India have suddenly risen to the top of the Test rankings, despite having a dismal few overseas series in the last few years. They have been helped mightily by other top teams who too have stumbled in foreign conditions. Under Virat Kohli, India have looked a rejuvenated side. They have been on top of things during this overseas tour and we should be taking nothing away from this young side. India becomes No.1 Test team and here we analyse how that happened
1) Australia’s loss to Sri Lanka and India’s overseas performance against West Indies
India becomes No.1 test team due to a variety of factors, however Sri Lanka’s win over the Australian’s is the biggest factor contributing to India’s rise in the point table.Sri Lanka on Wednesday defeated Australia by 163 runs, completing a humiliating whitewash and sweeping the series 3-0 helping India to become No.1 test team.
The wreck in chief was Rangana Herath who completely decimated the Australian batting lineup on the final day of the third test and finished with the figures 7/64, taking a total of 13 wickets in the third test. The test series completely exposed Australian batsmen inability to play and perform against quality spin attack in subcontinent conditions.
Australia began the year with 129 points topping the points table, with dismal performance against Sri Lanka Australia points tally dropped to 108 as aresult of which India becomes no.1 test team.
2. A problem of plenty
One of the best things happening to Indian cricket is problem of plenty. India currently has three well established and performing openers which would give headache to any captain to pick the best two.
Injury of Murali Vijay provided an opportunity to Kl Rahul to spend some time in the centre, he capitalized on the opportunity provided to him and scored a century making him indispensable from the top slot.
The level of competition in the middle order is such that even the likes of Cheteshewar Pujara has to warm the benches and be in the sidelines. Even in the pace bowling department India has got the right mix of bowlers who can clock 140 kmph regularly along with the ones of likes of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who can swing the ball both ways at a decent pace.
3) India’s strategy of using 5 specialist Bowlers
One of the major hindrance to India winning Test matches outside the Indian subcontinent is the inability to pick up 20 wickets to wrap up the game.
Dhoni’s style of captaincy preferred going into the game with 4 specialist bowlers having a cushion of an extra batsman, this put a lot of pressure on the bowlers who had to bowl long tiring spells which reduced their effectiveness.
Kohli has started a new and a bold trend of going into a match with 5 specialist bowlers at the cost of an extra batsman.
Therefore even if a bowler is having an off day, others come in to fill in the void which Increases the probability of picking those crucial 20 wickets required to win the game.
4) Virat’s captaincy
India becomes no. 1 test team, thanks to Virat’s brilliant captainship. Virat Kohli is seen as an aggressive captain in both test matches and T20s. He always looks for winning moments in the test match and tries to capitalize on the chances created during the match.
Till now whatever little opportunity he has received in the longer format it seems he is responding to the role well going in with the intent to win matches whatever the situation be.
He has proven that he has the potential to becoming one of the most successful captain in the Indian history. However the real test which lies ahead of him are the tour’s England, Australia and New Zealand.
A captain’s biggest responsibility is to give the right environment to the team players to perform. He has been successful in gelling the team together and the bonhomie that they share of the field is visible on the field.
5) Ashwin’s role as an all rounder
Kohli took a brave decision to promote Ashwin to number six ahead of Saha in the batting order. He gave Ashwin the opportunity to prove his worth as an all-rounder and the trust he showed in him is paying dividends.
Ashwin responded perfectly with scoring two centuries in the ongoing series against West Indies. Although all of his four hundreds have come against the same team but he has not taken much time to adjust to his new role.
Earlier Dhoni used to bat at number six for India in tests. Dhoni has scored a total of 6 centuries in 144 innings while Ashwin has scored 4 centuries till now in 52 innings which is not at all bad for a bowling all-rounder.
Although he has a long way to go to establish himself as a proper all-rounder the signs are positive. In future we can expect him to not repeat what Irfan Pathan did with his role as all-rounder but emerge as an all-rounder India was desperately looking for.