If great team contribution was the key to India’s triumph over Sri Lanka, the same will be the case against the Proteas in the upcoming series. Those who follow the game of cricket closely will feel convinced that the difference between winning or losing is not so much about the presence of two or three individual ‘star’ players but rather the team’s ability to use individual skills and talent into a workable winning combination. Mere talent and star power cannot win you matches every time and one of the most important factors for the success of a team is to win on a consistent basis. Winning is important because it will bring confidence to the dressing room and lift the overall spirit of the team.
The reasons why sides like Australia have been successful over a long period of time now, has to do with its team combination and the ability of all their players to contribute in whatever role they are called in for. Batsmen alone will not win you matches neither can bowlers. A team’s success is more assured if everyone in the team can play to their assigned roles rather than becoming dependent on one or two players. Teams like India, Pakistan or West Indies have had great players over recent times but were less successful as a team. There was a period when the Indian team depended solely on Sachin Tendulkar’s batting prowess while the other players rallied around him. This is simply a case of bad cricket.
As far as the present Indian team is concerned the recent series win over Sri Lanka has come out with a lot of positives. For once, the era of a super-player team is giving way to a multi-polarity of super-players within the team and this augurs well for Indian cricket. Two players worth mentioning here are left-arm medium pacer Irfan Pathan and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Their presence has given a new dimension to the Indian team. Pathan has every potential to become the All-Rounder that has eluded India ever since the great Kapil Dev left the world stage. His recent performance shows that he is no mug with the bat and both Skipper Rahul Dravid and Coach Greg Chappel know that from here on, they have much more workable options. The requirement of wicketkeeper who could be relied upon to score runs was a long felt need for the team. Not only can Dhoni score runs but he can do it in a hurry and turn a match on its head. With players like Dhoni and Irfan the current Indian team need not have to look too far for motivation.