sterner test

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Dec 2017 11:42:06

HAVING pocketed record equalling ninth series win in test cricket at the end of the Sri Lanka series, India, now the number one Test team in international cricket, would be in for a sterner test when it travels to South Africa. Chief coach Ravi Shastri agrees but he also says that this team has the potential to wipe out the ‘poor travellers’ tag often attached to the earlier Indian teams. He does not find much of a difference, playing at home and overseas. According to him now a days the mindset of ‘home and away’ is passe. He agrees that Indian batsmen will be tested facing the moving ball and when there would be less of the usual spin advantage. 

Thus the moving ball will be the biggest weapon that the hosts abroad will be using against the supposedly strong Indian batting line-up and while the Indian team will find their potent weapon, spin, which they used taking home advantage to pocket series after series against all visitors. Of course the Indian pace bowlers have also come of age and have played a significant part in home team’s phenomenal success, while batting too flourished under the leadership of Virat Kohli, who is also on a record-breaking spree. He, too, will be under pressure to show the same consistency in his phenomenal batting prowess when he travels overseas. But coach Shastri believes that the present team is hungry to “prove themselves home and away.”

With the dawn of new year the Indian cricket team would be travelling to South Africa, one of the toughest assignments many of the members of present team are yet to face. That will signal the end of home comfort and would be the beginning of tougher engagements throughout the year as the team would later travel to England and Australia. And it is those conditions that call for exemplary talent and the readiness to adjust to new challenges, especially in test cricket. It will be a real test of the talent of young members of Indian team.

While these challenges are real, the Indian coach’s belief and confidence in the present team is not entirely unfounded. Many other experts, not just Indian but also critics from abroad, believe that the present Indian team has the potential to win overseas. Led by the mercurial Virat Kohli, the Indian team is a very balanced side. While spin has always remained the great asset for any Indian team, the emergence of genuine pace bowling talent makes all the difference to the strength of the present squad. So during the tour of South Africa the Indian team will be depending much on its pace bowling asset and less on spin. That is a welcome departure from the past apart from the all-round abilities of the whole unit. It would be interesting to watch how things unfold abroad for Team India.