It was indeed a fascinating year for Indian cricket with a series of win in all the three formats of the game. We missed out Virat Kohli at this hour of glory. India’s 1-0 series win against Sri Lanka is their ninth successive Test series win. They have now matched Australia’s streak of nine consecutive series wins from 2005-06 to 2008. India’s winning streak began with the 2015 tour of Sri Lanka. India won 8th bilateral one day series when they beat Sri Lanka 2-1 after the victory in Visakhapatnam.
After consecutive T-20 series wins against Australia, New Zealand and now Sri Lanka, Team India stands at 3rd position, 5 points behind the leaders Pakistan. However, Pakistan is not playing bilateral series at home or at neutral centres for so many years. This is the 37th victory Team India have achieved in 2017 across the three formats of the game and it is only the second most by any team in a single year.
Australia had the most international wins (38) in the year 2003. This was an incredible year for Team India and the youth in Indian side came out bright during the time of crisis and played a stellar role in forming a winning combination. The year 2017 can be remembered as the Golden Year of Indian cricket. Team India, for the first time, have won seven successive matches against Sri Lanka between February 12, 2016 and Dec 24, 2017. This is their joint best winning sequence against an opponent. They had defeated Australia in seven consecutive matches between October 10, 2013 and October 7, 2017.
There is a big talk about Dhoni doing good work behind and in front of the stumps. As a matter of fact, the performance is just as good as a normal player used to do on a cricketing field. But hype, hoopla and hysteria all add to the Dhoni’s performance with the bat and gloves. Dhoni was scratching 26 of 21 balls in the high scoring feast at Indore. He was circumspect in facing both the spinners and pace bowlers and missed many scoring opportunities. When the chips were down at 27 for 7 for Team India, Dhoni came out and played a face saving 60 but that was not enough to boost the team’s winning total. But still he is considered one of the best around, not only in the Indian team, but in the world. Definitely a joke of the century! Dhoni played one more 60 plus slow knock in West Indies and that went in vain as well. We need to see a player’s calibre in a match situation and not when he is running alongside a fellow player at a faster pace to show his class. These superlatives all appear that there is a big lobby round Dhoni to back him till 2019 World Cup. To add those endorsements add to his colour and now he is not dispensable just like Sachin Tendulkar of olden days.
The tour of South Africa is going to be tough followed by Australia and England tours. It will not be a cakewalk as we enjoyed in the extended series against Sri Lanka. To show supremacy, we should play well on overseas tours against stiffer opposition and not against Sri Lanka all the time. We should play Pakistan also in bilateral series at a neutral venue to show that we are the real number one side.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)