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    September 09, 2004



    Rahul Dravid made the ICC Awards ceremony his own a couple of days ago by cornering the Player of the year and Test player of the year awards. However he was India's only representative on the World Test XI. There're two ways of looking at it:

    1. He was the only world class performer in the side last year.
    2. The Indian team is greater than the sum of its parts.


    If you go back to around the mid-90s, the situation was quite identical. Tendulkar would invariably find his way into just about any world XI of the era. Yet the Indian team was really going nowhere. Test victories were only at home, tours abroad were guaranteed to be embarassing to watch for Indian cricket lovers. Aside from him, only Azharuddin, Kumble and to some extent Srinath would ever come into contention for a place in a world XI. So it would be fair to say that in Tendulkar's case, argument #1 holds - he was the only world class performer in those sides.

    Yet, I'd not say thats the case currently with Dravid and the Indian team. True, over the last 3 years he has developed into being the fulcrum around which the Indian team's fortunes rotate - even more so than Tendulkar, at the risk of sounding heretic. Yet, this Indian team has at least 4 others who'd normally be very high on the lists of several selectors for a spot in a world XI comprised of achievers in 2003. Sehwag and Laxman would be definite shoo-ins while Tendulkar would be unlikely to make it after some inconsistent performances. Kumble's bowling heroics in Australia and Pakistan would have definitely merited him a place, if not for Messrs Murali and Warne staking their own claims. So again, the situation is similar to the mid-90s when there was one definite world XI player with a couple of other possible contenders for a spot in the side. The difference though is in the results. India drew 1-1 against Australia away, and could very nearly have won the series if not for some daft batting in Melbourne on the first two days and some poor captaincy and bowling in Sydney. An overseas test series win finally materialized in Pakistan preceded by the one-day series win. The results imply that the team was able to pool in all the resources together and win in spite of the absence of Harbhajan & Zaheer and a settled opening pair. Certainly it is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. We'll know whether the team is on the way up when the challenges of playing Australia and South Africa at home present themselves.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 3:33 PM |
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