Abundance Of Talent, Bold & Fearless: New India Shining
The juggernaut rolls on.
Having conquered Australia in the Test and T20 International battles, Team India has now taken another cricketing powerhouse England in its stride.
Sunday’s thrilling 38-run victory, which helped Virat Kohli’s indomitable brigade clinch the five-match series after trailing 1-2, was India’s sixth series win on the trot in the 20-over format.
But more than those staggering numbers, what has left the cricketing world wide-eyed is an embarrassment of riches which the team has showcased over the last three months.
Everything that the management tried out has yielded rich returns as the New Age players continue to make bold statements with a fearless approach.
Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav were the latest to explode on to international cricket with knocks that took one’s breath away. Both turned out to be match-winning efforts against the world’s best T20 team – opener Ishan smashing 56 off 32 balls, with 5 fours and 4 sixes in the second game, and Suryakumar plundering 57 off 31 with 6 fours and 3 sixes in Game 4.
Suryakumar, who had to wait an eternity to get his India breakthrough, carried his scintillating batting form into Sunday’s series decider as well, with a 17-ball 32. The 30-year-old Mumbaikar is a man on a mission as he looks to make up for lost time.
Another late-blooming Mumbaikar who is out to make his opportunities count is Shardul Thakur. The 29-year-old medium-pacer kept troubling the England batsmen with clever variations of pace to emerge as the highest wicket-taker in the series.
Shardul is a capable batsman and a clean striker of the cricket ball, too, as he showed while scoring a maiden Test fifty in the series-clinching Brisbane Test.
That series Down Under last December-January made men out of a number of boys.
Shubman Gill, 21, announced his arrival on the international stage; Rishabh Pant (23) was hailed as the left-handed Virender Sehwag who can turn a match on its head in a jiffy; Mohammad Siraj did not let the team feel the absence of big guns Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami; T20 specialist Washington Sundar (21) proved in the Tests against Australia and England that he’s just as capable in the five-day format also; Ditto for Axar Patel.
Crafty medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and talented all-rounder Hardik Pandya are back on song after recovering from injury lay-offs.
Prithvi Shaw (21) was dropped after flopping in both innings of the first Test against Australia, but reminded us about his precocious talent after a record-breaking run in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Waiting in the wings are youngsters like Devdutt Paddikal, Yashaswi Jaiswal, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma. Not to talk of the not-so-young Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, T Natarajan, who have already had their initiation in the big league.
Competition for places in the team is so intense that the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are feeling the heat after failing to deliver in a few innings. As always, the upcoming 14th edition of IPL will give out-of-form players and those on the fringe of selection ample opportunities to get into selectors’ notebooks.
But such is the abundance of talent that India possesses, the only way justice can be done to all is for the BCCI to field two teams in international cricket!