Though England entered this series hurt with the scars inflicted by Bangladesh, it wasn’t fair to rule them out as a team solely because of that. But India stands out among all Test playing nations because it has proved its calibre and stood by the notion of ‘Team above personal milestones’.
As the Englishmen batted through the last inning of this calendar year, an Indian cricket fan couldn’t have asked for a better end to the indomitable journey of the Indian Test Cricket Team. A miraculous victory at Chepauk in the 5th Test with the help of Ravindra Jadeja’s seven-
India’s performance throughout the series had many positives, considering Indian cricket is striving to bring the youth back to the finest format of the game. Though it’s understandable that Test Cricket has its own demands, one can’t deny that it has an unmatched beauty, a charm that overshadows the insistence of time and concentration and an exclusive way to prove that is the England tour of India 2016.
Though England entered this series hurt with the scars inflicted by Bangladesh, it wasn’t fair to rule them out as a team solely because of that. England rightly boasts of a mighty batting line-up that extends up to their tailenders and it’s “great” bowlers. However, the only trophy England will take back home is Haseeb Hameed, for the resilience and grit of the teenager was a standout. Jonny Bairstow's consistency reflects in the ICC Test Rankings and that will be a consolation. Moeen Ali registered his 4th
When you have someone from the Big Four of modern cricket, you become reliant on him, this case applies on both Virat Kohli and Joe Root who were face to face in this series. While India showed otherwise with all their batsmen scoring prolifically, Joe Root continued his knack to score runs in the subcontinent but he had one flaw that can be critiqued. He had five 50+ scores, but he has only converted one of it into a big one (124, Rajkot). This could perhaps be one of the factors that resulted in his drop to No.3 in ICC Test Rankings apart from Kohli’s evolution into a ‘proper Test batsman’.
Captain Alastair Cook has had a history
On the contrary, this has been a series of victory, record-breaking and milestone-making for India. With the newly-discovered talent in Jayant Yadav’s who performed well by picking 9 wickets and 221 runs in 3 matches and Karun Nair’s stellar 303* in only his third match, the team has consolidated hold over their future. With a bench of some injured players like Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, and Rohit Sharma waiting to make their way back into the squad, we can see healthy competition for the places.
Apart from that, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara had a bittersweet series, with dilly-dally performances and two 100+ scores each. KL Rahul returned from injuries and struggled in all matches with only one great performance at Chennai where he scored 199. Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav have diverted some attention and praise in an area that usually remains grey, the seamers. Though numbers are not on their side as much as I stress, these two have been on their A-game, consistent and impactful.
Ravindra Jadeja is at his peak, with 25+ wickets and two 50+ scores courtesy of some excellent cameos while batting. Ravichandran Ashwin picked 3 fifers, a total of 28 wickets and performed with the willow too, retaining his position as the No.1 Test all-rounder and bowler in the ICC Test Rankings. Virat Kohli whose purple patch only seems to get better, making him scale one peak after another, reaches his career-best No.2 spot in the ICC Test Rankings after a jump from 15th, this series. Apart from scoring two double
India stands out among all Test playing nations right now because it has been proving its calibre and standing by their claims of ‘Team above personal milestones’, self-belief and their hunger to be on top. One can’t deny that the desperation for the win in the last match was just as much as it was before clinching the series in previous matches. This is a Team that wants to grab every opportunity like a slip-fielder would take a blinder.
Now, they haven’t had the best of times with tosses, varying pitches, demeaning comments from the opposition, players falling prey to injuries and the constant pressure to remain No.1 by their fans, but there’s something about them that compels even the greats of the game to admire their hunger and passion for the game. It is satisfying to see the advanced, aggressive team India who isn’t afraid to express their zeal for the game, deflate the camps of the Aussies, South Africans, West Indians, New Zealanders and now the English.
Though there are talks about how the real test lies overseas, and how we have an upper hand at home, we ought to appreciate a Team that looks like a paragon of invincible at the moment, at home or away.
Chahal or Axar? Who will take more wickets for India?
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