PTI Photo by Gurinder Osan
PTI Photo by Gurinder Osan

Australia’s tour of India ended on predictable lines as hosts defeated already demoralised and dysfunctional Aussies by seven wickets in the fifth one day match at Nagpur. Australia after electing to bat first started well with usual suspects in Aaron Finch and David Warner asserting themselves, but as has been the case right throughout the series, Indians bowled well to restrict Australia to a meagre score of 242/9 in 50 overs, with Axar Patel picking up three cheap wickets.

India in their reply dissected the chase pretty well and riding on Mumbai’s Rohit Sharma’s 14th ton (125 off 109) India cruised to the victory quite comfortably and in the end captured the series with a commanding 4-1 margin.

Is India unbeatable currently? Has India become indispensable in home conditions? Can any team stop Virat Kohli’s juggernaut? Has Kohli got a Midas touch? The above questions answers themselves as Indian team across formats has become virtually unbeatable and after the high of Sri Lankan tour (India blanked SL 9-0, across formats), Indian team has not looked back and gave Aussies a proper hiding in the current series. The team under the leadership of Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri has put emphasis on team first mindset and doing the one percenters right in achieving results and focussing on basics.

Indian teams of past had great names, but were not producing results on the field and the main issue was the quality of either batting or bowling. Under the current regime players know their roles and are given a longer rope even if they fail in couple of matches. The team has not been shy of dropping or resting (open to interpretation) players such as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina to name a few. The synergy within this team is palpable as youngsters are not afraid to express themselves and with captain Kohli backing players such as Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, the message sent by the management is very clear that only currency to stay in the team is performance.

India under Kohli are currently ranked No 1 in both ODI and Test cricket and this process started after the 2015 World Cup. The team has its core players intact and with the influx of young guns, the team can only go from strength to strength. In the current series, India were in some trouble, but players in Hardik Pandya (222 runs and six wickets; man of the series) and spin twins in Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav bailed out the team on more than one occasion. India were always one step ahead of the game and the emergence and belief in players with limited experience has started to pay off.

The only criticism of this team could be their performance in the big ticket ICC events, where India in the last 4-5 years have faltered at the final stage after doing all the hard work but returning home empty handed. {2014 World T20 vs Sri Lanka, final; 2015 World Cup vs Australia, semi-final; 2016 World T20 vs West Indies, semi-final; 2017 Champions Trophy vs Pakistan, final}. The team is currently playing excellent cricket and few would bet against this team performing well in overseas conditions too. The nucleus of the team is rock solid and Virat Kohli believes in performances and accountability and this team is slowly but steadily is becoming mean, ruthless machine and is a force to reckon with in international cricket.

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