We all know by now how amazingly Virat Kohli and his team of boys ended India’s overseas winning drought in test matches.
Apart from that, the records being broken, the sweet victory on Sri Lankan soil after 22 years is all going to be a part of cherished memories for years to come. It is not every day that a team full of such youngsters and players who are in and out of the team come together as a unit and give a stunning performance like this.
What exactly happened here? What changed?
There will be a detailed analysis obviously and the team management is going to find out what actually worked so that the same formula can be repeated in future as well. Next test match series is with South Africa and that will be the real challenge. But let’s first focus on how things have worked out at the moment and have that somehow made M S Dhoni irrelevant to the team?
First of all, it is all about Virat Kohli’s persona, charisma and the aggressiveness that has rubbed on his team members. Most of them are around his age and somehow can relate to his body language as well as mental attitude. The hunger for winning a match has somehow been clearly visible. Instead of being passive and trying to avoid losing a match, the players seemed in a mindset to go out and conquer the world! The fear of losing is out and passion for winning is in! Whether it is Ishant Sharma who bowled his heart out or Amit Mishra’s come back with such a beautiful spell or Ashwin’s phenomenal performance, the credit goes to them as much as to their captain Kohli who has been able to support them and give them the freedom to give their best.
With Dhoni, the team looked jaded, tired and in a reclusive mode even before the match started. It used to look as if they were touring to draw the series or to save their face, instead of showing the mindset to win. Also, Dhoni’s tactics in a test-match usually looked defensive instead of attacking or aggressive, the way he acts in a one-day match or T20!
It is just one series and the jury is still out whether the same set of boys can repeat this feat against stronger and tougher teams like South Africa, England and Australia, but the change is in the air. Dhoni is definitely an amazing captain and player in one-dayers, but the kind of change Virat is bringing in, would it be possible for the boys to perform under two different captains in two different formats of the game? Would they be able to give their best in one-days the way they performed in test matches? How would the team composition change under different captains?
All these questions will pose a challenge for Indian cricket per se and it would be interesting to see how Dhoni copes up with the changed dressing room! We still need Dhoni, but going by the trends, soon he may not be missed much!
Better days are ahead, for sure!