As India wrap up their second victory in consecutive Jamaica tests, it bears reiteration that India were without 4 first-team regulars; had 3 debutantes; and 3 others who’d played 10 tests or fewer going into the match. So all those who scoff at this victory saying it was ‘only’ West Indies need to get their cricketing senses right.
The architect of the victory, however, was that 150-test veteran, Rahul Dravid. The tributes have been flowing thick and fast, and so it should be. He’s long been the unsung hero of this team; always the sidekick, never quite the main protagonist. Tom Alter who paid a rich tribute on firstpost.com articulated it well – “… he’s been the Shashi Kapoor to Tendulkar’s Amitabh…”. Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, previously with Cricinfo, wrote eruditely on RD & his mastery of struggle.
It was poetic justice as well, for it was exactly 15 years ago to the day that Dravid had missed out on a century on debut by 5 agonising runs. And at Lord’s. The same match where Sourav Ganguly did get to his.
The victory itself was more a roller-coaster than a landslide. While the fight back from 85/6 was good, India shouldn’t have fallen to those depths in the first place. The spinners turned the ball a mile but it was precisely for that reason that ball kept eluding bat. Sometimes, it pays a great deal to just stick to the basics. It took Raina and a straight ball to end West Indies’ resistance. These might be mere instances of nitpicking but against mightier opponents like England (India’s next challenge), these things might hurt India.
Asked about the umpiring, MS had this gem for us: “If the correct decisions were made", he said, "the game would have finished much earlier and I would have been in the hotel by now.” He might as well have said if the UDRS were here… At least India won this game. Imagine the furore had India lost? One of these days, India’s going to lose big time on account of bad umpiring (at least until the likes of Daryl Harper are still around). Why not be proactive & nip the problem in the bud MS, rather than rant out in the media? The match referee might also have a thing or two to say about that ill-advised comment. Go fish.