The last few months for Indian cricket has been a special one to cherish. First it won the titanic Test series against Australia 2-1 under Ajinkya Rahane after been bundled out for a humiliating 36 all- out in Adelaide pink ball Test and second is the clean sweep over England in all the formats under Virat Kohli.
India had outplayed England in Tests 3-1, T20’s 3-2 and and ODI’s 2-1. The wins came at a right time for Virat kohli. The Test series win in Australia saw the accent of Ajinkya Rahane as skipper who impressed all with his astute handling of the team and giving hints of a possible future captain option . So there was pressure on Kohli to deliver as skipper. And the superstar will be much relieved man now after the English series whitewash. All the talk of split captaincy has been effectively laid to rest. And Indian cricket now truly in the Virat era and King Kohli will call the shots.
What has been the most pleasing sight for cricket fanatics is the arrival of young players who play fearless cricket and grabbing their chances their both hands. The likes of Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Prasidh Krishna did that in the series against England . While In Australia one saw the likes of T Natarajan, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur make their mark . Consider that India were without injured Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and the rested Jasprit Bumrah ( From T20s and ODI’s) . This depth in talent and the bench strength now gives the team management and skipper Virat Kohli a tough choice whom to pick in the playing eleven .
Rishabh Pant has bounced back wonderfully to be back in all formats and has proved his ability with the bat in recent matches. Thus living up to his nickname as the X factor. He plays in his own aggressive way and it has paid dividends for the team. His wicket- keeping though is still in learning process though so is his decisions as far far as going for the DRS. Withy Sanju Samson , Ishan Kishan, K L Rahul ( part time) , Wriddhiman Saha on the bench means Pant will have to deliver consistently to hold on to his place in the eleven. There is no room for complacency. The team management and skipper Virat Kohli’s backing and senior Rohit Sharma believing in Pant’s ability has given the 23-year-old the confidence to do well. And it is seen on the ground too. Stepping into the iconic Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shoes is no easy task but Pant has shown the potential and the ability to fill in those tough shoes.
Virat Kohli has now got all the bases covered as far as the team is concerned be it batting , bowling – spin, pace and the bench strength. All he needs now is an ICC trophy under his belt . The first one will be the ICC World Test championship final against New Zealand in Southampton , England from June 18-22. The second will be the T20 World Cup 2021 in India to be held in October. These two titles will be crowning glories in his captaincy stint. And these wins will forever end the debate – a superstar batsman a modern day great but found wanting as skipper on the big stage .
Mind you, there is pressure on Virat to deliver as skipper more so since the Royal Challengers Bangalore had not won a IPL title despite him as skipper for the last eight years. It has given enough fodder to the critics to question Virat’s captaincy skills. So with the team now complete, Virat literally has no excuses of not been able to lift and ICC trophy. Can he do it? Only time will tell. Watch this space .