Delhi, India: The last few days have seen two tests of four strong teams. India, the ICC Test Champions played their 1st test of the away 3-test match series against Sri Lanka at Galle. Pakistan, a team in turmoil yet strong, faced Australia at neutral venue of England in the 2nd test of their 2-test series. Ironically, in both the tests winnign team got a small target to chase. While India gave up without fight, Australia almost won it.
Last year when India topped the ICC Test ranking, many started claiming that India is better than Australia and it deserved it. Nobody has doubt about India deserving the top ranking, but some people opposed the statement asserting India was better than Australia, the team leading ICC rankings earlier in almost all format.
Is India Really Better than Australia!!
Supporters of both statements can favor their views with various examples and current scenario. Both can not be termed as wrong too. To become the best team of the world, one must be not winning all their matches. Even champions lose. Federer, Tiger Woods or Usain Bolt – none wins all their matches. What matters is the attitude and grit they show even when a real champion is defeated.
India could not defend 95 runs target against Sri Lanka in the last session of the day. Nobody expected them to do so. Australia could not defend their target of 180 runs on the 4th day of the test. Many expected them to do so. Why?
Not Defeat, but Attitude is the Main Criteria!!
Both failed is a different matter. The main concern is the way both played to defend their small target. India appeared to be playing because ICC rules do not allow a team to accept defeat without playing. The way they let Sri Lankan openers practice a 20-20 match in their chase of 95 runs, made everyone believe that India did not enter the field to defend. But they just wanted the match to finish. They did not mind another defeat. After all it was just another defeat for them, that too in the first test of a series.
Australia somehow managed to get a lead of less than 200 runs. They knew their team was full of young bowlers, barring Johnson. They knew they have a gritty Pakistani side against them under a new captain and they can be dangerous the way they have played the first few days of the 2nd test. Still they wanted to give their best before being defeated. Pakistan somehow just managed to stumble past the target. They won the test and equalled the series, but could not defeat the Australian attitude of never saying die, never accepting defeat unless it has really happened.
Can The Best Accept easy defeats!!
Australia, the real champion, does not help the opposition in getting easy victories. It forces the opposition to fight for the win. Even with youngsters they can fight the best teams of the world. Ponting’s new generation team has shown that over the past 2 years. What has India, the leaders, shown? Let the opposition win because 95 is a very small target, forgetting that just a day before Pakistan’s attack has bowled out mighty Australian batting line up for just 88 runs. So, this was possible. At least a fight or an act to show the people that they are fighting!!
Unfortunately nothing of that sort happened. And historians will tell that this is not the first instance. So, followers of cricket who claim that India is the best team in the Cricket World, must rethink over their claim. Agreed that ICC test ranking proves India is number one team in the world. But, to be the best team India still has a lot to learn. The best never succumb, they even lose with honor.