India-Australia rivalry gets an all new face-lift

Updated: 19 December 2011 14:49 IST

With the India-Australia encounter on the cards and with some calling it the 'Aagnipath' series, sports analysts worldwide are going gaga about the possible outcome. Promos of Sourav Ganguly and Steve Waugh talking about the intensity of the always-hard-fought contest between the two teams have begun. I, however, have this numbness considering the two main protagonists of this clash - Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds - will be missed badly.

With the India-Australia encounter on the cards and with some calling it the 'Aagnipath' series, sports analysts worldwide are going gaga about the possible outcome. Promos of Sourav Ganguly and Steve Waugh talking about the intensity of the always-hard-fought contest between the two teams have begun. I, however, have this numbness considering the two main protagonists of this clash - Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds - will be missed badly.

Experts all over are of the opinion that this India-Australia series won't pull the same magic that we have enjoyed in the past. Obviously as the celebrated foes are no more present! But, it also brings the question to the fore - whether the new generation of Indian players in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav can re-ignite the rivalry with an almost equally new breed of Australian young-guns - James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and David Warner.

The players from both the sides have backed the cricketing rivalry between the two nations with pure performance. Though we see volley of abuses, on-field skirmishes, an eye-for-an-eye attitude between batsmen and bowlers - the most important aspect though continues to be the ability of players on both the sides to come out of their skins to perform notches above the cricketing strata to which they belong. The teams rise up as natural consequents and this becomes the crux of an India-Australia contest.

When we look back, we observe that every on-field argument or controversial decision has taken a dangerous overturn, be it the 'Monkeygate' scandal, the Slater-Dravid spat or the dubious umpiring during the 2007-08 Bordar-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. These incidents had rocked the cricket world. What bat and ball can't produce, words surely do when it comes to a riveting contest between these two sides.

On the other hand, we have some super human performances that have taken the breath away from fans. And to cite a few - the nerve-wracking Chennai tied Test match, the Warne-Sachin clash in 1998 and Steve Waugh's gritty innings of 80 in his final Test in 2003 to deny India a win on the last day. Then there was V.V.S Laxman's memorable knock at Kolkata and his record partnership of 376 runs with Rahul Dravid to turn the Test match by its head to give India an unexpected win.

And then who can forget the lethal bowling of Glenn Mcgrath, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasparovich and Brett Lee with the brilliance of the willow from Laxman, Sachin, Dravid and Ponting? Add to the mix the breathtaking spells from Kumble and Harbhajan to the power-packed batting by Symonds and Matthew Hayden and the history of this rivalry becomes a never ending ode to sporting excellence.

It is also true that an India-Australia match deconstructs the myth of cricket being a gentleman's game, as a contest between these two competitive nations will tell you that the game has long ceased to be a sport of such high ideals.

So while these two cricketing power houses prepare for the high voltage matches, let's flex our muscles to wake up to the series that's going to sow the seeds of a new rivalry, of a new batch of foes. This is a story that is going to be more passionate than the sport itself is, a sheer demonstration of talent and ferocity.

Topics : Cricket Andrew Symonds Virat Kohli Australia India Harbhajan Singh India in Australia, 2011-12
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