I appreciate Mahendra Singh Dhoni's leadership qualities. In publicly expressing his views and concern over the failure of the batting top order he has gone up in my esteem as a captain with a vision. He has assumed the responsibility well and shown that he speaks for the team, and not some individuals. The interest of the team is paramount as far as Dhoni is concerned.
A captain has the right to slam a player if he is not doing well. Captains have different methods to tackle such problems. Dhoni has shown that he is not a puppet but a captain who is not scared of even telling the seniors what is expected of them. I remember Kapil Dev doing the same in 1983 when he told Sunil Gavaskar it was time he got runs. There was some tension for some time but the message was well taken and the result was that India won the World Cup. The senior players have to take it in the right spirit and support Dhoni.
I had all along worried about Australia's form. But they have emerged the first team to reach the finals and in what style. They have made it without their big guns firing. In the last match we got a glimpse of Ricky Ponting, Mathew Hayden and Andrew Symonds warming up, not to forget the efforts of Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee. The signs are ominous.
The way Ponting batted showed a marked change in the man's attitude. It was clear that he wanted to prove a point. The IPL auction was at the back of his mind because he came up with a century that should cause some concern for the opposition now. I am now waiting for the big guns of the Indian team to fire.
The key to success lies in peaking at the right time. The Australians seem to be doing that. I expect Sachin Tendulkar to assume responsibility. It is time for the big guns_Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh_to fire. Sehwag and Tendulkar are the most explosive opening pair in the game and need to show the way. Tendulkar has to just cut out the flick for some time. In the case of Sehwag and Yuvraj, it is more to do with their technique than the bowling or the pitch. They must play straight and Rohit Sharma would also do well to remember this. I would also like to know what is the video analyst of the team doing in Australia if he can't point out the flaws.
I am very happy to see Gautam Gambhir among the runs. This is the Gambhir I had wanted to see. He has been playing to his strong points and if only he can curtail his initial instincts to play too many shots. I take pride in the fact that I have always backed him and the team has found a performer in Gambhir.
The batsmen have been failing in the one-day series but why is the team management sacrificing a bowler? All along the bowlers have delivered. When India played five bowlers the opposition was restricted and when they took the field with a bowler short just see how Australia made merry. It is another matter that India came close to winning but in the first place why allow the opposition to set such a stiff target.
And last but not the least, I would like to congratulate the young Indians in Kuala Lumpur for their fabulous show. They have done exceedingly well and we must not ignore them because they are the future of Indian cricket. Keep it up boys.
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