Winner takes it all

I just received a video post forwarded to me by my friend. This in fact is a clipping from Pakistani media appreciating India’s great victory yesterday at Gabba. In fact, the presenter is very generous in praising the fighting spirit and character of this young, relatively inexperienced Indian team. He picks out Mohammed Siraj, Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundaram for their great show and their contribution in defeating Australia at their home by winning the test as also series and retaining Gavaskar- Border trophy.

Siraj reminds me of another great fighter and spirited bowler Mohammad Shami. Lion hearted Shami gave that added edge to Indian fast bowling, which now has the likes of Bumrah, Ishant, Umesh and the new crop of pacers Shardul, Siraj, Navdeep Saini and Natarajan. I do not recall any other instance of Indian team having so much depth in its pace bowling department and in fact, spoilt for choices.

I remember those days when the fast bowlers, mainly all rounders, who could bat a bit – Abid Ali, Madan Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Ghavri etc were expected to bowl a couple of overs to make the ball slightly more easy to grip for spinners, who would come after 5-6 overs and formed the main attack. It was Kapil Dev, the first genuine fast bowler, who changed the game and who inspired a generation of fast bowlers like Chetan Sharma, Javagal Srinath, Prasad, Munaf etc. And look at the choice today, with so many other pacers sitting on the sidelines awaiting their chance.

The performance like one in Australia that swung from humiliation to full glory has two important lessons. First that we should be more consistent and second we should keep top 30-35 players in state of readiness by regularly rotating them so that seniors don’t burn out and juniors are not rusted.

Congratulations once again to Team India. It has certainly brought laurels to the country and zing back into Test cricket!

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