Leave alone winning tournaments, not many teams come to Australia and beat the hosts in four consecutive limited overs games. That India could do it with such flair bears testimony to their talent, skill and hunger.
Doubtless, they deserve every accolade for picking themselves up after losing the first four games of the one-day international series, winning the fifth and final one in Sydney and then upstaging Australia in all three T20 internationals.
Cynics will argue that Australia are not big on the shortest form of the game and while that may be the case, why take away credit from India?
Manish Pandey, who scored a fine century (104 off 81 balls) in the last ODI at Sydney on January 23 could well have been the trigger of India’s resurgence over two formats. Inspiration from senior players is one thing, but when a junior comes up with a sterling effort, it provides inspiration to the senior pros as well. Team India wore a thick ring of confidence after that Sydney win. Else, how does one explain their brilliance in chasing down a 198-run target with seven wickets in hand.
Rohit Sharma, who witnessed two of his ODI hundreds going in vain, was imperious yet again yesterday. So was Virat Kohli. And just when skipper Dhoni showed signs of stress in the dugout with Yuvraj Singh in the middle, the veteran southpaw clubbed a four and a six off Andrew Tye to bring India closer to the target. No praise can be too high for Suresh Raina. The left-hander was not part of the ODI squad, but every rasping stroke in the T20 series seemed to have a ‘never-leave-me-out’ message to the selectors and his captain.
After skill and fitness, the best thing to possess is experience. India appear to enjoy a win-win situation before the World T20. Despite a home advantage, it won’t be easy to go the distance in March’s mega event, but the team and selectors have done their best to position the country as favourites to lift the second biggest prize in limited overs cricket.
Dhoni & Co leave Australian shores on a high. This is not just unprecedented, but rare. Well done!
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