destination india

Monday, January 16, 2006

the leader leads

The first Indo-Pak Test match of the current series in the Gadaffi stadium in Lahore is destined to the inevitable draw as predicted by Imran Khan on the first day before the first ball was bowled.

When the hosts pulverized our attack and put up a really large total for us to overhaul, it seemed to be a formidable ask. The intrigue of who should partner Sehwag as an opener in this match was finally resolved when the captain himself accompanied Veeru. But the weather played truant – darkness and dampness all around with a near empty stadium added to the problems. But, like seasoned veterans, the pair took up the challenge. At the end of the fourth day, there were two gleaming Indians who returned to the pavilion with a total of 403 runs on the board. If the weather holds on the fifth day, the cricketing world will be certain to see a number of records tumble. One of them will be the one of 413 between Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy in 1954-55 against New Zealand, which was the highest ever first wicket stand in test cricket till now – a four and a six should do it. The second could be Brian Lara’s individual record of 400 runs.

Captain Rahul Dravid has been known all along as the granite faced Wall. There was a time when his credentials were in doubt as to the shorter version of the game. He ignored all criticism and, apart from improving the basics of fast scoring, he agreed to don the gloves and keep wickets. That gave the team more flexibility and strengthened the hands of the selectors. Now, as captain, he is setting traditions that have always been associated with the gentleman’s game called cricket. He knows how to hide the emotions and always seems to have an ace up his sleeve. The fourth day of the Lahore Test was one of those rare occasions when one saw him in smiles in public!

Let us join in wishing him and the Indian team success in the remaining two test matches. We would like to see a positive result in this series. If Rahul Dravid can do that, he will have earned the gratitude of all of us.

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