Gary Kirsten November 9, 2010

'If you are not in the team, you are doing something wrong'

India's coach looks ahead to the next year: playing the World Cup and 14 Tests, building up the bench strength to deal with retirements, and his high points so far
62

You played 100 Tests yourself. You coach a team that has two different sets of players: one has played more Tests than you and the other is the inexperienced one. How do you handle these two groups?
I believe that some players need more inputs, more nurturing than others. Again, each individual is very different. Even some of your senior players like to know that they are doing a good job and are adding value to the team. It is my responsibility to assess that. The important thing is, no matter how I manage them, each individual needs to know that they can trust me, that the things I am saying to them are for their benefit. They are going to be here a lot longer than I am. I just hope I can have a positive influence on each one of them in a different way over the short space of time I am with the team.

You like to keep a low-key profile. Is that important?
As important as the media is to the game I don't feel I have got a lot to say publicly. Whether the team performs well or not, we as a support staff need to know we have tried everything to give the players the best chance of success. Obviously the team's success brings a lot of satisfaction for the work done by all of us. As an example, nothing excites me more than Ishant Sharma going to win a game for India with the bat because I know how much time he puts in the nets.

There is possibly a perception that you like to give a player the space to grow and understand himself. But at times the message doesn't get across. Do you agree?
I certainly won't comment on any individual but my coaching philosophy might not work for everyone. So I have to manipulate my thinking to make it work best for certain individuals. Sometimes there are players who don't fire under you. That is going to happen, you do everything you think of to make the environment work for him, but things don't happen.

Moving on to your relationship with Dhoni. He is possibly the most important player in the side. He seems like someone who leads by instinct. What kind or relationship do you share with him?
Yes, he does lead by his gut feel. He has got very instinctive ideas on the game. He has been absolutely critical to the success of this team. He is a calming influence. He does not get overly emotional through success and failure. He expects individuals on the field to be able to perform and that is team management's responsibility to make sure that we have prepared them in such a way that they are ready to perform. We have a strong trust relationship. We have not had a cross word in three years because we have a lot of respect for each other. We do have difference of opinions and we discuss them If we are undecided on something, we will ask some of the players their thoughts and come to a decision. He is an incredible captain in terms of the way he has the feel for the game. I have not seen many in the world have the flair for the game like he does. One thing you would have noticed in his two years as captain of the Test side specifically is that how the seamers have grown to play a massive role in this team. They have got as many wickets as the spinners have got on flat wickets because he uses the seamers cleverly at various times in the game. He brings them into the game all the time. They are never spending two sessions out in the field just fielding after bowling fiver overs early on.

Does his spontaneity scare you at times?
He does things sometimes that I might do it differently, but I certainly trust him with his decision-making. I have always believed that when it comes to strategy there are many ways to skin a cat. And that is where MS is very good - he will often think left field, think creatively about something, to achieve results. I am very mindful of the fact that it is not my way that is necessarily the right way. There might be another way that could be the right one, too.

What is the biggest challenge for this team?
Managing the expectations - that is the biggest challenge. I do not think anyone fully appreciates the pressure each of these individuals is under. It is immense, immense. Cricket is such a huge game over here and these individuals are feeling the mental strain as they are playing a lot of cricket. Managing the physical and mental demands is probably the biggest challenge.

What about the ageing middle order?
It is difficult to say because there is no indication of any of them retiring. And I always ask them. They are certainly not in any rush. Look, if Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar or VVS Laxman decides to retire it is a major blow. Just like when Jacques Kallis and Ricky Ponting decide to retire it is a major blow for their respective teams. But as long as the retirements of these players are staggered, rather than everyone leaving all at ,once it will be a little easier for the team to integrate and groom the younger players. Next year will be challenging because there are 14 Test matches. It will be a physically demanding year, especially for the senior players.

" We have not had a cross word for about three years because we have a lot of respect for each other. We do have difference of opinions and we discuss them"
On working with MS Dhoni

So you would want to know in advance from the senior players about their plans?
I do check with them. There are enough young players out there but it will take them a few years to get the type of experience required to build a successful Test career. There might be a rebuilding phase in India in two years' time, but every team has to go through that, especially when great players retire.

Is India in safe hands as far as the next generation is concerned?
Yes, there are some really good players. You will have Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni, Raina, along with the likes of Ishant, Vijay, Pujara and others. Yes, you might miss out on a Laxman batting in a crucial situation to win you a game, but someone like Suresh Raina has done it plenty of times in one-dayers so there is no reason why he can't transfer it to a Test match.

What about the bowlers? When you came in, the fast-bowling stocks were much better. But the second line of bowlers now seems to be struggling for form and from injuries.
It is difficult to say. Fast bowling is the most physically demanding task on a cricket field. Even the most finely tuned fast bowlers are getting injured because of the amount of game time. You can't expect a Zaheer Khan or an Ishant Sharma to be there game in and game out. We need to have a supply of four to five fast bowlers who can come in anytime. There is the potential to have that, but it is not there yet. There are a couple of youngsters we can get quite excited about but they have a long way to go. At the moment I believe the three seamers who we can get the most out of are Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth. Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar have shown they have the necessary skills to be successful in the one-day game.

It is a bit of a concern because there are constant niggles, constant injury concerns. The South African series is a big one and it is more than likely we are going to use three seamers, so it is going to be really important that we have three really fit fast bowlers who will make an impact in the Test matches.

Are you well equipped as far as injury management is concerned?
We need to make sure that we have the right expertise in the environment to manage injures and we have worked hard towards that. But it is also the responsibility of the players and we always tell the guys to manage their bodies, manage themselves in a way that gives them the best chance of success. When these players leave the Indian environment we can't go their home territory and hold their hands to go through the physical processes. If they do it themselves it is going to show up in their performances.

Would it not be beneficial to the second line of players to have somebody like Eric Simons, the bowling coach, visitng the NCA during his free time?
More than that what we probably need to find in the future is a physical conditioning co-ordinator between the NCA and the team, someone that is a link. So when guys are out of the set-up they are constantly monitored.

The bowling coach is very much needed with the national team and really does not have the time to do any work at the NCA.

Who do you think would be the right person for such a job?

To find the right person would need to be discussed with Anil Kumble and NCA.

Based on my conversation with certain fringe players who are sitting out on the bench, it seems they don't get a clear message about where they have gone wrong. They seem uncertain about what they need to do to get things right.

Sometimes it is really difficult getting the balance of the team right and players miss out because of that. I have tried to communicate as much as possible with players that are not playing, but often a player feels he should be playing. I understand that and I know players get frustrated. I've always believed that players should look for ways of making it difficult for selectors to leave them out of the side no matter how limited their chances have been.

Do you perhaps feel one area you might not be so strong in is paying enough attention to the bowlers?
It is not my core skill. I have got strong ideas in terms of strategy as far as the bowlers are concerned. But when it comes to nurturing and working on technical skills it is for the bowling coach. The bowlers have responded really well to Eric Simons. He has a simple but effective approach. He is very structured and believes in, and I feel it is due to his South African ways, in repetition, repetition, repetition. Do the skill well in the nets because if you are can't do it in the nets you won't be able to do it in the middle. He works with each bowler to execute something. He repeats it every practice session net, every net, every net, let's do this, let's do this, let's do this.

In the last one-day game against Australia in Visakhapatnam, and you take out the final five overs when Cameron White came hard at us at death, it was probably our best bowling on a flat wicket. To have them 205 for 3 in 45 overs was incredible bowling. We counted only six deliveries were badly executed.

We are working on specific skills. Even in the nets we encourage the bowlers not to bowl one ball down the leg side, not even the first ball. But that takes time and hopefully we should be ready by the time the World Cup comes.

Moving back to the team's goals - how do you maintain the top spot in Tests?
We have done it for a year now. The consistency to be able to continue to do that is important to us. The guys take pride in every Test match they play now. We have lost two Tests this year but we have won a whole lot. I have been thrilled with the performances, especially sometimes despite the shortage of resources. I mean that Test match we won in Sri Lanka was as good as it gets: without Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan in the attack, to be able to get 20 wickets was incredible.

"What we probably need to find in the future is a physical conditioning co-ordinator between the NCA and the team, someone that is a link. So when guys are out of the set-up they are constantly monitored."

Would you say South Africa is the biggest test?
Yes, South Africa in South Africa. To win in South Africa would be defining moment for us. But I believe we don't need to justify to anyone as the performances over the last two years speak for themselves: 23 Tests, 2 losses, 12 wins. When you look at the performances of the five top-ranked Test teams over the two years you know why India are at the top.

We got to continue performing. We have to go and win in South Africa, we are fully aware of that. But if this team does win in South Africa then you can start talking about the greatest Test team India have ever produced.

Are you confident about winning there?
It is going to be tough. South Africa are very tough to beat at home, as India are to beat in India. The wickets really suit the pace bowlers. I certainly don't think that any opposition can use short-pitched bowling as an out-and-out strategy to undo our batting line-up. There is too much experience in this team now. Also, the Indian fast bowlers are good themselves on helpful wickets - Sreesanth, Ishant and Zak are a good bowling attack.

We have a lot of work still to do on the specifics of technique prior to the Test series. The players will need time to adjust their techniques to get comfortable with the conditions. The BCCI has approved the early departure of some our players to South Africa to have sufficient time to prepare properly for a very important series.

What can Indian learn from Australia, since they were the top-ranked team for a long time?
You can always learn from the opposition, otherwise you will be arrogant. But this Indian team have got their own brand, their own style. One critical thing has been the desire to perform as a team, not as a bunch of individuals. In the successful Australian teams there was this pride for playing for the baggy green - a real desire to continue to perform as a team. Winning, then, becomes a habit. This particular Indian team now is starting to find that they are quite enjoying the habit of winning. There is a real pride to perform with each of these individuals, to tough it out in tough situations. There are key players who play that role in the team, who are key to the success.

Finally, if you could tell us what your best moments so far in Tests with India have been?
Winning that Test series against Australia in 2008 was a big moment. It was great to be part of beginning the process where the Australians were not on top of world cricket. To visibly see the guys realise that they could beat [the Australians] consistently was really good. We went through a really good patch of one-day cricket back then. Leading into the Australian ODI series at home last year, we had a win ratio of 75-80%. That was over 30 games. It was disappointing losing that home series. If we had won it we would have become the No. 1 ODI team. It was something we wanted to achieve. We had it there in our grasp, so it was disappointing. Winning the Asia Cup was exciting, more so because it was an important milestone mentally for the players.

Part one of the interview is here

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 11, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Whats so fuss about age ? fitness is important e.g Dravid is probably more fit than Yuvraj

  • nskaile on November 11, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    Lots of ppl asking why MURLI is not playing and Gauti is. Murali was in WI fo odis and did nothing. he went to ZIM and did nothing and then he scored 100 against aus and everyone going crazy and forgetting soo many Gauti's innings. Lot ppl saying Dravid should retire. Lot ppl asking for Bhajji to go. Lot ppl asking DHONI to go. Lot ppl asking Yuvi to go.Lots askin Sachin and VVS to leave as well and some saying Kristen is not indian so he should go to. WOW! Lets really do this. Lets kick all these guys out. Gauti, Dhoni, Bhajji, Dravid, Sachin, VVS, Kristen, and bring in one knock/ipl players in :) Im sure they will keep out team #1 for long time and win wc etc :) it will be strongest team ever. Stringest then 80's WI and 2003's aus :) lets make everyone happy. Even tho india playing great and winning almost eve game but we Indians still feel insecure and we need new faces and after few months when these players wont perform we will goto their house and burn and throw stones at them :D

  • on November 10, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    I think Gary Kirsten forgot the point of identifying all-rounders in our side completely. I think the manner in which Irfan Pathan was handled by Gary Kirsten was a bit shoddy. Gary Kirsten could have got Irfan Pathan to work on regaining his bowling powers, which India need more than anything else now.

    In my opinion, Nagraj Gollapudi should have asked a question or two to Gary Kirsten in this regard, and it would have been interesting to hear Gary's answer. Would Gary have said, "We need Irfan Pathan to contribute equally with both bat and ball to cement his place in the side for atleast 10 years to come", or would he have said "We need Irfan Pathan as the bowling all-rounder in the side, one which we are truly lacking, and are in desperate as well as in urgent need of, at the present moment, to help us retain our No. 1 Test Rankings for a good many years to come"??

  • on November 10, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    India is a no #1 sachin is a no #1 gary is a no #1 allways no #1

  • Nampally on November 10, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    I am puzzled by the heading "If you are not in the team you are doing something wrong". The subject matter does not discuss who is not in the team and what is he doing wrong. On the contrary there are a few players in the team who are not doing things right. Harbhajan & Gambhir have failed to deliver in last 4 tests - Gambhir as a batsmen and Harbhajan as a bowler.If they are not fit would it not be better to include Vijay or Mukund as an opener and Ashwin as an off spinner? Harbhajan did score a century and saved India but as a bowler(for which he is included) he has been a huge failure.Raina has also failed in tests after his maiden test century. So I would ask Why are some players in the team on past reputation rather than current form & fitness? We also had Jadeja constantly included in the team and was only dropped when the fans really pushed for it. The Indian team selectors + Dhoni + Kirsten should be held accountable when they ignore Form & fitness and go with past reputation.

  • sameer997 on November 10, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Its good to know what the Indian coach Garry thinks about the indian team and plus you never get to know a ot about Garry.So it was a great article once again I hope we get to No.1 in Odi and stay No.1 in TEST

  • muski on November 10, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    14 Tests in 2011- that is something nice to look forward to. Hope there aren't any against Bangladesh, SL or WI. Keeping these 14 tests in mind, its not a bad idea to rest the big three of the middle order especially for tests which may not have any bearing on the result. That is the only way the quality of the succession can be gauged. Iam so sure that if ZAK and co have the steam in them to play 14 tests a year. The forgotten Pathan, RP Singh and Balaji should be made to bend their backs at the NCA by Kumble and Co. If these back up guys can take bit of the load in the bowling dept, it would certainly help.Nehra and Praveen dont look like lasting 5 days.Better to allow they to concentrate on ODI's where they are doing a decent job

  • TATTUs on November 10, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    @kool_indian

    SO? Teams start from 0 all over again from August or September or what ever? LOL!

    I agree according to the calculations India are number one. But if you see the performances over last 2 years or 3 years, SOuth Africa re not far behind. What I said was exactly that. If India win in SA, that will be the watershed. Also SL doesnt deserve to be 3 personally. They slide to 5th when away records are considered and are 4th when overall records are considered. So no way they can be 3rd. Best they can be at is 4th.

  • AB99 on November 10, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Gary mentions " I've always believed that players should look for ways of making it difficult for selectors to leave them out of the side no matter how limited their chances have been." - can he justify dropping Murali Vijay and Pujara for the NZ first test - esp. Vijay's dropping after his performance against Australia at Blore And how did Gambhir merit selection in the team? Can we not use this NZ series to check bench strength doing a rotation without RD, SRT and VVS in the remaining two tests?

  • Nothingness on November 10, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    India probably has the best batting line up in the world. But in the pitches in SA, India does not have the fire power to take 20 wickets in a match. Although India is ranked no. 1 in the world, India had not win a test series outside India during the last year. So this series would give the world a good indication of the state of Indian test cricket at the moment. We'll all know if they are as good as the rankings say!

  • on November 11, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Whats so fuss about age ? fitness is important e.g Dravid is probably more fit than Yuvraj

  • nskaile on November 11, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    Lots of ppl asking why MURLI is not playing and Gauti is. Murali was in WI fo odis and did nothing. he went to ZIM and did nothing and then he scored 100 against aus and everyone going crazy and forgetting soo many Gauti's innings. Lot ppl saying Dravid should retire. Lot ppl asking for Bhajji to go. Lot ppl asking DHONI to go. Lot ppl asking Yuvi to go.Lots askin Sachin and VVS to leave as well and some saying Kristen is not indian so he should go to. WOW! Lets really do this. Lets kick all these guys out. Gauti, Dhoni, Bhajji, Dravid, Sachin, VVS, Kristen, and bring in one knock/ipl players in :) Im sure they will keep out team #1 for long time and win wc etc :) it will be strongest team ever. Stringest then 80's WI and 2003's aus :) lets make everyone happy. Even tho india playing great and winning almost eve game but we Indians still feel insecure and we need new faces and after few months when these players wont perform we will goto their house and burn and throw stones at them :D

  • on November 10, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    I think Gary Kirsten forgot the point of identifying all-rounders in our side completely. I think the manner in which Irfan Pathan was handled by Gary Kirsten was a bit shoddy. Gary Kirsten could have got Irfan Pathan to work on regaining his bowling powers, which India need more than anything else now.

    In my opinion, Nagraj Gollapudi should have asked a question or two to Gary Kirsten in this regard, and it would have been interesting to hear Gary's answer. Would Gary have said, "We need Irfan Pathan to contribute equally with both bat and ball to cement his place in the side for atleast 10 years to come", or would he have said "We need Irfan Pathan as the bowling all-rounder in the side, one which we are truly lacking, and are in desperate as well as in urgent need of, at the present moment, to help us retain our No. 1 Test Rankings for a good many years to come"??

  • on November 10, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    India is a no #1 sachin is a no #1 gary is a no #1 allways no #1

  • Nampally on November 10, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    I am puzzled by the heading "If you are not in the team you are doing something wrong". The subject matter does not discuss who is not in the team and what is he doing wrong. On the contrary there are a few players in the team who are not doing things right. Harbhajan & Gambhir have failed to deliver in last 4 tests - Gambhir as a batsmen and Harbhajan as a bowler.If they are not fit would it not be better to include Vijay or Mukund as an opener and Ashwin as an off spinner? Harbhajan did score a century and saved India but as a bowler(for which he is included) he has been a huge failure.Raina has also failed in tests after his maiden test century. So I would ask Why are some players in the team on past reputation rather than current form & fitness? We also had Jadeja constantly included in the team and was only dropped when the fans really pushed for it. The Indian team selectors + Dhoni + Kirsten should be held accountable when they ignore Form & fitness and go with past reputation.

  • sameer997 on November 10, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Its good to know what the Indian coach Garry thinks about the indian team and plus you never get to know a ot about Garry.So it was a great article once again I hope we get to No.1 in Odi and stay No.1 in TEST

  • muski on November 10, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    14 Tests in 2011- that is something nice to look forward to. Hope there aren't any against Bangladesh, SL or WI. Keeping these 14 tests in mind, its not a bad idea to rest the big three of the middle order especially for tests which may not have any bearing on the result. That is the only way the quality of the succession can be gauged. Iam so sure that if ZAK and co have the steam in them to play 14 tests a year. The forgotten Pathan, RP Singh and Balaji should be made to bend their backs at the NCA by Kumble and Co. If these back up guys can take bit of the load in the bowling dept, it would certainly help.Nehra and Praveen dont look like lasting 5 days.Better to allow they to concentrate on ODI's where they are doing a decent job

  • TATTUs on November 10, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    @kool_indian

    SO? Teams start from 0 all over again from August or September or what ever? LOL!

    I agree according to the calculations India are number one. But if you see the performances over last 2 years or 3 years, SOuth Africa re not far behind. What I said was exactly that. If India win in SA, that will be the watershed. Also SL doesnt deserve to be 3 personally. They slide to 5th when away records are considered and are 4th when overall records are considered. So no way they can be 3rd. Best they can be at is 4th.

  • AB99 on November 10, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Gary mentions " I've always believed that players should look for ways of making it difficult for selectors to leave them out of the side no matter how limited their chances have been." - can he justify dropping Murali Vijay and Pujara for the NZ first test - esp. Vijay's dropping after his performance against Australia at Blore And how did Gambhir merit selection in the team? Can we not use this NZ series to check bench strength doing a rotation without RD, SRT and VVS in the remaining two tests?

  • Nothingness on November 10, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    India probably has the best batting line up in the world. But in the pitches in SA, India does not have the fire power to take 20 wickets in a match. Although India is ranked no. 1 in the world, India had not win a test series outside India during the last year. So this series would give the world a good indication of the state of Indian test cricket at the moment. We'll all know if they are as good as the rankings say!

  • on November 9, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Gary...we are damn sure lacking in the fast bowling department...we dont have attacking and trademark bowlers like Glenn McGrath,Wasim Akram...Please identify some1 soon...

  • Molu14 on November 9, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Does anyone here think that Kirsten may not try his best to help win India the India-South Africa series due to his own South African nationality? I mean, he's a great guy and has helped the team tremedously, but if i were a retired player having played a 100 tests for a country, I would wish with all my heart that they would win for the rest of my life. that is why I think an Indian coach is best, cuz there's never that doubt that the coach ay have had a hand in a team's loss. everyone please spur the debate...

  • nskaile on November 9, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    what the??? 2ed part Qs are same as first part. Worst interviewer award goes to MR. NAGRAJ. Who hired this guy for interviews? haha how about asking Qs about his playing days with Hansie. Qs about new players that are coming through, Qs bout World Cup. Qs about Gauti's form and IPL. godddd.....

  • kool_Indian on November 9, 2010, 21:07 GMT

    @TATTUs - dude, rankings are calculated over a period of 1 year. The ranking period is Aug1 of previous year to July 31 of Current Year or something similar to that , sorry for not being exactly sure - this is for giving the Test Champion Maze. Then the ranking keeps changing every week or based on each test result/series result. But test Chamionship maze is given to the team which is Number 1 on August 1st or something - Thanks!

  • inswing on November 9, 2010, 21:01 GMT

    India in SA is the real "Ashes" - the battle between the top two teams in the world. Eng vs. Aus does not carry that much weight now as it did when no one else played so it was the de-facto world championship.

  • ygkd on November 9, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    If you're not in the team you're doing something wrong - this is probably the best approach to take if you aren't in a team. However, if the coaches and selectors take this approach to left out players as a matter of course then problems will soon arise. Some outside will be doing no more wrong than some inside and some will be doing less wrong and simply lack the opportunities to prove it. It is called being out of favour and though it can change, sometimes it never will, no matter how much a player works to improve. So when does general advice become lack of empathy? I guess it depends on whether or not you're the one with the power of selection.

  • Nampally on November 9, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    India's major problem is weak Bowling & Fielding.Indian slectors have done very little to develop a team of 6 Fast bowlers and 6 Spinners who can bowl to limit the run rate to under 4 runs/over. In fact 6 runs/over has become a norm for the fast bowlers. Ojha is the inly economical spin bowler who can bowl under 4 runs/over. Unadkat, Jadev Mithun & Balaji along with Ishant, Sreesanth and Kumar should be working hard in the coaching camps getting ready to take over from Zaheer. Ishant & Sreesanth should be working hard to get their length and direction improved. This is where Kristen should be focussing.In the spin department Ashwin is an excellent replacement for Harbhajan who has become ineffective & not a test calibre bowler.Ojha is the other spinner who should be working with Ashwin.Mishra & Chawla left the gate wide open for a leg spinner. In batting Pujara, Mukund, Vijay, Kohli, Rohit & a host of others provide excellent bench strength. India win via batting.Improve bowling now

  • vipin.chaudhary2325 on November 9, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    India chase 3 matches in a row chasing 200+. dats shows what Indian team is now and what were they in 1990's when they were unable to win a test match outside sub-contitent and whole team use to get out chasing 120 in test matches... they are the only team after 2000 who have better winning record against Aussies den any other team. Every country take advantage of their home ground conditions, will Africa dare to give Indians a spin friendly pitch in Africa?? no chance, so whats wrong if India use Spin friendly pitch to beat south africa or ny other team in India, yes there are some problems, but Rome was not built in a day, give some more time, everyone will see better results from India in Africa.. and this upcoming series against Africa will be worth watching, All Indian players play in IPL and they must have seen pitches carefully, and Dhoni itself said dat they now they don't fear about Africans Pitches + Sachin & laxman in form of their lifes, Zaheer khan awesome, beware Zulus

  • dinster77 on November 9, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    @Werner

    I agree. SA in SA is a huge challenge. Also a fact is that India have performed dismally in SA. They've ran Australia close in Australia in every series since 2003 but SA - not so much! I think SA will start off big favorites but if I were in Smith's shoes I'd be wary of India's potential. Fact - No Indian team has done well in SA in the past Also a fact - No Indian team has been as prepared to do well in fast/bouncy/testing conditions as this team is:

  • kool_Indian on November 9, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    @TATTUs - dude, rankings are calculated over a period of 1 year. The ranking period is Aug1 of previous year to July 31 of Current Year or something similar to that , sorry for not being exactly sure - this is for giving the Test Champion Maze. Then the ranking keeps changing every week or based on each test result/series result. But test Chamionship maze is given to the team which is Number 1 on August 1st or something - Thanks!

  • iceman87 on November 9, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Gary seems to be just the perfect guy when the time comes for a change of guard in Indian cricket. He could definitely be in the mould of legendary football coaches like bill shankly, brian clough, arsene wenger et al. Hope to see Gary around for many more years and guide the Indian cricket team jst the way he's done over these 3 years.

  • astopal on November 9, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    TO STIR THE POT EVEN FURTHER Australia' test record among the current top 5 teams since the exodus of their golden era players(1 feb 2007 onwards)

    Aus: W8 L10 D5 W/L ratio 0.8, In the same time period

    IND: W13 L7 D9 W/L ratio 1.86 SA: W8 L7 D4 W/L 1.14 ENG: W4 L7 D10 W/L 0.57 SL: W4 L6 D2 W/L 0.66

    India's W/L ratio is more than double of Australia, is ahead of SA by margin of nearly Aus total ratio. Numbers do speak for themselves. STATSGURU RULEZ!!!

  • on November 9, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    @ yadavesh...... after the prime minister, leading the indian cricket team is the most demanding job. add to that keeping wickets. and averagind 50+ in odis, and batting at 5. who are you kidding ?

  • kumaresh_karaikal on November 9, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    yes , i hope that the team india would win the series at south africa and retain its number one place for long time.

  • on November 9, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    India will really struggle to win in South africa. India struggle to beat SA in India. If it wasn't for the ridiculous pitch they made last series SA probablywould have won the series. SA will rise above the other teams over the next few years. They have young batsmen coming into there best( Read De Villiers, AMLA, and Duminy) a tough nut at the top in Graem Smith and probably 3 more years of Kallis. The most devestating New ball pair i Morkel and Steyn with talent n Parnell and TSobe coming through too. Yes the spinne but we got one from Pakistan.

    Steyn is the MVP in cricket today anly Asif is even close to his average currently. Tendulkar may be the best batsmen but there are plenty of players that are not far behind in terms of average and match contributions. Ask any captain who would they rather have a 50+ batsmen or a sub 23 bowler and every last one of them will choos the bowler. Steyn is the biggest statistic outlier playing the game. Morkel's average improving with every game

  • ms.arjun on November 9, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    With every child born in India, the popularity and expectation towards the Indian cricketers grow. You fail to perform in a match, the next day your picture will burnt in many parts of India. With WC nearing, all the astrology and sentiments of billion people comes to play, some might even say Dhoni's long hair cut has brought team the 20-20 WC, so he should grow his hair like that for this WC too. Cricket is not a sport anymore in India, it has become a religion, and no one is ready to accept flaws. Such is the pressure the players are through every day in and day out. Coaching such a side is not a mere responsibility, its like sleeping with billion knifes pointing at you and ready to drop. To bring such players together and making a No.1 team, its a milestone that no Coach has ever done for India. WC is now very possible of becoming a reality. Hats off Gary.

  • on November 9, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    @Bollo, get your facts right first. India's record for last 20 matches is 11W, 2L, 7D i.e. 55% Win ratio, while Australia's is 11W, 6L, 3D i.e. 55% Win ratio. Making them equals there. But Australia has lost 4 more matches than India.

  • on November 9, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Why are people so much against this ranking system.yes it sucks at times,but it ain't meaningless.India is the top test team because they havn't lost too many test matches in last 3-4 years,yah majority of their success has come in their home conditions,but other teams haven't won consistently even in their backyards.sa defeated aus in aus,but were beaten by them in safrica.eng lost against india..sl couldnt win against india+they hardly win in aus+india+safrica. India has got its problems,they need match winning bowlers +a world class allrounder..and if they can get 'em and even without 'em if they win against safrica or even draw the series..this ranking system will be justified.yah srilanka being the no.3 team is a joke.

  • hari227 on November 9, 2010, 16:06 GMT

    this is the best team india have ever produced each individuals has own responsibilites and captain dhoni has a luck of winning in crusual times. he is saved by some of the individual whenever india is in trouble so undoubtedly india is the number 1 side until or unless dhoni's luck stays. but he has got the same bunch of players as rahul got during his captaincy but the thing is nobody performed during rahul's captaincy only he himself played well where as shewag and sachin were struggling as rahul struggles at present but undoubtedly rahul is great player he wil come back strongly soon and wil play a much need knocks for team when team demands and most inportand for dhoni's success is that in team everybody is contributing which doesn happen for any of those previous captains so india is in right direction now and they wil surely win the world cup also and achieve all the trophys in his career as a captain during his first half of his career.

  • theswami on November 9, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    By the way, Chief Coach Kirsten .. what was Badrinath's mistake .......

  • mrgupta on November 9, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Even though i am a die hard Indian i agree that we do not posses the same Aura as the Aussies and Windies in their prime. But what people forget here is that just 10 years back nobody wud have even thought of India winning consistently abroad (Series win in Eng, WI, Pak and NZ, Test Wins in SL, Aus and SA). We have performed way better than we ever imagined. We may not be the undisputed No.1 but hey there is actually no team which can be undisputed no.1 right now. Aussies lost their last 2 series in India and Eng, they cudnt beat Pakistan (Much lower rank). The only highlight for them was series win in SA (They lost to them at home though). That's not a performance of a champion team. Infact they have not Won a single test against India since that infamous Sydney test (8 tests since then). SA are very good but not the best, they havnt been unbeatable. SL shud first try to win a test outside their land and Eng have also not won a series against India since year 1996 (Home or Away).

  • on November 9, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    ''He ( Dhoni) is possibly the most important person in the team.''I 'm quite amazed by this overhyped analysis.How can one rate Dhoni as the most important in the team which includes the likes of SACHIN, DRAVID,LAXMAN ,SEHWAG,ZAHEER etc.Would you accredit INDIA' s no.1 test ranking to Dhoni's captaincy?If it's so, it 'd be a big insult to extraordinary talent these players possess.As a test player , Dhoni is no more than an average.As far as his captaincy is concerned , it may be a factor in India's success (don't forget the role of GARY KIRSTEN).But , you 're bound to be successful when you 've players of such high calibre.India has consistently been among top three test teams since early 2000s.I think it's the extraordinary ability and consistent performance of these players and spin duets,KUMBLE and co.,and occassional seamers success,and may be the downfall of AUSSIES; that has accessed INDIA way to no.1. Infact, DHONI is very fortunate to lead group of such talented players.

  • Farce-Follower on November 9, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Tough ask...series in SA, England and Australia are going to be grinders. The WC in what is definitely a dying format has generated no excitement whatsoever. I am sure most Indians have switched to Tests and T20s almost completely.

  • 0wais on November 9, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Just Wait And See....... India's True Test Is Against South Africa In South Africa, And Then Against England In England!! I'm Sure Dravid Won't Be In The Indian Team After India's Tour Of South Africa because He Has Become Useless Since The Last 3 Yrs

  • on November 9, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    I just loved the questions more than the answers.. Beautiful interview. Very insightful..

  • insightfulcricketer on November 9, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    @Warren Smith - I totally agree with you that this Indian team does not evoke an aura of other champion teams like Aussies of last decade, Windies of the '80s .They are almost like the Springboks of the '90s. A well respected team which was great at home and ok away from it without being all-conquering. That SA team lacked genuine batting class but had great bowling .This Indian team has great batting with ok bowling .However as an Indian team fan I can say that this Indian team has given its fan some memorable wins away from home like England series win (full strength English team) , NZ and test wins in Australia ,SA and Sri Lanka (witih under-strength Ind bowling attacks mind you). Acid test for this team as Gary points is the up-coming SA series. They win there and in England then the claim to Test crown would be irrefutable till then at least we warm the crown.

  • Alexk400 on November 9, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    To beat SA in SA , Sreesanth has to fire. I am not seeing sreesasanth martured. He was taken off after 1 over in NZ second innings as he was pathetic and bowling legside and wasting balls. If india depends on sreesanth to hit form like he did in previous SA , it is not happening. India need to find good 3rd fast bowler. May be P kumar is good in pacy wicket. Nehra is mentally weak and give up too many runs in pressure situation.

  • on November 9, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Great india good job for gary guru..,..,..,

  • Bollo on November 9, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Just to stir the pot a little more, here are the overall test match results for the top 5 teams home/away in their most recent series against each other.

    Aus: 16W, 8L, 2D - 62% winning percentage Ind: 10W, 6L, 4D - 50% SAf: 11W, 9L, 3D - 48% SL: 5W, 11L, 4D - 25% Eng: 5W,13L, 9D - 19%

    Please tell me how any ranking system can be taken seriously when Sri Lanka, just a few months ago, were a whisker away from being ranked no 1 in the world? Lies, damned lies, and statistics hey.

  • givemefood on November 9, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    India will defeat SA in SA. Indian Seamers have been performing better outside the country than within. Problem is not with Seamers... problem is with Spinners. We have the most overrated Spinner in the world and the Indian Selectors seem to overlook it. Now that he has hit a century they'll start calling him an All Rounder. To all the haters who question India's ranking - stop complaining.

  • on November 9, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Great to see someone looking to the future. It what Australia didnt do when McGrath and Warne retired and they are paying for it now sitting 5th in the rankings.

  • Bollo on November 9, 2010, 11:40 GMT

    One more reason why these rankings need to be taken with a grain of salt. I didn`t realise that India would have overtaken Aus in the ODI rankings if they`d won that meaningless 7 match series in India. Seriously, the Aussies have won the last 3 World Cups and hold the Champions trophy- the only 2 vaguely meaningful ODI competitions.Similar to Sri Lanka coming so close to No 1 test ranking recently, pity it didn`t happen, so the ICC would have been forced to review an obviously flawed system.

  • on November 9, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    Wouldn't Gary prefer to coach his own country's team than India's? Ask that question! His contract is set to expire, and SA already has shown a lot of interest in him. Any man would rather help his own countrymen than another, so if he leaves, you can't blame him.

    Let's hope BCCI dangles a big enough carrot in front of him (i.e. a substantial pay hike)

  • Bollo on November 9, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    OK, I`ll weigh into the rankings debate. I remain unconvinced by the new system - people seem to forget that only a few months back, but for some Laxman genius, Sri Lanka would have been ranked No.1 test nation. This from a team that has only beaten Bangladesh in its most recent away series against all test-playing nations (draws against England, Pakistan, WI and NZ, losses in Aus, South Africa and India). Perhaps unfortunately this didn`t eventuate, because the ICC would surely have had to review it`s whole rankings system amid a massive outcry. So we remain stuck with a sytem which rewards teams for playing regularly at home. I`m not suggesting the previous version was any better, where only most recent home/away series results counted. But to keep things in perspective, using that original format, South Africa and Australia would be joint leaders, India 3rd, Sri Lanka 4th, England, with an even worse away record than Sri Lanka, 5th. And it least it had the beauty of simplicity!

  • on November 9, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    if CS Martin can do that to our great batmen what will sa fast men do?

  • Bollo on November 9, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    @MinusZero,it`s all very well to look to the future, doesn`t necessarily mean you`re going to find another Warne or McGrath though.

  • TATTUs on November 9, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    If you take the time period from 1 jan 2008, India goes ahead in the overall record, while SA stay first in the away record.

    Sri Lanka stay 4 in the overall record as well and when the away record counts they are pushed to 5th. But amazingly they are ranked number 3!

  • TATTUs on November 9, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    @sweetspot.

    All teams vs all teams in lsat 3 years ie since jan 1 2007 ordered by W/L ratio.

    South Africa 37 22 9 0 6 2.44 India 41 18 8 0 15 2.25 Sri Lanka 28 14 7 0 7 2.00 Australia 39 21 11 0 7 1.90 England 47 20 11 0 16 1.81 New Zealand 28 6 14 0 8 0.42 Pakistan 25 4 14 0 7 0.28 West Indies 29 3 16 0 10 0.18 Bangladesh 24 2 20 0 2 0.10

    This clearly shows SA needs to be number 1.

    next is the interesting one.same but playing away from home. This where I think SL ranking number 3 is a joke.

    South Africa 19 11 4 0 4 2.75 India 21 8 6 0 7 1.33 Australia 19 7 7 0 5 1.00 England 20 5 6 0 9 0.83 Sri Lanka 11 3 5 0 3 0.60 Pakistan 19 3 12 0 4 0.25 Bangladesh 12 2 10 0 0 0.20 New Zealand 12 1 8 0 3 0.12 West Indies 14 1 9 0 4 0.11

    This also shows India doesnt deserve to be 1 and SL 3!

  • raj20 on November 9, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Gary was a fantastic batsman and fielder at his time with South Africa so he is a very good judge of batting style and temperament of players and most of Indian batsman are getting benefited with his waste experience on the field and off the field.Fielding of this team is getting better under his surveillance.Bowling is still a worry thing for this team.As Gary has mentioned team approach in last 3 years or so is fantastic and these players have learned habit of winning.M.S.Dhoni is a incredible captain and has special flair regarding captaincy and approach towards this game.Although middle order is ageing and hard to find the replacement likes of Sachin,Dravid and specially crisis man Laxman. Gary's approach is good towards game of cricket and he knows the pros and cons of this team. Thank you

  • Rumy1 on November 9, 2010, 8:48 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • SatyajitM on November 9, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    From this interview and what you hear from Gary, you realize the current Indian team is led by Coach-Captain combo who are calm and confident. Above all they trust their team and in return trusted back. Contrast this with the Greg-Rahul combo. One hand Greg was headstrong and had the attitude of "My way or high way". Rahul wasn't strong enough to manage the demands put by the coach. They could not win the trust of the team otherwise talent point of view the team wasn't much inferior. To the people who still couldn't believe that India is no1, guys take it easy. We are not worried whether we will be no1 five years from now. Lets take a series at a time (with a sight on the future). If India is able to do well in every series, the ratings will be taken care automatically. The Motera draw shows the resilience of this team (some would agrue they should not have been in this position the first place, but as a team your character comes to the fore when the chips are down).

  • TATTUs on November 9, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    @sweetspot

    What I meant was 'being number 1' and 'being comfortable number 1'! For me personally there is a difference.

  • DeathRaider on November 9, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    @Afeefa Shirazi : dude,that was really hillarious ! Way to Go :)) @ Warren Smith : Even Australia in their hay day were the number 1 side without winning a series in India!England haven't done anything credible in India for a long long time.Rankings essentially don't mean a thing now a days.Considering that the top 5 are very closely matched.Anyone can deliver a knock out punch on their day. Just want people to realize that the sub-continent pitches aren't flat tracks as you all portray them.Every country has their own set of conditions, and the same is true for India as well.And trust me, the one's who have played over a 100 tests suddenly would not become susceptible to short pitch stuff. India vs SA should be a delight for any cricket fan ! :) Cheers !

  • sweetspot on November 9, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    @TATTUs - What is the difference between being #1 and "really be"ing a #1? The ranking has taken care of itself. India is the BEST side in the world in Tests at the moment. Why not just focus on constant improvement instead of worrying about maintaining this mere number? England may or may not win the Ashes, but that doesn't put them vastly ahead of Australia, does it? Australia lost to India 2-0, and that doesn't mean India is vastly superior to them either. All the top teams are capable of beating one another.

  • MinusZero on November 9, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    Great to see someone looking to the future. It what Australia didnt do when McGrath and Warne retired and they are paying for it now sitting 5th in the rankings.

  • on November 9, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    I am afraid but i m not joking...india wil lose the africa test series dis tym..but wil win d odis tgere..all my predictions com true...bliv me..as far as i know england wl win the ashes..its already decided...3-2 with gabba n perth wkts suiting english pace bowlers english wl win der..n d final decider in sydney england wl win comforatbly...n as far wrld cup 2011 goes..west indies wont even reach quarter final it seems..bangladesh wl reach qf..ther wl b no major uosets in 2011 wcs...except banagladesh winining against wi,,n pak wl lose qf 2 south africa...africa india lanka n aus wl reach semis...finals wl b asian giants india v lanka...in which india wl crush lanka...yuvraj wl d hero in wrld cup along with raina,,its already decided..i m not a bookie but a very gud astrologer..i predicted last 2 ashes series n also i predict most indian matches...all predictns ciom true..i had also predictd india wl asia cup dis tym n it turned 2 b true,,bliv me guys ind lanka final on april 2 2011,,

  • on November 9, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    This is a ridiculous waste of an oppurtunity. Please ask Kirsten to do this interview again with somebody who takes the trouble to frame a few sensible questions.

  • on November 9, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Cant really see India beating SA in SA. Apart from the fact that SA have the kind of bouncy pitches Indians dont really like, (in fact i wouldnt be surprised to see Ghambhir getting 'injured' before the series), they generally struggle against SA. To be honest i find all this talk of India being the number one side in the world annoying - the same as i did when SA claimed the title.(and im a South African) Rankings mean little unless youve beaten all the worlds test teams home and away for a period of time. NO team has been able to do that since the Aussie greats retired. IF India manage to beat SA on home soil i think theyre close to claiming the title - then all that remains would be England as a reasonable contender.

  • on November 9, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    gr8 job doing by Mr. Gary..keep it up...interveiw is balance like his approach..

  • vish2020 on November 9, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Nagraj your questioning skills didn't improve in the second part? How many of the guys who read both parts, felt like Nagraj kind of asked the same questions in both interviews? Dude, ask about how is preparation for world cup? if it hasn't started then when will you start? What about Gary's own intention to sign the coaching contract again with Team India or does he want to go coach SA?....Who the hell cares about so many questions on why we are no. 1 in test? one question is enough! Also stupid questions like is winning in SA really IMP? What do you think Nagraj?? duh!!! jeez..next time prepare questions and think about it before randomly asking questions and wasting our (readers) time!!

  • TATTUs on November 9, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    India needs to win in South Africa to really be a number one. Yes based on stats and when compared to other teams they are number one at the moment. But winning in South Africa is the 'watershed' as Kirsten said.

    Next year is going to be crucial as India has tour to England and Australia also. Even thought they won there last time around and also won at home, if England win the Ashes, they will be hard to beat next year.

    This situation is good for cricket as long as the teams are competitive because of all having Good qualities rather than because of one or 2 teams being weak and thus coming back to the pack.

  • crisspyman on November 9, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    I think it is every ones' dream winning in South Africa and World Cup next year...But thats not going to happen...Our bowling is really horrible...In the recently concluded test against New Zealand,our bowlers could not trouble those inexperienced batsmen. With current team we are going to struggle in South Africa and World cup....So Gary please find some new fresh blood with lightening pace to sustain the top position......

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  • crisspyman on November 9, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    I think it is every ones' dream winning in South Africa and World Cup next year...But thats not going to happen...Our bowling is really horrible...In the recently concluded test against New Zealand,our bowlers could not trouble those inexperienced batsmen. With current team we are going to struggle in South Africa and World cup....So Gary please find some new fresh blood with lightening pace to sustain the top position......

  • TATTUs on November 9, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    India needs to win in South Africa to really be a number one. Yes based on stats and when compared to other teams they are number one at the moment. But winning in South Africa is the 'watershed' as Kirsten said.

    Next year is going to be crucial as India has tour to England and Australia also. Even thought they won there last time around and also won at home, if England win the Ashes, they will be hard to beat next year.

    This situation is good for cricket as long as the teams are competitive because of all having Good qualities rather than because of one or 2 teams being weak and thus coming back to the pack.

  • vish2020 on November 9, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Nagraj your questioning skills didn't improve in the second part? How many of the guys who read both parts, felt like Nagraj kind of asked the same questions in both interviews? Dude, ask about how is preparation for world cup? if it hasn't started then when will you start? What about Gary's own intention to sign the coaching contract again with Team India or does he want to go coach SA?....Who the hell cares about so many questions on why we are no. 1 in test? one question is enough! Also stupid questions like is winning in SA really IMP? What do you think Nagraj?? duh!!! jeez..next time prepare questions and think about it before randomly asking questions and wasting our (readers) time!!

  • on November 9, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    gr8 job doing by Mr. Gary..keep it up...interveiw is balance like his approach..

  • on November 9, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Cant really see India beating SA in SA. Apart from the fact that SA have the kind of bouncy pitches Indians dont really like, (in fact i wouldnt be surprised to see Ghambhir getting 'injured' before the series), they generally struggle against SA. To be honest i find all this talk of India being the number one side in the world annoying - the same as i did when SA claimed the title.(and im a South African) Rankings mean little unless youve beaten all the worlds test teams home and away for a period of time. NO team has been able to do that since the Aussie greats retired. IF India manage to beat SA on home soil i think theyre close to claiming the title - then all that remains would be England as a reasonable contender.

  • on November 9, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    This is a ridiculous waste of an oppurtunity. Please ask Kirsten to do this interview again with somebody who takes the trouble to frame a few sensible questions.

  • on November 9, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    I am afraid but i m not joking...india wil lose the africa test series dis tym..but wil win d odis tgere..all my predictions com true...bliv me..as far as i know england wl win the ashes..its already decided...3-2 with gabba n perth wkts suiting english pace bowlers english wl win der..n d final decider in sydney england wl win comforatbly...n as far wrld cup 2011 goes..west indies wont even reach quarter final it seems..bangladesh wl reach qf..ther wl b no major uosets in 2011 wcs...except banagladesh winining against wi,,n pak wl lose qf 2 south africa...africa india lanka n aus wl reach semis...finals wl b asian giants india v lanka...in which india wl crush lanka...yuvraj wl d hero in wrld cup along with raina,,its already decided..i m not a bookie but a very gud astrologer..i predicted last 2 ashes series n also i predict most indian matches...all predictns ciom true..i had also predictd india wl asia cup dis tym n it turned 2 b true,,bliv me guys ind lanka final on april 2 2011,,

  • MinusZero on November 9, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    Great to see someone looking to the future. It what Australia didnt do when McGrath and Warne retired and they are paying for it now sitting 5th in the rankings.

  • sweetspot on November 9, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    @TATTUs - What is the difference between being #1 and "really be"ing a #1? The ranking has taken care of itself. India is the BEST side in the world in Tests at the moment. Why not just focus on constant improvement instead of worrying about maintaining this mere number? England may or may not win the Ashes, but that doesn't put them vastly ahead of Australia, does it? Australia lost to India 2-0, and that doesn't mean India is vastly superior to them either. All the top teams are capable of beating one another.

  • DeathRaider on November 9, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    @Afeefa Shirazi : dude,that was really hillarious ! Way to Go :)) @ Warren Smith : Even Australia in their hay day were the number 1 side without winning a series in India!England haven't done anything credible in India for a long long time.Rankings essentially don't mean a thing now a days.Considering that the top 5 are very closely matched.Anyone can deliver a knock out punch on their day. Just want people to realize that the sub-continent pitches aren't flat tracks as you all portray them.Every country has their own set of conditions, and the same is true for India as well.And trust me, the one's who have played over a 100 tests suddenly would not become susceptible to short pitch stuff. India vs SA should be a delight for any cricket fan ! :) Cheers !