Indian cricket has witnessed a dramatic change in it’s game play over the last few decades. It now finds itself in the Champions throne. But this journey has not been easy. Being considered to be minnows 2 decades past, they uprooted the West Indian batting to clinch their maiden World cup triumph in a humdinger. Thus began the Indian journey towards where it is now.
This era witnessed both the departure and arrival of legends. Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath were fabulous all-rounders, the likes of which were never seen again. Their retirement from the game left voids that were really difficult to fill; but the incoming youth proved to be worthy enough! Led by a young Mohammed Azaruddin, and having new, spirited and talented cricketers like Saurav Ganguly, Ajay jadeja, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, the Indians marched into the 1990’s having a reputed line-up.
This era saw the Indians win quite a few competitions like the Hero cup where they beat South Africa. Nevertheless, India never quite was the threat it posed. The reason was simple- dominance by one performance. It was always one player who would craft a master class inning. Its fielding was never upto the mark. Its pace attack was not-so-threatening with the exception of Javagal Srinath. But Indians were superb batsman and spin bowlers from time immemorial.
But the basic requirement of ‘team work’ was what Indians lacked. This was the time when the entire cricketing world was dominated by the Aussies. They, on the contrary, had beautiful coordination within the team.
Things began to improve with Saurav Ganguly as the skipper. Indian got a sniff of the world cup back in 2003, only to be deprived of it. This era was marked by the presence of legends in the side. Dada, VVS, Sachin, The Wall, Turbunator, Anil Kumble, were the prominent faces in the side. Fielding was still a big give-away.
It is only now, that Indians have finally realized what it takes to be champions. Led by the fiery and cheeky MS, Indians have got what they need- guts and lots of it. MS Dhoni had a balanced side to lead- some experience and lots of youth. Using the experience to inspire the youth, and the youth to create excitement, MS was always in the midst of a fresh atmosphere. He inspired them to go for the kill. To stand up to situations. To come victorious despite being cornered – the very things Indians lacked a few years back.
The present Indian team is similar to how it was in the past – an average pace attack (excluding zak), wonderful batting line-up, good spin department. It’s the fielding that has changed- with Indians diving, stopping everything they can- which has proved to be instrumental in bringing up the morale, grit and the right team spirit that is required of the world champions.
Indians, now having found their way, have dethroned the Mighty Aussies. This proves the major point – it’s not the number of legends in a team that makes it win, rather, it is the spirit with which it is played.