New Delhi:The Indian cricket fraternity on Sunday hailed the team's elevation to the top of the Test rankings but warned Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men that staying at the summit is always tougher than reaching there. India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 24 runs to clinch the three-match series 2-0 and top the ICC rankings for the first time since its 2001 inception.
Former captain Sunil Gavaskar led the tribute but also reminded the contributions of former captains Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble in making the side a formidable outfit.
"Players like Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble made a lot of contribution. They are the guys who moulded the team. Their teammates imbibed fighting qualities from the Gangulys and Kumbles," Gavaskar said.
Individually, Gavaskar reckoned, Sachin Tendulkar would cherish the feat more than anyone else.
"I think Sachin was probably dying for this day. He started in 1989 and has completed 20 years in international cricket. He missed out on a World Cup when India lost the final in 2007.
"Now this is a big moment for him. I would think this is as big as all his personal records," Gavaskar said. According to him, reaching the top was hard but staying there would be even harder.
"Getting to number one is hard work. But they would have to work harder to stay there because others would try to knock them off the pedestal. They would have to be lot more consistent but it's not beyond them. They have got the skills and talent and it's application which is not always 100 per cent," Gavaskar explained.
Asked if there was any area which India needed to address, Gavaskar said, "We still don't have regular opening pair of bowlers. (S) Sreesanth is back, Zaheer (Khan) remains the spearhead and Ishant (Sharma) hopefully will be able to regain his spark and I hope he returns to form soon. If that happens, it would be good for India to have three new ball bowlers who can bowl well abroad.
"In the spin department, (Pragyan) Ojha had a good debut series and Harbhajan (Singh) is also taking wickets," he said.
Asserting that India have to have a strong bench strength, Gavaskar said, "I believe bench strength is the true indicator of a team's potentials. In the spin department, you have Amit Mishra too but I don't see a top class off-spinner or a left-arm spinner on the horizon."
Like Gavaskar, former captain and now chief selector K Srikkanth also paid rich tributes to former captains Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, saying they did an excellent job.
"Anil Kumble led the side ably and did a great job after Rahul Dravid had relinquished captaincy. As a bowler, I don't need to comment on his performance."
"At the same time, you have to remember Sourav Ganguly. Ganguly was an attacking captain right from the start and even in his last series against Australia, his contribution with the bat was crucial for the team," Srikkanth said.
Former spinner Bishan Singh Bedi said it was a proud moment in Indian cricket and said Dhoni has been lucky to have proven match winners like Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan in the side.
"Congratulations to all members of Team India for their superb performance. They have made it possible. It has taken a long time for them. Right now, it's a proud moment to cherish and not look at the shortcomings," he said.
"I would like to credit people like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. They are the people like who have really combined the unit. They have really filled the gap. Dhoni to my mind is very lucky man to have all these greats under his command," he said.
"Definitely they can beat South Africa and Australia at their own home-turf," he added. Former spinner EAS Prasanna said the team needs to build on the recent success.
"It is a wonderful victory. It is gratifying to witness a great effort by the team especially since it's coming for the first time in the history. There is going to be added pressure on the team now. We need to do lot of home work now on to sustain that position with the knowledge that other countries are also developing faster," he said.
Another former captain Ajit Wadekar said no praise is enough for Dhoni's men given the consistency with which they have been performing.
"Dhoni and his men have realised the dream of past masters of the game like me. Each of us, who have played for the country had dreamt of achieving the feat of being world number one in Test. I congratulate the current bunch of Indian cricketers," he said.
"We have to sustain this position as long as possible. We have been doing well in international cricket but in recent times, we have been much more consistent, which has truly reflected on our top position today. As a past captain and Coach of the national side, I join the millions of Indians in congratulating the team effort of Dhoni's men.
Former pacer Javagal Srinath, who is now an ICC match referee, said the pace attack led by Zaheer Khan should be complimented for wrecking havoc on pitches which are largely unresponsive.
"They have grabbed the number one spot convincingly. In Kanpur they won it on a flat track. It was Sreesanth who won us the Kanpur Test and it is Zaheer Khan who has brought glory for Team India in the Mumbai Test," he said.
"India has been pretty good in these last 3-4 years. I am very pleased with the effort they have put in to become the number one Test side in the world. Now, I want them to continue with their good run and maintain the ranking for next couple of years," Srinath said.
Former batsman Ajay Jadeja said the team has clicked as a unit and no individual can be credited for the rise.
"It's a great achievement by the team. Congratulations to Dhoni and his boys. Dhoni is as good as his team. The kind of team he has, it's great. Had this team been not there, he would not have been that successful captain which he is today.
"Dhoni appears to be leader and when it comes to leader, he is been fabulous and wonderful. You can't say, it's Dhoni, Sehwag or Tendulkar has become number one. But, it's team India which has become number one and not any individual," he said.