Just let us go somewhere 10 years down the lane where India was found to struggle against each and every team in the world.The most annoying of those were the defeats at the hands of arch rivals Pakistan(in the Pepsi Cup 1999 & Coca Cola Sharjah Cup 1999),against whom team India were all but lost.The match used to be declared by the fans over there even before the match begun.The only match winners being Sachin Tendulkar,Mohd Azharuddin,Ajay Jadeja,Robin Singh,Anil kumble,Sourav Ganguly,Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath.With these failing to contribute in their respective areas,India was not only bound to lose,but also fail to give in a good fight against a decent opposition.
Any injuries to one or a couple of players,and India could never find any replacement for those.Some names that could come to my mind as replacements for these people were-Nilesh kulkarni,Nikhil Chopra,Harvinder Singh,Sadagoppan Ramesh,
Debashish Mohanty so on and so forth...none of the names known to today's cricket fans.These people were hardly working,and were the last choices by the selectors. But,nothing else could be done.Believe it or not:Even the Mr Dependable Rahul Dravid was not at his batting best.A keeper in Nayan Mongia was at the cost of a batsman,wherein now India can boast of having a wicketkeeper batsman in M.S.Dhoni.
Any match that India won during those days,would be solely due to the contribution by fellow players as mentioned above.
For example,take the world cup 1999 where India couldn't even win against Zimbabwe due to the absense of Sachin Tendulkar-who had to get back to Mumbai owing to his father's death.It was this loss that put an end to India's hopes of making a run in that World Cup-coz India was forced to win all three matches in the super sixes to book a berth in the semis.A loss against Australia ended the hopes of India's future in that World cup.
But,after Sourav Ganguly was made the skipper,Indian cricket team was all but in a new phase one can say.Some players of the caliber of Yuvraj Singh,Mohd kaif,Zaheer khan,Virender Sehwag....who found some decent success as that of making into the finals of the World Cup in 2003-with only Australia to have beaten them,The Natwest Trophy finals 2002-which India won beating England by chasing a world record score of 325,making into the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2002 which was forced to be shared with Sri Lanka.
And today,the same Indian team is looking to make history wherever they go.With some match winning players in MS Dhoni,Robin Uttappa,Rohith Sharma,Isanth Sharma,Sreesanth,R P Singh and much more.If not for the disappointing world cup at the caribean,the year was not a bad one for India.India was found winning a test series against England in England(after a span of 20 yrs),against Pakistan -that too after 20+ yrs,the Adelaide test win,Perth test win against Australia....and much more...
And the latest being the T20 championship and the Commonwealth bank series against Australia.And whats more exciting is that team India is finding replacements for these players in case of injuries to one or two of them.This is what is called as a balanced team with absolutely nothing to complain.
"GREAT GOING TEAM INDIA...KEEP IT UP"