The finals of the CB series had to be between these two teams. There was a fatalistic predictability that it would be. Anything else would have been inadequate. Thats where the predictability ended.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side is the new India. When they were chosen and others sidestepped, the justifiable feeling among many was that the move was too drastic. You don’t really throw
nobodys newbies into the deep end. Not that MSD seems to think in that kind of manner at all. The nobody-upstart-contender-winner-champion transition seemed ingrained somewhere As each passing gamble started coming off, you had to admire the man for his leadership and his troops for their guts and gumption. Battles don’t come tougher than this.
And much as India looked starved for action, Ricky Ponting’s demeanour (inspite of a series of wins) suggested that they’d rather this ended real quick. Dogged by controversy, he’s called it the most frustrating experience of his 12 year career. Hardly the best way to motivate troops.
And that has been the difference.
So we’ve lasted the summer. And proved the critics wrong. We’ve taken the abuse and (in some regrettable cases) given back as well as we have received. And we’ve adjusted to alien conditions. And converted inexperience to an advantage of fearlessness. We have drawn strength from the controversy. And we have been the better behaved team on and off the field. And when some have not had a good day, others have shouldered the burden. Importantly, we’ve played better cricket.
And much of this, we’ve probably learnt from you.
P.S. The original (quite brilliant) Aussie tourism campaign.