Indian team celebrating with the Champions Trophy. (Getty Images)
When MS Dhoni and his boys - clad in white ICC jackets - held the Champions Trophy aloft, a certain five men did their own set of high-fives for taking decisions in the best interest of Indian cricket. The Indian selectors deserve a fair share of the applause Team India is receiving, for it were they who saw the team that could bring the Cup home. Well done Sandeep Patil & Co!
The no-nonsense attitude of the Patil-led BCCI Selection Committee has come to the fore and now yielding results - something that looked hard to scrape from the hollow created by the fiasco in England and Australia. But Patil had no nervous pout under his nose. The plan, which is now apparent, was clear in his mind. 'Names don't matter, performance does.'
Patil's success in selecting a champion team has its roots in working with the Kenyan national side during the 2003 World Cup, where he got the best out of players who were unknown commodity but had the skills to deliver at the highest level. Putting faith in the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar reminisces that.
Not long ago Patil was criticised for picking Dhawan over the experienced Wasim Jaffer for the Mohali Test against Australia. But his farsighted approach had spotted a youngster who now is among the nucleus for India's World Cup defence in 2015.
The chief Indian selector has never held himself back from talking to non-performing seniors, telling them that they can't play on reputation or take their place for granted. None could envisage India playing a Test series against Australia and then the Champions Trophy without the experience of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. Luckily for Indian cricket, which was fighting as much off the field as on it, it had a selection panel that was on the same wavelength when it came to taking corrective measures.
It was an approach in complete contrast with the previous selection panel led by Kris Srikkanth, which chose to give the excuse of 'seniority' and 'experience' whenever it came to dropping big names.
The selectors must also have found the courage to throw young domestic performers in the line of fire from the way skipper Dhoni channels young blood. The fearless attitude he injects into his players gives selectors the confidence to pick raw talent, for they know that it will be led in the best way possible.
But for that to happen, the selectors are the first who have to take the bold decisions, which is what they did to get Team India back in the pink.