The Indian Men’s Cricket Team is in the recent times seems to possess a Midas touch. It appears that everything that team under Virat’s command touches turns into gold. With the recent conclusion of One Day Internationals (ODIs) series against Australia, India has/the team has finished on the top of the Cricket Ratings in both the Test Matches as well as ODIs. The phenomenal success of the team has been attributed to many/several factors, one such being the smooth transition of the captaincy in the hands of Virat Kohli/Virat’s hands. In the test cricket, India has quite successfully clinched last eight test match series in a row. it is just one short to equal/level the record of Australia, nine consecutive victories on a roll. The formidable form of the team must be decoded in detail and also the roles of young players especially Hardik Pandya being pivotal to achieve the desired goals on a consistent basis.

Smooth Transition for ‘New Captain’

The Indian Team has in the recent years seen the transformation from a Ms Dhoni’s Captaincy to the new hands of Virat Kohli, with significant differences in then and now. The new captain took over the Test captaincy in 2014 when MS Dhoni announced his  ‘surprise’ retirement from the longest format/5-day format. The team recorded exceptional success rates under his command with an unbeaten series streak running into the third year as well. The team is also ranked as Number one in the world with a rating of 125,  cruising well ahead of South Africa which is at the second spot with a score of 110. In the past three years, India has defeated all great names, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia in the teat series. The whitewash of Sri Lanka on their home soil has been a stellar example of the victorious spirit possessed by Team India. The team has displayed the astounding courage to bounce back every time, it has also been subjected to pressure by the opponent team.

The achievement story for the team in ODIs has also been exceptional, currently being the number one side in the world. It is pertinent to mention that India needed to defeat Australia by a specific lead of 4-1 in the series to attain the top spot and gladly the team succeeded in it. The new captain has infused a renewed confidence in the team with ‘fearlessness’ being one of the main attributes. The team/the unit shows/possesses the will to emerge triumphant in all situations. The objective is to continue the unbeaten run. The younger players are provided with the leverage to express themselves on the field and the captain himself backs them with favorable field settings. The main feature of this ’New Age’ team is blending of experience and talent, with the exposure of seasoned players like MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, mentoring the new entrants becomes quite handy by guiding them.

Combination of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni/A Duelist Spirit

The fact that MS Dhoni has stepped down from the captaincy from both the test matches as well as the limited overs cricket, coupled with the reality that he still remains a pivotal part of the ODIs fixture, could have resulted in a tough situation for both for the new captain and old guard. It has been, on the contrary, been beneficial for the team, both Kohli and Dhoni have a great rapport and mutually respect each other. Many times it has been observed that Virat takes the advice of Dhoni into account before a fielding or bowling change.MS Dhoni with his vast experience is also able to guide the team in scenarios of DRS, that whether the Decision Review System (DRS) must be taken or not. He is very useful in setting the field as well particularly in the last/death overs when Virat himself is in the outfield. Dhoni has also transformed his batting style nowadays, playing with greater responsibility and taking game until the end with the lower order. He has also guided players like Hardik Pandya and Bhuwaneshwar Kumar while scripting partnerships to save the team. The unparalleled combination of Virat’s aggression and Dhoni’s experience makes for a duelist spirit/ one of the most deadly leadership skills which is non-existent in any other team in the world.

Rise of ‘Spin Powerhouse’

Indian has always been known to be one of the best spin bowling team in the world/India has been known for its Knack of producing some great spin bowlers in world cricket. We have produced world class spinners like Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Bishen Singh Bedi, etc. The thing about the contemporary spinners like R Ashwin, Ravinder Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzevendera Chahal which brings them into perspective is that they lead the bowling attack from the front. The youngsters like Chahal, Yadav and Axar Patel don’t get rattled by the onslaught, but rather backs themselves to take wickets, thanks to the belief . The team management has also supported the bowlers very well, every player given ample opportunities to prove his mettle. The superb success rates in the test matches is largely the result of great bowling skills portrayed by Ravinder Jadeja and R Ashwin, who have outfoxed nearly every opponent side with spin. The fact that both of them are ranked second and third respectively, in the world in both bowling and all-rounders shows/depicts their excellent form as well as record. They have contributed both with the bowl and bat to give their team the killer edge. The comprehensiveness of India’s recent victory over Australia could be gauged from the fact that both Ashwin and Jadeja didn’t play a single game, yet the home side routed the Australians 4-1. The ‘problem of plenty’ in the spin department is the best headache that a team management is faced with in the given period.

‘Opening Combination’ kicks in

The importance of the opening batsmen in any format of the game is immense as they set the stage for the coming players to build up the innings. They are also entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with the ‘New Ball’ and see through the initial pace attack. India, in the recent past, has been extremely lucky to get hold of a settled combination consisting of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan for the ODIs. They on several occasions have contributed with sometimes a fifty runs and other times a hundred run stands to bolster the team’s chances.  One of the interesting facts being that the bench strength of the current is so high that after Shikhar Dhawan who scored the highest runs for the team against Sri Lanka in the ODIs had to opt out of the Australian series due to personal reasons, Ajinkiya Rahane chipped in with quite an ease for the opener’s role. In the test matches, the role has been played by KL Rahul along with Shikhar Dhawan with great success, even on foreign soils.

The real backbone of the team’s batting has been the skipper himself, Virat Kohli being the chase specialist in the ODIs, has more than 28 centuries under his belt. It is a world record and he has beaten legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, etc. in this aspect. The contribution of Cheteswar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkiya Rahane and KL Rahul who all feature in the Top 10 of the Batsmen rankings have helped the team win over other sides.

The ‘Pace Powerhouse’ emerges

The great victories of the team in both the ODIs and Test matches have been the result of outstanding contribution by the pace bowlers. e Mohd. Shami, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav have been able to swing the bowl with great discipline. The duo of Bhuwaneshwar Kumar and Kasprit Bumrah has emerged as the best death overs combination for the ODIs and has been able to stem the flow of runs on numerous occasions. The test cricket has also observed the pacers utilizing the seam conditions with panache and providing early breakthroughs to the team. The bowling coach Bharat Arun has also been quite pivotal in the success of the fast as well as medium fast bowlers and has polished their skills to great effect.

Rise of Hardik Pandya

The newest/Brand new superstar in the Indian Team is being marked as the ‘Ace in the Pack’ for the team. He has been in carrying into a marauding form in both test matches and ODIs. He has established himself as an upper order batsman with an exhibition of a remarkable composure in some recent innings. He has also added to the bowling prowess, executing the role of the fifth bowler. He has given the team an extra edge with an attribute of acting as a pace all-rounder in place of the traditional part-time spinners. He has worked very hard on his bowling and has improved his lengths and consistency. The uprising has been in his battling with the team management and hooking off to number 4 slot to extend the batting line up. His brutal attacks against the spinners are one of the most joyful sights for any Indian cricket fan. He has also matured as a player and has performed immaculately in test matches as well. His fitness levels and aggressive demeanor adds to the entire aura which make him an unassailable player of cricket.

New Coach and focus on Fitness

The arrival of Ravi Shastri first as a manager and then as the coach of the team has been quite beneficial for the team. He shares a great rapport with the captain Virat Kohli and the results under his coachmanship infer the same. He has given the required/right amount of leverage to the captain, so as to share the team and has also lent outside support in the times of exigencies. The added emphasis on the fitness of the players has also helped the players in refining their fielding skills. It has lifted the morale of the team with every/each player being involved in a healthy competition with his teammates to prove his potential. Virat Kohli who himself is extremely fit leads the team from the front in this department and is one of the best-known fielders in the world. Even in the test matches, the level of fielding is very high and it certainly puts the opposition under tremendous pressure, as the fielders are not ready to concede even an inch in the field.

The Road to Glory…..

The Indian team is currently the top-ranked side both in test matches as well as ODIs, but there are still some greater goals that the team must achieve to emerge ‘Invictus’/undefeatable. The disappointing loss against Pakistan in the finals of the Champions Trophy, England still ekes/pinches in the heart of every Indian fan. The emphasis on playing in the English conditions is even greater nowadays because the venue for 2019 World Cup is England and Wales. The whole nation would be hoping that India becomes the world champions once again and reclaims the coveted trophy from the reigning champions, Australia. Another area in which the current team has still not been tested is the foreign test series, particularly in  Australia and England. It is pertinent to mention that even in 2011 when the team appeared unassailable in the world, had to face humiliating defeats in several test matches in England. But Virat Kohli’s team surely appears more formidable than ever. Perhaps it is the time that the team achieves success in the toughest seam conditions and rests the debate/case forever. It is hoped that the Indian Team would continue its scintillating form under the aggressive captain and would achieve feats which would be repeated as folklores for times immemorial/to come.

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