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Breathtaking transformation!

Updated on: 21 January,2024 06:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sunil Gavaskar | mailbag@mid-day.com

As coach of the England Test cricket team, Brendon McCullum has had a massive impact, encouraging players to take a bold approach and look to attack at all times. That has had phenomenal success as skipper Ben Stokes also reads from the same page

Breathtaking transformation!

England’s head coach Brendon McCullum (right) and captain Ben Stokes. Pic/Getty Images

Gunil GavaskarRohit Sharma’s scintillating century would have answered all those who were questioning his place in the Indian team for the ICC T20 World Cup in West Indies and USA in June. There will be the IPL before that of course, where with the cares of the captaincy off his shoulders, we will get to see much more of Rohit, which Afghanistan just saw and was seen sparingly in the previous two editions of the IPL. 


There is no doubt that the ultra-short format of the game has incredible demands and so it is understandable that some were questioning his place in the Indian team. They were probably harking back to 2007 when the Big Three of Indian cricket - Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid made themselves unavailable for the first-ever T20 World Cup in South Africa. They were a little over 34 years of age when they took that call. Nobody knows why they decided that, but it was before the IPL was announced.


Also Read: U-19 World Cup: Saumy, Musheer shine as India outclass Bangladesh by 84 runs


Way back in 2007

The announcement of the IPL came while the team minus the Big Three were in South Africa beginning their campaign that eventually made them the first winners of the T20 World Cup.  A  young team played superbly and led calmly, came out of some tough situations to win against arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.

The IPL thus got a great push as suddenly the Indian cricket fan, who had hardly seen any T20 cricket, started to take another look at a game they thought was more of a weekend ‘hit and have fun’ game. Then, Brendon McCullum in the inaugural game played an innings with so many dazzling shots that even made the actual fireworks after the game pale in comparison. It was a vertical take-off for the IPL and the league hasn’t looked back since. McCullum should be invited for the start of every IPL as a token of gratitude by the BCCI for that innings that gave IPL just the start it needed. He, of course has been associated with it since that first game, if not as a player then as a coach except the last couple of years when he has been coach of the England Test cricket team. Here too, he has had a massive impact, encouraging players to take a bold approach and look to attack at all times.

Also Read: IN PHOTOS | Top 5 batsmen who got out on 199 in Tests

Super combo

That has had phenomenal success as the skipper Ben Stokes also reads from the same page and together they have brought out a transformation in English cricket which has been breathtaking to say the least. With a five-match series starting against India in a few days’ time, the eyes of the cricketing world will be on the contest to see if England’s bold approach will work against India  and its top quality spinners. India, of course, also have Jasprit Bumrah and Mohd Siraj with the new ball and Mohd Shami available from the third Test onwards, but how many overs they get to bowl will depend so much on the pitches for the series.

It will be a surprise if the Hyderabad pitch is a turner because the curator there invariably makes pitches where the ball comes on to the bat nicely. Vizag may turn, but not from Day One as also Ranchi  and Dharamsala with its weather aiding the ball to swing and seam off the surface. England couldn’t have asked for better venues to play in.

We could be in for a ride to remember. Hopefully, it will be India who will end up smiling, but don’t bet your house on it.

Professional Management Group

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