I have been watching cricket for 20 years. I have been following Indian cricket since that time and looking at the progress they have made its heartening. I am not going to claim that India is the best side in the world but I will for sure say that they are one of the most improved sides.
Watching Indian team during the nineties was one of the most frustrating experiances especially when they toured abroad. Indian team was very good at home beating all top sides consistantly under Azhar and then Sachin but when they toured abroad they were clueless.
During the 90’s and till Sourav took over the mantle India toured Australia twice, England twice, WI once, New Zealand twice, SA twice, Zim twice and never won a single test. I almost resigned to the fact that India cannot. I will mostly look for some good performances from induvidual players like Sachin scoring a hundred or Kumble taking a fifer something like that and be happy with that.
It was dissapointing as we were constantly pasted by Australia and SA and the Indians had no answers. The tag of poor travellers was rightly associated with the team. Ganguly took over the reigns in 2000 after the match fixing row and boy did India improve after that.
I am by no means suggesting that we are blasting teams out since then but we are a fighting unit since Ganguly took over. We have won a series in England and WI. Drawn a series in Australia, Won a test in SA, won in Perth, Won a series in Pakistan and so many others such wins. In the last 8 years are so except for few series here and there we have at least managed to win one test match everywhere we have played.
I feel that we richly deserve the No 3 tag which we currently hold. The team under Dhoni has merely carried the legacy that Sourav has left behind. I would attribute most of our current success to Sourav and Wright combination in the way they nurtured youngsters like Sehwag, Harbajan and Yuvraj who are important cogs in present Indian wheel.
Dhoni has been the perfect leader India has been looking for and even though Kumble and Dravid did their best to keep the team going Dhoni has actually moved it forward a notch. Its too early to praise Dhoni and call him great but what he has done in the last year or so cant be cast aside as fluke. Its the consistancy which has got India the No 3 ranking.
As an Indian supporter who has been following the team for 20 years now its been a wonderful journey. From a team who just made up the numbers while travelling abroad to the team who are expected to win abroad regularly. The Indian captain and coach realise that they arent the No 1 side yet and have to consistantly perform to reach the pinacle which is a good sign.
I thought the team under Sourav called themselves world beaters too soon. I am also happy for Sachin who went on numerous tours abroad without ever winning anything in the 90’s most often rescuing his team from absolute pastings. Standing alone amidst chaos. Also for the numerous other Indian greats in the Nineties like Azhar, Jadeja, Srinath etc who would be really proud of what this current Indian team has achieved.
It was very thoughtful of Dhoni to dedicate the win in New Zealand to the seniors. Contrary to what the media portrayed of Dhoni, he is very respectful of the seniors which was very much evident when he called Anil to collect the trophy when we won the series against the Aussies and also requested Ganguly to captain in the dying moments of his final test match. This humility and respect will go a long way in Dhoni having a successful career as a player and captain.
This is an article of a happy Indian fan who knows that India have improved leaps and bounds from the frustrating 90’s. I am not claiming my team to be the best in the world right now as Australia and SA deserve those positions through the consistancy they have displayed over the years but we are the most improved in world cricket by a distance.
I am really proud of this team. They might not win everything but they will for sure compete.