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India can not take South Africa lightly

I am looking forward to watch the Pandavas in action.

March 17, 2008, 1:34 PM IST
India can not take South Africa lightly

The celebrations are over, the cheques have been distributed and the players have been feted all over for their feats in Australia.

It is time now to play some cricket again, and play some serious cricket. This is Test cricket and believe it or not, with due consideration to the popularity of the limited overs version, this is the cricket that matters. This is the cricket that counts and decides whether you are good or not.

The South Africans have rarely made tall claims about their superiority. They have been one of the most consistent sides in international cricket after Australia and I would not like to take them lightly in the three Tests that are scheduled at Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kanpur.

I am looking forward to watch the five Pandavas of Indian cricket_Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman. They have stood the test of time and served Indian cricket as diligently as one could have expected them to. There is no better sight for me than to watch them on the field.

These seniors, or veterans, or performers, whatever you may like to call them, have sent a strong message that experience is priceless. Tendulkar and Kumble have been around for 18 years now, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman for 12 years. It has been a wonderful journey for these sensational cricketers.

That they still command their place in the team is a tribute to their character. At home and overseas, they have set examples, set new benchmarks, achieved greater heights. Their hunger, motivation, commitment has not waned over the years and these are the qualities that I would like the youngsters to imbibe. These stalwarts are too willing to share their experience and wisdom and pass it on to the next generation.


True, the bench strength of Indian cricket is promising indeed. Players like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tewari, Ishant Sharma raise hopes of India dominating the world scene in the near future but there is also this strong belief that these youngsters need to be guided. And who can guide them better than this fabulous five seniors.

These five have been part and parcel of Indian cricket for such a long time. They have played on their terms, delivered when it mattered, and emerged as icons. I would love to see Virender Sehwag join this list because he has also played like a champion and won matches on his own.

Selectors have had increasing problems, what with the tremendous wealth of talent available. Regardless of who they pick and discard, I would love to see two cricketers, Aakash Chopra and Praveen Kumar play Test cricket this season. Praveen has the potential and Aakash has shown amazing consistency this season. Both have made strong cases for themselves.

India has shown encouraging progress in the last couple of years and it is time the investments are made use of. The shining example of Tendulkar, Kumble, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly is a huge motivation for the current generation. I would like them to imbibe their cricketing qualities and definitely the humility that marks their personality. Big achievers are mostly humble and these five stand out, having served Indian cricket with great dignity, match after match, year after year.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
see more