Is this Indian team the greatest Indian team ever?

Indian team looks like they belong in there, whether it is a do-or-die game in a world tournament, a morning session on day 1 against seaming ball, a last day against a dust ball pitch, a spell of tiring overs against a pinch-perfect batsman on a flat track, or during tough times – fighting in a situation from where to make a comeback into the game is like coming back from the other side of the great wall, which only the best can do, which only a John Snow can do more than once. Indian team has fought and overcame these situations, they have done more than a few times now, which makes us believe that they are the greatest cricket team, or at least on their way to that.

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The teams during ‘71 West Indies tour, or during 2003 world cup, or during the inaugural T20 world cup in 2007 were some of the most formidable ones. There were few other teams in the past as well which were great in one format, or during one season, but all of them lacked consistency across different formats for a longer run. But, the current team seems to be an exception. They have mastered all the formats, all the situations and all the conditions.

India is currently is ranked #1 in tests. They have crushed the oppositions with 10-1 score line from their 13 test home season; have won comfortably in West Indies and Sri-Lanka. Of course, their real test will be next year when their away tours start with South Africa. But, Virat Kohli’s team has all the necessary essence to give a fight at least, if not win in those alien conditions. India is in top two rankings for a while in ODIs and has won 6 bi-lateral series in a row. They had a fabulous Champions trophy in England till they were stopped by Pakistan in the finals. ODI format suits them outside Asia as well. Although, India doesn’t play many T20 games, they have reached in the semifinals of the last T20 world cup, which gives us enough proof that they are great in the shortest format as well.

The reason for the extraordinary success is because, in this team, India has found the players who can perform in different and difficult situations. The idea of different players for different formats has also benefited them a lot. In the past, I believe India used to be always one or two guys short while deciding their final XI.With current crop of players, India for the first-time has a problem of plenty in all the formats.

In limited overs, they have 3 openers who all deserve to play. Since only 2 can play, Rahane might miss out on most occasions. Then for two slots in middle order, they have exciting guys in Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul, and even Rahane for that matter. Indian bowling has never looked better. So good that, in recent series against Australia, they had to “rest” their two best spinners of last few years, to include 3 young-guns. As many opposition captains have said, India also has two of the best death bowlers in the world, in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Not to forget that the likes of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami are waiting in the wings. Last but not the least India is finally finding a seam bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya, who not only fills the spot vacated by Kapil Dev before few decades, but also is a genuine match winner.

Similarly, in tests, India has an unfortunate extra opener, who misses out just because the other two are playing too good. India’s middle order is so strong that at times India had to miss out the likes of Rohit from their XI. It will be even more difficult now for India to pick their no. 6, with Hardik Pandya coming of age in tests, and Ravi Ashwin showing best of the techniques while batting at that position. India’s batting line up looks deeper than ever, with Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar coming in at 8 and 9. To match the top two spinners of the world, India has enough pacers in Yadav, Shami, Ishant, Bhuvi, and even Bumrah and Shardul ready to roar, not only in seam friendly pitches, but also in sub-continent pitches as well.

India has about 13 to 14 well deserving and performing players for each format that can be picked on any day. To lead them from the front, India has Virat, whom the players around the world respect for his batting and fitness regime. Most importantly, all of them are converting their talents into runs and wickets on the ground in a consistent manner.

If they can make a habit to win, this team seems invincible. They can certainly achieve top rankings in all formats, win world cups, and test championships.

This is a guest post by Vishvas Raval who is a die-hard Cricket fan, Umpire, Analyst, All round player and Future coach. He can be reached out here.

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