Why the Indian Cricket Team is the New Australia
Virat Kohli’s young and aggressive Indian team are the new giants of World cricket.
The term ‘invincible’ is quite a heavy tag to carry. It is as easy to lose as hard it is to earn. In reality, no one and nothing is really considered to be invincible. However, the Australian Cricket team of the period 1999-2007 made most of us realise what invincible actually means. Three back-to-back world cup titles, dominating opposition in both home and away conditions, and winning matches out of nowhere with a never-say-die spirit, are the qualities that turned them into world beaters.
It was always a joy to watch players like Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden bat with such confidence and aggression. You could actually see no fear in their eyes. And whenever bowlers like Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath would bowl, shivers would always run down the spine of the batsmen. Moreover, there was a magician like Shane Warne as well who had the ability to bamboozle even the best batsmen in the world with his leg-breaks and googlies.
However, Australia was not all about just these players. Australia was about the indomitable and channelled aggression towards the right direction. Australia was about maintaining their composure in the most adverse situations. Australia was about not leaving even an inch for a mistake. More importantly, Australia was about the supreme strength they had waiting on the fringes.
The Mighty Have Fallen and Powers Have Shifted
A decade down the line, the world of cricket has undergone a huge transformation. Power has shifted to others. Minnows are slowly turning into giants while some of the mavericks have been continuously descending down from the legacy they had created. Australia, however, still continues to be one of the top teams at present. But they have lost that old charm and aura somewhere. The current crop of players doesn’t seem to be anywhere near to matching the levels of the players from Australia’s golden period.
There is a New Australia
Interestingly, there is another team that has shown the same hunger and aggression as that of the legendary Australian team over the last couple of years. And that is the Virat Kohli led team India. The Indian team has been on a winning spree in all formats of the game since Kohli has been appointed as the captain. His qualities like passion for the game, aggression, positivity and hunger to win are something that have never been seen before in any Indian captain. Sourav Ganguly was one exception but Kohli appears to be one notch above him. He has a typical Aussie character, one who loves to dominate oppositions and a tough nut to crack even in adverse conditions.
Kohli’s character, attitude and mentality has had a direct influence on the team as a whole during the last couple of years. His teammates too reflect the same attitude as him and all of them seem to be in sync as a team while on the field. They are slowly turning into world beaters and there are many reasons behind such a transformation which are very similar to that of the Australian team during 1999-2007.
Supreme Confidence in Their Abilities
One thing that is a constant among the current crop of Indian players is their confidence in their own abilities. They back themselves to perform to the best of their abilities and don’t consider an opponent invincible. If things don’t go their way, they don’t get bogged down at all. In fact, they keep persisting towards their goal and force things to go their way. Such confident players they are!
The Indian Premier League has played a big role behind such transformation of the players over the years. Throwing young players directly into the limelight and giving them a taste of big match pressure along with rubbing shoulders with international players are things that have made them tough from a young age.
Ability to Win Matches Out of Nowhere
The Australian cricket team of the past could never be ruled out of a game until it was over. They had players right till the end who had the ability to turn the game on its head single-handedly. And that’s exactly what made them so intimidating. The present Indian team is pretty similar as well. In the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka, MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulled out a victory out of nowhere with an eighth wicket century stand.
Not only that, they also won the Test series at home against Australia earlier this year after suffering a mammoth 333-run defeat in the first Test. There have been numerous such occasions in the last couple of years when India have triumphed in the most unlikely situations, the one run victory against Bangladesh in the 2016 World T20 being the best example of it.
Aggressive and Positive Attitude
The Indian team at present has an aggressive and positive attitude towards the game rather than a sedate and defensive approach that used to be the case a decade back. They are not intimidated by oppositions anymore. In fact, it is the opposition that gets intimidated by them. Moreover, they channel their aggression in the right directions and stay positive even in the worst situations. They show the hunger to win matches one after another and hate losing the most. These qualities make them the best in the business at present and helps them sail smoothly even through the most tough situations.
Tremendous Bench Strength
The most important thing that the Australian team was blessed with in those days was its tremendous bench strength. Quality players kept waiting on the fringes year after year to represent their country. Whenever an opportunity arrived they used to grab it with both hands. Not only that, there was no room for error for them. One bad run of form and they would find themselves out of the team for another couple of years, such was the quality of the players on the bench.
The same is the case with the Indian cricket team nowadays. Players like Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal are giving India’s premier spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, a run for their money. So are batsmen like KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey doing to senior players like Yuvraj Singh and Ajinkya Rahane. This may be a curse for the players who find themselves out of contention but it is a big boon for the team.
The Indian team has proven that any team can go on to become world beaters like Australia if they have the will to go all the way. They have established their authority at home by winning series against teams like England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia. But they still need to prove themselves on the greener pastures overseas. However, that doesn’t take away anything that they have achieved in this short period of time. Their self-belief, confidence, passion, aggression and hunger to win have brought them this far and days are not far away when they will prove their mettle overseas as well. Exactly these kind of characteristics make them look like the Australian team of the past. That is why, the Indian Cricket team is the new Australia.
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