After the low of losing another ICC World Test Championship final and an ICC title which has eluded them for almost a decade, where does one place the current West Indies tour in terms of significance?
Are the Indian fans going to forget all the disappointment of unfulfilled World Cup and WTC campaigns and rejoice over beating a West Indies side that has failed to qualify for the ODI World Cup to be held later this year in India?
To put things in perspective, India are gearing up to play a full series in the West Indies after a gap of 12 years. The last time they played a full series comprising Tests, ODIs & T20I was in the year 2011 and a lot has happened since then.
2011 - The dream year for Team India
The year 2011 was a high point for Indian cricket as the team won the ODI World Cup after a gap of 28 years. It set India's cricketing ambitions on a high, ignited the passion of the fans and the team looked to dominate world cricket with silverware in the years to come.
It was the era of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, arguably India's greatest ever captain, and the team went from strength to strength in his shadows. The next couple of years saw India performing well and ICC Champions Trophy 2013 was the crowning glory for Dhoni's India after the ODI World Cup victory.
For what seemed like the beginning of a hugely dominant period in Indian cricket in terms of ICC trophies in all formats, it has come up a cropper.
Dearth of Trophies after Dhoni's departure
The captaincy transition that happened in 2014 from Dhoni to Virat Kohli was seen as the emergence of a new and improved way of playing for India.
Virat Kohli, with the force of his personality was able to galvanise the Indian team and bring in greater emphasis on fitness and winning abroad. Although, those are great traits to have and helped the team go a long way in terms of winning series abroad and also nurturing and nourishing a world-class pace bowling set-up, what ultimately matters is the big ICC trophies.
Dhoni - 3 ICC trophies, Kohli - 0, Rohit - 0
Captains are judged by the titles they win. So are the teams they captain and lead. It is the sole indicator to fans historically of how a particular team has performed over a period of time.
Although, it may not provide the actual barometer of a team's capability because one cannot assess it on the basis of trophies won or not. The ICC trophies matter a lot in terms of fans' satisfaction which has been effectively put to the dustbin over the years.
Indian cricket is what it is today simply because of the paying power and unbridled and relentless enthusiasm of the humble Indian cricket fan.
The Fan stands at the crossroads of where Indian cricket is today. As they come out in large numbers and support the Indian team all over the world, at home and abroad, they seek answers from the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid etc as to when the next big ICC trophy will come for India.
With the ODI World Cup lined in October-November this year, Rohit Sharma and Co. have an opportunity to rewrite and rectify the failures of the last decade and open a new chapter for Indian cricket and it's adoring fans.
Whether they do it or not only time will tell.
Scheduling and planning for ICC trophies
If India are genuinely serious about clinching major ICC World titles, then getting their scheduling and planning prior to these events is an absolute must.
With the amount of cricket being played today, especially by Indian players, with the Indian Premier League's (IPL) ever-expanding ambitions and the need to monetise the value of Indian cricket all over the world, it's important for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its administrators to prioritize tournaments.
As we saw this year prior to the World Test Championship final which was held in June, several players who featured in the IPL final had to rush soon after the game to head to the UK and begin preparations for the big summit clash.
That's not exactly the most ideal way to prepare for a tournament final, that you have seriously been wanting to win.
The Indian players also need to get their priorities right. It's unfair to judge a player for wanting to make big bucks from his franchisee year after year but the recognition and respect of playing and performing for the country at the most prestigious platforms is a different kind of high.
When a World Test Championship final is around the corner or a ICC ODI World Cup is a few weeks away or for that matter a ICC T20 World Cup beckons, national duty must take precedence over everything else.
And this is something which everyone has to take cognisance of and prioritise. Be it the Indian national team players, team management, selectors, administrators, IPL franchises etc.
IPL franchises have a big role in India winning ICC world titles and it's an indirect one. They will have to probably incorporate clauses in their contracts with players in co-ordination with the BCCI and IPL Governing Council with regard to releasing players for national duty prior to major ICC tournaments.
IPL has certainly played a major role in changing players' attitudes and mindset while playing at the international stage. There is no fear among the players while representing India and competing against the best players in the world simply because they have likely played against these very same players in the IPL or interacted with them professionally.
The IPL can be looked at as a platform to win major ICC limited overs world trophies but when India is preparing for a World Test Championship final, the players who will feature and franchises will have to consciously take a decision to prioritise the WTC Final in terms of preparation.