New Delhi, Jan 04: Move over hockey, it is time to make cricket India's national game given the national team's performance, former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi has suggested.
"It's time that we make it (cricket) our national game and take that away from hockey," Pataudi said.
Pataudi said the current team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the best that the country has produced in a long time with all the players in peak form.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this is probably the best team India has produced in a long time especially in home conditions," Pataudi said.
"We never had two opening batsmen. The middle-order is clicking. Zaheer (Khan) is back in form, Harbhajan (Singh) is disciplined, Yuvraj (Singh) is focussed and Ishant (Sharma) is a good bowler," he added.
Dhoni's men -- along with South Africa -- are in the reckoning to replace a struggling Australia as the top Test side and Pataudi said the numero uno spot can be India's if it plays intense and consistent cricket.
"I was a bit disappointed with how India played in Mohali (during the Test series against England). If you have to be world champions, you have to play like world champions. Of course you can say it was a four-day match but Test matches have been won in four days. I think we let the Britishers off at Mohali."
"I think we should have put more pressure on them. Because if you want to be a world champion side, you have to keep putting pressure on the rival teams," Pataudi said.
Pataudi lauded the BCCI for taking the game to the grassroots level.
"I think the system has improved. Obviously it is not as we want it to be but the board (BCCI) is making a conscious effort to provide facilities. We are finding players from Ranchi and from Najafgarh. We have only one batsman from Mumbai and that is Sachin Tendulkar," he pointed out.