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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 11:27 GMT
Indian cricket on the up
By Farokh Engineer
Former Indian Test player

Indian cricket is a very healthy condition following the drawn Test series in Australia, but I think they missed a golden opportunity in Sydney.

Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly
India retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy but let a series win slip

Anil Kumble is a tremendous old warhorse, but I was disappointed in Murali Kartik because he didn't give the ball much air or much of a rip.

If Harbhajan Singh has played instead of Kartik, the game wouldn't have gone into a fifth day.

I think India should have enforced the follow-on, but captain Sourav Ganguly was looking at the fact that Kumble had already bowled so many overs in Australia's first innings.

His decision meant India could have lost the match and there was a brief moment when Steve Waugh thought they might be in with a chance despite having to score 443.

Everyone is singing Steve Waugh's praises - he's certainly been a great cricketer and the way he has moulded their team has been absolutely fantastic - but he should have sent Adam Gilchrist in ahead of him to bat with Simon Katich.

If those two had got going, they wouldn't have been far away from their target.

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid's batting during the series was magnificent

One area where India have improved tremendously is the fielding. In the past catches have been dropped and runs given away, but this time it was really sharp.

In fact, India's fielding was better than the Australian fielding.

Ganguly's hundred in the first Test in Brisbane was vitally important. That was the starting point. He set an example and showed that runs could be scored off the Australian bowlers, top-class as they are.

Rahul Dravid was in tremendous form and the 178 by VVS Laxman in Sydney was one of the finest innings I have seen.

Sachin Tendulkar's batting was nowehere near as good as Laxman's, but he he grafted and got the highest score of his Test career knowing he was not in top form. That shows the greatness of the man.

I was slightly disappointed by the wicket-keeping of young Parthiv Patel. He tends to get up too soon and snatches at the ball.

The way Gilchrist was stumped was almost embarrasing, the ball bounced off his gloves and went onto the stumps, and if he had stumped Ponting earlier in the day, India might have bowled Australia out.

John Wright and Sachin Tendulkar
John Wright has done an excellent job as team coach

India are one team that believe they can beat Australia. They have the batting power, the bowling and the fielding - I think they believe they are superior in every department.

The challenge now is to beat teams overseas - everyone knows India's record at home is impeccable. They have the capability to do it.

And form the experience they've had in Australia, they know they are capable of beeting the best team in the world.

Coach John Wright has done a great job. I've seen the way he works with the boys and they respect him tremendously.

Next it's Pakistan and I'm delighted India are resuming Test cricket against them. having coped with Brett Lee, I'm sure they can cope with Shoaib Akhtar, great bowler that he is.

Links to more Aus v Ind stories


Faroukh Engineer
"If Harbhajan had played instead of Kartik, the game wouldn't have gone into a fifth day"

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