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5 Ways Captain Virat Kohli Transformed Indian Cricket

Test captain Virat Kohli has decided to step down.

Shocking? Absolutely yes! Surprising? No.

Looking at the events over the past few months—stepping down from RCB captaincy, then giving up T20I leadership to focus on the 2023 ODI World Cup and World Test Championship, and finally relinquishing ODI captaincy altogether to Rohit Sharma—Test captaincy resignation was bound to happen.

We just could not have guessed it would be so soon, especially after the recent success of the Indian Test team.

Today we look at 5 ways how Virat Kohli’s Test captaincy transformed Indian cricket and what holds in his career ahead.

Table of Contents

1. Overseas Victories Became the Norm, not an Aberration

Since the turn of the century, India’s journey in Test cricket can be divided in three phases:

  • 2000-2010: Phase 1 (Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni)
  • 2011-2017: Phase 2 (MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli)
  • 2017-2021: Phase 3 (Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane)

Phase I – India Start Winning Matches Overseas, Not Series

In Phase 1, India achieved 23 overseas victories & 20 draws (out of 64 Total).

Here is the country-by-country analysis (ESPN Cricinfo StatsGuru Link):

  • 7 SENA Victories
    • 2 Wins Vs SA (Johannesburg 2006, Durban 2010)
    • 2 Vs England (Leeds 2002, Nottingham 2007)
    • 1 Vs NZ (Hamilton 2009)
    • 2 Vs Australia (Adelaide 2003, Perth 2008)
  • 3 Vs Sri Lanka (Kandy 2001, Galle 2008, Colombo 2010)
  • 2 Vs West Indies (Port of Spain 2002, Kingston 2006)
  • 2 Vs Pakistan (Multan & Rawalpindi 2004)
  • 3 Vs Zimbabwe (Bulawayo 2001 & 2005, Harare 2006)
  • 6 Vs Bangladesh (Dhaka 2000, 2004, 2007, & 2010, Chattogram 2004 & 2010)

Although India won matches all around, they failed to win a series in SA or Australia (they did win historic series against WI 2006 & England 2007 though).

Phase 2 – The Horror

In the six years of Phase 2, India only achieved 6 victories & 10 draws (out of 32 total). (StatsGuru)

  • 3 Vs West Indies (Kingston 2011, North Sound 2016, Gros Islet 2016)
  • 2 Vs Sri Lanka (both Colombo 2015)
  • 1 vs England (Lord’s 2014)

The 8-0 (4-0 vs England followed by 4-0 Vs Australia) will be forever etched as a horror phase for Indian Test cricket. Whoever watched those two tours, realize the depths of despair Indian cricket was in. (I personally watched every single ball of that 2011 England series…Except for Dravid’s 3 tons, it was a pretty dreadful experience)

When Virat Kohli took over as captain in 2014 from MS Dhoni, India was ranked the #7 Test team in the world. Captain Virat Kohli made an impact right away with his twin tons in Adelaide, the second of which was a heartbreaker.

In order to go for the win, Kohli was prepared to lose. This was the learning phase.

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Phase 3 – The Rise of Kohli, the Captain

Then came the rise.

Just three and half years between July 2017 & December 2021, team India won 14 matches away & 3 draws (out of 31 total). (StatsGuru)

  • 9 SENA Victories
    • 2 Vs South Africa (Johannesburg 2018, Centurion 2021)
    • 3 Vs England (Nottingham 2018, Lord’s 2021, Oval 2021)
    • 4 Vs Australia (Adelaide 2018, Melbourne 2018 & 2020, Brisbane 2021)
  • 2 Vs West Indies (North Sound 2019, Kingston 2019)
  • 3 Vs Sri Lanka (Galle, Colombo, Pallekele 2017)

2020-2021 season alone had 5 SENA victories, almost as many as the 2000s put together! And this does not even include the great Vihari-Ashwin draw at Sydney.

Although the 1-2 loss against South Africa dented Kohli’s legacy, the fact that India were favorites in a country they had never won is a testament to his leadership. From #7 to #1 for 4-5 years? Not bad, I say (Watch India getting the ICC Test mace as Shastri interviews Kohli)

Also Read: India Vs Australia Series Review 2020-21: The Greatest Story of Them All? Better Than Ashes 2005?

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2. Developing A Fast-Bowling Culture

The most widely recognized contribution of captain Virat Kohli is the development of a fast-bowling culture in Indian cricket.

If you watched 83, the movie based on India’s 1983 World Cup winning campaign under captain Kapil Dev, India’s first true fast bowling allrounder. In the story, you can see that India were not expected to build fast bowlers. There was no proper system, zero support staff, and the infrastructure was lacking.

Over the years, India started to develop some medium pacers—Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath, (most prominently) Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Agarkar, and Balaji. Although they all had good seasons, except Zaheer Khan, none lasted for more than 5 years.

The Turnaround

After the second coming of ‘unlucky’ Ishant Sharma after his 7-74 at Lord’s 2014, the story changed. Kohli recognized that for India to win overseas, they had to take 20 wickets. For that to happen in the spicy & bouncy pitches, he & coach Ravi Shastri were willing to give complete freedom to his fast bowlers, who were then developed under bowling coach Bharat Arun (and mentored by Zaheer Khan early in their careers or in respective IPL teams).

Fast forward five years, Ishant Sharma cannot even find a place in the XI in the lost series against South Africa. Why? Well, because…

Jasprit Bumrah is the best bowler in the world. Mohammad Shami is the king of second innings reverse swing. Umesh Yadav is as good as it gets for a fast bowler in Indian conditions. Mohammad Siraj is a revelation, and Shardul Thakur takes 5-fers and breaks crucial partnerships for breakfast.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Naveep Saini, Deepak Chahar, and T. Natarajan cannot even make the team, while Hashal Patel, Prasidh Krishna, Chetan Sakariya & other domestic giants and IPL stars keep the backbone of the pipeline strong.

In today’s world, if you make the Indian Test squad as a fast bowler, you are the best in the world, let alone India.

And that is the legacy of Virat Kohli.

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3. Test Cricket Receives the Kohli Boost

Test cricket has been in a self-described existential crisis for about two decades now. For any business venture to succeed, money is needed. To raise money, you need customers.

In the cricketing world, customers are spectators & the spectators have been rapidly dwindling. Oh yeah, and where does cricket get most of its customers? That is right, India.

Indian cricket has been at the heart of cricket’s financial & global growth but with the horror second phase (2011-2016) combined with the expansion of the IPL, Test cricket was at threat.

In comes Virat Kohli.

Interviews after interviews, post-match presentations after post-match presentations, Kohli reiterated his commitment to Test cricket. When the World Test Championship would be under scanner, Kohli would come out in its support.

The wins overseas and watching India play a positive brand of cricket definitely has brought new fans of Test cricket and has re-energized skeptical viewers of the game.

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4. Inculcating Winning Attitude & Self-Belief

When Kohli was captain, two of his personality traits swept the whole team— (1) Obsession with fitness, and (2) Emotions galore.

With improved sporting infrastructure and rise of T20 cricket, the standards of cricket have improved by leaps and bounds over the past decades.

However, it is captain Virat Kohli who ensured that fitness is an expectation, not just a premium add-on bonus at the international level. He set the example by prioritizing fitness himself and giving his all in the field.

Test cricket is a momentum-based game and Kohli’s momentum shifts with his emotions.

Many a time, Kohli’s enthusiasm lifted India in the field and his encouragement helped the fast bowler channel their best game. Sledging no longer hurt India as they fought fire with fire. His attitude and aggression are often criticized, but as a captain, he usually brought the best in his team.

So, we can say that captain Virat Kohli made the Indian Test team stronger—both physically and mentally.

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5. Grooming an Abundant Talent Pool

It is well known that India has a large talent pool, an envy of the world. However, it can be both a blessing and a curse.

In limited overs cricket, the constant chopping and changing by both the captain and the selection committee was detrimental to India’s progress. In Test cricket, though, he managed his players rather well.

Although Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara were out of form for extended periods of time, he continuously backed his senior players. Pujara’s contribution in Australia speaks for himself and Rahane played the occasional match winning innings abroad.

Some may have thought that R Ashwin’s career might have been over a couple of years ago, but credit to both Ashwin’s reinvention & Kohli’s backing, Ashwin is back.

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The Legacy

Finally, by mid-2021 Kohli’s machinery was set. The team had a template that they played with, and the players fulfilled their roles in the large machinery created by Kohli-Shastri-Arun-support staff. This allowed the likes of Axar Patel, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Washington Sundar—aka the next generation of Indian cricket—to seamlessly fit in the system and contribute in match-winning ways.

The stats are crystal clear. With 40 wins out of 68 Tests with a win-loss ratio of 2.352, he is not only India’s best Test captain but in the league of Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh.

Captain Virat Kohli might have called it a day, but his mark on Indian Team will be felt for a very, very long time.

Anyway, wipe off your tears. It is not the end till the end.

Kohli the batter still has time and will have the final laugh.

Watch Out.

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© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 01/16/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

83 Movie Review – Does the Film Do Justice to India’s Unlikely Dream 1983 World Cup Journey?

83 Movie Review – The much-anticipated Bollywood film on India’s unlikely 1983 World Cup victory has hit the theaters.

Watch it or Skip It? Here is my 83 movie review. Comment on what you thought of the movie. Below my Verdict, you will see India’s 1983 match scorecards, highlights of the semi-finals and finals, interviews, and the trailer/clips from the movie.

Also Read: Netflix ‘Bad Sport’ Fallen Idol Review: Must Watch for All Cricket Fans

Table of Contents

  1. 83 Movie Cast
  2. 83 Movie Detail & Information
  3. 83 Movie Review – The Summary
  4. 83 Movie Review – The Performances
  5. 83 Movie Review – The Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?
  6. The Most Consequential Underdog Story Ever?
  7. 1983 World Cup India’s Scorecards
  8. Team India’s Statistics at the 1983 Prudential World Cup
    1. Batting – Most Runs
    2. Bowling – Most Wickets
    3. Fielding Most Catches
    4. Wicket Keeper – Dismissals
  9. 1983 World Cup Videos and 83 Movie Clips
    1. 83 Movie Review – Trailer and Clips
    2. 1983 World Cup Video Highlights, Interviews, and Documentaries
      1. Interviews
      2. Documentaries
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83 Movie Cast

  • Captain Kapil Dev (C) – Ranveer Singh; Romi Bhatia (wife) – Deepika Padukone; (Mother) – Neena Gupta
  • Sunil Gavaskar – Tahir Raj Bhasin; Pammie Gavaskar (wife) – Parvati Nair
  • Krishnamachari Srikkanth – Amar Choudary (Jiiva)
  • Dilip Vengsarkar – Adinath Kothare
  • Mohinder Amarnath – Saqib Saleem; Inderjith Bhardwaj (wife) – Aditi Arya
  • Yashpal Sharma – Jatin Sarna
  • Sandeep Patil – Chirag Patil (actual son)
  • Ravi Shastri – Dhairya Karwa
  • Madan Lal – Harrdy Sandhu; Annu Lal (wife) – Wamiqa Gabbi
  • Kirti Azad – Dinker Sharma
  • Roger Binny – Nishant Dahiya
  • Balwinder Sandhu – Ammy Virk
  • Syed Kirmani (WK) – Sahil Khattar
  • Sunil Valson – R Badree
  • PR Man Singh (Manager) – Pankaj Tripathi
  • Farokh Engineer (Commentator) – Boman Irani
  • Malcolm Marshall – Mali Marshall (Actual son)
  • David Firth (Journalist) – Simon Balfour
  • Indira Gandhi (Prime Minister) – Avantika Akerkar
  • Guest Appearances from Kapil Dev (spectator) & Mohinder Amarnath (as father Lala Amarnath)
  • Other characters include Mr. Wankhede, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Jeff Dujon, Indian army, little Sachin Tendulkar (and older brother)
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83 Movie Detail & Information

Release Date: 24 December, 2021

Director: Kabir Khan

Length: 2 hours, 42 minutes (162 minutes)

Genre: Sports Drama Film

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Where Can I Watch 83 movie? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions)

Where Can I Watch 83 movie?

The sports drama film, 83, is available on Netflix in different languages.
*This may vary by region.

Is there a 1983 film on India’s World Cup win?

Yes, Kabir Khan’s 83 depicts team India’s miraculous journey in the 1983 Cricket World Cup.

Which actors are part of 83 movie cast?

Ranveer Singh (as Kapil Dev), Tahir Raj Bhasin (Sunil Gavaskar), Saqib Saleem (Mohinder Amarnath), Dhairya Karva (Ravi Shastri), Deepika Padukone (Kapil Dev’s wife, Roma Bhatia), Neena Gupta (Dev’s mother), Jiva (Kris Srikkanth), and Pankaj Tripathi (PR Man Singh) are some of the prominent cast members of the movie, 83.

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83 Movie Review – The Summary

83 is unlike any sports drama out there. Rather, it is an extended highlight reel (which has been shot spectacularly well) of the 1983 World Cup from the point of view of the players sprinkled in with some inspirational music.

The movie begins with that Viv Richards’ shot in the 1983 World Cup Final. Madan Lal’s seemingly innocuous delivery, Richards attempted pull, Yashpal Sharma closing in, and captain Kapil Dev running towards and completing that catch.

The movie pivots back to the months prior to the World Cup, where the Indian cricket team receives the invitation to the 1983 Prudential World Cup and manager PR Man Singh starts his preparation for the tour.

The rest of the movie is set in England. 83’s theme revolves around doubt cast by the rest of the world on Kapil Dev’s team and how they overcame it. The Indian cricket board, MCC officials, English journalist David Firth, Indian journalists, Indian fans, the commentators, and even some of the players themselves—none of them gave Team India a chance.

In order to NOT spoil the movie for you, I am not going to go in the details but let me lay out the general idea.

The rest of the movie basically dives into each and every fixture for India in the World Cup—What happened between each match, the conversations in the dressing room and net practices, the shenanigans in the hotel or bus during downtime, cultural influence back home, support from wives and family, and finally, the tension in the match itself. The direction of Kapil Dev’s 175* is the best moment of the movie, giving life to an innings uncovered due to BBC’s strike.

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83 Movie Review – The Performances

Special mentions to the acting performances.

Ranveer Singh’s portrayal of captain Kapil Dev is spot on with accurate bowling action, accent, and leadership moments. Another character who is central to the movie is Pankaj Tripathi as PR Man Singh. He is the glue that keeps the movie together.

With Ranveer Singh highlighting the show, I had an underlying fear that he would overshadow the rest of the characters.

This could not have been farther from the truth as each actor came into his own just like each of the actual players coming to the party in the 83 WC. Ammy Virk (Sandhu) and Jiiva’s (Srikkanth) comic timing, Jatin Sarna’s (Sharma) fluency, and Tahir Raj Bhasin’s embodiment as Sunil Gavaskar with his subdued demeanor add immense value to the movie.

Even though they do not get as much screen time, Saqib Saleem (as Amarnath) and Nishant Dahiya (Roger Binny) shine and provide the best moments in the film while portraying their vulnerable side. From Patil & Shastri to Kirmani & Sunil Valson, each character has been given due role.

Boman Irani’s (Farokh Engineer) commentary acts like the fourth wall, conveying the differences in perception between the rising Indian dressing room and the outside world.

The beauty of this movie is that halfway in the movie you will feel like you are watching the actual players and are hooked into the storyline.

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83 Movie Review – The Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?

Pros: Screenplay; Chemistry Between the Actors; Seamless Immersion of Real-Life Photos in the movie

Cons: Climax Ends Too Quickly (Not much focus on post-match speeches or the aftermath); Political References Interrupting flow of the World Cup

Verdict:

Is 83 the greatest sporting movie of all time? No, not even close.

Remember the Titans, the Rocky movies, Last Dance documentary, Moneyball, and Invictus all rank higher up that list. In terms of Bollywood, Chak de India, Lagaan, Iqbal, and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are the golden standard.

Comparing 83 to any other sports movies would be an injustice. You see, there isn’t a rousing emotional speech in this one. There isn’t much background of players’ personal lives either like other stereotypical sport movies. The sole focus is on the couple of months preceding June 25th, 1983, and they do this exceedingly well.

The movie’s delivery is simple because Kapil Dev was a simple man.

The strength of 83 lies in the inside jokes and stories. We may have heard a few of them during the numerous interviews over the years, but 83 has breathed life into these characters on the big screen.

Credit to the writers of the movie for infusing little details like Keki Tarapore’s influence on Indian fast bowling and for illuminating on the aura of West Indian players at that time—Captain Clive Lloyd, Sir Vivian Richards, and the fast-bowling unit, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, and Malcolm Marshall.

If you are a cricket fan, this is a 5/5. You will enjoy each and every moment of this movie. If you are watching objectively from a film critic point of view, there is a little more left to be desired at the very end.

Don’t miss out on this gem.

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The Most Consequential Underdog Story Ever?

While it cannot be claimed that this is the single greatest underdog story in sporting history, it definitely ranks among the top. What India’s 1983 journey can claim is the Most Consequential Underdog story.

In 83, you will see that Team India came in with dire financial situation and zero expectations. The Indian cricket board facility looks archaic, allowance per day & food is at a bare minimum, the 83 WC is just a stopping point for a self-funded trip to Miami, and there is no respect from the cricketing world.

The only WC game India had won so far was against East Africa (1975), and they even lost to Sri Lanka in 1979, a team with no Test status back then (equivalent of USA defeating Ireland in today’s world).

Fast forward 30 years, the BCCI controls world cricket as a multi-billion-dollar governing body, depth of Indian cricket is unparalleled, cricket is central to India’s culture and economy, and the Indian Premier League, limitless sponsorships, world class facilities & coaches are a given.

India is at a great position today due to the efforts & hard work of these men in 1983. If there was ever a fairytale story to get inspiration from, this is it. Never lose hope despite outside noises. Keep believing – you never know, it might come true.

I will leave you with one final thought – What if India had NOT won the 1983 World Cup? What if Kapil Dev had dropped Richards? If Dev had failed to arrest the slide at 17–5, with the 175*, would we be playing the Zimbabwe Premier League today?

Also Read:

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1983 World Cup India’s Scorecards

  1. India Won by 34 Runs Vs West Indies, Manchester
    • Yashpal Sharma 89 (120)
  2. India Won by 5 Wickets Vs Zimbabwe, Leicester
    • Madan Lal 3/27
  3. Australia Won by 162 Runs Vs India, Nottingham
    • Trevor Chappell 110 (131)
  4. West Indies Won by 66 Runs Vs India, The Oval (London)
    • Sir Vivian Richards 119 (146)
  5. India Won by 31 Runs Vs Zimbabwe, Tunbridge Wells
    • Kapil Dev 175* (138), 2 catches, 1/32
  6. India Won by 118 Runs Vs Australia, Chelmsford
    • Roger Binny 21 (32) & 4/29
  7. India Won by 6 Wickets Vs England, Manchester
    • Mohinder Amarnath, 46 (92) & 2/27
  8. India Won by 43 Runs Vs West Indies, Lord’s London
    • Mohinder Amarnath, 26 (80) & 3/12

Bonus: India Won by 10 Wickets Vs East Africa (1975) Farokh Engineer 54* (93)

Team India’s Statistics at the 1983 Prudential World Cup

Batting – Most Runs

RunsAverageBest100/50
Kapil Dev30360.60 (108.00 SR)175*1/0
Yashpal Sharma24034.28890/2
Mohinder Amarnath23729.62800/1
Sandeep Patil21630.85 (90.00 SR)51*0/2
Krishnamachari Srikkanth15619.50390/0
Madan Lal10234.00270/0

Bowling – Most Wickets

WicketsAverageBest4/5
Roger Binny1818.664/291/0
Madan Lal1716.764/201/0
Kapil Dev1220.415/430/1
Mohinder Amarnath822.253/120/0
Balwinder Sandhu837.122/260/0
Ravi Shastri (5 matches)421.753/260/0

Fielding Most Catches

Catches
Kapil Dev7
Ravi Shastri (5 matches)3
Sunil Gavaskar3
Krishnamachari Srikkanth3

Wicket Keeper – Dismissals

DismissalsCatchesStumpingMax in 1 Innings
Syed Kirmani14 1225 catches

1983 World Cup Videos and 83 Movie Clips

83 Movie Review – Trailer and Clips

  1. 83 Official Trailer
  2. Kapil Dev-Sandhu “There, There, & There” Scene
  3. Madan Lal-Kapil Dev Scene Before the Catch
  4. Kirti Azad Vs Ian Botham Scene
  5. Mohinder Amarnath-Yashpal Sharma Scene
  6. Srikkanth’s Speech Scene
  7. Kapil Dev’s Attempted Motivational Speech Scene

1983 World Cup Video Highlights, Interviews, and Documentaries

  1. India Vs West Indies Finals Highlights
  2. India Vs England Semi-Final Highlights (Crowd storms the field as England as Patil-Dev clinch victory)
  3. Post-Match Interview with captain Kapil Dev & Clive Lloyd
  4. Indian Team Meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

Interviews

  1. Gavaskar on Kapil Dev’s 175
  2. Breakfast With Champions (Kapil Dev)
  3. BwC (Michael Holding)
  4. BwC (Ravi Shastri)
  5. Team Interview at Kapil Sharma Show

Documentaries

  1. ICC – Kapil Dev and the story of the 1983 World Cup
  2. How We Won the World Cup with Sandeep Patil (ESPNCricinfo)
  3. 1983 World Cup Fox Documentary

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 12/28/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Think About It: India Are So Bad That They Are Actually Good

As acclaimed twentieth century writer Khalil Gibran once remarked, “Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.”

India’s improbable victory in the 4th Test sent social media into frenzy. There were claims of it being the ‘greatest Test team’ going around or the ‘best Indian Test team.’ Although there is subtle merit to these claims, I argue that this is just an over exaggeration of the ground reality.

How Good Are Team India?

There is no doubt that the Indian cricket team has flourished in the 21st century. With a thriving cricketing culture, robust recruitment setup throughout the country, monetary power in the hands of the BCCI with the advent of the IPL, and a prospering India A system, India has the greatest depth and resources available.

The rise of Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Suryakumar Yadav, and Ishan Khan across formats in less than six months attests to this claim.

Overseas Victories

India came back from 0-1 to seal the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1. Stories galore and the legend of this series will carry in the minds of fans forever. Similarly, a defeat in the third Test against England did not faze India. In the 4th Test, a 99-run deficit was overcome via valiant century by Rohit Sharma and memorable contributions in both innings by Shardul Thakur.

To give you an idea how far India have come along—This is India’s 4th victory in Australia & England since December (and 8th in Australia, England, South Africa since 2018). In the decade before, India’s only moments of glory in England & Australia were Headingly 2002, Adelaide 2003, England series 2007, and Perth 2008 (coincidentally Rahul Dravid contributing with 148, 233 & 72*, captain, and 93). So this 2-1 series victory (almost) should hold well with the Indian fans, especially after the suffering endured in the 2010s.

This Indian team is good. Really good. They have the spirit to come back from any circumstance, and they just never give up. The attitude instilled by Ravi Shastri-Virat Kohli is evident in the body language of each and every player.

However, is this team the best? I do not think so.

Collapse A Day Does Not Keep The Doctor Away

Team India is brilliant at comebacks, but why is there a need of comebacks in the first place?

The 2000s Australia team set the benchmark for Test greatness. Did you ever hear them coming from dire circumstances? Well, not much because they were so dominant, a comeback was not even necessary.

The same is true for the current World Test Championship winner, the New Zealand cricket team. When they win, they win emphatically.

If India are to instill their greatness in cricketing folklore, they must replicate their home dominance away as well.

Current Batting Side Does Not Fire In Unison

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, and Ajinkya Rahane are all good batters individually, but they have rarely fired in unison.

When the top order bats at its best, the middle order collapses. When Pujara-Pant come together, the rest of the batters have already gone to the pavilion. Kohli is not back at his best yet and Rahane seems to have fallen off the charts altogether.

Even in the horrendous tours of 2011 and 2014, I do not remember performances like 36/9 or 78/10, let alone two. The batting collapses occur too frequently to be regarded as a modern great. What made the Sehwag-Dravid-Sachin-Laxman-Ganguly era great was their consistent overseas batting performances without having the caliber of fast bowlers at their disposals in the nets to practice with.

Now India finally has the bowling attack to take 20 wickets consistently, but a batting line up that is not even close.

Greatest Indian Bowling Attack

The reason India is succeeding away from home can be attributed to two factors: (1) comparatively lower standard of opposition, and (2) fast bowling unit.

Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur provide regular breakthroughs while Jadeja and Ashwin can play both as wicket-taking options and chief controller depending on the conditions.

Since the South Africa tour of 2018, Indian bowlers have taken all 20 wickets by pace on numerous occasions. Injury replacements are readily available as well.

So is India Good, Bad, or Just Okay?

The bowling attack? The best in their nation’s history. Their batting? Eh. Not so hot.

India might have one of the best line ups on paper but are definitely not the best Test team going around. Or at least just not performing to their full potential yet. The flaws in India’s team performance combined with miraculous comebacks and recency bias actually amplify the degree of their quality. India are so bad sometimes that it brings out the best in the team. Still a long way to go achieve dominance.

In other words, India are so bad that they are actually good. Think about it.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 09/15/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Photo Courtesy: Photo by Sebastian Palomino from Pexels

India Vs Australia Series Review 2020-21: The Greatest Story of Them All? Better Than Ashes 2005?

India Vs Australia Series Review: The Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Usually a Test series is made up of a few iconic moments. This series was a compilation of iconic moments stitched together into a series.

  • Injuries: PucovskiWarner & Ishant-Bhuvneshwar Kumar pre-series. Shami, Umesh, Ashwin, Vihari, Jadeja, Bumrah, KL Rahul, & Pucovski again during the series.
  • Adelaide: Kohli‘s 74 & Run-Out, India 36/9 via Cummins & Hazlewood, Paine & Burn score, Kohli returns home.
  • Melbourne: India’s resilient comeback win, Rahane’s magnificent ton, Ashwin-Smith duel, Rahane comforts Jadeja after run-out.
  • Sydney: Rohit Sharma returns to work, Shubman Gill’s emergence, Smith-Labuschagne master-student showcase, Siraj battles racial abuse, Matthew Wade’s brain fades, Paine drops & sledges, India hold on, Pant 97, Pujara-Pant + Vihari-Ashwin = Draw.
  • Brisbane: Nathan Lyon’s 100th Test & signed jersey by Team India, stranded on 399 wickets, Natarajan & Sundar debut, Saini injured, Siraj’s 5-for, Thakur-Sundar fightback, Gill’s 91 & Pant’s 89*, Pujara Fights Body Blows & Butterfly, 328 chased, The Gabba fortress breached.

The series went from being “too friendly” to racial abuses. There were plenty of mini contests like Paine vs Ashwin, Pujara vs Lyon, fielders vs the flying ball, & Pujara vs Cummins (my favorite battle) to name a few.

Here are my picks for the best moments, emerging players, and much more in this India Vs Australia Series Review! Comment IN THE COMMENTS SECTION below on your favorite moments.

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from the Ind-Aus Series, Ind-Aus Test Series Preview, Prediction Results

Results – India Vs Australia

Test Series: India won 2-1

* Player of Match

  1. Australia won by 8 wickets *Tim Paine (Toss: India elected to bat)
  2. India won by 8 wickets *Ajinkya Rahane (Toss: Australia elected to bat)
  3. Match Drawn *Steven Smith (Toss: Australia elected to bat)
  4. India won by 3 wickets *Rishabh Pant (Toss: Australia elected to bat)

Interesting that toss went the wrong way in these games and batting second was not detrimental.

Player of SeriesIndia Australia
Pat Cummins
4/21 Best Innings, 7/69 Best Match
Most RunsRishabh Pant – 274 Runs (5 innings)


Cheteshwar Pujara – 271 Runs (8 innings)
Marnus Labuschagne – 426 runs (8 innings)

Steven Smith – 313 runs (8 innings)
Most WicketsMohammad Siraj – 13 wickets (6 innings)

Ravinchandran Ashwin – 12 wickets (6 innings)
Pat Cummins – 21 Wickets (8 innings)

Josh Hazlewood – 17 Wickets (8 innings)
India Vs Australia Series Review: Stats

The Highlights

India

1. Cheteshwar Pujara is a Legend.

  • 2018/19 – 521 runs, 100s-3 & 50s-1, best of 193, Average 74.42, Strike Rate 41.41, Balls Faced 1258
  • 2020/21 – 271 runs, 100s-0 & 50s-3, best of 77, Average 33.87, Strike Rate 29.20, Balls Faced 928

Statistically, Pujara had a worse tour than 2018 by double the margin in almost every area. In reality? His impact this time was just as important, if not more. If Pujara was not present at Sydney or Brisbane, neither would have drawn the 3rd Test nor won the 4th. The Australian bowling line up at the final session of 4th Test had all the energy drawn out of them through the defense of Pujara. On the last day, Pujara was unfazed despite so many blows to the helmet, chest, and the worst – finger jarring. Act of character and survival upon which India prospered.

2. Youngsters & India A Deliver

  • In 2008, Sri Lanka unveiled the M Factor against India – Malinga, Muralitharan, Mahela, & Mendis (later Mathews).
  • Similarly, India had the S factor – Debutants Siraj, Sundar, Shubman, Shardul (first Test – 10 balls & injured).

Shubman Gill’s consistency & backfoot punches, Washington Sundar’s confidence, Siraj’s maturity, & Shardul’s ability to make things happen all contributed to India’s series victory. If one player could symbolize this series, it is Mohammad Siraj, leading from the front in his 3rd Test match. Father’s bereavement and on the back of racial abuse, he stood firm on his ground and delivered.

January 11th is Rahul Dravid’s birthday, India A & India U-19 Coach (2016-19), now the head of the National Cricket Academy, and a mentor to many of these youngsters. Rishabh Pant & Vihari, a product of the India A system, provided Dravid with a perfect birthday gift on the eve of his birthday. Pant will always be questioned, but when India needed him, he delivered.

3. Rahane & Team Management

  • In our India vs Australia preview, we said that after 2014, “Rahane has failed to go to the next level,” & needs a “Pujara 2018 or Laxman 281 to elevate to legendary status.”

Verdict: Rahane has now successfully elevated himself to legendary status – as a batsman, player, & captain.

Although Rahane’s Melbourne knock rejuvenated the side, special mention needs to go to Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun, the physios, & the support staff. In hindsight, the 36/9 rejuvenated the side, but it could easily have gone the 2011 England-Australia tours with 4-0. Credit to the team management & leadership group to keep the team together and motivated (The law of averages helped India as chances for the rest of the series went India’s way).

With all the Rahane vs Virat vs Rohit Twitter battles, one should remember that this is Kohli’s team (emphasis on fast bowlers & overseas victories) which Rahane took forward with Rohit & co in the leadership group. Team effort, no less.

Australia

1. Labuschagne, Smith, & Warner

  • 739 runs, 100s-2, 50s-4, best of 131, average of 49.27.

Sounds pretty good, right? This is the combined stats of Marnus Labuschagne & Steven Smith and vastly skewed by the performance in the last two matches. They were good, but not the usual. Smith lost the duel to R Ashwin over the series, while Labuschagne capitalized on dropped chances. For a side carrying injured openers, a Joe Burn, and a couple of inconsistent keepers, a lot more was expected from these two.

David Warner was visibly unfit, & 67 runs (from which 48 came in one innings) at 16.75 does not reflect a player of his caliber. Against Warner, every bowler looked like Stuart Broad.

Usman Khawaja & Shaun Marsh, anybody?

2. The Fall of Nathan Lyon & Mitchell Starc?

  • Starc took 11 wickets at 40.72 (74.7 SR) & Lyon with 9 wickets at 55.11 (SR: A whopping 124.6)

Alarming numbers. Lyon looked decent for the first couple of Test matches without much ‘luck,’ especially with Hazlewood & Cummins going through the Indian line-up. As the series progressed, it became clear that Lyon was having an underwhelming series. Pujara’s dancing down the wicket blocks & Pant’s hit was too much to digest. Starc? Inconsistent, out of form, & slightly injured. Amidst a long tour, COVID Bio-Bubbles, and against a certain Pujara, not rotating quicks cost Australia.

Speaking of inconsistent keepers, Tim Paine & Matthew Wade: A Tale of Two Careers.

  • 8, 33, 30, 40, 13, 4, 45, 0, and a whole load of ways of getting out

Look, I like Wade & Paine. Paine even had a great series with the bat, including a match-winning 72. I admire players who started early, were dropped, improved, & fought back into the XI. These two have been in-and-out since 2010-11 & have finally managed some success at the international level, but is it enough? One of Australia’s flaws this series was not capitalizing on strong situations, and Wade was always at the center. Not converting a single start might be too much for the Australian selectors. On the other hand, Paine will still be in the side at least as a batsman, but lots of question on his keeping and captaincy. Also, Tim & his Paineful reviews.

Murmurs about Alex Carey trying a summer England gig after being released from Delhi Capitals…

3. The Lone Bright Spots

Not everything was bad for Australia though.

  • 8 innings, 162.1 overs, 51 maidens, 21 wickets, 4/21 Best innings & 7/69 Best match

That’s Pat Cummins for you. Most overs bowled. Highest wicket taker. Most maidens. Player of the Series. Consistently threatened India’s batting from the first Test to the last. Intensity, eyes on fire, perfect line & length. Hazlewood was really good too, but Cummins was just on another level.

Debutants Cameron Green & Will Pucovski were of the highest quality. Although Green did not have much to show in the wickets column (none after 6 matches & 44 overs), he ticked several boxes. A tall bowler at 140 kph, safe pair of hands with 10 feet reach, can dig in when needed, and explode as his blistering 84 displayed. Pucovski never looked out of place with a confident 62, sandwiched between unfortunate injuries.

The Awards

We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series.

The 4th Test overshadowed the Broken Cricket Dream awards for Australia, otherwise Joe Burns falling career, Pucovski’s repeated injuries, & Wade’s dismissals were ideal candidates. Here they are:

India Australia
Emerging PlayerShubman Gill & Mohammad SirajCameron Green
Surprise PackageIndia’s Resilience & Character
Sundar, Shardul, Siraj
Tim Paine – The Batsman
Marnus Labuschagne – The outfielder
Broken Cricket DreamThe Injuries
The Dropped Catches
Kuldeep Yadav
Tim Paine – The Captain
Tim Paine – The Keeper
Nathan Lyon 399*
India Vs Australia Series Review: The Awards

Who would have been your Emerging Player? Surprise Player? Broken Cricket Dream? Let us know below WITH COMMENTS!

Where Do They Go From Here?

In terms of the World Test Championship, India are at the top with the England home series to go, while Australia drop to #3 with a South Africa 3-match series to happen…somewhere (Australia virtually out of the WTC).

The India-Australia rivalry has taken the next step and few are even calling for a 5 match series. I am not sure if that should happen in the COVID environment and strict quarantine days, but definitely a possibility in the future.

Ashes 2005 Comparsion

Is the 2020-21 India vs Australia series the greatest test victory of all time? Probably not.

Ashes 2005 is usually hailed as the pinnacle of Test cricket extravaganza and rightly so. Both teams at their peaks, Australia’s 2005 meriting Top 2 All Time status (a squad which maybe only Steve Smith & Pat Cummins could have made), full crowds inspiring the next generation, England winning the Ashes (2-1) for the first times since 1986-87.

  • Was India’s Melbourne victory the greatest comeback of all time as the cricket Twitter family suggested at the time? No. Not even close.
  • Was India’s draw the greatest match saving draw of all time? Nope.
  • Was India’s chase at the Gabba the highest ever or the most enthralling? Nah.
  • The 36 All Out worst collapse of all time? Almost, but not really.

Legacy of the India Vs Australia 2020 Series

But the fact that all of the above happened in the same series under the backdrop of COVID-19 and depression around the world (both economically & mentally speaking).

India 36/9 at Adelaide, Kohli going home, Ishant-Umesh-Bhuvi-Shami-Bumrah less India, without the stars of Sydney in Jadeja, Ashwin, & Vihari, Siraj battling father’s bereavement & racial abuse. Gabbatoir breached. You cannot predict this. None of us could have.

So let me ask this again—Was the 2020-21 India-Australia the greatest ever Test series? No, but in terms of the context and stories, this may as well be the greatest story of them all.

Why compare anyway? I am just glad we have both series to cherish in our memories forever.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this India Vs Australia Series Review? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! Also feel free to share/discuss on our Twitter & Facebook pages!

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Copyright (2021: 1/12/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Hazlewood www.davidmolloyphotography.com from Sydney, Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Top Commentary Highlights

What is the first thing that comes in your mind when you think of cricket highlights? Fast bowling wickets compilation? Catches Win Matches? Stylish Cover drives?

How about classic commentary highlights? Well, today we will discuss exactly that!

Last week, we created a Fantasy team of Commentators XI. Harsha Bhogle was our team captain, Gaurav Kapur the opener, and the dynamic duo of Simon Doull and Pommie Mbangwa as the fast bowlers.

So naturally we asked our Twitter audience to respond with #BestCommentary for:

  • Best #IPL2020 Commentary Highlights
  • Most Favorite Iconic Cricket Commentary Memory

Commentators come in all shapes and sizes—a few serious, others insightful, and some extremely hilarious.

Who is your favorite commentator? Bill Lawry, Michael Holding, Tony Greig, Ian Bishop, Richie Benaud, Ravi Shashtri? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

Anyway, here are their twitter responses! So, sit back, relax, and watch some of the best cricket commentary videos!

There are lots of videos. Like a lot. Watch till the end for all the good ones.

The Tweets – Commentary Highlights

Here are the favorite IPL and cricketing memories from the fans in their own words. We have categorized the commentary in categories—The Jaw Drop, The Heartbreak, and The Critical, and then, some more.

The Jaw Drop feat Ravi Shastri

Here are some of the jaw dropping moments in recent cricketing history captured by iconic commentators.

1. Mohd Shamir Ansari (@ShamirMohd)

My Fav. #BestCommentary will be Ravi Shastri commentating on Yuvraj Singh Six sixes in an over to Stuart Broad in first T20 World Cup. And best #IPLT20 will be First time I saw sunny sir doing Hindi Commentary that was really an awesome moment for me

Yes Really It was very nice especially I was watching this match Live… So still remember those exciting sixes and commentary by Ravi Shastri.

What a great day for cricket. One just imagines what would have happened had Flintoff kept his cool to Yuvi that day?

2. Jonny (@Leathernwillow)

IPL comms just wash over me a bit. Sunny Gavaskar is the master of the box as much as he was at the crease, especially when he’s annoyed. KP’s ‘Pingo Pongo’ moments are fun. Best ever is Fazeer Mohammed “Why did he do that?!” to Gabriel’s brainfade against Yasir #BestCommentary

Try #RCBvSRH on 21 September as I checked and mentioned it that day. Also you’ve got to have Richie Benaud from Botham Headingley 1981 – “It went in to the confectionery stall and out again…”

3. Pratyush (@ps26_11)

For me, #BestCommentary All-Time – by Ravi Shastri Sir on India WC 2011 wining moment (Dhoni’s 6) ~ ” Dhoni finishes off in style..A magnificent strike into the crowd…India wins after 28 years…& it’s the Indian capt who’s been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final

Also Read: MS Dhoni and SK Raina Retire: An End of an Era

The Ian Bishop

Ian Bishop recently celebrated his 53rd birthday at the IPL. With Harsha Bhogle, Mark Nicholas, and JP Duminy, the banter among the group was hilarious!

He has had so many iconic moments in recent times, that he deserves a category by himself.

1. JustCricket (@justcricketblog)

My fav in #IPL2020 Bish, Danny M, Mark Nicholas, Sanga . All time Nasser H. Favorite moment :normally love all the 3rd man and Masterclass segments(Nasser and Murali) in sky sports. But generally I think it’s Bishop calling brathwaite and Ravi S in natwest series #bestcommentary

2. Rahul Kumar (@rahulk_1019)

Mine from ipl is AB v steyn(SRH one) 2014.. Simon doull & ramiz raja in comm… All time fav.. Bit biased, will select two: 1) Ravi shastri calling Dhoni’s six, wc 2011 final 2) Bish in manchester 2019 wc “Surely the hopes have been ignited enough for them to be extinguished!”

“Can he? Can he really?” “The dream has diminished for CB, here in manchesterrr..”

Watching late at night.. Was preparing for the exams..but couldn’t take my eyes off.. Even after the fall of 7th wkt.. For some reason didn’t switch it off… Treated with a phenomenal & memorable game.. The heart sank but was a special knock from brathwaitte..

Wow what a memory! The detail is impeccable. What would have happened had Boult dropped the catch?

Which Bish phrase is your favorite? Remember the Name“, ” The Dream is Alive”, or “The Dream is Diminished”?

The Heartbreak feat Ian Smith

1. My Favorite Commentary Highlight (@cricket_broken)
  1. Best #IPL2020 moment – Sanga-Mahela banter
  2. All-Time – “Grant Elliot – Superman! by Ian Smith

Joy for New Zealand, heartbreak for South Africa.

4 years later, heartbreak for New Zealand, joy for England. How the tables turn.

2. Arnob (@Arnobchitchats)

#BestCommentary for me is certainly by Ian Smith from CWC 2019 Final written below:-

“This is the moment – it’s Archer to Guptill. Two to win. Guptill’s got to push for two, they’ve gotta go! The throw’s gotta go to the keeper’s end. He’s got it! England have won the World Cup – by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.”#BestCommentary Chilling!

Want more New Zealand? Here is Starc’s 6-28 in that breathtaking finish.

The Critical

Not all commentary is hilarious or heartbreaking. Some commentary moments deal with serious cricketing issues.

  1. Vandit – West Indies T20 League Exodus

2011 Pakistan Vs West Indies ODI. The highlight was Michael Holding exclaiming, “I was told he played in the IPL this morning. I almost fell over. A feather duster could have knocked me over”

2. Here is another serious commentary by Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain on Muhammad Amir’s comeback following the Spot Fixing ban. Do watch the full interview here.

The Best Commentary Highlights

1. Sparsh Telang (@_cricketsparsh)

#BestCommentary Harsha Bhogle: “Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts. We are ready for the take-off.” This was when AB started his innings with a bang in one IPL match.

Did not find the exact Harsha video but here is Harsha Bhogle at his very best.

2. Tony Greig – Sharjah Sachin Tendulkar

3. YouTube – Best Commentary
4. Richie Benaud – BBC Tribute

Here is the BBC Tribute to Richie Benaud’s marvelous career, both as a player and a commentator. Here are some of his other Benaud’s other best moments.

5. My Personal Favorite – That. Is. Very. Good.

Any other videos or memories? Comment below and send us your favorite commentary highlights!

What did you think of the videos, the tweets, and the article? Please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to our blog for more such articles and follow us on twitter/facebook!

Also Read:

Sources: ICC, YouTube, IPLT20.com

Image Courtesy: Ravi Shastri – Bollywood Hungama, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons