February - March 2004
India Sport Scene
India's Renaissance in Sport 2003
year 2003 was a year of renaissance of Indian sport. After a long period
of tranquillity, India started emerging out of its shadow to dominate
in hockey, cricket and athletics.
The Indian Junior Hockey team won the World Cup while the Seniors insured their
place in the 2006 World Hockey tournament by lifting the Asia Cup and following
it by taking the gold in Afro Asian Games.
Building on the success achieved at the Commonwealth
Games in Manchester the Indian Women's Hockey team won the Gold at Afro Asian
Games beating South Africa in a very tense final.
There were also gold medals in swimming and athletics in the Afro Asian games
and we eagerly wait on how India performs on the world stage at Olympics in Athens.
cricket India has always been strong when playing at home but Ganguly
was determined to cut out the flaky edge which led India regularly
capitulating away from home. His insistence on improving fitness, working
on fielding, never letting up and never accepting from his charges
anything less then the best has changed India's cricket. His addiction
to victory was contagious and rubbed on his side with the result that
in the recent tour to Australia not only the senior players performed
well but the juniors also showed signs of maturity beyond their age.
breathlessly and perhaps unsurprisingly the final test match of the most
riveting series between Australia and India was drawn and forcing Australia's
captain Steve Waugh to admit that India are the only true rivals to their
supremacy and the Border-Gavaskar trophy should be rated above the Ashes.
In the recent tour over four superb test matches India and Australia
could not be separated, each country winning one each. India by virtue
of having won it three years ago retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
have thrilled everybody with their attractive band of cricket, scoring
the maximum number of runs in a test series, and on the pitches where
runs could be hard earned and then squeezed wickets from attacking
strokes. Their attacking play was so appreciated that it can be judged
from the fact that in the fourth test match at the Sydney Cricket ground
over 190,000 people attended the test to watch and admire. And there
was much to admire; as it was a farewell to Steve Waugh, who was playing
in his last test match for Australia and who could have given him such
majestic send off but India. For the record, never before at Sydney
Cricket ground have so many runs been scored in one test match.
was the batting of Sachin Tendulkar to admire whose return to form with
241 not out, put India in a dominating position leaving Australia always
catching up, a role unfamiliar to Australia For the match referee it
was difficult to choose the player of the series. There were some fabulous
batting performances from Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virendra
Shewag, Laxman and Ricky Ponting while Kumble, Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer
Khan displayed great bowling feats.
title of 'the player of the series' was eventually awarded to Rahul Dravid
whose batting has been sublime, both technically and stylistically. It
is his mental strength that sets him apart from players who are equally
gifted. Kumble became the third man to take eight wickets in a test innings
at Sydney. Kumble again showed how great a cricketer he is! He has now
taken 382 Test wickets with leg spin at a healthy average and an impressive
Ganguly has a couple of new talents who have amazed us with their maturity.
Partiv Patel who is 18 has been learning quietly with Ian Healy. It showed
in his glove work and footwork. His enthusiasm let him down in a couple
instances in the last test. Had he accepted the chances offered who know
whether India would have won the match?
Pathan 19 years old is another find. He bowls his left armers at a good
pace and with a gift of swing. His victims in the match were Steve Waugh,
Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting. We now await the arrival of Rohan Gavaskar
son of the great legend Sunil Gavaskar who is joining the squad for the
triangular one-day series.
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