Australia Women are what BCCI and Virat Kohli's India aspire to be

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Australia Women are what BCCI and Virat Kohli's India aspire to be

‘Elite mentality,’ which also is a course across sporting professions in the United States of America, is one that is naturally inbuilt in the Aussie women’s team. For ages, they have had a winning mentality in the dressing room, one that never regressed a bit despite the incomings and outgoings.

The sort of mentality that has ruled sporting histories in the past, created dynasties and legends. Three sporting dynasties across disciplines - Arsenal Football Club, the Chicago Bulls and the Australian national team from 1999 till 2007 - have a thing in common - loads of wins, domination and more importantly, home to records. Arsenal's 'invincibles’ season will always go down in history, sheerly because of the audacity of finishing the season without a single loss and on the other hand, there is the Bulls team, which is well-known to people who have not even watched a single game of ‘ball’ in their lives. 

And the Australian men’s team created the legacy that has, is and will continue to rule cricketing history until someone puts their tails down. Amidst all of these legendary teams, there is one team who is pushing their way to greatness, to becoming one such legacy. It is the Australian women’s team, who have taken the word ‘domination’ ever so lightly. 

Packing a punch is as simple as finishing lunch for them, and when it comes to final, oh, let us keep it aside for now. But everything does not occur without a reason in complete randomness. So is their dominance, which, too, did not happen without a root cause. Jodie Fields left a team filled with future-stars to her successor, Meg Lanning, in 2012, after winning the final against England in Colombo. 

Since then, Australia have scripted an epic run in the tournament - only losing once in 2016 against West Indies in the sub-continent. Leaving that one-odd tournament aside, they have won every World Cup, more so, winning three out of four in as many years. It does not boil down to the fact that they continued to have superstars thrown at them from the sky by the biblical figure. For a team to succeed so consistently, it has to go down to the fact that they planned better. But is planning everything, you may ask? Planning is not everything until and unless you step on the field and showcase what you planned for showing the desire to win tournaments. It's the ruthlessness, showing sides that this is just a child’s play that you could do it all once again in your sleep. 

Where does all of it start? For Australia, it did after their loss to India. And, for the Indian women’s team, it will start after their loss to Australia, such is the circle of life. When Australia lost the 2017 World Cup semi-final against India despite being one of the favourites, it rattled the entire nation. And, it was no surprise that post then, the elite mentality was out for walking. But during its course around the country, it walked so much, gained so much knowledge that it came back more composed and balanced. Yet, it had the aggression of the darling that never went to sleep even during its toughest time. 

When Ravi Shastri took over the reins of the Indian team, talks were that the Indian team under the leadership of Virat Kohli had the ‘elite mentality.’ One that could potentially lead them to greatness in back-to-back ICC tournaments, one that the Indian team has seen in the previous generation under MS Dhoni. So why exactly are we addressing the Indian team? Despite the winning mentality, the results have not been in their way, partly because of the failure to give exposure to a fringe group of players. It is crucial yet condescending to note that fringe does not mean poor or set of players that the team does not need during the tournament. But why are we suddenly talking about the Indian team, what makes them even comparable to these legendary sides? 

The system is where the comparison starts between the two-star studded side. Both India and Australia are home to the best of T20 tournaments respectively in men’s and women’s cricket. While IPL houses some of the biggest names in the cricketing fraternity, its counterpart is home to some of the best players in women’s cricket. And, if the patterns are to be aligned, in the 2020 Women’s World Cup, the result of an Australian victory was not as simple as one would and could claim it to be. 

It was no coincidence that the openers, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, both of whom were in the top half of the run-scoring chart, performed at the highest level in the recently concluded T20 World Cup. And, when the talk is about a certain left-handed and right-handed combination at the top of the order, there has to be mention of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Rohit Sharma, who was India’s top run-scorer in the tournament, failed when it mattered in the semi-finals against New Zealand, a game which was a must-win. In the same game, there was another certain Virat Kohli, who could be compared to the run-machine Mooney, and where Mooney struck gold, Kohli found copper. 

And talk about resurrection, when they are 10/3 in the do-or-die encounter against Sri Lankan women in the group stage, it was captain Meg Lanning and Rachel Haynes who took the side home. Sheer determination with some extravagant shot-making helped Australia get past the phase of do-or-die. However, when it returned, there was one certain ‘Mooney,’ who decided to tonk the New Zealand bowlers to different parts of the ground. When two of their stars at the top of the order failed, the rest of the team branched themselves to project the team as ‘one,’ where India failed in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, despite brilliance from Ravindra Jadeja

On the cusp of exit, Australia needed a miraculous effort from the rest of the bowlers in the absence of their star all-rounder Ellyse Perry who played despite an injury. And, when she exited, it looked like their dreams and run came screeching to a halt, only to be saved by the spells from Megan Schutt and Georgia Wareham. In the semi-final yet again, they brought in Sophie Molineux and Delissa Kimmince into the side instead of Wareham, Perry and they immediately stepped up. 

It all lies down to the fact that these players are more trusted when it comes to the big-stage by their skipper, in stark contrast to the Indian team, where the player walking in has to face all kinds of music from within and outside the team. Whenever they needed a name to step up, they were right there at their disposal. Such was the quality of the side, which underlines the effectiveness of the domestic ‘fodder’ system in play. And, eerily similar to the WBBL system is the IPL, which houses home to some of India’s greatest talents. 

It also incredibly keeps giving talents every year like it is a pool filled with infinite water-supply, coming directly from heaven. While both of them do possess such an impressive system, one has taken full advantage of it, while the other. barely. Despite Perry being absent from the squad for the knock-outs, they managed to ride the tide and win the tournament. Meanwhile, India missed the services of Shikhar Dhawan and immediately went down the pity-line, crashing against England and New Zealand in the tournament. All of this despite calling ‘home’ to some of the best talents out there in the world. 

Yes, history has been in favour of both sides, but only one has taken the full advantage of their predecessor, and it is not the Indian team under Virat Kohli. All of this lies down to the killer instinct, one that Alyssa Healy rightly put down as the spirit of ‘Wakanda’ and the Black Panther. They not only channelised their inner Wakandian efforts but also displayed it left, right and centre across the ground in front of 90,000 people at the MCG. And while one walked away with another T20 World Cup trophy, the other in 2019 sat down admitting that half an hour cost the side a World Cup. So, by this and more comparison between the two sides, which is eerily similar in nature, it can be said that Australia women’s team are what the BCCI and Virat Kohli's Indian team aspire to be

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