Sunday, November 29, 2009

A century, 77 years in the making.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. A 100 wins! And 10 years ago, no cricket statistician worth his cricket blog and uninterrupted cricket coverage via Cricinfo would have guessed it would've been achieved within another 10 years. While the whole of India kept criticizing the men in blue of their inability of winning abroad and of falling standards in the 5 day game, Team India quietly managed to pull-off their best decade ever. No, seriously! What would say of a team's history of 77 years, when 39% of its success was experienced in this one decade?

On closer look, we'll find that there's a small matter of the matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. But these will be dealt with too, when we try and capture the essence of this decade.

The 2000s started most disastrously for team India. After yet another Australian whitewash, it was the turn of Cronje's Proteas blanking India at Home. And then the most forgettable incident in Cricket's history, which threatened annihilation of the game itself. It left India reeling, with yesteryears' heroes, Azhar and Jadeja being proved guilty of match fixing.

But from the rubble emerged a new India, much like the Reneissance after centuries of strife. And leading them from the front was Saurav Ganguly. The Prince led his men to their first test win of the decade, and an overseas one at that, against debutants Bangladesh and followed it with wins against Zimbabwe.

And then the epic series that would probably define the team for the decade that followed. To their credit, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Dhoni managed to do in the 2000s what their predecessors hadn't managed in 67 years - a win-loss ratio of 1.

So before we start criticize this team, I feel we need to look-up our history and then make an assessment.

Much in the spirit of India's 100th victory, I've compiled my All-time India XI.

Sunil Gavaskar
Virendar Sehwag
Rahul Dravid
Sachin Tendulkar
G Vishwanath
Vinoo Manked
MS Dhoni
Kapil Dev
Anil Kumble
Zaheer Khan
J Srinath
Ekanath Solkar(12th man)