1. Not Virat Kohli, even his absence can make this Team India better than that of Sachin, MS Dhoni for fans; here’s why

Not Virat Kohli, even his absence can make this Team India better than that of Sachin, MS Dhoni for fans; here’s why

India beat Australia today in an exciting Test match while being led by Ajinkya Rahane, not Virat Kohli.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: March 28, 2017 2:22 PM
 india australia test, border gavaskar trophy, india australia cricket, australia india test, india beats australia, team india, virat kohli, sachin tendulkar, ms dhoni, kl rahul, ajinkya rahane, steve smith, ravindra jadeja, amitabh bachchan, brad hodge, cheteshwar pujara, india vs australia, ind vs aus, india vs australia 2017, india vs australia 4th test, india vs australia test Indian team poses with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the test cricket series against Australia in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. India won the four-match series 2-1. (AP Photo)

India beat Australia today in an exciting Test match while being led by Ajinkya Rahane, not Virat Kohli. This takes me to one of the recurring complaints of the Indian cricket fans —  Team India fails when the biggest star of the team doesn’t perform. Fans have grown up watching this phenomenon since The Great Sachin Tendulkar era to the time when MS Dhoni emerged as arguably one of the best finishers in world cricket. When Sachin performed India won. When he failed, India lost. It didn’t happen all the time. But then fans, who create a ‘God’ out of a cricketer, don’t go by logic. All they remember is the only reason, they believe, for which the team fails. And that is, their best cricketer couldn’t perform. As Sachin aged, the fan-imposed burden of winning every match fell on MS Dhoni. He did it with aplomb on most of the occasions, even as the rest of the batters or bowlers disappointed.

When Virat Kohli wowed the world with his superlative performances and recurringly proved he could be India’s next ‘Cricket God’ after Sachin, it was natural for fans to believe that he will win every match. That Kohli is human and can fail on occasions is not something that fits into fans’ sense of logic. However, all of this could change soon.

If the current Team India keeps doing it for a period of time, what it has just done against Australia, the fans would certainly stop expecting much from a single cricketer. They will be happy. It is possible, they will start seeing Team India as an assembly of many cricketing ‘Gods’. Warning! this could be too much of an ambition for the Indian cricket fans. Team India’s current performance, however, does raise hopes.

India have won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia 2-1. The series was marked by controversies, abuses, and thrilling neck-to-neck fights, that no other cricketing format can replicate. The most remarkable thing for India, however, was Virat’s failure to perform with the bat. In the first three Test matches, Kohli’s scorecard read: 0, 13, 12, 15 and 6. This came after he had scored a 204 against Bangladesh in a single Test against the country at Hyderabad. Even in the previous three-match series against England, Kohli had scored a century (122) and a fifty (55).

Kohli’s performance against the Australians was surprising. For he rarely fails to perform against the Kangaroos. He also missed the fourth Test due to an injury. However, when Kohli failed, other batters like Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha and Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with crucial knocks, shaking Australians’ strategy that must have focused much on Kohli, or at least they would have hoped that all they needed to win was to get the Indian captain out. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan summed this up aptly for the Kangaroos in a Tweet: “Brad Hodge says ‘Virat skipped 4th to play IPL’ .. RUBBISH ! he did it to tell you that his team can wallop you even without him !”

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