On right track

The euphoria of Indian cricket team’s 4-0 series win over Australia will take some time to subside, particularly because it came in the backdrop of its woeful run in Test cricket starting from the tour of England in mid-2011.

The Aussies were one of the teams that put India through the wringer in that period, and it is quite easy to attribute the term ‘revenge’ to this series victory that was completed at Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday. But when you cast a rational eye on the proceedings, it will become clear that the triumph was the result of a few youngsters putting together some impressive performances over a month or so. Skipper M S Dhoni set the tone with a brilliant double hundred at Chennai, and it had a cascading effect on his team-mates.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli punished the Australians with some belligerent batting, while the Australians never quite managed to find answers to the questions posed by the Indian spinners. Off-spinner R Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja grabbed 53 of Australia’s 80 wickets between them in the series, and suddenly the spin cupboard doesn’t look that empty. Ashwin will be a happy man in particular as he entered the series under a lot of pressure after a modest series against England last year when he failed to exploit favourable conditions at Mumbai and Kolkata. The series win assumes significance because as per the future tours programme of the International Cricket Council, India will not play a Test at home till October 2014, and in that interim they will tour South Africa, New Zealand and England.

In that context, India needed some forceful assurance from its young brigade that the team will not feel the pinch of losing some modern day titans when they go aborad. The likes of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly had dished out exceptional performances, playing a major part in making India a solid Test nation even away from home at the turn of this millennium. It was primarily due to their efforts that India shed the tag of poor travellers. The likes of Pujara, Kohli, Vijay and Ashwin have many more miles to traverse before they emulate their seniors, but in this series they proved they are on the right track. After all, there’s no better confidence-booster than comprehensively whacking a top team like Australia, even if the feat was achieved in familiar environs.

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