India Can Rise To #2

India’s latest series win over Pakistan has left many-a-disullisioned fans with a rather fuzzy feeling. A feeling that seemed distant only a while ago. When India went to Pakistan, there was a quiet confidence about the teams fortunes among fans, but the first two Tests did leave most fans confused about what to expect. Add to that that the Indian bowlers were getting flayed all over and that familiar feeling of disillusionment returned. And then the third Test happened.

And soon after, the first ODI also happened. India lost what should have been an easy win. But then came the second ODI where India chased successfully. The third and fourth ODIs were no different and in the course of these, India also sealed the series. A good achievement considering all the flak the captain and management were drawing for the preceeding performances.

There are conspiracy theories that always abound when India takes on Pakistan that “the matched are fixed”. But look at the performances and the determination and you would be hard pressed to prove these right. There was also the theory that since India had lost the Test series, they would surely win the ODI series. On what grounds this was made would be interesting to know. Even the bookies were betting on Pakistan.

Once India went ahead 2-1, many were convinced that the match at Multan would be wo easily by Pakistan. As our office boy put it, “They have to recover the money invested in the fifth ODI at Karachi and cannot let the series be decided so soon”. Words of wisdom, indeed.

While this attitude has been hardly comforting for the die-hard followers, it is something we have come to expect. The naysayers will continue to do their job and the well, yay-sayers, if I may, will continue to be optimistic in the worst of situations. Or at least they will pray for rain. So what if it is the start of the summer!

The Indian coach and captain are now said to be keen on winning the last ODI as well and these are the kinds of statements we would like to hear more of. Poor old (also by age) Imran Khan has no place to hide his face anymore. Nor do experts like Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram who have continually put the ability of the Pakistan bowling above the Indian. In doing this, they perhaps never accounted for the decidedly stronger Indian batting to tackle the allegedly stronger bowling. Yes, I remember the third Test when the batting collapsed, but that happens to all teams.

I hope India does win the final ODI since it will also catapult them to the third spot in the LG ICC ODI Championship rankings. And even if New Zealand beats West Indies 4-1 (I think the Windies can win at least one), they would be on level with India in joint third. At this time, South Africa would be taking on Australia and looking at their current form, I would put Australia as favourites to win 4-1. Then India plays England.

The point I am trying to make in the above paragraph is that India has a good chance to rise to No. 2 in the ODI rankings by the end of April-the cut-off date for the Champions Trophy entries- and this would really put some pressure of England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and obviously the West Indies. How one series can change it all.

Let’s hope India can make this happen. And let’s also hope the other teams do their bit to make it happen for India.

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