As ICC ranking portray, India is the undisputed leaders in Test Cricket and pre paced second, closely behind England, in the other two formats.
In a season disrupted by the pandemic, India won the Test and T20I series in Australia while losing 1-2 in the ODIs. At home, Virat Kohli’s men enjoyed a clean sweep across formats much to the chagrin of the Englishmen.
India is now feared, admired and respected by teams worldwide, much like the West Indies in the Seventies or Pele’s Brazil.
Rahane’s sharp cricketing acumen and brilliant manoeuvring of his resources played a key role in India retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the second successive occasion in Australia.
He managed to drill into the players in his quiet but firm manner that being dismissed for 36 in the first Test was an aberration and a closed chapter. The decision to promote Rishabh Pant to No.
5 in the second innings at Sydney proved a masterstroke. Ditto for introducing Ravichandran Ashwin in the 11th over in Melbourne after the humiliation in Adelaide.
If Rahane chose to lead by example with a century in the second Test, Cheteshwar Pujara’s obstinate demeanour put the home team in disarray.
Pujara faced 928 balls in the series, wearing Australia’s bowlers down with his dour and determined approach while not being afraid to take blows on his body. His final-day half-centuries proved crucial to India saving the Sydney Test and winning in Brisbane.
This success spilled onto the limited overs format with Kohli’s form and a superlative performance from comeback man Bhuvneshwar Kumar setting new standards. That too, without regulars Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja.
With the World Cup a few months away, the nucleus of India’s T20 side is in place. Pant’s ‘match-winning’ batting along with the success of newcomers Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan could keep a few regulars out of the XI.
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