Dhoni’s dynamism delivers

Skipper Dhoni’s positive attitude and veteran Tendulkar’s brilliant batting paved the way for India’s victory.-PTI

The success down under has underlined the fact that Indian cricket has found in Dhoni a captain, who is not prone to brooding about what is lacking, but is bent on getting the best out of the resources at his disposal.

Dhoni and his men ended a long and exhausting tour of Australia on a high by beating Australia in what was the last tri-series Down Under. The triumph rounded off a fantastic week for Indian cricket as the Indian Colts regained the World Cup a few days prior to the seniors putting it across the Australians. Team India had the last laugh in what would go down as a high voltage tour and in bearding the lion in its own den, the Indians have probably triggered the beginning of the end of Australian dominance in international cricket.

The young team under Dhoni measured up to the Aussies in every respect and fittingly enough, the Australians were beaten in their own game. Harbhajan Singh, who was in the eye of the storm for most part of the tour, would have relished dismissing Andrew Symonds at the ’Gabba when India needed his wicket fairly desperately. The Turbanator once again proved to be a thorn in the Aussies’ flesh and though the hosts succeeded in irking Harbhajan on occasions, they failed to diminish his efficacy. In fact, the ploy to provoke Harbhajan and distract him resulted in the Turbanator becoming twice as determined to prove a point. The Aussies in hindsight would have realised that needling can cut both ways as they ended up on the wrong side of it.

Harbhajan Singh and the seamers responded well to Dhoni’s call as he pinned his faith in a five-pronged attack more often than not. The young seamers, Ishant, Sreesanth, Praveen and Pathan showed that they had the belly for a fight and the way they sustained their intensity and controlled their aggression to deliver the goods was the difference in the end analysis. I say this because there were instances on earlier occasions where unbridled aggression proved to be the Indians’ undoing. Praveen Kumar bowled like a dream and his ability to make the ball swing and seam found the Australians all at sea. The confidence with which youngsters like Ishant, Praveen and Sreesanth performed conveyed that inexperience is not always a disadvantage.

Rohit Sharma is another youngster who has shown that he has come to stay. There are little things that send solid messages and in Rohit’s case it was his composure in refusing to accede to Tendulkar’s call when the latter was on 98 that stood out. In refusing the little master’s call not only did he ensure that Tendulkar did not become a victim of his own haste but also showed that he cannot be rattled by the stature or reputation of a player, be it his own teammate or an opponent. The young man exhibited good technical skills as well, as he played through the V apart from running well between the wickets backed by sound judgment.

While there are enough reasons to be elated about the way Team India played and won, one cannot forget the veteran who fashioned both the victories — Sachin Tendulkar. He batted like the champion that he is in the Test series and in the lead up to the finals, runs somehow eluded him. His patented dominance was conspicuously absent in Sydney but he batted with a mission. He followed up his century there with a sterling knock in Brisbane and but for his knocks, the results may have been different. Tendulkar is the one survivor of the fabulous four and with his timely knocks he has shown that he is not in a hurry to relegate himself from the shorter version of the game.

The success Down Under has underlined the fact that Indian cricket has found in Dhoni a captain, who is not prone to brooding about what is lacking, but is bent on getting the best out of the resources at his disposal. The one obvious aspect about Dhoni’s captaincy is that he is not driven by fixed ideas as this can allow the ills of hierarchy to creep into the dressing room. His positive attitude has played a major role in the younger lot looking to take on challenges and overcoming the same with relish. Of late, Dhoni has become adept in curbing his instinctive strokeplay when some tight situations demanded circumspection. Not only has he batted to suit the needs of the team, he has also come out with flying colours in the press conferences.

Dhoni had the onerous task of shutting out any possible avenues for the press to blow things out of proportion, but at the same time he had to support his teammates to the hilt. He chose to take the humourous route to disarm the media and thereby put an end to whatever overtures that some impish journos might have made to create some spicy stories. The win in Australia is hopefully the start and if the youngsters go on to fulfil their promise, I am sure there will be a lot more occasions for celebrations in the future.