Take a bow Fab Five… Team India is the #1 Test Team

Some 10 years ago, the Fab Five of Indian Cricket undertook a near-impossible journey. After the morass that represented the match fixing scandal Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were left with the near-impossible task of reaching a near-impossible goal.

By the end of the decade, the Fab Five had reached there.

After yet another innings defeat of Sri Lanka, Team India was crowned the #1 Test Team in the ICC Rankings.

It was an amazing achievement for a bunch of committed cricketers that started on what seemed to be an impossible journey some 10 years ago. It was a burning passion for the Famous Fab Five (Ganguly, Kumble, Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman).

Today, sans Kumble and Ganguly, the team ascended to #1; albeit with help from South Africa and England who both beat Australia in the recent past. Yet, the ascent was palpably obvious. It was measured, considered, passionate and single-minded.

There have been some sensational victories along the way: From Kolkata 2001 (v Australia), Leeds 2002 (v England), Adelaide 2003 (v Australia), Multan 2004 (v Pakistan), Sabina Park 2006 (v West Indies), Johannesburg 2006 (v South Africa), Perth 2008 (v Australia), Mohali 2008 (v Australia) and Chennai 2008 (v England). It is unlikely that the Test at Mumbai at the CCI Ground against Sri Lanka will receive the exalted status and the dizzy heights of a Leeds 2002 or Perth 2008. However, it will be remembered as the Test in which India reached the #1 position.

It has been a long road to redemption. It is a moment for all Team India tragics to savour.

It will be brief — after all an Australian clean-sweep this summer or a 2-0 victory by South Africa against England will snatch this moment from India.

However, for a few good men of Indian cricket, this will be a special moment. When Anil Kumble retired he marked this moment. He will be a happy man today and so will Sourav Ganguly.

Sachin Tendulkar remembered everyone in his post match victory statement when he marked the milestones along this path. What better way to get up than stairlifts?

In his post-match interview he said, “Fantastic to be at this position. I have been waiting a long time to get to this position (No 1). In fact just not me, entire nation. I thought when Gary (Kirsten) and Paddy (Paddy Upton), along with Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad, all credit to them for handling the team brilliantly. Also all the players have worked very hard in the last 18 months. Right from no 1 batter to no 7 (MS bats at no 7) we have a solid batting line-up. This pitch was a brilliant wicket. There was some turn on the first day and I knew one roll would settle it down and it did.”

No mention of Greg Chappel!

Dileep Premachandran, in his excellent article, Bestautolenders.com mentions John Wright, forgotten players like Sanjay Bangar (Leeds), Irfan Pathan (Multan), Balaji (Multan) and even staff like Adrian Le Roux, Andrew Leipus, John Gloster and Greg King.

He too has ignored Greg Chappel… Perhaps the one page that some of the current crop of players will want to ignore as they trace what has indeed been a fascinating, interesting and impressive 10-year journey.

Starting from Kolkata 2001, the journey has been painful at times; it has been excting at times; it has been imperssive at times. However, I will remember the journey for the commitment, passion, dignity and focus that the Fab Five showed.

Indeed, it is this journey — and not the outcome — that I will savour for a long long time.

As for the future, who knows what will happen. However, I am comforted by MS Dhoni’s calm assurance that Team India needs to travel well to claim the legitimate top-dog position. He said, “Let’s see when we go there. We can’t play them sitting here.”

The Fab Five will exit the scene one by one. However, I am confident that when they exit stage left, Indian cricket will be in a much better position than when they found it.

Take a bow guys. This is your ascent. This is your victory and thank you for all the good memories.

18 responses to “Take a bow Fab Five… Team India is the #1 Test Team

  1. Remarkable achievement. Somehow Dhoni has that ‘captain’s luck’ as they call it. First the T20 WC and now the no 1 ranking. All he needs are a couple of Test series wins in Aus and SA and the ODI World Cup and I can happily retire from watching cricket!

  2. For me, listening and then watching the commentary on radio and TV, the thirst was long and interrupted by swallowing bitter, coarse grains of the sands of time. Today, this moment, however short-lived it may be, leaves me over-whelmed with a rainbow-quiver full of emotions.

    Go and rule the arena, guys!

  3. Is Sehwag better than the VIV ?

    No discussion of his innings. I was thinking he was going to make 300 in a day like Bradman.

  4. Hands down to the Fab Five and the current Indian cricket team. Every side had their share of luck in the past – WI, Aus, SA; Its India’s turn now and thanks to Dhoni’s planetary positions in his horo 🙂 However i would like to see a convincing performance from the team in ICC’s big events like World Cup.

  5. Srikanth Mangalam

    Truly amazing. Richly deserved status. It was a pleasure watching the team lineup for the group photo.

  6. Srikanth Mangalam

    The Srilankans can complain till the cows come home about the lack of a review system that supposedly cost them the series. Clearly, the review system is under serious scrutiny after its failure in the current Aus/WI series. This seems to have prompted Mark Benson to even contemplate retirement. I have long believed that the review system is a joke and has no place on the cricket field. The DRS is as good as the weatherman…..

  7. Technology is really killing umpiring. There was a plum lbw in the last innings but the commentators including shastri were scared to say so till they saw the hawkeye.If former cricketers watching on TV replays can have so much doubt how confident can an umpire be?
    Definitely not. I thought that article by bhogle was slightly over the top. I am no fan of Viv richards but he was a different class, I dont think any batsman instilled that kind of fear and he pioneered the T20 style of batting.

  8. Noticed Sangakara is a poor loser. Dilshan getting poor decisions (in both innings of this test, and some others) did hurt SriLanka.

    Clearly, the replays are useful for run-outs. No one questions those reviews. In my view, the hawkeye seems useful for LBWs. Umpires seem to give benefit of doubt to batsmen a lot. With hawkeye, there will be more LBWs.

    For caught behind or catches on the field, TC replays are quite inconclusive.

  9. @gnbmdr

    I was disappointed at that article comparing Virender Sehwag to Viv Richards. These comparisons are futile, in my view. Viv Richards and Virender Sehwag played in different eras and under different conditions — covered pitches Vs uncovered pitches, better bowlers Vs weaker bowlers… There are just too many variables to make any comparison somewhat meaningless.

  10. It’s depressing to see that India has only a couple of test matches against Bangladesh in 2010. Maybe this ranking will spur the BCCI to schedule a few more tests with other countries. There needs to be a balance for all forms of the game…

    Great performance by Team India!!

  11. Its a Great achievement indeed for the team. I hope the BCCI schedules enough number of test matches to ensure that Team continues to be in the Groove.

    India needs toto beat Aus and SA in their own backyard to prove to re assure the cricketing world that they really deserve the number 1.

    I also somehow feel that the Void left by Anil Kumble is yet to be filled.

    Kumble was literally unplayable during the early part of his carreer. After which he continued to frustrate batsmen with his accuracy.

    Unfortunately Neither Ojha nor Mishra seem to have that Magic,

  12. bala balachandran

    I think a bit of credit to be given to Kris Srikkanth too and his men for choosing the team to achieve this. I know they sit “outside the oval” and dont play cricket per se, but the chosen players have done their job to achieve this. I remember the visit of Laxman to our home in 1998 when he said he should play atleast for 10 years and he has kept up his word. All in all well done Team India !!!!

  13. Despite all bright and dark, negative and positive aspects after so many circumstances after so many struggles after so many tough series India now became a no.1 test team of the world and the cricket lovers congratulate India

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