Sachin Tendulkar © Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar © Getty Images


By Suhrid Barua


The euphoria enveloping Team India’s Durban rebound following the Centurion reversal showed that this team can take on the best fast bowlers on the liveliest strips. If the 2008 Perth win was a fitting response to doubting Thomases about India’s ability on fast and seam tracks, the victory on pacy Durban was reiteration of that point.


One fails to comprehend how the Durban lifeline failed to pump India up in going for the kill in the final Test and script its maiden Test series win in South Africa. The momentum was very much with India to dictate terms. In fact, the drawn Cape Town Test makes me wonder whether we lost out on our best possible opportunity to write a glorious chapter in Indian cricket history.


The Big Three – Sachin Tendulkar (37), Rahul Dravid (37) and VVS Laxman (36) – are fast approaching their end of their glittering careers and are unlikely to be around when India tour South Africa next. It’s not easy for any team to find replacements for three such quality batsmen.


The new ICC Future Tour Programme (2012-2020) is yet to be out, and it is hard to see the world governing body slot in an Indian tour of South Africa in the next two years at least.


Taking the argument forward, even the likes of Virender Sehwag (32), Zaheer Khan (32), Harbhajan Singh (30) skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29) and Gautam Gambhir (29) aren’t getting any younger. It is difficult to conceive an Indian team having the current batting firepower a few years down the line.
I still cannot come to terms why Dhoni’s men couldn’t slam the door on South Africa when they had everything going for them after Sreesanth’s five-for on Day Two of the Cape Town Test. India raised visions of a quick South African capitulation like the one in the first innings of the Durban Test. Alas!


One is not taking anything away from Jacques Kallis, but India would certainly rue the frustrating half-century stand between Kallis and Lonwabo Tsotsobe that probably stood in their way of a possible win.


Quite clearly India lost the plot and the opportunity to win an epic series ahead of the World Cup. India can make amends of sorts by winning the One-day series – again, something they have never achieved on South African soil. That would surely them a world of good just days ahead of the mega event.


(Suhrid Barua is a cricket buff who invariably gets pumped up before every India match)