The Indian Cricket Team finished its long tour (82 days) of Australia & New Zealand on 10th February 2019. The team was successful in beating Australia in Australia in tests for the very first time! It won the Test Series in Australia 2-1, ODI series in Australia 2-1 and ODI series in NZ 4-1. It drew T20I series in Australia (It would have won if not for rains spoiling a match when they had a better chance of winning) and lost the T20I series in New Zealand 1-2.
Overall it won more matches than it lost (10-6) and won more series than it lost (3 1). It augurs well for the side ahead of the ODI World cup in England later this year.
Some fans said that India won because Australia was weaker due to the bans on Smith & Warner! It would be wrong to assume that India would have lost otherwise and also to say that it was an easier opposition. The Australian bowling unit was unaffected and the Indian bowling unit is one of the best in our cricket history!
Imagine a company having a good product available at a good price and having a strong sales team… yet someone has to go out and meet the customers and sell! They cannot increase their company’s turnover without implementing their ideas! The same holds true for cricket!
What people are forgetting is the fact that it is tougher to win overseas, irrespective of a tougher or an easier opposition! It can be judged by the results of the past tours of India Down Under. Also the fact that someone has to go, play those matches and win! It might be a weaker opposition, still we need to play sensible cricket and win against them!
Many Australian players were involved in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cup in 1977 78, when India toured Australia with a good side. Australia invited Bob Simpson to come out of retirement at the age of 41 and had as many as 12 debutants in that series. Most of these twelve stopgap players, played fewer than 10 tests in their entire test career and were dropped once the regulars returned.(Some were dropped even in that series itself!) Only 2 of those 12 went on to play more than 30 tests for Australia in their lifetime. Yet Australia won a closely fought series 3-2. India won by better margins (222 runs in one match & Inns victory in another) & lost by narrower margins (16 runs, 40+ runs and 2 wickets). But the result remained 3-2 in Australia’s favour!
The score line was 0-0 in 1986, when again Australia was perceived to be a weaker side. On some tours, Australia even won 3-0 or 4-0! That is how tough Australian tours have been for the Indian touring sides. So it should please the Indian fans that India won in Australia for the first time ever!
I had heard criticism when a schoolboy, Pranav Dhanawade, became the first player in history to score 1000 runs in an officially recognized match in school cricket and heard comments such as ‘he had a weaker opposition bowling lineup to face, the boundaries were shorter etc’. My question to these critics is, “Since the beginning of time, there must have been other players who faced similar weaker bowling sides and had smaller fields, yet why none of them could score 1000 runs? In fact, the other batsmen from Pranav’s own side (Facing the same weaker opposition & playing on the same smaller ground) could not score as many runs!” That again highlights that implementation is not easy & it matters!
We often forget that players have to go out in the Sun (or floodlights-:) and put those runs on the board and take those wickets in order to win the matches. Implementation matters!
Congratulations to Captain Virat Kohli and team India for implementing what was an idea on paper!