Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Jan 2019 09:54:57

THE ease with which Virat Kohli and his ebullient bunch warmed up to the maiden bilateral One-Day series victory in Australia was a sign of this team’s resolve to scale further peaks. First the heart-warming 2-1 Test series win and now the historic first ODI series victory, both had a stamp of authority which defines Kohli’s team. It is a hallmark of champions with an unrelenting urge for higher glory. All these are the gains from an unforgettable tour Down Under that Indian cricket was dreaming of since it set foot on the Australian soil some seven decades ago.

Objectivity does not allow one to get carried away like an obsessed fan but those who have grown watching Indian teams failing to realise their die-hard supporters’ dreams would realise the emotional bustle in beating Australia in their own den. Virat Kohli’s men did that twice -- in Tests and in ODIs. It is a huge dent on the Australian psyche, a gigantic boost for Indian cricket and a foundation around which India’s overseas assignments would revolve henceforth.

Analysis of the entire tour would bring out moments that hitherto always slipped out of India’s hands. This time it was a chance not only to make amends but also to leave a mark. From a bowling unit that hunted like a pack of wolves to a batting pivot in Cheteshwar Pujara, from the street-smart cricket by the likes of Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja to the resolute will of Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal, the Test triumph was pure gold.

Same is the tale of the resurgence of the ODI team after losing the first game. Australia in Australia, with top players or without them, is always a difficult proposition. That the Men in Blue were always a step ahead in their thinking and execution of plans is the real gain of this ODI series victory.

The manner in which both the chases were accomplished talked of a unique swagger this team carries. They were unfettered by onslaughts and cool during crunch overs. Holding the pack together, yet again, was the colossus -- Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The way he takes the mounting asking rate out of the equation is something that deserves unabashed admiration. Dhoni will form the nucleus during the World Cup in England. Next focus should be the partners around him.