The Team India that toured Australia in 2003 under Sourav Ganguly’s leadership went with less of expectations and more of speculations. Though Sourav’s men had thawed Steve Waugh and his army from winning the Final Frontier in 2001, the fact was that playing the Aussie in their backyard was an altogether a different ball game. Ganguly promised his men would give their best shot but did not talk about winning because the Kangroos hop higher Down Under.
But when the current Team India, under Dhoni’s captaincy, left for the southern Hemisphere no one was expecting fireworks but hopes were high, after all it’s the World Champion side. It was the face-off of two former No.1 Test teams. So on, one side was a team that was on the path of redemption and on the other side was a team that is on the road of rebuilding.
In the first Test itself in 2004, Waugh’s men came all guns blazing at the touring party and showed no hospitality towards their guests. India scrapped through the 1st Test with a hard fought Draw. What came through like a silver lining was captain Ganguly’s century as he stood like an iron shield. It spurred his men; his dogged effort ran like current through his team and the series turned head-on. That has been Dada’s influence, be it by words or action, the man has always possessed an infectious aura about him.
Dhoni has more than half the same side at his disposal. Most of his men have been to Australia more than twice. He has men who have played overseas with great results, men whom Dhoni and rest of the country put their faith to see the Team through the series. Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman these are the biggest name in Test cricket History. They have played long enough to know what is expected out of them.
These are the same guys who brought glory back home under Ganguly. Then what it that has gone so pathetically wrong is. After the England debacle this series was supposed to be India’s come back series.
This tour was to set some records straight, answer the questions that the England failure arose. Instead, India has fallen to newer low, having slumped to its worst ever overseas performance.
Questions and fingers are being pointed at the senior players, but on what ground does Dhoni’s captaincy stand? How is his defensive attitude playing its part on the team’s psychic? Motivation is something that any man and every man require at all junctures to keep him moving towards his goal. Has Dhoni been as motivational as Ganguly was? Dhoni is talking about retirement in the middle of a series, has he ever wondered what kinds of effect will that have on his beleaguered side? Is the captaincy the real difference between Team India in 2004 and Team India of 2012 in Australia?
Alas, Sourav Ganguly remains the only captain, to has been able to bring back the Border-Gavaskar trophy after a series Down-Under.