From “underdogs” to “firm favourites” – How has India transformed into a powerhouse of cricket?
“India and Pakistan are dark horses in this tournament and have a capability of stunning big teams like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa”, this statement from an expert echoes in my ears, even today.
Before the start of the 2007 world cup, cricket experts were analysing every team and its probability of winning the tournament. They tagged India as an underdog who could spoil the party of a contender on their day.
Fast forward to 2019; the experts have again predicted the likely winners of 2019 World Cup. However, this time around, India is starting as firm favourites because of its power-packed batting and most dynamic bowling attack.
Experts and cricketing fans are already envisioning England - India final, where India might outshine the hosts in their own backyard to lift the trophy.
The Indian team has revamped itself to become a strong contender in every ODI tournament it plays. It is the Number 1 test side and Number 2 ODI side at the moment. More than rankings, Indian team’s assertion off and on the ground is enough to defeat any team morally even before the match has begun as Australia would do during their golden period of 1997 – 2007.
What makes India such a formidable side, especially in ODIs?
At present, the Indian team is a tough nut to crack for other teams in ODIs due to numerous reasons.
First and foremost, they are led by two “captains” – Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. While Virat Kohli is the ‘actual’ captain, MS Dhoni comes to his rescue during adverse situations.
From fielding placements to change of bowlers, MS Dhoni commands the team during pressure moments and death overs. Kohli’s aggression and hunger to win, combined with the cool cucumber attitude of MS Dhoni, has turned India team into invincible opponents.
Also, the team looks perfectly balanced – a dashing opener (Rohit) capable of scoring 200s even after slow starts, and an outstanding number 3 batsman (Kohli).
After their departure, the middle order comprises of a finisher (Dhoni), widely regarded for finishing matches from tight situations, and a fierce hitter (Hardik), known to attack from the first ball. India has got two world-class wrist spinners (Chahal and Kuldeep) and probably the best pace battery (Shami-Bumrah-Bhuvi).
Jadeja’s romance with direct hits and splendid catches add an extra dimension to the team.
How much should IPL be credited for this change?
India’s bench strength looks stronger than ever – because young players get a taste of big match pressure and some vital learnings while playing with and against world-class players in IPL.
Even as the selectors have chosen the best 15 players for representing India at World Cup 2019, another bunch of 15 players is sitting outside, ready to knock off any opposition during a match.
BCCI, the wealthiest cricket body around the world, has also played a significant role in providing the best facilities and resources to the players. Overall, the present and future of Indian Cricket look safe and secured.
For now, let’s cheer for India as they get ready for Mission “World Cup 2019”. India…India…India…