What’s the story?
Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar has exuded high praise on the Virat Kohli-led Indian team. Declaring that the other sides will be envious of the depth possessed by the world’s top-ranked outfit, the 43-year-old went on to attribute their remarkable recent form to the lower-order’s resilience under pressure.
When asked if the other teams will be envious of the current Indian side, Tendulkar affirmed, “Absolutely. When we are at full strength, it’s a good problem to have. Whom to leave out? That means our bench strength is really strong. That’s how champion teams are. To maintain and stay at this level is something I am sure everyone is wanting to do.
“The season has been tremendous for our team. There have been challenging moments, and those moments were when I felt our number 7, 8 and 9 contributed big time. Those were critical moments when the Test match could have gone either way,” he said on the sidelines of the launch of his personalised digital app.
From 13 Tests in the recently completed home season, India won 10 and suffered defeat on only one occasion. With their 2-1 series victory over Australia, they reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and consequently completed the full set of Test trophies.
The heart of the matter
A key aspect of India’s dominant form has been the consistency shown by their lower-order. With Wriddhiman Saha taking his batting to the next level, the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and to a certain extent Jayant Yadav have all managed to thwart opposition bowling attacks by showing commendable tenacity.
In fact, this was the first time that two all-rounders from the same team scored over 400 runs and picked up more than 50 wickets in a season. Apart from being the top-ranked bowlers in the world, Jadeja and Ashwin have also contributed handily with the bat. On the other hand, Saha scored two centuries in the season and formed several crucial partnerships as well.
Despite injuries turning the playing eleven into a revolving door, India's bench strength came through on multiple occasions. Amidst heavy competition for spots, the players stuck to their task and helped the team withstand pressure moments.
Taking note of their heavy workload over the course of the season, the likes of Jadeja and Umesh Yadav have been granted rest from the first few weeks of the IPL. Meanwhile, Ashwin, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul are all ruled out of the tournament due to recurring injuries.
While Tendulkar‘s comments should be a massive boost to their confidence, the Indian players will be well aware of the fact that tougher challenges lie in wait. With plenty of overseas tours lined up in the next season or two, they will be eager to perform outside of their comfort zone and earn the respect of opponents across the globe.