By Anupriya Singh
Edited by Shambhavi Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
On 20th July 1990, India had won the Texaco Trophy (2 ODI series) against England under Mohammad Azharuddin’s captaincy at Trent Bridge. India has iterated that feat by winning their first bilateral series against England (in England), after 24 years. But this time, the feat has been achieved under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s celebrated guidance. What proves to be a cherry on top is the fact that for the first time, India has accomplished a hat-trick of series wins over England in ODIs. They won 5-0 in 2011-12 and 3-2 in 2012-13, with both played on Indian turf. For a nation where cricket was never a sport, but a religion, this is a gala time. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men in blue have passed in the ODIs’ examination with flying colors after failing awfully in the Tests.
The team’s ‘big moment’ of the series was the 4th ODI which proved to be a picture perfect game for the supporters of the national team. Citing Dhoni, “…the seamers bowled in the right areas…The fast bowlers set it up, because they took wickets and when the spinners came, the batting was under pressure.” Nothing could go wrong for India. They had a magnificent 183 run opening partnership between Rahane and Dhawan. They gave their boisterous fans, who accounted for almost two-thirds of a 21,000 crowd at the decked up stadium, plenty to cheer for with a blizzard of boundaries.
It seems as though ‘Captain Cool’ Dhoni has found his Midas touch. The recent test debacle saw him drawing harsh criticism from all corners. Under his captaincy, the Indian cricket team has had 8 consecutive ODI wins in England between June 6, 2013 and September 2, 2014 – their best tally in any foreign country in ODIs in the history of Indian cricket. Moreover, Captain Dhoni has set a world record of most wins for any captain (91) in ODIs, one more than former legendary skipper Mohammad Azharuddin’s tally. Amidst all these new records, the Indian Cricket Team has regained the coveted number 1 position in One Day International ranking. Now, the team’s supporters believe them to be strong contenders to defend their title of World Champions during the upcoming World Cup.
From the Greg Chappell days to the Gary Kirsten ones, since time immemorial the Indian team always had foreign managers. Some of the BCCI choices were perfect (read Kirsten) and some left harsh memories for us (the Chappell stint). But this ODI was surely a ‘mindset changer’. Under the guidance of veteran Ravi Shastri, the brigade transformed from a team for which everything was going wrong, to a team for which nothing can go wrong (an over-night evolution). Shastri has now opened doors for prospective and deserving Indian nationals’ candidature for the post of the Manager of the Indian national cricket team.
On the other hand, for England this defeat meant that they had now lost five of their last six ODI series. It must be frustrating for them to be unable to play to their potential. It has been a huge setback for the team, psychologically. With the World Cup just a few months away, they have to show the world that they are hungry for the title of the World Champions. Right now, England needs introspection and improvement, before it is too late.
Anupriya is a second year undergraduate student in Economics at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi. An avid reader, she wants to travel across India to comprehend the varied façade of the Indian culture and traditions. Apart from academics, Anupriya has also dabbled in extracurricular activities like debate and documentary making. She has won numerous awards for her documentaries on social issues. Sports, primarily football, and painting constitute her main interests.