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21 Again

Is it already a month yesterday? Do you know when one-month anniversaries get importance? When you are dating the first time and experiencing the feeling of being in love, when you are newly married, when your baby is born, when you get your first job and the first salary arrives. The first ‘month’ anniversaries are special – like this one was yesterday!

A month since that historic, incredible, unfathomable, improbable, I-still-can’t-believe-it-happened-even-though-I-have-watched-the-winning-moment-a-millions-time WIN!

What am I talking about you ask? Why are you even here if you have that question in your mind?

I have not written on the game in 6 years – many reasons – moved countries, jobs, professional life got super busy, could hardly watch matches live, but most of all minimal or zero emotional investment in the team. How did this happen – maturity with age, ability to rationalise, ability to get over debacles, ability to detach, too much cricket?

My 20s were not my best decade personally – lots of ups and downs, but it was my best decade as a cricket fan. That team of the 00s – that team had my heart, mind and soul – it still does. I get nostalgic and I hunt the youtube videos often, or I bring out my DVDs to reminiscence their improbable wins, most of which I witnessed live on TV. I lament that I don’t feel the same connect with the current lot – the game has changed. I don’t feel the same euphoria of a win or the same dejection after a loss. Cricket has been my first love and like most first loves are not successful, this seemed too seemed to be fading away with time. I was hurting, but willing to let go.

And then 2020 hit, one of the worst years of my life (I won’t be wasting this precious space lamenting on the whys of it!) and one of the worst years universally. With all sports stopped due to the pandemic, it was a miracle that cricket even resumed and India managed to get on the plane to Australia; while we managed to catch a break to India from UK. It meant I could get up in the wee hours of the morning and follow the series. Given the time zone in UK, it’s impossible to follow matches in Aus – I simply can no longer stay up all night! I did not feel the euphoria of the 2018-19 series win in Aus, because I could hardly watch any games live, but this series was different. I was on a break, at home in India, no work pressures and no time zone constraints. 5:00 am wake-up call – that I can manage!

The excitement of the day-night test at reasonable hours in India faded away with that debacle of a 36 all out in the 4th innings at Adelaide. What had I just witnessed! How could such a professional, well trained outfit collapse like that – I mean this wasn’t the 90s to remind us of 81 all out! But then it was still 2020, I mean, I knew I was not going to get any joy in my life, what was I expecting? That cricket would serve me one? It had in the past, at some of my lowest points in life, it had come to my rescue; but 2020 was against everyone, so what chance did I stand?

Although collectively, it felt a lot worse, I still felt a weird kind of optimism that this team would bounce back. This bowling unit that we have built in the last 4-5 years that’s the one that gives you hope. Despite no Ishant , Bhuvi and Shami (injured in the first test ) the unit was still lethal that could give us a fighting chance, hell maybe even level the series. I don’t have the same confidence in our batting unit unfortunately, all I wanted was them to make a match of it and put up scores that our bowling could defend.

I thought the win at MCG was one of the finest comebacks given what had transpired at Adelaide. I can’t even imagine the pressure on Rahane – average run in last few years (although his record away has been good), made a crucial mistake that cost Kohli’s wicket in the first innings at Adelaide, and then the horror-show of 36 all out. To lead a deflated team from the front with one of the best centuries I have watched, to be aggressive from the word go with his bowling unit– it was one of the finest displays of batting and captaincy I had watched. Not to forget the delightful partnership with Jadeja, whose presence not only lifted the spirit of the team but also added more strength to the team composition. He gets runs and wickets, but his fielding provides an extended arm to the bowling unit, literally and metaphorically speaking, because he will invariably affect a run-out or pressure the batsmen into making a mistake. And then there was Shubman Gill, may god give us all Gill’s confidence to get through 2021. The assurity and calmness he got to the crease was fascinating to watch from a guy who is only 21 and making his debut in Australia! Unfazed, not enamoured by the occasion, felt like he was meant to be at the grand stage! What a delightful, easy on the eyes that debut was! The team did not miss Kohli, Ishant, Bhuvi, Shami – let that sink in and won at MCG to level the series.

And while we were revelling in the win, Umesh got injured in the match and so another debutant Navdeep Saini came in to the attack at Sydney. Jadeja got injured during the first innings and could not bowl in the second. India was getting hammered and looked down and out after 3.5 days. A target of 407 was set, Rohit and Gill both out on Day 4 evening and we all were convinced it was matter of time the batting would fold away. But we were now in 2021 and not 2020, so miracles seemed a possibility, a faint one, but still a possibility – a glimmer of hope that was ignited by the audacious stroke play of Rishabh Pant. Only 23 years of age – much maligned or hyped by the word ‘talent’. He formed a unique partnership with Pujara – the stoic warrior man of this team.  Losing Rahane in the first over of the day had no impact on Pant’s mindset, who changed the course of the game. I missed the morning session of the SCG test, I cursed myself a lot but I did not budge from my seat for the last two sessions. The Pujara-Pant partnership reduced the chance of the Aus win and actually made an Indian win look probable. If Vihari had not pulled his hamstring, Jadeja was not with a fractured arm and Ashwin’s back had not broken away – India would have gone for the win. They just pulled all the breaks once Vihari got injured. It was a matter of one wicket for Aus to get to the fragile Indian tail with Jadeja almost unlikely to bat with a fractured wrist. Aus’s famed world-class bowling attack failed to get that wicket for 2 whole sessions. Let that sink in too.

The rear-guard action by Vihari-Ashwin took me back to VVS-Dravid partnership of Kolkata 2001. Not in the same mould in terms of runs scored, but both partnerships crucial to the end result of the team; a wicket gone and it would have meant series lost.  Sydney was a draw, but it made me happier than I was at the win at MCG. I can’t explain this feeling to my friends and family, who don’t follow cricket and look at me with concerned looks as to why am I celebrating a no-result in a match after 5 days. Why am I ecstatic at the batsman crawling at SR of 14 and 30 for 4 hours, when I don’t care about 400 runs being scored in 4 hours. Have you been able to explain? Teach me how! I seem to have failed over the years.

We went to Gabba – Aha the fortress of the Aussies. See ya at Gabba mate is what we heard Tim Paine say to Ashwin at Sydney. Ashwin with a broken back could not turn up at the Gabba, neither did Jadeja, nor could Bumrah and no Vihari either. What kind of cruel joke was God playing I thought? India without all their first and second choice frontline bowlers and their captain/main batsman and another seasoned batsman! Two debutants in the series – one could not be home for the birth of his first child and the other for his father’s last rites. There could not be more odds stocked against you ever!

Thank god for the coaches and team management’s foresight to retain the net bowlers and a wider squad for the entire duration of the tour. We had to field a bowling attack which had collective 13 wickets (two of those were from Rohit Sharma) amongst them vs Aus’s 1000+. Siraj in his 3rd test was the leader of the attack, Saini 2nd test, Shardul 2nd test, Nattarajan and Sundar debut. Good luck to us I thought, if we take this match into Day 4 or 5 it’s a win for us! I kept saying that all we had to do was focus on not losing the match to retain the trophy; the real pressure was on Aus who had to force a win to win the trophy back.

With this inexperienced bowling attack, we bowled out Aus in their backyard for 369 – how was that not a win? I was pleasantly surprised. Aus could have raced to 450+ and we stalled them. But as confident I’m of our bowling line-up to save our face, I’m equally confident of our batting line-up mucking up when not needed. And so, it did, we were 186-6 with all batsman getting starts but not staying for long. What played out for the next 36 overs was one of the happiest moments I have experienced as a cricket fan. Oh! The joy I felt watching that Shardul-Sundar partnership unfold in front of me – I fail to find words to describe it! It was like having ice-cream in the rain! Do you know the feeling? Have you tried it? The unexpected happiness of it all – at that point I couldn’t care if we went onto lose the game, the bowlers and these two had given me sufficient happiness to overcome the loss.

Every time we were put on a backfoot, one soldier came forward and hit the ball out of the park – every single person in the team put their hand up! When was the last time we saw this kind of effort from a team? When was the last time you felt this unadulterated joy? Their partnership restricted that Aus lead to 33 – a number famously associated with the Adelaide test of 2003. Could we? Would we repeat it? Nah! This was good enough, don’t build unnecessary hopes!

And then Aus got bowled out for 294 and we had to chase 328. The highest run chase at Gabba until then was 236, 50 years ago. Aus had last lost a test at Gabba in 1988 to the then mighty West Indies. I mean talk about odds stacked up against you – India was staring at Jack’s beanstalk!

I was scheduled to fly back to the UK on 19th Jan, something I could not avoid for personal and professional reasons and I made my peace with it – that if India hunts this down, I will miss the most epic chase or series finale ever! I was confident we would draw the match and watched the first session play out at the airport lounge. I boarded my flight in peace knowing I would not land in UK to the news of a series loss. But then to switch on my phone to tweets, DMs and multiple WhatsApp messages from my friends and my core twitter cricket circle gave me the shock of my life!

How on earth did we effing chase the score how? Gill in his debut series played a solid 91? He is 21! Pant again the mastermind? He is 23! Two successive match altering knocks! Rahane attacked with a 6 off Lyon showing intent, Pujara bruised and battered but held one end strongly, Sundar upping the chase, taking it from a draw to win with that audacious hook for a six off Cummins – Cummins the best test bowler in the world, Sundar on his debut! This again after that no-look six off Lyon in the first innings. He is 21! Siraj got a fifer in Aus’ s second innings – he is 26. Who are these guys?  Where have they turned up from? Do they know no fear? Are they never in awe of the occasion? Do they realise they have pulled off the greatest escape ever – If Houdini were alive, he would be cheering them aloud!

Is this an illusion or a dream? What did we witness, or did we just hallucinate? What on earth happened! How did India win a second successive series in Australia without 9 of their main players? It’s been a month and I still don’t have the answers, do you? I read lots of articles, lots of lovely quotes, lots of tweets – I tried to make sense of what we had witnessed session after session, innings after innings, day after day, match after match since that debacle in Adelaide. I cannot rationalise it; I cannot fathom it. After the high of Kolkata win in 2001 and the test series win in Chennai that year, I never thought I would witness a miracle again on the cricket field – and that too after the disaster that was 2020 that had sucked all hope out of mankind. But in 2021, I was witnessing one again!

I said at the start of this post, I was beginning to disconnect from the game emotionally, and here I’m today, celebrating the first month anniversary of my new found love for the game.

I feel like I am 21 again!

Cricket Mania

You do know by now about my love for cricket. The World Cup has started and I could be on and off this space until 2Apr2011. I’m not going to be totally switched off from here but the posts could get sporadic – so forgive me if you can!

If you love cricket and want to follow my write-ups catch me on my cricket blog : The Corridor of Certainty. We have some very good fellow bloggers posting there – so stay tuned in!

I’ve also got the opportunity to put up my posts on HoldingWilley and am enjoying this bit thoroughly.

Additionally, the podcasts with Ayaz Memon continue on Indicast

I’m finally getting a hang of twitter and loving the interaction with some balanced cricket enthusiasts. For my updates on twitter  follow me on @grangergabblog and @TheCofC

A lot of cricket happening in my life + my day-job is getting exciting, challenging, intellectually stimulating and more fulfilling as days pass by – yes I’m feeling blissful right now:-)

Ask Ayaz

Wanted to ask Ayaz Memon a few cricket questions? Wondering how to go about it?

Go to my cricket blog now and you will get your answers!


Cricket Podcasts with Ayaz Memon

Read about it here.

Listen to the first podcast in the series here

Continue to follow my cricket colla-blog ‘The Corridor of Certainty’.

Follow us on twitter @TheCofC and on our Facebook Page for more updates.

The latest on “The Corridor of Certainty”

Hey folks I hope you have visited my new colla-blog / site on cricket by now, if not rush over quick to the “The Corridor of Certainty”

We have just got started – here are a couple of posts up on the site. Do read and let us know.

We will keep coming up with more – so do keep visiting!

The Cricket Stops Here…

I’ve written on my first love on this blog since I first started blogging in 2005. Well that has got to stop now ….

I’m not ending my cricket writing , in fact I’m hoping that you all will be entertained with even more variety and some of the best write-ups on the game. My crazy friends and me have started a colla-blog dedicated to our passion and our love – CRICKET – The one common thread that holds us together.

Read about our new venture here.

So the cricket writing will stop on this space and move over to a space dedicated solely to my first love. Enjoy your stay there but don’t forget to return to this blog to read about my other loves

Your feedback on our new site is most welcome – do drop in at The Corridor of Certainty.


Circa – 1989 India Vs Pakistan.

The little boy wonder, all of 16 at the crease in Sialkot – final test – India looking to seek a draw. Knocked out by a bouncer, shirt full of blood, refused medical assistance and hit a solid 57. In the process along with Sidhu, helped India draw a series and not lose to Pakistan in Pakistan – that was as good as victory. When millions of Indians saw him take field on 15Nov1989 – he gave them hope that he would be the spine of Indian Batting in the years to come.


Circa 1996 – India Vs England – 2nd Test

Two men all of 23 took centre stage after Sidhu walked out of the tour and Manjrekar suffered an injury. One got a century on debut treating us to the best offside display we would ever see and the other almost got a century; but his knock of 95 gave us the assurance that Indian middle order would be well taken care of by this technically sound and compact player. These 2 gave us hope that the little boy wonder would be ably supported.


Circa 1996 – India Vs South Africa Ahmedabad

On what was possibly the worst test wicket , a young man of 22 held fort in the 2nd innings to make 51 on debut in a team score of 190. All silken grace , making you wonder if Azhar had come out to bat  wearing a mask. Later in the years, he would refuse to be changed to a make-shift opener, would go back to domestic cricket and score only double and triple hundreds to force the selectors to consider him for his middle-order spot. He would earn it and then in Kolkata 2001 ensure that his name would always be carved in Indian Cricket’s Hall of Fame. He gave us hope that in him we would have a man for crisis even after the above 3 had given way.


India’s fabulous and almost legendary middle order took birth in the late 90s. These men made their mark in their debut tests and have served the team for well over 10 years together. Together they were our hope for a better future of Indian cricket.


Their legacy will be tough to follow but Vijay ( 87 on debut Vs SL in 2009), Raina (120 on debut  Vs SL in 2010)  and Pujara ( 72 on debut Vs Aus in 2010) have given me hope that the famous Indian Middle Order may well be passed into good hands.


Too early to judge you may say, but what I’ve noticed is the positive attitude, and attitude is what counts most in this game. Pujara could’ve well been down and out after a nasty delivery in the first innings but I loved the way the bloke sized his opportunity and came out looking positive in the 2nd innings. Aware of the fact that he may well be sitting out against NZ when Laxman recovers, he still made most of what came his way and did justice to his captain’s faith. Apparently he is touted as the lad to take the baton from Dravid, and today as he took the Wall’s famous 1-down spot, he showed he would be ready when it finally comes his way.


They all are young blokes under 25 and the best part is that they get to grow under the shadow of the Fab 3. What better way to learn than from the masters themselves. Vijay, Raina and Pujara have all got partnerships with GOD himself and that itself would’ve been a huge learning for them . Waiting in the wings is Virat Kohli who has impressed me with his run in the ODIs. Rohit Sharma is another talented bloke.


Yes they need to be tested on foreign waters and they will have their failures. The Fab 4 went through tough tests too and came out fine. We stuck by them, we believed in them. The generation I grew up watching will soon fade away in a couple of years and it’s a thought that scares me no end. Until a year ago I kept wondering who would carry their legacy forward but the last one year is giving me hope – hope that with a few hiccups these young blokes should be able to manage fine.


Hope is what the world survives on and hope is what drives us. It is a different era and different generation, the cast is changing but somewhere the heart and mind seem to agree that the results we will get will still be the same. Time to sit back and enjoy the journey of the next generation of Fab 4.


Welcome aboard!

The cancer returns?

April 2000 was a black month in the history of cricket. The Hansie Cronje confession shook the foundation of the “gentleman’s game”. The spirit had been infected with greed. Few more names surfaced-Azhar, Jadeja, Salim Mallik, Gibbs, Boje. Pakistani cricketers of the likes of Wasim, Waqar, Inzamam, Anwar were warned. Life bans, endless investigations, court-room trials, jury decisions – cricket saw it all.

Cricket lost tons of fans that day. I know many friends – hard core cricket buffs, some players themselves at different levels, gave up watching the game. Players were under scrutiny, trust was lost, faith destroyed and punishments meted out.

A few fans though kept quiet; fans like me for whom cricket is almost a religion. You do not give up on religion and god that easily even though all may not seem right. You have been brought up to follow that path and you know no other. You grow up with a belief and you don’t let a few idiots destroy it in minutes. So you tell yourself to look beyond and search for those few to guard the sanctity of your religion. Things begin to improve and somewhere you get the feeling that the therapy is working and the cancer can be cleaned up.

And the therapy worked, or so we believed. What a fabulous decade we had. The game and the teams put rose above the scandal, and took steps to restore the hopeless fan’s faith. Young talents sprung up, Australia dominated, South Africa, England and India fought hard while Pakistan the most unpredictable of the lot, threw up talents like hot-selling cakes.

We had some unpredictable results, uncanny victories, underdogs triumphing and the game had regained its old beauty. We were back to shouting hoarse the age old adage, “Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties”. Then a friend of mine would say – Minal, I think the match was fixed”. I’d mouth of obscenities to him for being a disbeliever, doubter  and a shame of a fan to the game. I did not want to believe that such a thing existed. The cancer was killed I was told all these years.

In the last few months, sporadic news came to light – the IPL match-fixing allegations,the Kaneria case. Nothing concrete emerged and we chose to ignore. Benign tumours, false alarms I told myself. If the game is running smooth, the media will find ways to disrupt the harmony for their TRP greed.

I ignored and chose to revel in the joy that the 2 As were bestowing on us fans. Not since the 2Ws have I seen such fine display of seam and swing from Pakistan. Aus and Eng were tottering against these two. Aamir is a genuine talent – all of 18 – he seemed like the blessing Pakistan was seeking all this while.

Pakistan has had an awful year in cricket – the SL attack, its aftermath resulting in sacking of Pakistan as the co-host of the 2011 World Cup matches and the elimination as a host to international tours. Amir and Asif with their fine bowling performances this summer in England had every cricket fan in the world swooning over them.

In a decade dominated by the batsmen, we fans were getting some fine glimpses of the future to come in Amir & Asif. The honours were in balance before the start of the 4th test and on the second day it almost looked like Pak might seal another series draw with Amir’s outburst of 6 wickets having stripped England to 102-7. Broad and Trott came together to play an epic fight back in the history of test cricket.

Pakistan lost the plot and Swann sealed it off England by dismissing them for 74 in the first innings. At 40-4 on the 4th evening , with the fans relishing the cricket dished out in the summer, this was not needed to be heard or read on a fine Sunday morning.  

If proven guilty it will be tragic for Pakistan, for cricket and for us fans. Not only will we lose out on a prodigious talent but the doctors will declare that the cancer has not been eradicated and it will be time again for therapy.

I cannot understand what lures a player to sell his pride and his loyalty to the game, to his country , to his fan for a few green notes. You take us for granted – we the blind followers of this crazy religion. Our love does not give you the right to play with it and cripple it. There is enough money in the game today and yet the greed erupts – cause apparently nothing is enough.

Pakistan did not need this – not now when it was clearing up the demons of its torrid past. Amir and Asif looked good to put the team back on track and hunt down the top teams. They had sown the seeds of ambition in this young team. Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis would’ve been proud to see their legacy being protected and carried forward.

If guilty, they must pay – with a life ban. If you corrupt the game – you must not be allowed to comeback to it again. The team must be pulled up and Pakistan Board will need to do a lot of self-introspection before the country is allowed to play cricket again. This time the ICC must be harsh,no two thoughts about it. Cause if they let go this time, the cancer will not be contained and will spread like a virus.

If not guilty then they must be given all the support to get back the confidence and walk into the stadium with their heads held high.

Trust and faith are a tricky business. It takes years to build them up and a minute for them to breakdown. The fan today is seeking reasons – reasons to believe that this is one-off and has not tainted the entire game.

Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right.  ~John Donne

And as cricket’s soul seeks her left hand for the cancer that has eroded her again, her right hand is pinching the left hand hoping to get up from what seems a never ending nightmare.

Random Cricket Conundrums – Answers Anyone?

Why are people trying to analyze the “Sehwag” phenomenon? I would advise them DON’T BOTHER! If he could be explained he would not be Sehwag.

Why do television channels still have Charu Sharma and Manish Valicha as cricket anchors?

Once you have convinced me on the above,  can you try the impossible ? Explain to me the business reason for having Arunlal as a commentator – he speaks Hinglish.

Why is Ravindra Jadeja still in the team? Why Why Why?

Do we as a team take pride in being consistently inconsistent? Is it too difficult to be disciplined in our approach to every match?

Has anyone else noticed the awful gap in our batting line-up sans Sachin and Gambhir? Sehwag has scored 40%+ runs of the team total in the entire tournament.

Did someone tell me that we play 7 batsman? I’ve so far heard only one man make all the runs, where are the rest? Gone for a nice swim in the Indian Ocean, or maybe not cause they are already struggling to stay afloat against swing and spin bowling!

If this is the team we are going to take to field 6 months from now, does anyone agree that Sachin’s dream of winning a world cup just might remain a dream?

Are there times in your life when you sleep through the boredom, the routine tasks, the monotonous chores? Do you get the the feeling that the Indian team is beginning to treat playing against SL in the same fashion?

I don’t find any motivation to watch SL & India compete against each other, do you often wonder how do they motivate themselves to play? Or maybe they don’t, which is why we get bundled out for just over 100!

Has anyone else realised that this Saturday is probably the 99999999 raised to nth time India will play SL and the 9999th time in the final? Excited – hell yeah –Damn you Kiwis! I’d rather utilize it more fruitfully by catching up on my weekend sleep!

Say a little prayer for you…

Over the last 3 weeks, we cricket geeks ( Definition: fans who love tests over ODIs and T20s) have been praying – silently ,vehemently and albeit very loudly that the boredom that had set in thanks to the first 2 tests between Ind-SL needed a miraculous recovery for us fans to retain our interest in the game.

And so god heard us – the man up there and the man on the field as well. The groundsman at P Sara Oval made a sensible wicket – one that assisted the bowlers to some extent. India for the first time in the series got SL all out. Sehwag bludgeoned the SL attack in quick time. Raina and the tail wagged to take a miniscule but psychological first innings lead. In the 3rd innings for  the first time, India looked like a good bowling side when they had SL reeling at 87-7, and we fans almost started relishing the sight of India chasing a score between 100-120.

And that would’ve been still possible had we switched sides at that point and had the Aussies or South Africans bowling, but sadly it was the Indian team. Since SL had let our tail wag for 100 odd runs we needed to return the favour. I don’t know which defensive snake bit Dhoni and he stopped attacking. No slips to Ishaant and field wide spread out. I didn’t quite understand what score were we defending?  Samaraweera, the first innings’ century maker was allowed easy singles which not only helped boost the score but also allowed him to time to set in. Mendis came and rubbed further salt and so we were looking at chasing 250+ instead of 150.

Most of our top batsmen barring Dravid have a poor average in the 4th innings when compared to their overall average. The odds didn’t seem to favour us either, what with we having won only 4 times chasing 250+. So it almost seemed like the team had axed itself by choosing to go on the defensive. Losing 3 top order batsmen in the last session of day 4 did not help othe cause either.

When I glued in to the television today morning, I was worried that we might go defensive and lose the battle altogether. But fortunately Sachin and Laxman thought otherwise, and were positive from the word go. No one more than Sachin in this line-up stresses on the importance of singles and he along with Laxman got almost 50% runs in their partnership running singles. When he runs his singles, he makes you forget he is 37, he can beat those 20 year-olds hands down! And only he could’ve hit the ball between the wicketkeeper and first slip for a 4, when facing a crowded leg-side field and Randiv bowling spot on.

Laxman is lazy in the singles area, he is forgiven that minor flaw cause his game is otherwise flawless. He showed us again why he is very very special. Whether he drives on the off, pulls, flicks his wrists or delicately nudges for his singles – he amazes every time with the ease he plays his shots. Even with a back pain the guy makes the shot-making look so easy that even a non-player can be fooled into attempting the strokes.

Even after Sachin departed and still a good 80+ runs to get, Laxman maintained his cool. At  the start I wondered what was going on in Raina’s mind, maybe and overdose of talk with Yuvraj led to him playing some senseless strokes. Luckily for him he did not lose his wicket and got back to the sensible, compact batting we had witnessed from him in his last 2 innings. Laxman got to his first test hundred in 4th innings. I heard commentators make statements such as this is his finest knock ever – people have poor memory. His best ever and by far the best ever by any batsman in the history of test cricket remains his 281 Vs Aus in Kolkatta in 2001. No one should dare make such statements again. It was a great knock but not the greatest given the opposition and the circumstances. Laxman will agree too that 281 will remain unparalleled in all aspects.

Raina sealed the win with a fine 6 – something he was itching to do since he had stepped onto the ground. Fortunately, we did not make the match tense and eased to the total.

Did anyone else think that the match presentation was as long as the last day itself? Man of the match, player of the match, stylish player, man of the series, and god knows how many!

We should’ve drawn the first match and ideally won the series, but a fight back is good and looks like the thought of losing the No 1 position is helping us in a positive way.

We are not the best no. 1 team. We won’t dominate any series till our bowling falls in place, and our batsmen stop struggling on pace as well as spinning tracks. At some point we need to play and dominate like the past no1 team – Aus did. Another huge worry is Dravid’s form, and before everyone goes about calling for his head – keep in mind the bench is not ready to take his place as yet. He should be back against the NZ series, if he fails there , then he needs to rethink about his future – until then let’s not jump the gun. I truly believe these players will know when the time is right and so let’s trust their gut feel.

On the other side of the world, Pak struggled against some fine swing bowling by the Poms and looks like all Gods are behind KP to get back to form.

Prayers are answered, test cricket is still alive! The boring ODI series begins but thank god for Eng-Pak series. Go Pommies – Aussies need some fright when you face them this summer!

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