India have mastered the art of playing 50 overs cricket. After winning the World Cup in 2011, they further reinstated their superiority by winning the Champions Trophy.
The recent win of the India ‘A’ side in South Africa truly reflects that the one-day format seems to have filtered into the DNA of budding Indian cricketers.
India is now a formidable country, right from the Under-19 level to the senior-most. They have understood the process of chasing or putting up a total and the importance of remaining positive and cool even when the odds are stacked against them.
BCCI should be commended for sending a young India ‘A’ side to understand and study the conditions before India tours South Africa at the end of the year. There is a lot of talk from critics and players that the playing conditions will be vastly different from the one encountered by the team at present.
The game of cricket is not just about the state of the wicket. The familiarity with the ground, surroundings, opponents and travel is equally important for the comfort and confidence of a player. The youngsters would have absorbed it, without actually realising the benefit and its importance in future.
With consistent success, the financial benefits have given rise to a pool of well tuned youngsters, but it has also rekindled the enthusiasm and interest of the older ones. The modern fitness regime has made age an irrelevant criterion for sustained performance and selection.
The competition for a place in the Indian team is now more intense. The older stalwarts have realised the importance of reestablishing themselves and are, therefore, busy in honing their skill and fitness further. Retiring from any sport for a professional sportsman is one of the most difficult decisions in anyone’s career.
The only signs of exiting are through excessive abuse of the body and thereby eventually leading to a major injury. This also has become passé with modern medicines and reconstruction programs. The Indian selectors have a challenging task at the end of the year when they would have to select the side to tour South Africa.
Sachin Tendulkar is just two short of his 200th Test match and, therefore, a certainty for selection. He does look fit and eager to continue and so do Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh.
They will all be vying for a place in the side to get back into the team, having spent a considerable amount of time during the off-season getting themselves in the pink of fitness and form. Interestingly, Indian cricket has never had it so good!