I’m not at all surprised by India beating Australia in the quarter-final. This match, as Ricky Ponting later said, was probably his last at the World Cup and marks the end of an era of domination by Australia. I had closely watched the seven-match series between England and Australia that no one really cared about after the Ashes. As Australia won 6-1, I got a very good look at its team and realised that it wasn’t as good as the scoreline suggested. One of the most glaring things for me was their batting. Michael Clarke was out of form, Ricky Ponting was not playing, and Cameron White was at No. 4 or 5 and David Hussey at No. 6. It was clear that their line-up just did not have the depth of old.
For somebody like me who’s grown up watching Australia as such a dominant force in world cricket, it took a while to come to terms with the fact that this was not the same Australia. For until now, in every world tournament, Australia would be my firm favourites, even when going through a slump, because I thought they had mastered most aspects of the game. But the kind of ability with which they wanted to replace certain players who have retired hasn’t quite come in. That is why I thought this Australian team was going to be a very weak defender of their title, and it turned out just like that.
India and Pakistan have had great talent coming through in spite of the infrastructure they have. Sometimes there are inexplicable factors for talent coming through, and that’s where I think India has been blessed with some quality players, like Virat Kohli and R. Ashwin. Going into the quarter-final, India’s biggest strength was that their self-belief was greater than that of Australia’s. A lot of credit for that must go to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
In their effort to prepare a dry, turning wicket to aid India, the curator made it tougher for India, because they lost the toss and the situation became pretty tough for India. So it had to be a hard-earned win for India. What benefited them was the fact that Australia did not have spinners of class or who were accurate. There was not much in the wicket for the seamers because it was hard in the middle only and scuffed up at the ends. So for the lengths they were bowling at, the Australians weren’t able to get any help from the wicket.
In spite of some blunders they made in the chase—like the run-out of Gambhir and the fall of Kohli—India was helped by the fact that Yuvraj Singh was in such good form and confidence. He had scored a century in the last match and was in top gear, and his extraordinary ability came to the fore. I must mention Zaheer Khan too, who I think is the best seamer to play for India after Kapil Dev. He’s been very good in this tournament and has got his team wickets, especially in his later spells.
India will now play Pakistan at Mohali in the semi-final. Historically, the Mohali wicket has always had something in it for the seamers. But, like what we found in Ahmedabad, the curators and everybody would gang up and make sure that India has conducive conditions and environment. I look at India as the firm favourites. Sure, Pakistan have got some skills. But India has skills as well as greater discipline. India, in many ways, has been a lot more consistent. Bowling is definitely a weakness, but it’s a weakness that they know they have. And I think Dhoni is one man who knows how to minimise the effects of that weakness.
(Sanjay Manjrekar is a former India player)
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
There was only one Bradman followed closely by Viv Richards & then Sachin.The greatness & brilliance of Sachin should not be faulted for India's performance in the early 90's.It was only Sachin consistency that stemed the rot.The Manjrekars,Azhars,Kamblis ,Sidhus,Jadejas & Robin Singhs were generally unreliable to carry the innings for most part.When the world was crumbling with Match fixing,Spot fixing ..there was one man who was an Idol & inspiration for the billions.His Integrity,Passion,Commitment,Discipline are worthy of emulation.Sheer mortals would have crumbled under the weight of expectations.Look at Yuvraj & His career .Its mostly an inverted 'V'..In the late 90's with the advent of Saurav,Dravid,Laxman & with Sachings guidance & contribution,India could achieve what it has achieved today.He was a role model for the Sehwags & the Kohlis...A jewel in the crown indeed!! .He will make sure that India will be with the Cup & I'm sure he will play an innings of his lifetime...!!!
For people who go after Sachin, look at these stats:
ODI - india won 69% of matches when Sachin scored a century
total sachin century 48 100%
India win 33 68.76%
India lost 13 27.08%
tie 1 2.08%
n/r 1 2.08%
test - India won 39% of matches when Sachin scored a century
total sachin century 51
India win 20 39.22%
india lost 11 21.57 %
draw 20 39.22%
So don't simply say that Sachin makes records for text books
India could not have won a ´single match without Jaheer khan match in last 4 years, but india can win without Sachin for sure. He is a lucky man, not indian team, that he is adding to a records which rarely reflects to in winning crucial matches.
BCCI has Sachin as one who makes reacod for text books but sachin does not compare to Sehwaag, but earns lots of money by promoting products, indians love paying money to such people.
Poor Jaheers, Sehwags suffers due to Astagmatism of Indians.
After Majrekar I appreciate Greg Chappell who had the courage to speak against that Sachin behaves like MAFIA.
what's with manjrekar and pop songs? octopus garden, rikki don't lose my number ...
For an experienced team like Australia, some of its decisions regarding player selection in this World Cup have been very strange. Going with an all-pace attack on sub-continental pitches shows some lack of judgement. It is difficult to understand why Cameron White was still in the team for the crucial quarter-final game, when he has been woefully out of form for such a long time. Usman Khwaja would have been a better choice. Another strange one is Michael Clarke. He too, would have been taken out of the playing eleven in any other team. I wonder why Australia still stuck with him, despite his form. The worst thing is what happened with Steven Smith. I think that the decision to drop him for the quarter final match will haunt Ponting for the rest of his life. Smith is a great fielder, useful with the bat and above all, has shown that he could be a quality spinner.On Ahmedabad's turning pitch, he could have taken those couple of wickets Australia badly needed in the latter half of the second innings, and turned the game around. I think that there was a bit of overconfidence, even arrogance in the decisions of the Australian selection committee. Hubris can never win you cricket matches.
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