Is India the Superpower of Cricket?
Indian cricket, hasn’t this term gained on its meaning in the past quarter of the century? It has.. From a sport which people loved to watch and play, it has gone on to become a profession for the fans to watch every single match of their beloved team. It might sound funny but yes that is the reality. From the times of Sachins, Dravids, Ganguly and Sehwags to the current crop of Kohlis, Rohits, Jadejas, we have came an entire circle of the evolution of Indian cricket. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s discuss about the past decade of the Indian decade, the lost and founds of the decade and the discoveries that had us astounded. India has evolved in cricket over the years.
The World Champions Once Again
After excruciating wait of 28 years, finally team India has lifted the world cup trophy. And, became the first team to do so on their home soil. It was fittingly a tribute to the legend who bore the weight of entire nation on his own shoulders, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. It was arguably the best Indian team to play in this era. From destructive opening partnership of Sachin-Sehwag to the young blood in form of Gambhir and Kohli to the brilliance of a certain Mr. ICC Yuvraj Singh. To the calm and calculative captaincy of MSD to a bowling line up that can tear any batting side apart on any given day, spearheaded by Zaheer Khan. You put this combination anywhere, anyday you are going to get a win as a result. The hopes that flickered in the final of 2003 world cup were fulfilled in this edition. Indian cricket reached the pinnacle of success, much credit goes to the coach Gary Kirsten as well.
Phase of Consolidation
The first thing that comes to mind after you are crowned World champions is the dominant run that follows. India too had big tours of England and Australia lined up after the world cup and conquering that front would have meant an overly world domination. But this is where we realized that winning the cup was not the pinnacle. Rather it was just the start that we needed to bolster the attack and mentality that had depended on a certain Sachin and Dravid for almost 15 years. We needed new heroes, we needed new pillars. This is when the youth in the form Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma raised their hands. And under the able guidance of MSD began the search for future superstars of Indian team.
Fitness became a norm in the dressing room. Soon we had Virat Kohli taking the load off the shoulders of Sachin Tendulkar. Who after giving 24 invaluable years to the Indian cricket bid an emotional farewell in front of his home crowd at Wankhede in 2013.
Soon after Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh followed the suit and the golden generation was gone. But not before getting able recruits in form of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and many others. Gautam Gambhir was one name that came and went without getting much recognition which he thoroughly deserved for being the cornerstone of transition phase in the Indian cricket.
The New Superpower
After the departure of these legends of game, came a time where the players were more professional and the team india was much more than just a team. It became an institution of domination at home and outside home as well with an exception to England. They started pummelling every opposition at home and giving a tough fight away as well.
Virat Kohli was the new go to man for team India. He started capturing every record in batting that the game has to offer. Rohit Sharma was another batsman who attained legendary status in such a short while. Such was or I should say such is the pair’s domination that a certain Dhawan who scored at a decent average of 40+ seemed mediocre to us. We found pace battery in Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jaspreet Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
Hardik Pandya needs a special mention here as after years of waiting for an all-rounder who can actually turn the game by both bat and ball, we finally found one. While others kept on coming into the team. This team began to be reckoned as a dominant force in the bowling department as well. We became one of the best bowling teams if not the best. Fitness was another factor that was now being considered as a priority for selection. Which resulted in better fielding standards of the team.
Passing on the batton
Like many other changes, another change came into the Indian team and that is the change in captaincy. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, after winning everything that the world had to offer, passed on the captaincy to Virat Kohli. And we began to see the aggression which we had never witnessed earlier. But was the transition easy? A debatable topic it is. No doubt we won more matches, captured more series but this aggression had its negatives as well. At times we became overaggressive and lost from a position we shouldn’t have. We didn’t win a single ICC tournament since then. India is the new power house of cricket.
To conclude I would say India became a superpower in this decade, it is just about getting used to it now. We have the firepower, we just have to learn as on how to use it..