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To Eden with hope of an Indiawash

Calcutta, Oct. 29: Whitewash. Brownwash. Now, cricket’s lexicon may soon have an addition: Indiawash.

Of course, the onus for keeping that out rests entirely on Carl Hooper’s team. Given the West Indies’ performance — or, the lack of it — over the past three weeks, the ask is rather steep.

It’s with this backdrop that the third (and final) Test gets underway Wednesday at the Eden. The contrast with the build-up to the last Test here, against Australia 19 months ago, is blinding.

Routed inside three days in Mumbai and outplayed on the first three at the Eden, the Indians rose like the proverbial Phoenix to halt Australia’s unprecedented run of 16 successive victories.

That win went beyond mere statistics and will remain a most defining moment.

A few hours from now and Sourav Ganguly’s side will be beginning its quest for a (bilateral first) 3-0 defeat.

It’s a huge comedown for the West Indies and, accustomed to applauding a clutch of matchwinners in every West Indies team (except in 1978-79, when Kerry Packer lapped up the cream), Calcuttans are unlikely to be enthralled by the present lot.

Only, having nothing (more) to lose, a Chris Gayle or a Shivnarine Chanderpaul could actually do his bit to salvage some of the reputation buried from Mumbai to Chennai.

Right now, though, this West Indies side isn’t quite the flavour of the season.

For the Indians, on a roll from that memorable last day at Trent Bridge, a sweep will sharpen their edge ahead of the one-day series.

While V.V.S. Laxman and Harbhajan Singh are returning to the turf where they scripted their best moments, the captain is looking for a first Test hundred on home ground.

Yet, as Sourav (percentage-wise already India’s most successful captain) acknowledged, hundreds just can’t be “wished”.

Meanwhile, Sourav and the big guns (Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Jawagal Srinath and Rahul Dravid) took centrestage at the launch of the ICPA this evening.

For ‘tactical’ reasons, secretary Arun Lal did most of the talking. In fact, from among the Big Five, Kumble alone spoke.

Both previous associations were forgotten even quicker than they were formed. Everyone is hoping it’s going to be third time lucky.

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