The remaining teams are West Indies and Pakistan who are at best just a rung above Bangladesh (at the moment), England (whom India beat both Home and Away), New Zealand (beat them as well). A team can only beat the opponent that turns up and India have done that in the last 2 years.Yes, that is while facing an Australian team struggling to re define its identity post the warne, mgrath era. Also facing a srilankan team with a struggling murali and mendis. A South African squad which has been incredibly inconsistent. Bangladesh hardly counts.
You are spot on there mate. Nobody except the most hardcore blind Indian fan thinks this is a world beating side like Australia of the early 00s or West Indies of the 80s. That is just being delusional. This side however, is the better among the best today, again, not by a great margin, but by a definite margin nevertheless.Indian bowling some serious flaws, apart from Zaheer Khan, India do not have another class bowler, Harbajhan is a good bowler and I quite like him but I wouldnt put him up there with Kumble. They need to address this bowling problem and somehow find a couple of more strike pace or spinning options.
I cannot recall a phase where one test side was the no 1 team in the world for an extended period of time that didnt have menacing intimidating strike bowlers.
It is quite sad actually because their batting line up seems very balanced and one which can adapt and perform in all conditions.
I think at the end of the day, you have to consider the fact that Australia and South Africa over the past 2 years have been trying to find their feet while India has consistently building up this squad for the past 5 years or more and have been playing upto their potential.
I hope Sreesanth really takes up the mantle from Zaheer in the next two years because he looks the one most close to World Class among the new crop and certainly is a better bet than Ishant, who is sometimes unfairly criticised. He is all of 20 ffs.
Mathematical models are not 100% flawless but once formulated they are objective and based on hard numbers. Human initiative as you intended (or that I think you intended) involve a lot of subjectivity and hence consensus is not possible.Yes, but human initiative involves more than just mathematical models.
Those are all excellent points. However I slightly disagreeThere's a lot of problems with that approach. For example, the team that Australia lost to in England was significantly better than the team South Africa beat the summer before, and that team was in turn better than the team that lost to India in 2007. On the other hand, the Australian side that beat India at home was much better than that which lost to South Africa the year after. How are you going to decipher all of that?
On top of that, the approach neglects two key factors. Firstly, fitness. Players that can play every game are better than players who get injured a lot. There's no two ways about it. Secondly, DEPTHHH. Australia can bring in Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger when Stuart Clark and Brett Lee break down. When Zaheer breaks down India have to spin the wheel of mediocrity (copyright SS) to find a replacement. That's something Australia have over India, and by factoring in notable absences, you're unfairly discounting it.
1. Fitness - I agree that no matter what the talent is, if a player constantly gets injured then he is more of a liability than an asset to the team. However in this case, Zaheer was injured "during" the test match, and replacement was impossible under the laws. We have all seen much better teams getting jolted by such "sudden" injuries, perhaps the best being McGrath getting injured ahead of Edgbastion 2005 and Australia going on to lose the test match (eventually the series as well!). No matter how great the team is, it is impossible to find adequate replacements for a pivotal resource unless there is a minimum time period available to do so.
2. Depth - Carrying on from the point above, Dravid's injury is a classic case in this. Apparently the "successor", Vijay, clearly failed to step into his shoes and that indeed exposed a problem in that particular succession plan. However, the example that you mentioned, is again not appropriate because of the same reasons I mentioned above. No matter how 'strong' the bench strength is, great players are not immediately substitutable, as Ashes 2005 demonstrated clearly, and Australia since 2007 too. You mentioned Dougie Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus, but I don't think they are tested enough to say they are worthy replacements for Brett Lee and Clark. Beating substandard batting lineups at home is easier but the real challenge is when it involves unfavorable conditions/strong opponents.
Agree wholeheartedly with this.To be fair, until India's bowling costs it a series, criticisms of their attack are on paper only.
Most definitely Australia and SA in general have better attacks (SA not by as much as people make out though). But India win with what they've got. That's a good thing.