Cricket is a great game of uncertainty. Therefore, cricket’s pundits have to think twice before making any prediction. The gentleman’s game has now taken a U-turn in the last quarter century. Currently, the game is played in three formats. Despite the popularity of shorter and shortest formats, however, Test cricket is the real cricket, where players’ calibre is tested.
India toys with Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s recent tour of India concluded without any hue and cry or media hype. The series was decided before the arrival of the Islanders on Indian soil. At present, Team India is a formidable side in all departments of the game and is ready to challenge the best of teams in their backyard. However, under the home conditions, it is almost unbeatable.
Sri Lanka has produced several great players. But in the present scenario, cricket in the islands is tottering and lagging behind. Talented players are not coming into the team. The present bunch of players is not good enough to play competitive cricket. The West Indies and Sri Lanka have lost their sheen and sailing in the same boat. They are not able to produce any stiff challenges to their strong competitors.
The Indian cricket team defeated the Sri Lankan side in T-20Is and two Test matches with ease. The entire series, in both formats, was one-sided. The opponents never came in any position to dominate. It seemed only formalities were done; otherwise there was nothing in the series, because the hosts toyed with the visitors.
What is the meaning of such a lethargic series? It was a mismatch of cricket between the two neighbouring nations. The newly appointed skipper, Roht Sharma, marshaled his troops effectively and never allowed his opponents to stand in front of Indian storms.
Team India is replete with several talented players. Many extraordinary players don’t get chance on a regular basis due to the availability of better players. Shryas Iyer and Rishabh Pant are the two troubleshooters of the team. Both the youngsters take control of the situation on their shoulders if the wicket falls early.
Both are capable of changing the complexion of the match in a short period of time. Their attitudes are almost similar; they never care about the bowlers’ reputations and treat them like others. Iyer and Pant have similar styles and play all three formats of the game in the same fashion.
In terms of Indian bowling, it has a lethal attack that can demolish any opponent. Therefore, India overpowered Australia and England in their backyard. Bumrah, Shami, and company have the ability to hypnotise their opposing batters on any pitch. Ashwin and Jadeja have been leading the spin attack.
The only regret in the series against Sri Lanka was the form of Kohli. He is still struggling and is not able to get back to his old form. A test century is alluded to by him. His last Test century came against Bangladesh in 2019, and he last reached three figures in an ODI against the West Indies in 2019.
It is an old saying in cricket that form is temporary and class is permanent. Kohli achieved a milestone by playing his 100th Test match against the Lankans.
A team like Sri Lanka can’t provide any fight for India. The Indian Premier League is the world’s most popular league. Domestic players get a chance to share the ground and dressing room with the world’s top players. This really gives players time to nurture and learn a lot during the IPL. Therefore, the level of Indian cricket has reached its pinnacle.
Rohit’s captaincy skill
The captaincy of Rohit Sharma has not yet been fully tested. Sri Lanka is arguably a weak side. His captaincy skills will be tested in the forthcoming T-20 world cup to be held in October-November in Australia this year.
India has not grabbed any ICC trophy since the 2013 Champions Trophy under the leadership of MS Dhoni. Kohli, as captain, failed to bring home any ICC trophy. In the bilateral series, Kohli’s record was remarkable. It is time for Rohit Sharma to make the team mentally prepared to win the T-20 World Cup.
The real test of a player’s temperament, devotion, and dedication is exposed in red-and-pink ball cricket. Several new teams have been inducted into Test cricket. After getting the nod from the International Cricket Council (ICC), one team, Afghanistan, has made remarkable progress in all formats.
It is not wrong to call teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the West Indies minnows. Strong team batters and blowers improve their records against such teams. The ICC should take a decision and categorise teams to improve the game all around. No one would like to watch a boring series like India vs. Sri Lanka.