New Delhi: Team India had quite an eventful week in Sri Lanka during the Compaq Cup tri-series. Dhoni and his boys were playing an international match after a gap of almost two months and what a way to start a season! They thrashed New Zealand and for the first time in the history of ICC ODI rankings, they became World No. 1.
The glory and the euphoria, however, were shortlived and they slipped to the third spot after the embarrassing defeat against Sri Lanka. Riding on some magnificent batting from Sachin Tendulkar and some lethal bowling from Harbhajan Singh, India got hold of the title and moved up a rung.
With this win, India will carry the momentum to the ICC Champions Trophy that starts on September 22 in South Africa. All this sounds redundant, isn't it?
Yeah, but that's not the point. The fact is no one should read too much into India's tri-series win. It was too short to give a clear picture. Though it created turbulence in the rankings, it hardly reflects the preparations.
Indian bowling remains inconsistent. Though Harbhajan Singh along with some part-time tweakers looked impressive. Comeback man Ashish Nehra in just two matches proved the pros and cons of his presence in the team. Similarly, RP Singh and Ishant Sharma resembled a pale shadow of themselves and performed in spurts. Though conditions will be favourable for the pacers in South Africa, no bowler-friendly pitch can teach one to persist with accuracy.
Despite the return of Gautam Gambhir after recovering from a groin injury, it remains to be seen if he is match-fit and in-form. Though, Sachin Tendulkar looks formidable up in the order. The middle-order is heavily dependent on Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. It's time players like Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, etc. started performing consistently to prove their worth in the side.
However, one major concern is India's fielding. They looked lethargic and lacked finesse on the field during the series in Sri Lanka. Catches were dropped, run-outs were missed. They cannot afford to make such goofs in South Africa as even a simple slip can send Dhoni's brigade packing.
No, I don't say India don't stand a chance in the Champions Trophy. No team can take them lightly, but only if they play to their potential. They have been performing well for the past two years but one can't rest on past laurels. After a prolonged break and a mini-series, it's time Indian players shrug off the rust and get ready for some tough cricket.