England subjugated, Australia awaited!

Pictures of a happy Indian dressing room show that things have fallen into place. Anil Kumble is carrying on the great work done by Ravi Shastri, whose positive attitude can be seen in the young players. Kumble has brought his own work ethic to the team.

India has vanquished England in all the three formats and team spirit is really high. Skipper Virat Kohli has also acknowledged that he has learnt a lot from his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni.   -  PTI

India’s cricketing season is warming up nicely. The Indian team’s performance against the English in all three formats of the game has warmed the cockles of the hearts of millions of Indian supporters. Clearly, they will be expecting even better results as the season races to a climax with the Australians touring India by the end of February.

The fact that the season so far has brought to the fore many young players is even more heartening for they are the future of Indian cricket. But as we saw in the limited overs competition, where the pressure factor and the need to respond is urgent, the presence of the seniors has helped enormously.

 

Virat Kohli has openly acknowledged the help he has received from his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni and also from Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra. What the presence of seniors in the dressing room does is that it helps the juniors learn how to approach training, mental preparation and the type of reaction to pressure situations. This is priceless as while technique is always an individual thing and can be calibrated over a period of time, temperament is always on trial and could do with a bit of guidance from the experienced ones.

For Virat Kohli himself, when he was a newcomer in the Indian team, he had the best cricketing university in the world in the dressing room. Just imagine walking into a room where the batsmen had more than 100 centuries and almost 50,000 runs in Test cricket.

There was professor Rahul Dravid from whom he would have learnt patience and honing of technique, and fellow-professors V. V. S. Laxman (how to score off even good deliveries and how to use the wrists to play similar deliveries on either side of the wicket and have the bowler and fielding team skipper tearing out their hair), Sourav Ganguly (feistiness when under pressure), Virender Sehwag (every ball is a scoring opportunity and try and hit it as hard and as far as possible) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (how to keep emotions in check and not let the pressure show). Above all there was the chancellor of the university, Sachin Tendulkar (positive body language and how to walk out and make the bowlers look as if they were net practitioners. Also bat in a classically orthodox way and when the occasion demanded it, in an uninhibited manner that gave the bowlers no chance at all). Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh would have shown how to keep the humour in the dressing room going with their sheer positivity and then there was another king of cool, Zaheer Khan. The best cricketing university in the world for sure.

Pictures of a happy dressing room show that things have fallen into place. Anil Kumble is carrying on the great work done by Ravi Shastri, whose positive attitude can be seen in the young players. Kumble has brought his own work ethic to the team. It is a hard working team that does not take its success for granted and that’s the difference from when India won the World Cup (2011) and then slid, to the recovery set in motion by Shastri.

We love to have our own images of people and of course they are invariably coloured by the way the media paint them. So there is a tendency to ignore the work done by Shastri. Both, immediately after the 2007 ICC World Cup fiasco, where India did not even make it to the knockout stages, and again in 2014 when India were down in the dumps. The turnaround, on both occasions, was in no small measure due to Shastri’s no-nonsense training methods and the confidence that he instilled in the players.

Anil is a smiling assassin, as those who faced him know, and he is also one of the most positive persons you will come across. Like Shastri he will not take a backward step when it comes to principles and Indian cricket.

The support staff is also doing a brilliant job and the selection committee is in sync with what Indian cricket needs and therefore exciting times are ahead for the team. Sure, there will be the odd hiccup, for that is what the game is all about. But that will only act as a wake-up call, just like the loss in the first T20 match did in the recent T20I series.

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