No doubt, it was summer Down Under. But, the mood amongst Indian cricket aficionados, the world over was reminiscent of anything but ‘summer’. The Indian cricket team had one of the worst ODI tournaments in their recent history, and well, all hell had broken loose. They thought the BCCI might as well book the return tickets from Australia in advance, as in all probability, they might not even make it to the Quarters! Everyone had started looking forward to the IPL!
Thus, days after the horrendous drubbing in the hands of the mighty Aussies and the cohesive Englishmen, when the “ We Won’t Give It Up!” video was aired on the television for the first time, people were angry and amused at the same time. Angry, because people thought how could MS Dhoni had the audacity to make such a bold video after being humiliated to the hilt. Amused, because they thought the video should have been called ” We Will Definitely Give It Up!”
However, when the World Cup went under way, the Men In Blue suddenly emerged as the ‘team to beat’. Their batting, bowling and fielding, all of a sudden were taken up by a few notches. So, what happened? Did Santa decide to gift the Indians an early Christmas and sent his little magic elves to swish their wand around and do the trick? Well, this might make for a very good fairy tale for the toddlers, but that’s about it. Rational and logical deliberations would lead you to understand why you shouldn’t be surprised at all at the results being thrown up by the Indian Cricket team in this ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
# The Long Aussie Summer:
Yes, we lost. No two ways about it. But, the positives to have come out from that long Aussie summer was of paramount importance. First, and foremost, the BCCI needs to be given some credit for being smart for a change. They signed up for a long tour in Australia, just before the World Cup would begin. So, why were they smart? Well, for starters, the Indian team had about 3 months to acclimatize themselves with the conditions, the pitches, the bounce and the culture too. By, the time the World Cup was around, even the younger lot were well versed with what to expect and what not to. They were raring to go, and that hunger is hard to miss now. They faced one of the toughest oppositions in the world in their own backyard. In the process, all those ‘loose ends’ would have been ironed out. Let’s not forget that we gave them a good run for the money in the test series. Kohli and co. played an attractive and aggressive brand of cricket which took the Aussies by surprise. A little luck, hither and tither, and the results could have been very different. By the time, the Tri Series began, the group looked a tired lot and that affected their performances. A two weeks rest and the difference was there, for all to see. Now, the Indian Cricket team are utilizing the rest days between the matches in a very efficient manner. Amongst the usual 5 days that are available, they are only having nets on the two days before the match day . This gives them enough time to heal their mind and body, before each of these high voltage clashes.
# Team Composition:
If you look a little deep into this current Indian cricket team, you would probably realize why this team is the most suited to win a Cricket World Cup, played on the Aussie soil. First, let’s look into the batting order. With the exception of Suresh Raina, all the other batsmen have no qualms with the rising delivery, as they have a pretty decent pull shot in their kitty. Players like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat kohli thrive on horizontal bat shots, which is the norm in the quick Aussie pitches. They are natural stroke makers, who don’t mind fast pitches, because that gives them a chance to unleash the wide array of strokes they possess. So, you shouldn’t be surprised at all with the big scores that Our top and middle order are rustling up. Now, let’s turn our attention towards the bowling. A lot of hue and cry was made about our bowling. Well, that’s a constant with Indian cricket team. But, this time, things are a little different. We have two blokes, leading the attack who can consistently clock speeds on the higher end of 140 Km/Hr. They can deliver steep bouncers and lethal yorkers, both with lethal accuracy. Then there is a Mohit Sharma, who has caught every one off guard with the pacy bouncers he has unleashed to unsettle a lot of top batsmen round the world. So, for a change, we have genuine ‘fast‘ bowlers to take full advantage of these ‘fast‘ pitches.
What a Manger is to Football, the Captain is to cricket. It’s the skipper, who has to call the shots, both on and off the field. A captain who exudes self belief and confidence, can lift the entire team’s morale. The best thing about Dhoni is he has tasted blood before. He knows what it takes to win those important situations which more often than not, decide the fate of a tournament like this. Let us look at some of the main contenders in this ICC Cricket World Cup: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. All of these teams have superb well balanced teams, who on their day can rip apart any opponents. But, interestingly enough, none of the captains of these teams have managed to lead their sides to victory in a ‘World Cup’ before. Thus, on those pressure situations, you will back Dhoni to bring all his experience into the foray and catch the bull by the horns!
So, a close dissection into this Indian cricket team will tell you, that you shouldn’t really be surprised with the results, this lot is churning out. On the contrary, this was always on the cards. As we head into the business end of the tournament now, let us all hope and pray, MS Dhoni and co can add another feather in their basket: The ICC Cricket World CUP, 2015.