ByÂ Sushil Chandekar:
Being the best in something always has people wondering whether that person actually deserves it. Especially if he has gone through thick and thin over the years. Same is the matter with the Indian cricket team. Many question the credibility of the ICC ranking when they see the Indian team at the number one spot. Others ponder upon the very frequently asked question.Â “Does this team deserve it?”
Taking into account the dismal form the team had about 5 years back, it is in fact hard to believe that the players have grown. The team as a whole has improved and now does not totally depend on one person to save their faces in front of the nation. Still though, one wonders, do we deserve it? The South Africa tour could not be won but the team played brilliantly with the limited and mediocre bowling attack they had. They managed to win one and square the series. Having lost all the four contests in that country, M.S Dhoni and the boys can take credit for living up to their name.
The bowling has always been a major worry for the Indians even as they have remained at the top of the rankings for more than a year now. With the most lustrous batting order in the game frequently covering up for them the bowlers have just about managed to hold their own with some difficulty. But the three-match series again underlined the fact that the Indians are over dependant on Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh and if these two have an off day then tough times are ahead for the team. Unlike in batting where there are many to shoulder the responsibility if one or two fail there is no bowler who looks ready to put up his hands and be counted upon in a crisis.
S Sreesanth frequently shows glimpses of what he can achieve if he focuses on his main task instead of indulging in needless theatricals. But his inconsistency thanks mainly to his unacceptable behaviour means that he will always be only on the fringe of great things. This is a pity for the lad has a lot going for him — natural talent, superb seam placement, a deceptive out-swinger, good pace and adroit use of the bowling crease. If only he could control his tantrums he would be a real asset to a side that is short on quality bowling.
Like India, South Africa is a tough side to beat at home and given their past record the visitors always seemed to be up against it. When they went down tamely in the first Test it only seemed a matter of time before they lost their fifth successive series in South Africa. But they picked themselves up in a manner befitting their exalted status and at the end of the contest there can be little doubt that the Indians are deservedly the No 1 Test team in the world. Let there be no further talk that they are a shaky No 1. After all India are a clear 11 points ahead of South Africa in the latest rankings.
Even in the case of previous matches within the country, beating the Australians and Destroying the Black Caps with a white wash is no feat that you could ignore. Hence in an overview of the recent exploits and the phenomenal comeback of a team which was almost considered an under-dog, India truly deserves the title of being the best test playing nation in the world.
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