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April - May 2004


India Sport Scene

Reflections from the Indian-Australian Cricketing Tour

by Ramesh Seedhar


It has been said that the Indian cricket team does not perform well when touring abroad, but the last tour to the Australian continent against the worlds best cricket team has finally quashed this bogey. India retained the Gavaskar trophy with a blend of youth and experience. There is little doubt that Indian batsmen possess marvelous skills and are tremendous to watch. However they miss the strike bowlers that were evident at the SCG Test where Ajit Agarkar, and Anil Kumble could not play due to injuries.

Under Ganguly the present Indian team has improved their fitness but they still need to do more to achieve the level of fitness that the Australian's have. The Australian does a lot of physical training outside of cricket which helps them to be world champions. The Indian cricket team need to do the same if wish to challenge the Australian supremacy.

The Australian tour has produced some useful performances from the Indian youngsters. Irfan Pathan is one of them. The left arm seamer who is only nineteen years old was thrown on the international scene by the retirement of Srinath. This youngster bowled his heart out taking many important scalps. He is a real find and needs to be nurtured carefully.
He was modest about his achievements and when asked said "that the Asia Cup under 19 tournament was the turning point in his career. The match against Bangladesh where I took nine wickets was great for me. My performance in the tournament rewarded me with the man of the series award was fantastic. Although I felt that I was in the reckoning for inclusion in the senior squad, the retirement of Srinath prior to the Australian tour opened the door for me."
"I have also had great help from John Wright's valuable guidance, Zaheer Khan's useful tips, advice and coaching from Bruce Reid and Wasim Akram. I felt very proud to be part of the Indian team's historic victory at the Adelaide Test. In this test I managed to take the wickets of Mathew Hayden, Steve Waugh, Damien Martin and Adam Gilchrist. Mathew Hayden was my first test wicket for the senior team. Although what pleased me most the wicket of Adam Gilchrist. He fell to the ball that reverse swung and hit his wicket Gilchrist wicket was very special to me. This was my best tour and I relished it. I consider myself very lucky and very proud to be a part of the Indian team which boasts of the likes of Sachin, Sarouv. Rahul, Laxman, Agarkar, Zaheer, Kumble etc."
Another player who made the most of the opportunity granted to him by injury to another person is the pace man Balaji. He was named to join the Indian team when injury ruled out to Avishkar Salvi. This youngster also credited himself well when the opportunity was given to him to play in the one day series.

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