The home season of the Indian Cricket team started with comfortable wins over the Kiwis and the English. Australia was touring India, having registered an emphatic series whitewash against Pakistan in the UAE. But two previous campaigns had been eye openers for the Aussies. They lost at home to South Africa after being humiliated by the Lankans in Sri Lanka. These results did not go down with Cricket Australia (CA). Wholesale changes were made to the test team and chances were presented to the young crop of cricketers.
In this context, the Aussies were expected to be rolled over by the Indian juggernaut. The home team, as usual, gave the watching public a surprise. It crumbled in the first match of the series in Pune. The wicket, which was a turner, and the spider was caught in its own web. The batting total of both the Indian innings did not even equal the Aussies’ total of an inning. Such was the scale of the mild hiccup.
People thought that this would function as a wake up call. The second test in Bengaluru started differently. Kohli, in a queer moment, had won the toss. The Indian team folded up for 189, a massive improvement over their previous two outings. Sadly though, the Australian team eclipsed them. With a deficit of 87 on the board, the Indian backs were against the wall. To win from that position, is a colossal feat.
Factor in the perpetual sledging that goes in the contest between the two sides, and you will have a new look India. It isn’t just the case of the personnel, but the personality of the team as a whole. It is an old adage that teams are a reflection of their captains. The current crop demonstrates an intention, if nothing else. They want to fight, irrespective of the result.
Champions, in any sport, from Federer to Ronaldo, have to reinvent themselves steadfastly to stay ahead. The Indian test team is ranked first and is keen to make the changes to remain there. It is easy to get to the top, but it is difficult to remain there.
If the Indian team can beat the Aussies in the series, it would give them immense confidence before they start touring outside the subcontinent in the next season. They will be then judged on those parameters. In this day and age, with fading memory, one is only good in the moment. One has to prove oneself again and again. And probably, with every test, the team may surpass its predecessors. Till then, it may enjoy the fruits of its hard work.