The Indian team has just won the Perth test match and media commentators have already elevated the win to proclaim it as “the best test triumph ever”. Is it really so?
Hardly days to go before the match, Indians suffered an incredible defeat at the hands of the world champions at Sydney causing the nations’ public to vent all its anger at the opposition team’s rude manner, a “nothing-short-than-victory-would-do” attitude and of course the shocking umpiring bloomers.
Any captain in Kumble’s place would have found it hard to stomach the heat but the simple, soft-spoken, humble and mentally strong Bangalorean almost judiciously handled the media and made sure that the focus of the team doesn’t waver. Within days history was created at Perth – the WACA where visiting teams are written off even before the first day’s play commences.
At Sydney, it was a classical case of the Australian players and the umpires shooting themselves on the foot. How else can one explain a player who stands his ground after edging a catch to first slip, a supposedly gentleman-cricketer (Gilchrist) appealing for Dravid’s wicket when the ball was nowhere near the bat, a team’s captain grounding a catch and claiming the same shamelessly, an umpire consulting the opposition captain to declare a batsman out, another umpire having seemingly strange hearing discrepancies and to top it all, a third umpire failing to judge a batsman out after conclusive television replays to that effect?
The Australian team will have to do a lot to regain their place in many a cricket fan’s heart. No umpire will ever be free of pressure officiating again in a test match in Australia what with two of their colleagues covering themselves in glory. Umpiring errors in Australia aren’t new with several players and coaches often expressing their unhappiness before notable being the late Bob Woolmer, John Wright and our own Sourav during the last tour.
Indians did not cloud themselves in true glory either as Harbhajan succumbed to the Aussie bait almost effortlessly. That episode got even Shashi Tharoor to give his view: “It is dangerous to act as if the undoubted financial weight of India in world cricket entitles us to our own set of rules”. I hasten to add that we are increasingly perceived as acting exactly in that manner by at least some keen followers of the game too.
When one thought, it is packing time for the touring team, better sense prevailed and to the delight of a billion plus fans, the team showed that it has the goods to beat the world champions in their own best-suited-backyard.
Not getting intimidated by the conditions, persisting with a youthful pace attack and an experienced middle order and more importantly playing for a win from the word ‘Go’, this is certainly one test win that’ll do the game proud from an Indian perspective and help Kumble join the select club of that fast dwindling breed in cricket – Gentlemen!!