The Agony and Ecstasy of being No. 1

Whoever followed Indian cricket for even 5 minutes in his entire last 3 months would know what I’m talking about. We were crowned the numero uno of test cricket after we beat Sri Lanka a couple of months back. We finished as a top ranked team last year (2009). But were criticised by many for not being the true deserving candidates of the pinnacle of success in test cricket, primarily because of our own inconsistency and some what also due to the attitude of our own cricket board. Lot of die hard cricket fans believed in what the so called pundits said. Beating Bangladesh helped, but it hardly mattered to the critics.

BCCI, in a face saving move, betted for tests and squeezed a short two test series with the visiting South Africans. This was supposed to be the real test. India went to the first match with long list of injuries. Laxman was out, Dravid was out, Yuvraj was out too. A freak injury to Rohit Sharma minutes before the start of the play didn’t help either. As a result, we ended up losing the test match by an innings and 7 runs. That is ‘some’ humiliation for the top team. Well… One thing I really hate and I’m sure all of those who have achieved even a small ‘any thing’ in their life will hate too, is to prove the critics wrong. No other captain has ever managed to take the team to the top slot. Yet all of them question the strategies of the one (MS Dhoni) who was able to do it. Now we had to beat South Africa to retain the No. 1 spot. A draw would have meant SA won the series and hence we would have been the no. 2 by just a point, handing the position to our opponents. Any other day, I would have said may the best team win. But thanks to these Bull@#$% critics, I was praying for our victory. India had to come back and boy… did they come back strongly.

South Africa lost the match by an innings and 57 runs, thanks to an inspired spell from Harbhajan Singh. He took and mantle in the absence of an injured Zaheer Khan, took the wickets and silenced the critics, both his and ours. Kudos to the team, a great victory on a great historic ground.

PS: I’m celebrating Indian victory. But my practical brain says a thing. This was dubbed as a world championship of test cricket. Because the two teams were battling to gain the number one spot. India lost by an innings in the first match at Nagpur and then SA obliged by accepting an innings defeat in the second match at Kolkata. Though it shows how closely fought the contest was, it also shows how inconsistent the teams are. Is it not?

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