Last night I re-discovered the Sachin that made me believe anything is possible. He was supreme last night. But, alas, like many times in his career... he couldn't finish it off for his team.
Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Yet, he doesn't have any big trophy to his name. Like the World Cup, or a test series win in Australia or SA. All great players have one or more trophies to their name. Tendulkar hasn't been able to use his game changing qualities to bring any big cup home. Maybe that's what spurs him on, after 21 long years in international cricket.
Coming back to his innings last night- I feel honoured that I watched it. I will take the memories with me to my grave. It was marvellous. His team-mates must be feeling real ashamed that they couldn't complete the job after Sachin had done so much. They owed it to him to finish it off. That wasn't to be.
Australia are clearly one step ahead of India in every dept. No where is this more visible than in Aus's fielding. For an eg I will recollect the last wicket that fell. There was clearly a lot of tension and Praveen Kumar was trying to run 2. But Haurtiz's rocket throw was perfect, right near the wickets and that made it end game. The ability to keep calm under pressure, to execute perfectly, to be ruthless... all these qualities are highlighted in this one little instance. All these qualities are the hall-mark of the Aussies and you'll find them repeated many times in every game. That's what makes them a champion side.
For too long now we've been depending on raw talent. We should be proud of a system that's able to generate a Sehwag, a Dhoni, or a Bhaji. But not all 11 players can be like that. We need to chip away at the edges of the ordinary cricketers and make them polished so that they shine on the international stage. Ravindra Jadeja was clearly too excited...and that cost him his wicket. Nehra played an irresponsible shot. And why wasn't Praveen Kumar diving in full body for that last run? That could have easily made the difference. These small things make a big difference in the end.
We lack finishers. We lack that finishing quality within us. Even Sachin is not a finisher. Dhoni is & Raina also to a certain degree. We need more of that calibre. It is a real tough job. But the guys should be trained for it. Even in bowling I've noticed that we lack that killer punch. How many times have we let the last wicket just drag the match on? We should be ruthless and finish it off at the earliest.
2 times now in the same series that India has lost matches chasing that it should have won comfortably. Not good at all. Means we haven't learnt our lessons from the first time. This is where Indian cricket needs to improve. This chalta hai attitude will not be accepted. We will need to be machine like in our pursuit of being the number one team. The Aussies are not going to surrender that spot easily.
Australia are still a depleted side. With 2 games to go, I'm still not willing to make any bets. Let's hope India gets it finishing act together for the next games.