It was a good end to a competitive series. We got to see some positive cricket and even if India lost, there was plenty to learn. The gains and losses would help India raise a team for the future because there could not have been a better place to learn than Australia.
I must say that India showed lot of character in winning the Perth Test match after losing at Melbourne and Sydney. What happened at Sydney was sad and certainly not good for the game but I am glad it is behind us and an ugly episode in cricket was not buried under a fine spirit that the teams demonstrated at Perth.
The challenges in Australia were huge and it did prepare the team for some big contests ahead this year. The failure of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh should rankle because this was the stage for them to show their skills. Much was expected from them but their failure was a lesson for some of the youngsters.
I am very happy for Virender Sehwag. I must compliment the selectors for keeping faith in him and he too did not let them down with some sterling batting on the last day of the Test series. The hundred by Sehwag once again highlighted the importance of experience in the team. It was heartening to see Sehwag grab the opportunity, just as Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan.
Overall, it was a series that showed the importance of Test matches in times when the focus is on the shorter version of the game. The Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds clash cast an ugly shadow but otherwise there was some splendid cricket to savour.
Before the series ended, one of the greatest players of modern era, Adam Gilchrist, decided to take a bow. It was a decision that surprised even the Australians and this is one quality that sets them apart. An Australian knows best when to retire from the game and it is one aspect of their cricket that sets an example for the rest of the world.
Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell, Rodney Marsh, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Ian Chappell, Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, all great cricketers and all sharing the quality of knowing when to stop. They retired from the game on their terms. We also had players like Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and G. R. Vishwanath deciding to retire before they were asked to leave by the selectors.
To tell you honestly, a player knows the best time to go but sadly in India there are some factors that lure the player into extending his career when he knows within his heart that it time to go. It is always a tough decision but the task becomes easy when you remain honest to yourself and your well-wishers. You must go when still performing and not because you would have failed.
Cricket is all about timing. When you start and when you stop. It is important to get a break at the right time and it is equally important to call it a day. It is all about timing.
Returning to Gilchrist, he was top of he chart, a giant in modern cricket, a great character, great human being, amazing entertainer, and above all, a great human being. Can you ask for a better role model, one who `walked', a rare phenomenon in modern cricket?
The Test series is over and we now await the tri-series where the challenges would be greater. It will be a true test of the future of India. The tri-series will give a glimpse of India's bench strength.
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