Exciting days ahead

The Indian team is entering a new phase under Virat Kohli, who is not averse to being aggressive and demonstrative. There is nothing wrong in being aggressive, but the team will also need to be calm while going about its job.

The one-off Test in Bangladesh did not provide enough time for Team India to complete its job, but there were some positives from the truncated game. Shikhar Dhawan got an opportunity by providence, with K. L. Rahul falling sick on the eve of the team’s departure. But that’s the way things go in professional sport. However, Dhawan made full use of the opportunity to notch up a big hundred and eventually ended up with the Man of the Match award.

In a sense, the Test was a no-win situation for Dhawan. While his success will be measured with a little bit of cynicism, a failure would have been absolutely denounced. Be that as it may, nothing boosts a batsman’s confidence like scoring runs, especially in a Test match. More than the runs, he would assess his effort in terms of the method that helped him get those runs. After an ordinary series in Australia, this hundred would help gauge the deviation from the norm that happened in Australia. In other words, he will get to see the footages of this particular effort and gauge how closer towards his personal form he has progressed. Dhawan getting runs has created a healthy situation, in that the team management now have three openers, who all have big runs under their belts, to choose from. Of course, Murali Vijay is the lead batsman, a fact he keeps reminding all repeatedly by scoring big hundreds. The remarkable thing about Vijay is that once he gets to his hundred, he gets big ones.

As far as the Indian bowling is concerned, the spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Ashwin would have desperately wanted the rains to stay away, but that was not to be. However, in the overs that they bowled, there was enough evidence that they were a handful. Ashwin picked up his first fiver abroad, but to be fair to him, he is still on a learning curve. In the recent months, he has looked to bowl more of his stock delivery without experimenting too much. He seems to have realised that patience is more important than being seen as extremely crafty. With a lot of cricket slated to be played in the subcontinent in the second half of the year, Ashwin needs to be more on the money for Team India to post victories.

The Indian side is entering a new phase under Virat Kohli, who is not averse to being aggressive and demonstrative. There is nothing wrong in being aggressive, but the team will also need to be calm while going about its job. The bowlers are the ones who have to be careful in not getting carried away, as they cannot get distracted. It goes without saying that they have to get 20 wickets for the team. It will be interesting to see how much of a bowlers’ captain Kohli will turn out to be, as they have to be handled with care in every respect. The younger lot have proved that they are good in the shorter formats, but their consistency and control will be challenged in Test cricket.

I am positive they will work towards improving in those areas and it will be to Kohli’s advantage if he has enough bowling options. The dashing young captain will also have the benefit of Ravi Shastri’s assistance. One can expect to see entertaining and eventful days in the future, as both Kohli and Shastri will go for a fearless brand of cricket. A loss in pursuit of a victory may not deter this duo now, but beyond a point in time, the numbers will come into the equation. Hopefully Kohli will not be forced to go against his grain and that can only happen if his bowlers let him down. But there again, it will all depend on how he handles them.