Year 2009 is almost over and the men in blue are the newly crowned test champions. Their victory in New Zealand at the start of the year and the trouncing of Sri Lanka towards the end of the year resulted in the desired outcome to an earnest campaign that Saurav Ganguly and his men began almost ten years back when the Prince took over India’s captaincy in early 2000. The leadership of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, and Virendar Sehwag helped pave the way to achieving royal ascent to the crown. None of this could have been achieved without the constant guidance and “unparalleled” role that the Master, “Sachin Tendulkar” has played in all these years and all these successes. Alongside, many young and not-so-young cricketers including VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh et al have played crucial roles on various occasions to boost India’s performances.
At the end, one of the most intelligent and successful captains of the current day, MS Dhoni, held centre stage as he picked up the “Mace” for test cricket and deservedly so. Dhoni, in my opinion, has brought in a new dimension to Indian cricket. While Ganguly took the fear out of the game, Dhoni has coaxed, cajoled, and goaded the team to believe that nothing is really impossible. And, he has done so by leading from the front. He has allowed himself to be flexible and yet at the same disciplined, and, delivered almost at will. Indians, under Dhoni, are and will maintain or at the least pose a constant threat to supremacy in all forms of the game in the foreseeable future.
India’s ascendency combined with renewed interest in the longer version of the game resulting from the recently concluded and ongoing series in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa provide a great platform for the future. One hopes that, with the current performances, India does play more than the handful test matches in 2010 and onward. There are some areas of concern though. The referral system, UDRS as they call it, is a farce. I do not believe nor am I convinced that the technology currently being used is adequate enough to meet the requirements. Traditional umpiring still works and should not be supplemented until and unless technology becomes more reliable. Another area of concern is perceived referring biases. As was evident in the Australia/India, England/India, the recent WI/Australia series, referring has been lopsided to say the least. Referees like Chris Board are a disgrace to the game. I am in full agreement with Sunny Gavaskar about is comments on the Broad affair.
These issues aside, 2010 looks to be another interesting year for cricket. The expectations for a SA/India test series are in full swing, IPL-3, T20 World championship all making it into the year’s bill.
Looking forward to another year of exciting cricket. Happy new year to all from all of us here at I3J3.