India has had a great beginning to the game calendar. Let’s hope the boys can keep it up
It would take a very mean-spirited person to not feel bad for New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson. Losing by a hair’s breadth at the World Cup, possibly with some serious questions asked of the umpiring, he has taken a lot on his shoulders. And recently at home, where New Zealand lost to India thanks to Mumbai ace Rohit Sharma hitting two maximums in the last two balls of a super over to win India a T20 match and a series, he will be asked questions. The manner in which India won the third match has some great portents for the Indian cricket team in 2020. Say what you will about Virat Kohli but India’s cricket captain has brought in a new attitude, belief and confidence. That ignores how he has inspired a new level of fitness and diets among his teammates. His winning spree has also inspired a level of fanatical loyalty in his team and their most ardent followers, a level of loyalty that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not command despite an attendant PR machinery at his service. Kohli gets his team to win and do so consistently. Not even Kohli’s predecessor MS Dhoni has managed such a feat.
Can Kohli, Sharma and their teammates carry on this winning formula to the T20 World Cup later this year? After all, while Kohli has been a team member in a couple of World Cup wins, he has yet to lead India to a title and that remains an empty space in his tremendous resume. His winning mentality should now bring us a World Cup. As Rohit said in a post-match interview, it was important for team members to step up given the enormity of the occasion. This team spirit was also evident in the manner Rohit acknowledged Mohammad Shami’s contribution to the big day. Shami got rid of Kane Williamson in the final over and followed it up with the wicket of Ross Taylor in the final delivery of the 20th over. And through those taut moments, Shami held his nerves to execute a picture-perfect yorker to get rid of Taylor off the final ball where New Zealand required one run to win. Perfect grace under pressure. Of course, there is no taking away the limelight from Rohit. He is just 32 and has already scored over 8,000 runs in ODIs. He is the only batsman in history to smash three double hundreds in ODI cricket, a feat difficult to replicate. If his fitness holds, Rohit can blast several records and hold the top order with Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli and give our bowlers the pitch to clean up the rest.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)