The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Sehwag, Chopra heroes too’
- Sourav analyses performances, makes ‘special’ categories

INDIA 705/7 decl., 211/2 decl.
AUSTRALIA 474, 357/6

Sydney: Of course, it’s a big ‘if’, but what if Parthiv Patel had stumped Ricky Ponting on 15' Would the final Test (and series) still have ended in a draw' Would Steve Waugh have been allowed a farewell without precedent'

There are other questions too, only little purpose will be served by an extended debate. But, while Patel’s batting was a plus throughout the series, he has made mistakes behind the stumps. Captain Sourav Ganguly, though, isn’t perturbed and wants the youngster to be given time.

In fact, Sourav bracketed Patel with opener Akash Chopra and quick Irfan Pathan as the emerging players who “gained” from the series. However, while encouragement is to be welcomed, shortcomings ought not to be glossed over.

While that faux pas is bound to be discussed for some time, as also the ease with which Simon Katich and Jason Gillespie were allowed runs on the fourth morning, there’s going to be no debate over Rahul Dravid’s selection as the Man of the Series (619 runs).

“It’s been a good outing, but I wouldn’t like to make comparisons... Have I ever batted better' Tough to say off hand, but I’m the sort who looks to improve... That’s my attitude and won’t change,” Dravid told The Telegraph.

Incidentally, Sourav agreed that Virender Sehwag and Chopra were the “unsung heroes” of India’s applause-generating campaign. He also had praise for Anil Kumble (a personal best of 24 wickets in three Tests) and Sachin Tendulkar, who halted a poor run by aggregating 301 in the decider at the SCG.

As for Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman, both fall in the “special” category in the captain’s notebook.

In time, this drawn Test is going to be subjected to a post-mortem and, then, there will be confirmation that the Australians actually thought of the target after tea. That’s when Steve and Katich were around and making merry. Indeed, Steve did point out there was a “plan” for the superbly-striking Katich to collar the bowling while he himself played his “natural game.”

Lucky that remained just a plan. The pair, however, added 142 for the fifth-wicket.

In former India captain Ravi Shastri’s opinion, by the way, the 1-1 result is fair. As he put it: “Look, Australia shouldn’t have lost in Adelaide, not after 556 in the first innings. Equally, given the start (278 for one) they had, the Indians ought not to have been beaten in Melbourne. So, it’s a fair outcome...”

But, then, the being-so-near-yet-so-far bit is definitely going to hurt — for some time, at least.

Coloured clothing

Meanwhile, the Indians’ coloured clothing for the tri-series beginning at the MCG on Friday, hasn’t arrived. Till late on Tuesday, the consignment couldn’t be traced and the Souravs may end up playing in whites.

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