Indian cricket never had it so good. If the Australian summer was the stuff of dreams, the Indian spring brought about hopes of a bright future after one of the most dominant performances against a quality England side over two eventful months of international cricket.
It’s not that Indian teams of the past haven’t had great scorelines against English sides but this batch of talented men, under Virat Kohli, has looked more intimidating with its relentless attacking mindset.
The shining stars once again shone brightly but a few who have made real statements include Mumbai’s Shardul Thakur, who, in the coming days, could be the all-rounder Indian team requires on foreign shores with his incisive swing bowling and powerful batting built around decent technique. Think about options and Shardul as a seam bowling all-rounder alongside Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami could be as valuable as a Hardik Pandya.
If Shardul becomes an all-format seam bowling all-rounder, then Washington Sundar, a specialist batsman, can give multiple options across formats including opening the batting or bowling and then chipping in with a wicket or two with his fast off-breaks.
People waited for Suryakumar Yadav’s debut and the player, perhaps, waited even more. When it happened, the Almighty conjured to help the Mumbai maverick write the most brilliant prologue of what would be a ‘lovely book to read’ in the coming days.
The all-format assignment against England saw India accomplish a few specific goals.
Firstly, ensuring a spot in the World Test Championship final was non-negotiable and despite the blip in the Chepauk opener, India was ruthless in its approach, cooking the English goose with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel.
The second goal was to check out the core group of players who will be travelling to England to play six Test matches, including the WTC final against New Zealand, followed by five Tests against the home team.
During the five matches in the shortest format, the third aspect was exploring various combinations before the T20 World Cup in October.
The fourth and final point in the check-list was to try out extra options during the ODI series.
It goes without saying that the Indian team management was able to tick all the boxes and as Ian Chappell pointed out, this team has the ability to match the great West Indies side of the 1970s or the Australians in the 90s to mid 2000.