New Delhi: The 4-0 clean sweep against Australia in the just-concluded Test series has justified the BCCI`s faith in the team and its leader Mahendra Singh Dhoni, according to Board President N Srinivasan who said a "stern" test awaits the team when they tour South Africa.
Lauding India for its historic series victory over the Australians, Srinivasan said the Board "always had confidence in the team" despite its below-par performances in recent times.
"It is very nice to see India winning. We always had the confidence in the team. We understood that the team was going through a period of transition after some great stalwarts of Indian cricket chose to retire. But I think our faith in the team, the captain and the players have been justified," he told a leading English Channel.
"Cricket is a sport. In sport you cannot be winning all the time. I don`t think that the Indian players want to lose. They also want to win, they fought hard. Sometimes they had bad luck, circumstances were against them. But overall, we should be proud of our cricketers," he said.
Srinivasan was particularly happy with the way India bounced back after the 1-2 defeat at the hands of England at home in the previous series, but said stern tests awaits Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men when they tour South Africa later this year.
"Against England I thought may be were little bit unlucky at times, but the team regrouped and performed extremely well against Australia. But we will have tests in South Africa and New Zealand towards the end of this year and early part of next year.
"But all of that is part of building of a team and the character of the players will also come out," he said.
The BCCI chief, however, refused to comment on the selectors decision to drop the frontline opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir for under-performance during the series against Australia.
"I don't comment on selection matters. But I think overall the selectors have been very sincere and have been trying their best looking at the present and future of Indian cricket," Srinivasan said.
Without directly stating that Sehwag and Gambhir's exclusion was the correct decision, Srinivasan praised the performances of of Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan.
"I don't have to say that," was his immediate reaction when asked whether the changes made in the team have borne out results or not.
"What we should be happy about is the performances of Shikhar Dhawan, Pujara and Vijay. The team is looking different, looking confident. The bowlers also have performed well," he said.
Asked whether it would be difficult for the likes of Sehwag and Gambhir to make a comeback in the team, Srinivasan said, "It is for the selectors to answer. All I can say is that the team looks good."
Srinivasan spoke highly of Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the skipper of his IPL team Chennai Super Kings.
"He (Dhoni) has always been playing a good role. He has always been an outstanding player. We can't forget that he has captained India to two World Cup wins. He is an experienced captain. I think he has sailed well through all ups and downs," the BCCI president said.
Srinivisan also refused to give a direct answer when asked whether he backed Dhoni when the selectors at one point of time thought of replacing the wicketkeeper-batsman as skipper after the disastrous tour of England and Australia.
"It is not proper to discuss what happens in a selection meeting. But the constitution of the BCCI does say that the president has to approve the national team," Srinivasan said.
"I definitely believed that the team should be backed," he said.
Talking about the fate of Sri Lankan players, who are uncertain to play in Chennai in the upcoming IPL in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in Tamil Nadu, Srinivasan hoped that the matter will be sorted out before the commencement of the Twenty20 league on April 3.
"These are operational matters, we have got an event management company in IMG to deal with," he said.
"I believe the government of Tamil Nadu is extremely capable of handling any situation. There is absolutely no problem of law and order here. IPL is some time away and these are issues I think will get sorted out.
"India is a safe place. Every state in India is safe to play cricket," Srinivasan said.
Asked about the recent CBI raids at his residence regarding the non-payment of custom duties of 11 imported cars, Srinivasan said, "No car was taken away and its not 11 cars as stated. I was not even in India.
"I believe there was a visit, some checking took place because the CBI was possibly looking at some offender not directly related to us. They just wanted to verify some facts which they did," he said.
"India Cements has paid all duties on everything which are applicable. We never defaulted on anything," he added.