Teenage phenomenon Ishant Sharma's magical 4-wicket spell yesterday in the team's first MCG win in 22 years has left cricket experts spellbound, Indians all over the world excited and the Aussies rattled off their throne. As is the routine in sport, comparisons with yesteryear stars will now begin to encircle the young prodigy from Delhi and we hope and pray they dont affect him. The lanky young man looks more like a I-couldnt-care-less college stud, reminding you of Zayed Khan's Main Hoon Na look. But the difference between talent and trash is all too evident.
Eventually India won well, but not without the customary if-one-wicket-falls-many-follow jitters. At 102/5, you would have been forgiven if your thoughts strayed onto the likeliness of a defeat. But a very mature innings from Rohit Sharma, who would do well to stake a claim to fame in the post-Dravid Ganguly era, supported ably by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni saved India from a defeat which would have undone the hardwork of the seamers.
The bottomline is that the youth brigade has arrived. You dont "crush" Australia everyday, do you? The batting needs to be pepped up of course, as so far it falls way too short of the standards set by the galactic Super Six in the early years of this century. But it is a positive, encouraging start. The two Sharmas, in particular, are young, positive, bundling with alacrity and energy and looking to establish themselves in the national team. One of them is a North Indian. But I doubt whether they are out there attempting to salvage some regional pride.
One last note : Hats off to Stuart Clark for upholding the Aussie tradition of not accepting a cricket defeat. Mr. Clark, that rarity from the past is fast turning into the ubiquity of the present...