ignore Ganguly’s life-saving efforts during the Test.
"The way Sourav Ganguly batted with the lower order to get us to 250 and his partnership with VRV Singh was crucial too. Sreesanth and Zaheer coming out and bowling out the opposition for 84. Laxman did a great job with the tail in the second innings and his stand with Zaheer. Sreesanth picking up three wickets in the second innings, including the important wicket of Kallis. These were the crucial moments that eventually helped us win."
"It's nice to have boys who have performed well in situations like this before," said Dravid.
"To be honest, this Test team has been the same for some time now, except for one or two players here and there. We had the same group in Pakistan, [against] England and West Indies."
It was interesting to listen to Dravid’s comments on a repentant Ganguly. "He's really playing well. There's no doubt about that. His performances in Potchefstroom and in this Test have been really good. It's great to see him batting well. He's a proven and experienced performer and when he bats well, it's going to make a big difference to the side. I hope he keeps continuing because we'll need good performances from people like him, Sachin, Laxman and myself to have the right results."
Dravid put the victory in perspective when he observed that: "Unfortunately, we tend to focus a lot on individuals in success and defeat. But at the end of the day, victories and defeats are not about the captain or the coaches or one or two individuals. It's always about the team. I've always believed that it's the performances that you put in as a team that helps you win matches."
"The team was pretty hurt with the one-day defeat and we just got together and said whatever happens, we'll try and put in a better performance. We came here with a bit of confidence having won the warm up-game. I'm glad the boys displayed a lot of fighting spirit and character.
"The senior guys in the side were pretty keen to remind me and everyone else, saying: 'Let's get this done. They are a very good side, we need to be professional and get the job done'. It's a good group of senior boys in the team and the support they've given me is fantastic. A lot of things I don't even need to say, it just comes from the group and they handle a lot of things themselves."
The most heartening thing is that Dravid has got his fundas right even at the hour of glory. Dravid has reminded everyone that South Africa will come back hard at India. “We have to soak up a lot of pressure and respond adequately."


nairdude said...

You are sick in the head. You are just a south Indian and do not qualify to be an Indian. This match was won due to ganguly's inspirational batting in the first innings. No way India could have won without Ganguly. And still you find a way to discredit him. You are just a Bonda bastard. Stuff ur bondas and vadas in ur backside.
And to pop ur bubble, Dravid is a Maharashtrian Desashta Brahmin. He's a north Indian too.

Maveli Keralam said...

Note: This comment is particularly intended for nalrdude and to others who may share in his views.

South Indians are proud Indians and qualify to be an Indian more so than you do. The comment you left is proof of that. I personally do not enjoy these debates about South Indians and North Indians because I see people as individuals who are not represented by class, race or gender, but rather their actions, achievments and the good in their heart. But if you have to be pedantic then may I add that if it wasnt for a South Indian (Sreesanth), the Indian team wouldn't have had the great vicory it achieved. And this the ICC cricket organisation observed as it was the Sreesanth and not Ganguly that won the man of the match award. Let me add that Ganguly did also play well and did support his team but dont take the vistory away from Dravid. It is people like you that take the fun out of cricket and turn everything into a sordid affair.

P.S. Unfortunatley for you, just being able to speak English and know big words like bastard, doesn't hide the low IQ level that u possess and thus I will not expect you to understand the true intention of what I am trying to say. Dont worry, I will pray to God for you.

nairdude said...

I have no problems with other south indians and nobody can question their being Indian. However, I have problems with a post like this one (by cheeran). Cheeran has problems with people who are not part of his neck of the woods. The reply is for Cheeran and not any other community or region. The earlier post was in response to his blog where he attacks ganguly for no apparent reason. I apologise for the strong language used, but the obvious bias and negative comments in the post, in time of a great victory, simply made me mad. It's he who started it. "Bengali and North India lobby" says he. We would have lost the match if those folks had not applied the pressure. I have no qualms with Sreesanth being the man of the match and his performance deserved that. Hat's off to him. But the win came inspite of Greg Chapel's earlier vision and he now has the guts to admit that[check latest interview]. Cheeran cannot see that since he has blinkered vision. I may not have the nous to subtly put spin on the facts but I can see through the twisted words cheeran uses to put across his bias.

And as a final point, remember that if Rahul has "fashioned" this win is akin to saying that Ganguly was the guy who inspired the Adelaide win against australia who unlike SA had not lost their last 4 test matches.

If Rahul is totally responsible for this win, then he is fully responsible for the debacle in the ODI's. Things do not work this way. The credit goes to the whole team. There was no standout extraordinary captaincy here. Things fell into place this time. So tone down the bias and I will mind my language too.

nairdude said...

To Maveli Keralam: Please pray to god for cheeran too, coz he too needs help to remove the hate in his heart.

And your point is taken. I hope you can forgive a guy for saying stuff in the heat of the moment. I did not mean any malice to anyone other than the writer of the blog.

Maveli Keralam said...

your point is well taken, don't worry. we all make mistakes, but it is greate to accept them.

Arimook said...

Hi Nairdude and Maveli Keralam

While I believe the language used by Nairdude was inappropriate, I tend to share his frustration at this Cheeran fellow's comments on Ganguly. Cheeran appears somewhat insane in the way he attacks Ganguly with no clear justification!!

I am surprised that this person was a cricket scribe for so many renowned papers/ magazines. He does not seem to be worthy of that, in my view!

By the way, I noted that Cheeran was a writer for Sportsworld. No wonder they closed down - with people like Cheeran writing for them!!

Ganguly has come back and is playing wonderfully so far. Lets celebrate that, rather than getting lost in blind hatred of Benalis and Ganguly

A true Indian cricket lover

John Cheeran at Blogged