Things are moving pretty fast forward in India; when Indian Cricket is the center of the topic then it is more rapid than anything else. This country lives and breathes this game; so, the disappointment was pretty obvious when India lost the semi-final in England this July.
However, things have taken a positive turn after that. Since the inception of the ICC World Test Championship, India has dominated as if this championship is tailor-made for this team. 240 points in 5 matches is a sign of how this team is ready to take down the remaining 8 teams.
Nevertheless, the road ahead is bigger and India has to prove its mettle in this series; but, nothing can take away the positives this team has shown against South Africa this season. There were signals of South Africa getting busted on their ground but they somehow managed to getaway. Howbeit, this time they couldn’t.
India hunted Proteas like anything, made series an utter one-sider contest and made us wonder how far South Africa has fallen in terms of this beautiful game.
Still, we have rounded up some key points. Let’s see what they are:
A match made in heaven:
It won’t be wrong to say that Virat Kohli is enjoying the fruits that were sown by MS Dhoni. The former Indian captain just like Sourav Ganguly was a master in sensing the future. MS Dhoni utilized the services of Virender Sehwag, who was made an opener in similar circumstances as that of Rohit Sharma; and Virat Kohli is doing no different.
Is Indian management a tad late in realizing the potential of this lad? Seeing the way Rohit Sharma ruled the Proteas bowling, this is a question that might come across many cricketing minds. There was no way in the series where Kagiso Rabada or his acquaintances were able to find an answer to this Indian weapon. He was solid with his foundation, steady with his head position and quick with his footwork.
With an impressive opening debut, it will be interesting to see how he replicates this performance when India travels away to England and South Africa where the new ball tends to deviate a little more than that of India.
Wridi, Sidhi and Vridhi behind the stumps:
He has waited a lot for this appreciation. Wriddhiman Saha has been the biggest positive and the biggest takeaway for India after this series. His injury last year was a big blow to the aspirations of the Indian team who were in dire need of a wicket-keeper.
Although Rishabh Pant is the future and was a non-stop chatterbox when India visited Australia yet this thing does not justify his selection. He is weak with his feet behind the stumps is still to accustom himself to the needs of the Indian soil.
Regardless of that, this was the comeback that was much anticipated. Saha has worked his way to the applauds he has received for the glove work in this series. He was quick and decisive and when it came to advising, he was on point as per the requirement of the pitch. A classic example is a piece of advice he gave to Nadeem to ball the odd-ball that would sit low to dismiss De Bruyne today.
Though he has waited for his turn still no one can take away the joy of hard work he has put in to get the praise for his glove work.
Indian bowing and South Africa’s dismay:
There was a time when South Africa sported the likes of Lance Klausner, Allan Donald, Makaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock; who were deadly even on a spinning track. Then there was the powerhouse of batsmen who waited to slaughter the opposition be it home or away. And, then there is this Proteas team, it was a painful sight to see the debacle of South Africa.
The transition could be the reason behind this, even India went through this but at that time India had a cool head in the form of MS Dhoni who knew what he was doing. Howbeit, South Africa lacks that.
To make matters worse, it was the Indian bowling unit who made the Proteas look like a second-tier ICC team. Pacers did their bit with the new ball and spinners with the old. Spoils were shared equally and this is an intriguing part of the series. This shows Virat Kohli has a match-winner to turn for help. He has a bowling unit which can challenge for 20 wickets in a match on any pitch.
One can say that this was a flawless series for India. Indeed it was! The Indian players ticked all aspects of the game. From batting to bowling and from bowling to complimenting it by fielding, this Indian team has shown strength to what the opposition could have thought as a weakness. However, it will be interesting to see how India deals with the upcoming Bangladesh series as the neighbours will be quite versed with the sub-continent situation and are also working to bridge the gulf between the two countries when it comes to cricket.