The Indian cricket team couldn’t have ushered in the New Year in a better way. After what has been a frustrating tale of missed opportunities insofar as their away Test performance is concerned, Virat Kohli and company took a big step in setting the record straight.
Be it in South Africa or in England, they have taken expectations sky-high only to blow it all away in spectacular fashion, agonising more often than they have excited. That was until the penultimate day of 2018 on a damp Sunday afternoon.
Their 137-run win over Australia at the iconic MCG on the final day of the third Test here is one of the most important milestones in the history of Indian cricket. They have never taken a 2-1 lead in Australia with a Test to spare, and, now eye, with a realistic chance, a historic maiden series win Down Under.
Yes, Australia woefully lacked depth in their batting line-up after losing two of their biggest stars — Steven Smith and David Warner. Still, nothing can take the sheen away from the victory by this Indian team that is oozing supreme talent but has often failed to live up to its potential in previous stints.
This was also India’s 150th Test win, and Kohli’s 11th away from home, equalling Sourav Ganguly’s record for most overseas wins by an India captain.
While Ganguly achieved the feat in 28 Tests, Kohli has taken four matches less to reach those numbers.
In this year alone, Kohli has guided India to four wins spread over Johannesburg, Southampton, Adelaide and Melbourne.
His other seven wins have come in Sri Lanka (5) and West Indies (2). This team, however, has the potential to reach much greater heights.
Ganguly didn’t have the balance that Kohli has at the moment. No wonder, after Sunday’s victory, Kohli spoke of the need to be obsessed to win abroad. Ganguly’s team was full of batting riches with exceptional bowling talents like an Anil Kumble or a Javagal Srinath or a Zaheer Khan, but never a bunch of bowlers of such high quality and variety that Kohli possesses.
With such riches at his command, Kohli, indeed, can pursue his goal with obsession.