South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day December 30, 2010

India exorcise demons of 1996

Fourteen years ago, in Durban, India suffered one of their worst defeats in Tests. What has changed since then? We spoke to three players who featured in that Test
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The year 1996 was a completely different world. It was a time when grass courts were fast, photographers shot on reel, computers were yet to beat chess grandmasters, a time when the Indian cricket team developed cold feet the moment they left the subcontinent. Fourteen years and a day before one of their most special wins away from home, at the same venue, in similar conditions, India put in perhaps their worst performance with the bat: bowled out for 100 and 66, lasting 73.2 overs in two innings put. Durban 1996 to Durban 2010 shows how far this team has come.

Allan Donald, who took nine wickets in that match and left India rattled, says the single biggest difference he sees in the team is the mental strength. And Donald could spot a weak opponent from a mile. "One thing that stands out for me vis-à-vis that team is that they haven't taken a backward step," he says. "They have shown a lot more character than they ever have away from home. I always looked forward to playing India away from home because I just didn't think they had enough fight, but they have shown it here. Character, mental toughness."

Talking to some of the Indian players from that team shows how unimaginably different things were back then. WV Raman, who just about managed to avoid a pair against Donald and Shaun Pollock in 1996, played in a world when the meek were supposed to inherit the earth. "Going into the series the batsmen were told to leave as much as possible outside the off stump," Raman remembers. "The team management had strictly told us not to hook or pull. I don't see how you can avoid that against the short-pitched bowling. That probably was one reason we fared badly. Now, that is not the case. Players are free to play their natural game.

"Take this second Test, when South Africa were 62 for no loss in no time chasing the target, our bowlers were relentless. Sreesanth went after Graeme Smith, and Smith fell for the bait and was egotistic enough to be influenced. Back in 1996, [Javagal] Srinath never exchanged any words. [Venkatesh] Prasad, you can forget it. That is the change in attitude and approach of the players then and now. That sums up the difference between the teams."

It is not as if sledging or hooking has won India away Tests, but it shows they have the confidence to stand up to aggressive teams. Donald has seen earlier Indian teams taking backward steps. On the 1992 tour, in the Port Elizabeth Test, "you could see that they just didn't fancy it. We had [Brett] Schultz and me bowling on a wicket that was nice and bouncy, and it seemed like they didn't like it at all. They capitulated in the second innings [except for Kapil Dev]. Not here. In the years gone by, green wicket, put into bat, it would have been a totally different story. Here they kept fighting, kept hanging in there. And then they bowled like champions."

Back in 1996, the bowlers started off well, bowling the hosts out for 235, but that wasn't a result of any plan. "I had no planning as a bowler in 1996," Prasad, who took a 10-for in Durban 1996, says. "We didn't have any videos, so whatever we watched of the opponents playing, we absorbed that. I would always, whichever game it was, sit in my room, draw an image of the field in my notebook and set down the field placements according to my strengths. So I was on my own. I would not like to blame the coaches then because even they were not exposed to these new innovations."

Nowadays our top six have a phenomenal experience, and they have been together as a unit for a long time. So there is somebody to stand up if everybody else fails. Back in 1996 the dressing room was not such a positive place
WV Raman on the change

Nor did the likes of Prasad or Srinath have any support on or off the field. "The opposition were trained to perform their role to the best of their ability and they had physical trainers," Prasad says. "We didn't have one. Normally, what we used to do was run a lap, and stretch. We didn't have the professional physio that the other teams had. Our support staff was not well equipped and all that mattered. There's always going to be some niggle or the other and you cannot give your 100%. It's because that niggle tends to develop even into an injury sometimes, and therefore you were always hesitant to give your 100%. It affects your mindset. And add to that the backing from the board in terms of contracts, all that also mattered."

On the field they lacked the third bowler. "Back then, Srinath and I missed the support bowler," Prasad says. "Anil [Kumble] only later got the knack, but in 1996 he was playing more of a supporting role to create pressure. It was Srinath and I who used to get the wickets. I had got a lot of wickets because Srinath used to make things difficult for the batsmen. In this team, everyone is capable of getting wickets, capable of changing the course of the match."

To Donald, Zaheer Khan is the big difference in the bowling line-up. "Having this guy lifts everybody else. He brings another dimension to the attack. He is skilful, and every one bowls around him."

Another important point Donald makes is the catching. "They have caught well, fantastically well," he says. "The catching just stood out. Those three magnificent catches in the first innings swung the game."

Raman talks of the batting line-up. "I still remember the delivery that Allan Donald bowled Sachin Tendulkar with in the first Innings," Raman says. "Tendulkar was not offering any shot, covering his off stump but the ball came back a long way and clipped the off bail. Of course, the batsmen were still working out the lengths, which were so different to back home. Nowadays our top six have a phenomenal experience, and they have been together as a unit for a long time. So there is somebody to stand up if everybody else fails. Back in 1996 the dressing room was not such a positive place."

It was the batting that convinced Donald that India wouldn't roll over and die this time around. "The response in Centurion in the second innings, following on, scoring 450-plus, just showed to me that India were not going to take a backward step. They were going to keep fighting."

Raman added: "The other paradigm shift is that they only look at the positive aspects of the day's game. Back then they would sit and brood about why something went wrong. They did not work on what better could be done tomorrow, which probably needed more attention."

It has taken them 14 years to erase the horrible memory, but when India come to Durban for another Boxing Day Test, people will have something else to talk about. About a team that was going to keep fighting.

Sidharth Monga and Nagraj Gollapudi are assistant editors at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 1, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    The difference between the 1990s team & the 2000s team? The COACHES we have had. The coaches are the ones that have made the biggest difference to the Indian team performance. The Ganguly era rose to its peak with John Wright, & now Gary Kirsten is continuing the work. These are no-nonsense guys who are doing a professional job. The players know that they need to perform consistently to keep their place in the team. Guys like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Dravid have found themselves dropped from the team for lack of performance. Raina too is out of the team now after just a few bad performance. How often did this happen in the past? Perform or perish... there's no 'coach favorite player' anymore. And players need to be physically fit too.

  • on January 1, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    If you look at the revival and progresss of Indian cricket two names stand out. Kapil Dev and Saurav Ganguly. The former brought a rare combination of skill and joyous abandon to Indian cricket. India started winning under him. Ganguly brougth an "in your face" attitude to all foreign teams, instead of meek respect. He had real pride in being Indian and would give as good as he got, witness his removing and waving his shirt after the ODI win in England. His greatest gift was his ability to unearth talent, irrespective of which part of India he came from Sehwag, Harbhajan, Irfan Pathan and Yuvraj Singh. He rose above regional biases and was a true leader. More than the runs he scored or the matches he won, he was the first captain we had who truly believed that we are as good as any other cricketeering nation. Dhoni combines that confidence with a buddha like calm. He never gets flustered or goes overboard. He is a worthy successor to Gangul's mantle. Mohan Ram

  • cricbuff11 on December 31, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    I agree. We need not go over the top with just one win. Though it is definitely a better sign to win more consistently abroad, it would be very disappoiting to lose the third test after all the heard work.

    I think the Indian writers on cricinfo go over the top bcos they have grown with Indian teams getting humiliated abroad. That is understandable.

    But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  • cricPassion2009 on December 31, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    WV Raman was an elegant player, but he says something strange. Why will any national coach say no hooking no pulling and even if they did why listen to them and perish ? Mohinder Amarnath used to pull and hook with panache. Kapil Dev. Shrikkanth. Players with natural abilities did play pace extremely well, hook or no hook.

  • venbas on December 31, 2010, 15:13 GMT

    Whatever be the result in the 3rd test, one thing is certain, this team will not give up without a fight and the article sums it up very well. I still remember watching the 1996 Durban test live when I was on a school vacation. The joy at bundling out SA in 230 odd runs and then then watching in shock as the Indian team capitulated for 100 in the first and even worser in the 2nd when I was hoping for some resistance atleast. That was the single most humiliating experience ever in my 30 years of cricket watching experience and this win erased the enduring image from that forgettable series. THANK YOU TEAM INDIA

  • BULTY on December 31, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    It was a fantastic win for the Indian team at Durban. Hats off to the Indian team players who achieved this win. Well, there could be comments, counter comments and analysis, counter analysis and so on by the experts and those played cricket for the respect teams before. But in my opinion, comparison is a waste of time. Things were different then & now. India has definitely moved on and rightfully occupies the summit in the form of cricket (Test matches) that matters most to all cricket players all over the world. One thing I just couldn't digest is why was there not even a mention of the mid field exchange between Smith & Sreesanth; where were the Umpires, the Match Referee, didn't they notice? Isn't this some sort of discrimination.

    Finally, the comment in the South African press Umpire Steve Davis was drunk is rubbish. It shows South Africa cannot take defeat in this fashion at home.

    Good luck to Team India for the decider to win that one too.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO TEAM INDIA.

  • on December 31, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Happy to see Indian team winning but lets not go over board. The series is still well and truly alive and SA will come hard at us. I mean comeon, its their backyard. If India do win the 3rd test (a draw is unlikely), it would go a long long way in cementing our No 1 ranking.

  • Night-Watchman on December 31, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    The difference is not only in mental toughness, the difference is the collective experience and class of the players here. In 1996, India had an experienced Azharuddin, and newbies Ganguly and Dravid and an inexperienced captain Sachin. Other batsmen were all forgettables including WV Raman. The batting side was not good enough. Bowlers, on the other hand, produced a very good performance to keep South Africa to under 500 runs both innings put together, Prasad taking 10 wickets. You can argue that mental toughness comes with experience, however, in some Indian batting sides of the old, that could not be said. Mental toughness comes with a winning habit, recent wins in India an abroad have given this quality.

  • abhyudayj on December 31, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    India winning test matches overseas and now Indian should concrete winning the series overseas consistently. All the best

  • on December 31, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    i notice that my earlier comments on cricket were not published for reasons best known to you; it did not contain any offensive material; please let me know why. I had commented on Australia after their Ashes defeat and India after their win in Durban.

  • on January 1, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    The difference between the 1990s team & the 2000s team? The COACHES we have had. The coaches are the ones that have made the biggest difference to the Indian team performance. The Ganguly era rose to its peak with John Wright, & now Gary Kirsten is continuing the work. These are no-nonsense guys who are doing a professional job. The players know that they need to perform consistently to keep their place in the team. Guys like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Dravid have found themselves dropped from the team for lack of performance. Raina too is out of the team now after just a few bad performance. How often did this happen in the past? Perform or perish... there's no 'coach favorite player' anymore. And players need to be physically fit too.

  • on January 1, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    If you look at the revival and progresss of Indian cricket two names stand out. Kapil Dev and Saurav Ganguly. The former brought a rare combination of skill and joyous abandon to Indian cricket. India started winning under him. Ganguly brougth an "in your face" attitude to all foreign teams, instead of meek respect. He had real pride in being Indian and would give as good as he got, witness his removing and waving his shirt after the ODI win in England. His greatest gift was his ability to unearth talent, irrespective of which part of India he came from Sehwag, Harbhajan, Irfan Pathan and Yuvraj Singh. He rose above regional biases and was a true leader. More than the runs he scored or the matches he won, he was the first captain we had who truly believed that we are as good as any other cricketeering nation. Dhoni combines that confidence with a buddha like calm. He never gets flustered or goes overboard. He is a worthy successor to Gangul's mantle. Mohan Ram

  • cricbuff11 on December 31, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    I agree. We need not go over the top with just one win. Though it is definitely a better sign to win more consistently abroad, it would be very disappoiting to lose the third test after all the heard work.

    I think the Indian writers on cricinfo go over the top bcos they have grown with Indian teams getting humiliated abroad. That is understandable.

    But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  • cricPassion2009 on December 31, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    WV Raman was an elegant player, but he says something strange. Why will any national coach say no hooking no pulling and even if they did why listen to them and perish ? Mohinder Amarnath used to pull and hook with panache. Kapil Dev. Shrikkanth. Players with natural abilities did play pace extremely well, hook or no hook.

  • venbas on December 31, 2010, 15:13 GMT

    Whatever be the result in the 3rd test, one thing is certain, this team will not give up without a fight and the article sums it up very well. I still remember watching the 1996 Durban test live when I was on a school vacation. The joy at bundling out SA in 230 odd runs and then then watching in shock as the Indian team capitulated for 100 in the first and even worser in the 2nd when I was hoping for some resistance atleast. That was the single most humiliating experience ever in my 30 years of cricket watching experience and this win erased the enduring image from that forgettable series. THANK YOU TEAM INDIA

  • BULTY on December 31, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    It was a fantastic win for the Indian team at Durban. Hats off to the Indian team players who achieved this win. Well, there could be comments, counter comments and analysis, counter analysis and so on by the experts and those played cricket for the respect teams before. But in my opinion, comparison is a waste of time. Things were different then & now. India has definitely moved on and rightfully occupies the summit in the form of cricket (Test matches) that matters most to all cricket players all over the world. One thing I just couldn't digest is why was there not even a mention of the mid field exchange between Smith & Sreesanth; where were the Umpires, the Match Referee, didn't they notice? Isn't this some sort of discrimination.

    Finally, the comment in the South African press Umpire Steve Davis was drunk is rubbish. It shows South Africa cannot take defeat in this fashion at home.

    Good luck to Team India for the decider to win that one too.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO TEAM INDIA.

  • on December 31, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Happy to see Indian team winning but lets not go over board. The series is still well and truly alive and SA will come hard at us. I mean comeon, its their backyard. If India do win the 3rd test (a draw is unlikely), it would go a long long way in cementing our No 1 ranking.

  • Night-Watchman on December 31, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    The difference is not only in mental toughness, the difference is the collective experience and class of the players here. In 1996, India had an experienced Azharuddin, and newbies Ganguly and Dravid and an inexperienced captain Sachin. Other batsmen were all forgettables including WV Raman. The batting side was not good enough. Bowlers, on the other hand, produced a very good performance to keep South Africa to under 500 runs both innings put together, Prasad taking 10 wickets. You can argue that mental toughness comes with experience, however, in some Indian batting sides of the old, that could not be said. Mental toughness comes with a winning habit, recent wins in India an abroad have given this quality.

  • abhyudayj on December 31, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    India winning test matches overseas and now Indian should concrete winning the series overseas consistently. All the best

  • on December 31, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    i notice that my earlier comments on cricket were not published for reasons best known to you; it did not contain any offensive material; please let me know why. I had commented on Australia after their Ashes defeat and India after their win in Durban.

  • sukuviju on December 31, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Difference between 1996 and 2010 is the self belief. India today is a confident nation and that reflects in the attitude of its sportsmen. All India requires is 3 more strike bowlers and we will remain the champion test side for another 2 years.

  • on December 31, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    yes yes, donald and co. are WRONG! we, the experts from gully cricket, tip & run and one-pitch-one-hand catches know a lot more than a guy who has played test cricket... obviously

  • on December 31, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    This is absolutely true that India has come a long way from 1996 to 2010. 4 years earlier in 1996-97, India had a chance to win their maiden series in South Africa after winning the first test but they could not grab the opportunity. But this time this looks like a realistic chance for India to do so. So all the best to Dhoni and his boys. Also hope this new year brings loads of success for team India in the form of a test series victory in SA, World Cup champions and also test series victories in England and Australia later in the year.

  • Percy_Fender on December 31, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    I think Puranjay Singh's views are absolutely spot on. This rise of India to No 1 and its renewed standing in world cricket is greatly related to the nation's rise as an economic superpower. India is no longer a country that can be trifled with which even the ICC tacitly ackowledges. Players from the world over know that they stand to gain immensely monetarily if they were to play in the IPL and through other marketing endorsements. That apart, India is widely acknowledged as a delightful tourist destination that people long to come to. So utterly different from everywhere else. India is no longer a country which gives tourists bad tummies. In fact Indian food is the rage with every one it seems. The thing is that amongst the cluster of cricket playing countries, India is the only one of this type. This is what gives them that identity as great cricket playing nation.

  • on December 31, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    I think it is a change in attitude and morale in the team that has made the difference. And part of it has come from the foreign coaches and professional staff that Team India is having for quite sometime. Things started during Ganguly and Wright's time where, for a change, Indian team started winning some matches, if not series, on foreign soil. Things are coming to prime in Dhoni & Kirsten's tenure - now we can dream winning a series on bouncy and green tracks. Indian teams before 2000 would chicken out at such a prospect, the present generation of players have the confidence to keep fighting. I really enjoyed the last test, especially the Sreesanth SPECIAL that got Kallis! Hope they win the next test as well.

  • on December 31, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    I see some comments that India performing in 2010 is due to the wealth and clout of BCCI, that of India's rising economy, blah blah blah. That is just bilge. in 1983 when India won the World Cup and 1985 World Championship in Australia, money was the last thing on anyone's minds.

  • HenryFonda on December 31, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    The problem was with the bowling in 90's. In 90's you had Srinath only. Kumble had not developed enough as someone worthy of trust on foreign pitches. Prasad was good only on really helpful pitches. Even on a pitch that had some but not lot of assistance for fast bowlers, he could not bowl well. Overdependence on spinners was one major reason why India never won a test outside subcontinent in 90's. Zaheer easily is the most skillful fast bowler produced by India, maybe alongside Kapil Dev. His body language is great. Remember the body language of Srinath and Prasad. They would shout if the fielders dropped a catch off their bowling but would apologize on bowling a bouncer. A caveat.. I dont appreciate Sreesanth going overboard with his antics either. Prasad just was not quick enough...maybe in mid 120's. You need a threshold pace of at least 132-135 kph if you want to bowl in international cricket. zaheer has that and when required can touch 140 whenever he wants to....

  • Maverick79 on December 31, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    @Swaminathan Krishnamoorthy : Mate at Durban, Prasad indeed was unplayable. He got loads of wicket in that match with his perfect out swings. The reason why we lost then was to our batsmen all of the SA fast bowlers were unplayable, meaning all of them were bunnies on that track.

  • on December 31, 2010, 2:47 GMT

    Although this is not a subject of this article, I find it very boring when people say Lara is a better match winner than Tendulkar. I gues those people have very few knowledge about cricket. In ODI final matches Lara's average is 28.12 (507 runs in 19 matches 18 innings and he scored just one 100's and 2 fifties!). In the world cup he made 1225 runs in 34 matches with 42.25 average and 2 hundreds and 7 fifties). I heard people always saying Lara plays well under pressure. Now in test matches what innings batsman face deteriorating pace and bounce? I guess it is 4th innings. Now Lara scored just two 100's in 4th innings of test matches (with the peerless 153* versus Australia). He scored 1440 with 35.21 averages and just just two hundreds & 7 fifties.) his second innings is more dismal in test cricket. 3704 runs at aaverage of 38.1 with just just 9 hundreds. u judge a batsman by just an innigs? if so VVS Laxman would be far far superior batsman than Tendulkar, Lara or Poting. 281* I gue

  • banter123 on December 31, 2010, 1:40 GMT

    good to see teams like england,saf,india,sri and aus playing competitive test cricket...where are the crowds in south asia......improve the pitches,improve the stadium hospitality and please don't let this form of game die

  • badnaam_munni on December 31, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    Come on India. One last test match. Give it your best! Make Smith grovel....

  • suman2 on December 30, 2010, 23:09 GMT

    Reading the article one understands how 'systems' in combination create champions. But it is individuals who create systems. Those of us who followed Indian cricket in the last twenty odd years will realise the change. Three individuals can claim some credit for this change: Dalmiya as an administrator, Ganguly as the team leader anf John Wright. I am glad our team is now selected on merit!

    In twenty years' time we will wonder how lucky we were to see Shewag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly, Laxman, Zaheer, Kiumble and Harbhajan with Dhoni played in the same team. Can we imagine the replacements: Raina, Vijay, Sreesanth etc. Not in the same class.

    I hope India finds another leader like Ganguly who when faced with a seemingly unsurmountable challenge (Steve Waugh's Australia with no Kumble) will unearth future talents like Harbhajan and support and groom them to become world beaters.

    I see current W.Indies and the Aussies and fear the most. I hope we eke out a different path.

  • on December 30, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    Nice comment by kitten.. Dhoni is the best captain in the world a present...

  • noxiouz111 on December 30, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    That was a real great victory. The job is half done. Batting was still the same as it was at Centurion in the 1st Test. To really prove the critics that India does deserve to be the best they have be absolutely spot on. A 100 % percent effort is needed as SA is wonded lion in its own safari will give a very very strong reply. I hope INDIA doesn't do anything like what Aussies did after a immaculate effort @ Perth. All the best Team INDIA. I wish Sehwag and Dravid to be the difference in the final Test. It would be real booster for India ahead of the ODI series and the World Cup (though Dravid might not be in the ODI team.

  • on December 30, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    it is good that india provers once again that they are no longer pushovers.their positive approach towards the game yilded fruitful results. i am confident that they will draw the final test if not winning the same therby retaining no.1 position. wish the team all the very best.a very happy new year to both team members

  • NRI- on December 30, 2010, 21:27 GMT

    WHAT NONSENSE. Allan Donald is just like many other ex cricketers who talk nonsense. Skills and strategy make the difference, not mental toughness. WV Raman takes sense, make this guy the next coach. Hook, pull or DROP your hands and move out of the way - dont defend your body like Raina. Sehwag, Tendulkar and Laxman are amongst the best batsmen in the world; Sehwag is easily the world's best today. The best is the one with the average times the strike rate, period. The fielding and catching is a lot better. Sreesanth simply bowled a lot better and Zaheer came back into the side. In this form Sreesanth and Zaheer are a lot better than Srinath and Prasad. Kumble was not good overseas in the first half of his career (1996). But it was still close. This SA side & England are at least as good as India as is Australia. There is no difference in these four teams.

  • on December 30, 2010, 21:04 GMT

    Well.It was a superb test match and majestic innings by VVS laxman and once again he saved india in troubles.I see india wins when ever VVS bats well.Entire team was courageous,confident and shown their best they can do.Great bowling from zaheer n turbonator and fielding too.Indian team had proved why they r No.1 team in d world and how to greme smith and shuts his mouth.Well done.What makes worry is rahul dravid poor form in these 2 tests.Bring back gautam gambhir n ashish nehra who can siwng the ball so well in these conditions n definitely india is gonna win the series too.Keep the moment going indian team,we have the strong batting line up in d worls and YOU CAN DO IT.Looking for series win from our indian team AGAINST SA..Gud luck...

  • 250988 on December 30, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    Here we go again, all the praise after a single win.Now I am a big Indian fan and was there for every ball of this match, yes my nails are missing and I was in tears after the game but let's not overhype this victory.Now coming back to this article and all the talk of "character & mental strength" is just a big joke.It's not mental strength it's merely that the current bunch of batsman are more skilled.Does anyone really "remember" any of our openers from that time...my point exactly.We now have arguably the best opening pair and in Shewag who may end up as the most destructive of all time.Tendulkar is likely to do just the same as he did in 1996.We didn't have anyone who compares with Dravid,Laxman & Dhoni(allrounder)of today.Kapil was on the wane but Sreenath/ Prasad/kumble were no less than Zak/Sreesanth/bhaji.We fight in foreign conditions cause we have world class openers and world class middle order..not cause we have mor mental strength.

  • on December 30, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    India have just won one test in the current series, but the transformation of overall mind set of the players is definitely visible over last 3 years when India did well in test arena!

  • on December 30, 2010, 20:21 GMT

    One thing that has definitely improved India's performances overseas is the general perception that India is now well on its way to becoming a rich nation.

    Go back to 1996. India was fresh off the economic reforms, a nation that was still regarded as economically and politically inconsequential by the world. The only things we could be proud of as a nation then was our 'culture' and 'heritage' and 'history - all things in the past, and then too very abstract.

    In 2010 though, we are the nation everyone talks about (us and China, of course). We may not be as powerful as France or Germany, but we do carry some weight in the global scheme of things. We are growing at an astonishing rate, investors flood our stock markets and are now the hotbed of talent.

    All this has changed the way we see ourselves. We are no longer the meek underdogs - we are the future superpower. And this attitude shows in the way we play cricket.

  • SeattleIyer on December 30, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    I think this is indeed a solid achievement (winning the second test) after what happened in the first test. While this win proves, we are no longer "Overseas Bunnies" of yester-year(s), winning the 3rd Test should be the ultimate prize. I hope our team realizes that and doesn't enter the 3rd test in an overconfident frame of mind. Hope MS & Gary ensure this doesn't happen.

  • on December 30, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    Ganguly was good in bringing good bowlers in his team again and again.It was bcoz of his belief that India cgan only win on foreign soils through good 4 fast bowlers and result being that India started performing better than what it did earlier. But Dhoni has proved a failure in producing new good fast bowlers. Dependence on zaheer for too long is not good his fitness and India also.Also why Irfan and Munaf has deteriorated to such low level of bowling should be inspected. Honestly my heart aches when I think about them.

  • on December 30, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    I just saw the scorecard of 1996 and see no VVS Laxman in there.. Just wondering if it would have been the same story if Laxman was not there in this (2010's) match. Bowlers did almost the same job as in 1996. Just an observation.

  • cricket_is_my_life on December 30, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    Between 1996 and 2010, there was 2006. India lost the Durban test in 2006 but they won a test for the first time in South Africa in 2006. In tests, India's away performance is more or less same over the last eight years - winning a test in each away series. But we would like to move on from there. What we need now is: winning series in South Africa and Australia, also more than one away test victory in an away series. For this to happen consistently, we need a strike fast bowler to equal Zaheer's capability and later to take the role of the bowling attack when Zaheer retires in a couple of years. Sreesanth and Ishanth are probably not the answers. Then, we need a suitable no. 3 to replace Dravid as soon as possible who can score big hundreds consistently. Probably Pujara or Badrinath or Rahane will be the answer. Also, we need a spinner to replace Harbhajan in tests who will take wickets in 6s and 7s and not in 2s and 3s.

  • madhubadal on December 30, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Isn't it a colonial hangover. What English people say and comment becomes the standard. And when Indians enjoy, it becomes gloating!!!!!!! Remember the famous comparison of Lara, Tendulkar and Graeme Hick- Hick as the greatest batsman. Can anyone tell me, where he is now? Today Darren Gough, who was every now and then sent for boundaries and over boundaries is saying this English team can defeat India EVERY DAY IN A WEEK. My dear freinds, bfr you say something, just remember one thing-no one is perfect and no one can be, we strive to be perfect. It is a process. As one of my friend ha rightly pointed out, the process started with GANGULY AND WRIGHT, and we should hope it continues. If we win even a twenty twenty match against Bangladesh, we should celebrate, because no one give away their share so easily. Does any remember the first day on 1st test match against Bangladesh? If you do, then you got my point. People must read the interview of V Anand given few days bacK.

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 30, 2010, 18:54 GMT

    Fortune favours the brave & India win by luck. Actually India did not bowl well but the S.Africans gave away the wickets. For e.g. Smith's & Amla's wickets. More than that when the bowler is Sreesant you expect how he must have taken the wickets (only luck but no skill) Perhaps the S.Africans must have purposely lost the match to boost India's confidence so that they can face a challenging contest for the final test.

  • on December 30, 2010, 18:48 GMT

    Why only laxman scored was bcz he pulled ....Dravid & SRT should also pull & avoid all off drives

  • on December 30, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    India has just won ONE Test! Unless this winning trend becomes sustained and happens all around the world we, the fans, shd not go overboard. Like Flower and Strauss are saying Down Under, this is a just a job begun. There many miles to go before India and Indian fans can gloat.

  • on December 30, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    awesome article.... india rocks...!

  • madhubadal on December 30, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    I think it is not important if we win the series or not. Surprised!!! Why can't we enjoy the victory that Indian cricket team has recently earned? Those who have seen those days of 1992,1996 would not disagree with me. One of my dear friend in the blog has commented, that it is the money, the money of the BCCI, the IPL. It is not the money but the passion, the mental grit that Allan has spoken about in the article. That is why in the 1990's the Pakistan cricket team was such a formidable unit. they didn't had money. It is purely mental, obviously with a bit of luck on your side. If the attitude remains, we would win surely. if not today, tomorrow would be ours.We need more pool of talented players with that mental grit and skill who can fill in the unbridgeable gap that would occur with the retirement of VVS Laxman, Dravid, and none other than Tendulkar. They are irreplaceable, but it is imminent and unavoidable.

  • on December 30, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    all the hard work of Sourav Ganguly and John Wright in building a good team which is capable of winning on foreign soil are being forgotten and the entire credit is going to Gary and MS. But according to me the credit goes to all the players and support staff who were part of the team from the last 6 years. The process re building the team started the regime of DADA and he was the one who made our players think that we can win away from home as well. REMEMBER FRIENDS IT WAS DADA WHO PICKED MS DHONI.

    One last thing i want to express is that, the selectors should give the players atleast 5 to 6 tests and 15 to 20 ODI's before deciding his future. Many players are missing out despite strong performances in the domestic circuit

  • siryane on December 30, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    WOW... there is a lot of talk here for a team that lost by an innings plus, in the first match, without any bit of controversy, took only four wickets, now that India have won the 2nd test, by under a 100runs with a few questionable decisions in a tight match, now all the fans go about town talking as if winning one match after losing one is world changing. the truth is that India is the NO.1 team and the honours is on them to beat S.A, not the other way round. If you are better, then you need to show it. The fact that India came back to win the 2nd test should be cause for relief and not egoistic celebration.

  • on December 30, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    WV raman was good player and he was expected to become like dravid or more during those days. Unfortunately he did not perform to that level even playing in india. The problem during those days was poor start always given by the opener. Missing technologies and support staff applies to opponent as well. Further India, performed strongly at home during those days. Moreover, allan donald & co were more feasome than Dale & co. Probably south africa underestimated after seeing india loose tamely in first test. Let us give opinion after this team performs consistently in places like south africa and west indies and not based on one win.

  • CrackerDaddy on December 30, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    I'm huge Sri Lankan fan...and I do believe that India is World #1 material. This was a great game.

  • kitten on December 30, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Smith is a big mouth. He was literally gloating after their success at Centurion. He was even quoted as saying, that had SA batted first instead of India, they would have certainly fared better! Look what happened. AT Durban, which was a much better pitch than Centurion, they batted SECOND, and were bundled out for a lower score than India had(at Centurion, 136)131. He did not know what to say, and instead of praising the Indian bowlers, stated that SA batted badly!! So much for Smith. I'm glad Indian made him eat his words. A lot of these captains, Sangakkara included, after they win a match, start criticizing the opponent, instead of being gracious in victory. You will never see Dhoni doing something like that. He will ofcourse praise his own team for their skill and hard work in achieving victory, but will never run down the other team. Good for you Dhoni. I hope you and the Indian Team have more success come your way.

  • on December 30, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    I think it all boils down to the psyche of Indians that has taken a collective transformation. Indians now are well travelled, work for a booming economy and are no longer xenophobic. If anything the cricketers now play for a board who call the shots in international cricket. Indians are the new arrogant Australians.

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    There are quite a few differences. One is the mental strength and bouncebackability of the current team, which enabled the players to recover quickly after a loss of such magnitude in the Centurion Test. The Indian team of now under Gary Kirsten is raring to go and perform on all sorts of wickets, which is exemplified by MSD's comment "the greener,the better" whereas the team of the 90s went to SA with trepidation.This is one major difference that we have seen since the John Wright era began.Another is unlike now, in 90s we did not have a bowling attack that was capable of taking 20 wickets on non-turning tracks.Srinath and Prasad were there, but there was no third seamer and the two could not shoulder the entire burden.And now we have a cool and courageous captain like MSD . Then in 90s we had a non-imaginative captain like Azhar and also Sachin (who may be the best batsman but was a disaster as captain).Then finally great team spirit, "group huddle" started by John Wright.

  • 123456789sharath on December 30, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    simple....durban luck is with gary....... the team with gary kirsten won the match at durban.....

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    Love Indian approach in the second test. Hopefully Donald will be finding difficult to come up with Indians when they will crush SA in third test. Cheers

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    One could easily get an idea about the depth of S African batting line-up from the simple fact that Lance Klusner (Probably S Africa's best known All rounder after J Kallis & S Pollock) came to bat at No.9. India had to get atleast top 8 quality batsman twice to atleast not lose the match in 1996 against S Africa's Andrew Kirsten, Gary Kirsten, D Cullinan, Brian McMillan, H Cronje, H Gibbs, Shaun Pollock & Lance Klusner. The 2010 S African batting line-up consisting of top 7 batsmen (Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis, De Velliers Prince & Boucher) some how doesn't seem to match the intensity & fire-power of the 1996 side.

  • cmloga on December 30, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    One again we are going over the top and loosing perspective. Indina would have most probably lost the match if there was UDRS. The only difference between the 1996 match and the 2010 match was VVS Laxman, otherwise the batting was as pitiful at the 1996 match.

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    The biggest difference between the Durban test match held in 1996 & 2010 and the Indian Cricket team for same years is two things: VVS Laxman & South African Batting. Unlike in 2010, Laxman who came as a savior for India in 2010 test match, he was a no voice and still on the verge of debuting for India in 1996. We had likes of M Azharuddin, WV Raman, S Ganguly as the so called "Laxmans" of their time, who failed miserably in Durban 1996. While today's Superstars Sachin Tendulkar & Rahul Dravid were still learning to play on fast & bouncy pitches in 1996, they couldn't perform any better this time around in 2010, almost 16 years later. Had not Laxman made those precious 96 runs in dire conditions and had scored in single figure digits (as his peers did in the forgetful 96 Durban Test Match) the result could have been completely different, given India won by 87 runs, mostly coming from his willow. South African batting in 96 was pretty decent even by today's standard.

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    The biggest difference between the Durban test match held in 1996 & 2010 and the Indian Cricket team for same years is two things: VVS Laxman & South African Batting. Unlike in 2010, Laxman who came as a savior for India in 2010 test match, he was a no voice and still on the verge of debuting for India in 1996. We had likes of M Azharuddin, WV Raman, S Ganguly as the so called "Laxmans" of their time, who failed miserably in Durban 1996. While today's Superstars Sachin Tendulkar & Rahul Dravid were still learning to play on fast & bouncy pitches in 1996, they couldn't perform any better this time around in 2010, almost 16 years later. Had not Laxman made those precious 96 runs in dire conditions and had scored in single figure digits (as his peers did in the forgetful 96 Durban Test Match) the result could have been completely different, given India won by 87 runs, mostly coming from his willow. South African batting in 96 was pretty decent even by today's standard.

  • sweetspot on December 30, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    No matter how effective this talking business is, I don't think that is cricket. I never saw any of the great West Indians sledge any batsman on any wicket, but they did the bowling that blew away batsmen by the bucket load. If Smith is foolish enough to fall for Sreesanth's taunts then he deserves to get out, but a really good bowler does not have to do this stupid stuff. All the same, I'm all for giving back what other teams try to dish out. Heck, India did not invent the free market, but we're doing well in it, aren't we?

  • sweetspot on December 30, 2010, 17:19 GMT

    Thank you Srinivasan Ramesh. Exactly my thoughts! NO batsman can play comfortably in conditions that are favouring good fast bowling. A little bit of juice in the pitch and almost all teams go to the dogs.

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    @vinayjayaram: The other karnataki who does not deserve to be in the team is Dravid!! Time for him to retire and stop being a PASSENGER!

  • sweetspot on December 30, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    Hello rvp68 - Is Allan Donald going over the top? Is he Indian? This article is based on his quote, not anybody from the current Indian team. Besides, there is nothing about India having won this series already or presuming it will. This is purely about a team that does not take backward steps.

  • Warrior78 on December 30, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Indian team surely has become mentally strong in this decade compared to ever before. Our bowling strength is still a big worry for me. Barring Zak(who is prone to injuries) I don't see anyone else performing consistently so far to help us winning matches at home or aboard. Sreesanth, Ishant & Harbhajan are just doing enough to keep themselves in the squad with 1 good performance on & off. We need a v good bowling bench strength to help us win more matches at home & away and keep us no.1 side. We need a tear away fast bowler(A Holding or Marshall or Waqar) who is fit and can run through sides & good support at the other end. I'm hoping I can see someone like that in my lifetime.

  • on December 30, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    Yes, I agree celebrating this is too soon, but India did an excellent job. My congrats to the no1 side in the world! I love SA, no matter what. I believe we could've won if Smith hadn't thrown his wicket away because of anger, but well done to Srisaanth for getting under his skin. I do think that SA will come back strongly, but have to admit that India are the strongest opposition that we can face at the moment. Newlands test is going to be the best match ever, bar none.

  • ElPhenomeno on December 30, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    It doesn't bode well for #1 team in the world to go over the top over 1 win. They may as well get thumped in the 3rd test. #1 team should be expected to win these games and still keep it real as dhoni did. But these reporters can't help but fall over themselves over such things.

  • Pits76 on December 30, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    One of the main differences is of course that this team is mentally stronger and obviously more talented than ones which visited previously. these guys are definitely not pushovers and my comments have nothing to do with whether we win or lose the series.

    From what i saw in the highlights, much of the low scores are because of playing loose irresponsible shots and that is something gary should try to fix: DO NOT PLAY AWAY FROM YOUR BODY! as for the bowling, i think India is all Zaheer really, Ishant and Sreesanth are playing only because we dont have a better alternative..

    If India can get another two good bowlers, and batsman dont succumb to a rush of blood, i think we can beat any team anywhere.

  • SamRoy on December 30, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    @Hari Hara Sudhan K LOL! Kris Srikkanth : Brainy selector? Thats why he picked two rookies in Unadkat and Umesh Yadav (probably the least skilled paceman I have seen in a long time since VRV Singh in Zimbabwe tri series tour. Even the hopeless Dinda and Vinay Kumar were better than him). That's why he picked WRIDDHIMAN Saha (in place of Karthik or Parthiv)??? Also picked the hopelessly out of form Raina rather than a batsman with better defensive technique and very confident (sometimes gets over-confident) Kohli? In a country like South Africa where subtle variations are the key picked the spinner whose every ball is the same (Ojha) forgetting conviniently that Ashwin is a much wittier and thinking bowler.

  • on December 30, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    @Jarr30 ...."India needs to DROP Dravid & Ishant Sharma right away"...and then wat...who is going to replace them...this isnt abt just bad game..cmon these guys hav been around for more than any other guys have...we need to give them time...dravid has nothin more to prove and Ishant is a confidence bowler...a rhythm bowler...once he gets into his stride...everone knows wat he can do and he is capable of(ask Ricky Ponting)....in india yes there is a lot of dearth in Fast bowlers but guys like A Mithun shud have been given more chance rather than trying out guys who dont hav such a gud First class showing....well still there is a lot of scope of improvement..we hope they come better prepared net time...

  • Champ2000 on December 30, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    This is more confident india in all sectors... Not just sports.India is more proder nation now.

  • flashbackto96 on December 30, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/111878.html .. a perspective for readers who term srinath as a medium pacer. he may not have much words to speak to the batsman and may was not consistently accurate..but he did have the pace which was not used by india from 1992 to 1995 and overused from 1996 to 1997..not that he was much helped with missed catches that the slip cordon used to spill regularly

  • Guruprasad.S on December 30, 2010, 16:31 GMT

    In 1996, it was only India. In 2010, it is Team India. That makes a lot of difference, in addition to the factors that experts and many readers have already pointed out.

    @Hari Hara Sudhan K: Dont crib over selection matters. Except Prasad and Johnson, the others went on to become greats. Whom did you want in that team, Daniel Manohar ? Get a life. Raina and Murali Vijay are good players. But they have Krish Srikanth and Dhoni to thank, for being in the test side. Now Pujara's performance shows that selecting Raina was a mistake in the first place.

    @ Swaminathan Krishnamoorthy: Prasad, a clever and thinking bowler, was India's top bowler on 1996 tours of England and SA. . He was named CEAT Cricketer of the Year in 1996 for his 50 wickets. Due to lack of a proper third seamer, captain Sachin Tendulkar overbowled Srinath and Prasad, esply Srinath, on the tours of England, SA and WI in 1996-97. This led to his shoulder being injured and Srinath was never the same bowler again.

  • RajKS on December 30, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    I think this article is little early. The third test is yet to be played. Anyway, to be honest apart from batting flaws in the nineties we never had bowlers who can take 20 wickets in a test match. Right now we have more balanced bowling attack then then the old teams. Regarding WV Raman statement that the Indian batsmen were specifically told not to hook or pull, that was because they simply couldn't hook or pull facing a world class bowlers on the fast track. So the old players should stop making excuses and accept that they were no good.

  • SnowSnake on December 30, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    May be fans should learn something from this and not get into habit of looking a team's record beyond last two years. This article just reinforces my faith in ICC rankings.

  • on December 30, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    The major difference is the teams dont want to draw matches. let the result go any way but they have took up agressive methods and that die hard instict behaviour is bring a new flavour to the test cricket and as indian i am more happy because india is the main charcter in advertising this test cricket this days and saving it from20-20.

  • cricPassion2009 on December 30, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    The biggest difference I see is swashbuckling Sehwag, diehard warrior Laxman, great bowler Zaheer and good support from Sreesanth, Ishant.

    Not the least, Dhoni is a difficult man to dislodge. He may well become team India's man of substance sans style, like Kallis or Steve Waugh one day. This is saying a lot.

    I'm not sure if team India can maintain close to this level when Fab Three (Sachin, Dravid, Laxman ) retire.

  • Jarr30 on December 30, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    HOLD ON GUYS!!! We haven't won the series yet. India has just won a great game but SA will come back strongly.India' batting is still wobbling against Steyn & Co..Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid,Pujara haven't fired YET. I don't see India winning this series if our top order isn't batting well. India needs to DROP Dravid & Ishant Sharma right away.

  • on December 30, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Go India Go.................

  • Jithinvsjj on December 30, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    All i have to say is that,,,,,the entire credit goes to Mr. Gary Kirsten....thanku u very much gary

  • intcamd on December 30, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    People listed many improvements from 1996. In general, i agree with most.

    The biggest difference in my mind is the money. Now, India is the indisputable money center of the game. BCCI is the blackhole powering the cricket galaxy. In most sports, spoils eventually go the richest. For example, on the self confidence aspect, indian cricketers are the best paid in the world now. Why would n't they be the most confident. The best of the rest clamor to play in IPL in India under Indian captains. That naturally boosts the confidence (and skills, as playing the fastest bowlers is no longer a fearsome novelty but a daily chore).

    The surprise is actually that india is not better given our money advantage. BCCI could easily do more to make sure the team is the best, but they are so corrrupt, so they don't care. Hence no practice matches prior to foreign tests, not enough investment in domestic game development,

  • vinayjayaram on December 30, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    @Hari Hara Sudhan K : David Johnson yes i agree..but saying that Srinath, Prasad and Kumble did not deserve their place in the team shows how bad your cricketing expertise and knowledge is..ROFL..hence need not comment too much about your point of view..

  • rvp68 on December 30, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    As always, Indians are going well over the top. It was one win and there was considerable luck involved. There is no doubt that those of us who grew up watching the Indian teams of the 80's and 90's still have a hard time understanding the confident new teams. But India now has resources to spare and so long as corruption in the administration doesn't deprive the players their due in terms of infrastructure, resources, and stability, all will be well. In intense competition, there's no greater contest than trying to win when a series is level. Durban will become a distant memory if the Indian's don't work out what it will take to win in Cape Town.

  • on December 30, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    The difference is in level of confidence, the self belief that they are no less than Proteas..and although test rank 1 is just a number but it does help them to stand and perform...not to prove others but to prove themselves. As a true Indian fan i m more than delighted to see the fighting spirit this team has shown over the years.. keep it up guys..:)

  • Cricinfo_dasan on December 30, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    One Note: Murali Vijay's luck continues. Whenever Murali have replaced Gauti in a test match, India have never lost it, most of them were WINS and few Draw. Gauti no offence, but if Vijay replaces u, I would prefer you getting injured

  • on December 30, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    The two big changes in Indian team apart from a stable and experienced middle order are 1. Good 3rd seam bowler 2. Mentally tough and a stable opening batting pair.

    Back in 1996, the openers were not sure about their place in the side. Also SA attack was stronger in 1996. They had Donald, Pollock, McMillian, Devillers . The SA pace battery never ended

  • on December 30, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Oh yes!.I vividly remember the1996 test.Hudson Half century on the first day,Donald dismissing sachin,Prasad's peach to Hansie,M'cmillan's bucket size hands at slips and handy lower batting by SA tail ..But Two things still stand in my memory.India batsman timidity in facing quality fast bowling and young Rahul Dravid who was the only batsman who showed heart there.Now Rahul the legend and Team india the firefighting brigade have come a long way.Really

  • on December 30, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    In 1996 Indian looked like a Karnataka team, no wonder all credits go to Mr G.Viswanath!! Indian selection politics played huge part in 1996 worst loss!!!

    There were quite ineffective players in the XI. People like Srinath, Venkatesh prasad doesnt deserve to be in Indian team and Kumble in Durban is a joke, as we have never seen him spinning the ball even in Indian Pitches!!! And useless David Johnson as third seemer, obviously you will get such kind of results. Viswanath is the worst selector that India ever had!!!

    Fortunately we have a brainy selector in Krish and great captain from MS which stopped playing no more state politics!!!

  • ulmo on December 30, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    Actually I watched Durban 1996 and we did not get out to short pitched balls. The balls Indians got out to were well pitched up. We were expecting short pitch balls and so we did not move our feet (except Dravid). There is a clear difference in batting from 1996 and batting from 2010. While batsmen did get out especially in the second innings to some really bad shots (Dravid this time played away from his body) they were much more positive. I think that people should stop overhyping or underestimating India. We are a good team (not a great team). We still have starting problems (first test matches) we get better as the series progresses. Which is why I wonder why BCCI keeps playing these 3 test match series. I think it should be 4 or 5 match series. We should play on bowler friendly pitches (spinning or seaming) because we do not have the bowlers to take 20 wickets on batsmen friendly pitches. Our batsmen will collapse once in a while but they are pretty solid.

  • on December 30, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    Before the start of the series AB Devilliers said India is going to get the beating frm SA like they are the unconquered champs in the world whenever a team boasts them as champs they will be on the receiving end this durban test teach them a lesson And of course SA are always chokers when it comes to the deciders as we have seen in the past .when India went to SL in 2010 series Sanga said India is not the NO. 1 team anymore but time had shown him wrong one thing everybody should keep in mind this ranking is not done by Dhoni or BCCI and there are somany others also of opinion that because India has a good amount of population and is collecting lot of money in cricket INDIA can dictate terms it is all bullshit

  • on December 30, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    this is some article to look out for

  • bhushan_india on December 30, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    The major difference is: In this team the Batsman are not afraid of facing the tough conditions of Fast Bowling friendly pitches. While in the same team there are now more than one fast baller, who try to utilize those hostile conditions to his own advantage. Thanks to John Wright & Gary Kisten for improving the indian team in last 10 years.

  • on December 30, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    @DINESHCC I dont think Sreesanth's short ball to Smith was anything near unplayable, it was sailing safely through the offside, but it was the argument and pressure between Sree & Smith that made him play the shot. And yes, Indians know to take wickets of short pitched bowling now!

    I see 2000 being the year of change, when Ganguly took over the captaincy, not being bowled over by the Australians who were conquering the whole world. The courage Ganguly inducted into this team back then has kept them going ever since.

  • stormy16 on December 30, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Not sure what this comparrison is about they are two very different teams. When you consider Dravid and Sachin played in that game and now 14 years later these two have some formidable mates!! 3 of the batters have over 100 tests, Zak and Bhaji have been around a long time and both masters and leaders in their crafts and closing on 100 tests. Sewag is a freak and the captain is a mixture of calm aggression taking up that cruitial #7. This is an experienced and seriously talented team and a comparison to the 96 team hardly makes sense but interesting all the same.

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on December 30, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    AS DONALD RIGHTLY POINTED OUT, WITH THE INSIGHT OF AN OPPONENT , THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS MENTAL STRENGTH & GUTS........IN 1996 AZHARUDDIN WAS CAPTAIN.....A SHY, TIMID, GUTLESS & MOUSY PERSON......HOISTED BY BCCI PRESIDENT DUNGARPUR AS CAPTAIN, AHEAD OF RAVI SHASTRI...............IN 2010 CAPTAIN DHONI IS COURAGEOUS, BOLD & HARDY............IN CRICKET , A CAPTAIN DEFINES THE CHARACTER OF THE TEAM.......ASK THE AUSSIES, THEY ALWAYS TARGET THE OPPOSITION CAPTAIN......LOOK AT PONTING IN HIS PRESENT MENTAL STATE & THE ASHES RESULTS.......RECALL HOW CAPTAIN GANGULY GAVE STEEL TO THE TEAM WITH HIS BOLDNESS......

  • palcricket on December 30, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    i just want to cogratulate team india for winning the durban test & hope that ll win in capetown & win 1st series in south african soil.i know this indian team is capable .,,go india go ....good luck india

  • ultrasnow on December 30, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    @W V Raman, Prasad Just not ok to criticise your teammates/coach after 14 long years We should be glad Prasad is no longer associated with the team Negative, regressive, taking a step backward blokes

  • gaithersburgman on December 30, 2010, 10:58 GMT

    Most of the credit goes to Gary Kristen and his coaching team. BCCI should keep Gary around for another 5 years beyond his current contract.

  • Arrow011 on December 30, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    the difference is nothing, even now Raman & Prasad are brooding in this article they dont sound positive.

  • Vidyendaran on December 30, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    I think the difference is a guy like sehwag at the top who can make any bowler want to bowl to the sightscreen instead and the inside man - gary kirsten, who has kind of taught the youngsters in the team self belief and discipline to their skills.

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    Yeah. the difference is inthe attitude of the fast bowling unit, they now a days can easily get 20 wickets outside the sub continent!

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:40 GMT

    Mr. Raman - stop making excuses, why cant u admit that you guys were not good back then...

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    i FEEL THAT NO BATSMAN IN THIS WORLD IS CAPABLE OF PLAYING ON A FAST BOUNCY AND SEAMING TRACK. PITCHES ARE PREPARED BASED ON THE OPPOSITION STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. IF INDIA ALSO HAD A BOWLER OF THE CLASS OF DALE STYN NO COUNTRY WILL PREPARE TRACKS LIKE DURBAN/CENTURION OR PERTH KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT THEY WILL GET BACK IN THE SAME COIN. IN SUCH A SCENARIO AS INDIAN BATSMEN HAVE ALWAYS PLAYED ON SUCH HOSTILE CONDITIONS ABROAD, I AM SURE THEY WILL DO MUCH BETTER THAN THE HOSTS.

  • Alexk400 on December 30, 2010, 10:37 GMT

    Reason india won because of sehwag fast 30 runs putting SA back. if sehwag out for 0 , India will be playing defense and got out immediately like in centurion first innings when sehwag got out very early. People do not know the even mere 20s and 30s of sehwag in fast track changes complexion of the game very big way.

    Also indian bowling was TOOTHLESS in centurion , and with Zaheer khan they looked like they got their mojo back. Spring in their step and they feel they can get wicket by keeping tight.

    Also smith talked too early. I think smith could have had india 2-0 down...he talked little early about how bad indian bowlers are.

  • chnind on December 30, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    The significant difference in batting approach was not mentioned. Indians hooked or uppercut the short balls for runs as we can't survive without playing those shots particularly there.

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    The attitude and approaching of Indian pace bowlers to the opponent batsmen are totally changed, we never see before any Indian bowlers talking to the opponent batsmen for provocation like Sreenath or Prasad, as an Indian we always proud and happy with our bowlers not to do these unwanted things. But, after Sreesanth's arrival to the Indian team, everything changed, now I realize the words exchanging with the batsmen are how important to provocation and helping to take wickets. I always hated the great Mr. Glenn McGrath just because of his lips always moving against our batsmen when he bowls. But still I believe, Glenn, is the best fast bowler I saw in my life. So our bowlers should continue this attitude and rapprochements.

    Thank you,

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    More than technology, its the attitude of the team, which has brought about this difference. Its a paradigm shift from being Defensive to being Aggressive. Its a paradigm shift from 'saving the match' to 'winning the match'. Its a paradigm shift from 'playing the game' to 'enjoying the game'.

  • muski on December 30, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    With no offence to Raman, the problem India faced in the past was of batsmen who used to score triple centuries in domestic cricket but fared poorly when given a chance in the International scene. It is only with the emergence of the Dravid's and Gangulys and Laxmans in the mid Nineties that we learnt to adapt to different batting conditions.Right now India solely misses a tear away fast bowler who could make a vast difference in test matches abroad. The BCCI should nuture a talent who must be assured the top bracket money for the lower work load which he would take-his role should be to only play in test abroad.No ODI's and T20's for that guy. If we can get such a guy in the next one or two years, the number one ranking is there to stay with us for at least couple of years.

  • Kumar_cricket on December 30, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Credit should go to our former captain Sourav Ganguly . He changed face of Indian Cricket . The time he took the captaincy was the turning point . He found Viru , Yuvi , Zaheer ,Dhoni ..... Easily he is the Best Indian Captain.

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    I feel that no batsman in this world is capable of playing well on a fast, bouncy and seaming track. Pitches are prepared based on opposition strength. If India had equally fast and furious bowlers like Dale Styn No country in this world will prepare tracks like what we saw in Centurion or Durban as the home team will get back in the same coin. In that scenario India will do better as we have always faced up to hostile bowing on such tracks out side India

  • on December 30, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    those we did not had Sehwag and Laxman.We always now now a days for granted that Veeru will give us blazing start(dont underestimate Veeru's 25- 30 odd runs in last test coz those runs came at blistering rate and denied SA initial pressure buildup and hence denied them initial wicket). Laxman also, we know that he will stood up. Those days and even today, very sad to say, but its true....We can't be sure that Sachin will save us.do we????

  • Zawya on December 30, 2010, 10:00 GMT

    Yes Indians have learnt from their past mistakes and have learnt the techniques to bat & bowl on fast pitches. Earlier we had a few medium pacers like Kapil Dev and Srinath, but we have plenty of medum pacers. Indian team management must pay attention to new comers and grroom fast bowlers who can exceed 140mph.

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    Congrats "Team Blue".. now mission Capetown :) All the best.

  • memoriesofthepast on December 30, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    1996 Indian team had Sachin and Dravid who are also playing in this 2010 tour. 1996 Durban test had ended in 3 days. 2010 Durban test ended in 3.5 days with no team able to reach 250 in the four innings. This test was also affected by rain and bad light stopping play before 90 overs are bowled per day. Durban should be kept reserved for a new 3 to 3.5 day test instead of 5 day tests. What purpose is served by keeping tests on venues like Durban where the match does not even last for 4 full days-90x4=360 overs or where 18 wickets fall per day?

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    Prasad was taking wickets!!!!??? are we serious with that comment from Prasad

  • karthikfromchennai on December 30, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    Zaheer and co exposed the weakness of South african batsmen against fast bowling

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    As a Pakistani growing up watching cricket in the 90's I can see one major difference between the current Indian team and the past Indian teams : AGGRESSION .With aggression comes KILLER INSTINCT. And that very mindset makes a world of difference.

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    Those days are not too far...forget about sachin,dravid and lax going.....i wonder whats gonna happen once zaheer retires..i dont think ipl has enough in it to produce test characters...but as present they deserve to be num 1.....good luck india.

  • baskar_guha on December 30, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Compare the coach and captain then with the coach and captain now. The big difference is a positive mental approach. The results are there to see.

  • raogp2003 on December 30, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    The consistent show of the Indian team over the last two years including the win at Durban is case for the cricket administrators to think about our pitches. It is not that they are the worst ones because pitches that offer turn and bounce are as good a challenge for batsmen's technique,skill and temparement as the the ones with pace,bounce and lateral movement.Our administrators now can certainly prepare pitches with more pace, carry and movement for domestic matches because such wickets will not only make the domestic matches more competitive and interesting, they will also take the standard of our players to the next level. It has taken us a long time to transform from poor travellers to a team that is capable of fighting back. A highly competitive domestic system where matches played on sporting pitches will quickly transform our "team that fights back" to a team "That is hard to beat".

  • shri619 on December 30, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    for those guy's who says you need 145-150km speed to take wicket's zak has prove them wrong as i priviously said you need bit of a swing and good control over the ball. you can take wicket's at 130-140 speed. zaheer now become master in swining the ball he can swing in both ways........! so zak's bunny smith keep your mouth close don't say something about ind and play good cricket.

  • DINESHCC on December 30, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Only one difference from 1996 to 2010. In 1996 Indian players got out on short pitch deliveries. In 2010 too Indian players got out on short pitch deliveries but the difference is their bowlers know the same technique of getting out the opposition batters on short pitch deliveries. Sreesanth's two unplayable deliveries to Smith and Kallis vouchsafe the same.

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  • DINESHCC on December 30, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Only one difference from 1996 to 2010. In 1996 Indian players got out on short pitch deliveries. In 2010 too Indian players got out on short pitch deliveries but the difference is their bowlers know the same technique of getting out the opposition batters on short pitch deliveries. Sreesanth's two unplayable deliveries to Smith and Kallis vouchsafe the same.

  • shri619 on December 30, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    for those guy's who says you need 145-150km speed to take wicket's zak has prove them wrong as i priviously said you need bit of a swing and good control over the ball. you can take wicket's at 130-140 speed. zaheer now become master in swining the ball he can swing in both ways........! so zak's bunny smith keep your mouth close don't say something about ind and play good cricket.

  • raogp2003 on December 30, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    The consistent show of the Indian team over the last two years including the win at Durban is case for the cricket administrators to think about our pitches. It is not that they are the worst ones because pitches that offer turn and bounce are as good a challenge for batsmen's technique,skill and temparement as the the ones with pace,bounce and lateral movement.Our administrators now can certainly prepare pitches with more pace, carry and movement for domestic matches because such wickets will not only make the domestic matches more competitive and interesting, they will also take the standard of our players to the next level. It has taken us a long time to transform from poor travellers to a team that is capable of fighting back. A highly competitive domestic system where matches played on sporting pitches will quickly transform our "team that fights back" to a team "That is hard to beat".

  • baskar_guha on December 30, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Compare the coach and captain then with the coach and captain now. The big difference is a positive mental approach. The results are there to see.

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    Those days are not too far...forget about sachin,dravid and lax going.....i wonder whats gonna happen once zaheer retires..i dont think ipl has enough in it to produce test characters...but as present they deserve to be num 1.....good luck india.

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    As a Pakistani growing up watching cricket in the 90's I can see one major difference between the current Indian team and the past Indian teams : AGGRESSION .With aggression comes KILLER INSTINCT. And that very mindset makes a world of difference.

  • karthikfromchennai on December 30, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    Zaheer and co exposed the weakness of South african batsmen against fast bowling

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    Prasad was taking wickets!!!!??? are we serious with that comment from Prasad

  • memoriesofthepast on December 30, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    1996 Indian team had Sachin and Dravid who are also playing in this 2010 tour. 1996 Durban test had ended in 3 days. 2010 Durban test ended in 3.5 days with no team able to reach 250 in the four innings. This test was also affected by rain and bad light stopping play before 90 overs are bowled per day. Durban should be kept reserved for a new 3 to 3.5 day test instead of 5 day tests. What purpose is served by keeping tests on venues like Durban where the match does not even last for 4 full days-90x4=360 overs or where 18 wickets fall per day?

  • on December 30, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    Congrats "Team Blue".. now mission Capetown :) All the best.