Another Indian March
- Trouble mounts for Sreesanth as Mumbai cops gather more evidence
- SIT to seek Supreme Court guidance on Maya Kodnani death penalty issue
- Tamil Nadu police bans Yasin Malik-linked pro-Eelam public meeting
- Kings XI Punjab end IPL 2013 campaign with a win
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
Last month brought back memories of a gloomy February that Indian cricket endured a dozen years back. And, just as in 2001, a sunny March has followed. Back then, Sourav Ganguly, roughly the same age that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is today, was a young captain dealing with pressure, responsibility and a receding hairline. Steve Waugh was at the door and Ganguly wasn't quite battle ready. His team didn't have stable openers or a settled bowling combination. In many ways, he wasn't ideally placed to bring optimism back into the game — a task unfairly expected of him in the post-match-fixing era. Those were tough times for cricket. It had very few believers left.
In February 2013, faith among fans was low. The whitewash in the away tournaments against Australia and England had been followed by the home defeat to England. Dhoni's on-field problems were graver than Ganguly's. The present-day middle order didn't have the same quality or experience as the one in 2001. Openers, spinners or pacers; no department had that one go-to man. Like Ganguly, Dhoni was grappling with off-field distractions that affected his image. He and other young stars flush with IPL riches were being written off as a frivolous, materialistic generation that had no time for Test cricket.
March 14, 2001, saw V.V.S. Laxman score 281, an innings so dazzling that it would lift the darkness from Indian cricket and be the beacon for the incredible decade that followed. Exactly 12 years to the day, India will step out confidently at Mohali for the third Test of the ongoing series against Australia. A 2-0 scoreline in a four-match series is as good as a job half done. And as in 2001, it has been the double hundred that has kissed Indian cricket back to life.
The argumentative Indian cricket fan will debate whether Dhoni's 224 can be spoken of in the same breath as VVS's 281. What is important is that both VVS and MS ensured a very impressive Indian March. The timing of these twin turnarounds is interesting. For Ganguly, the 2001 triumph was his first series win against a top team. India went on to win 21 Tests under Ganguly, a record that would hold for eight years. With the recent resurgence, Dhoni overtakes Ganguly as the most successful Indian skipper ever. The new record could give Dhoni and Indian cricket the second wind they both need. Dhoni now has the chance to follow the successful path that Ganguly took after his u-turn. Like Dhoni, Ganguly had to fill key positions in the playing eleven. Rebuilding was a major part of both job profiles.
- Quake-hit and shaken, Bhaderwah spends nights in the open
- UP blast accused dies on way to jail, govt wanted to drop case against him
- Former civil aviation secy changes mind, seeks airport security exemption as EC
- BCCI suspects Gujarat players in other teams were also approached
- Police on money trail, Sreesanth in fresh trouble
- Chhattisgarh 'encounter' leaves 8 villagers dead, no Maoist link yet