The agony ends finally with Indian cricket team back home. For what was labelled as “Agnipeeth” series by the broadcasters and billed to be an exhilarating contest, India’s tour of Australia was one of the most lop sided tours by a the top nation in the recent years ending as an "Agonypath" series. (Courtesy : An equally distraught fan). Since the Ganguly led side made a remarkable comeback from behind win against the rampant Australian side on verge of 17th consecutive test win, every India Vs Australia series has been highly contested both in Asia and Oceania.
In a decade of complete Australian dominance, India managed to be the only side to challenge the Kangaroos at home or away on consistent basis. Even the ever challenging South Africans failed to match the Australians. But India somehow found heroes in both the away tours of 2003 and 2007 as well as in the Home series of 2001, 2008 and 2010. Only in 2004 series at India, Gilchrist led Australians managed to conquer the “Final Frontier”.
All said, this recent series was among India’s worst in a long time. Even in 1992 and 1999 when the side was naive against clinical Australia, Team India managed to show some spirited performances to bolster the image. The image of the then Teen aged Tendulkar dismantling the Australian attack in bouncy Perth and precision filled Laxman’s Sydney knocks will remain etched in memory forever. But this time apart from Kohli’s brilliant ton at Adelaide, the side which had the top two run getters in Test table failed to even challenge the home side.
If Tests were pathetic, ODI series too was distraught for the Indian team. Dhoni’s brilliance won two matches and tied one. Kohli’s rare gem made the final match of the tour as the side’s best. But the brewing disunity in the side (maybe the media’s creation if the players are to be believed) came into fore and the irresponsible statements by the senior players made no good to the reputation. Bowling failed and batting failed miserably. The infusion of young legs made fielding the best forte of India for the first time probably.
So finally the return back home is the most warming thing to happen for the distraught and beaten side in the last 3 months. FTP has been kind enough to let India heal its wounds at the pleasures of home. The same team will now look totally different unit aback home. Suddenly the batsmen will hit form and bowlers will look like match winners. No more will the side be worried on rising deliveries and swing of the ball. Runs will start to flow from the bats and centuries will come in a faster rate than the runs in Australia.
BCCI will soon be happy that “All is well” with the side and will try to create an illusion that the side will be world beaters once again for the next year and half. The demanding away tours are over for time now. The next few series are scheduled in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Srilanka if the FTP is to be followed. Until December 2013 when the side will face South Africa, there is no big challenge to the team.
England and Australia won’t be the same in India as they were at their respective home. For the immediate challenge to be provided by England in November 2012, tests against Pakistan are an indication. India may not be as good as the neighbours in spin department, but Ashwin and Ojha will surely be creating troubles for the Champion side in the pitches tailor made to suit their needs. Australia in February 2013 is again going to be welcomed with spin tracks and who knows India may manage revenge against both the side. Only the magnitude may be little less.
This is the best choice for India to build a new test team. The three legends have made us extremely proud and converted the Indian side from mediocrity to champions. But time has come for the next set to emerge. That Kohli, Yuvraj and Raina (no matter what their abilities are) have played handful of tests despite having 3000 plus (Raina and Kohli) and 8000 odd (Yuvraj) runs in ODIs is sure enough an indication that things are not going to be easy for the test side in the rehabilitation phase.
A proper planning and good execution is the need of the hour but unfortunately those are the most missing qualities from the board. Reluctance of the Board to set up a review panel despite two clear Whitewashes for the side that has four of cricket’s top batsmen is shows the administration of the world’s richest cricket body.
All said and done, let us join hands to welcome back the side from a tough tour. For the next 15 months or so, we will back saying that England and Australia 2011 are aberrations and our side is as good as it was. We will continue to bask in glory along with our Board and media and players for the brilliance of the side at home. South Africa is long way ahead the road. There is another 18 months before we will be challenged. Are not we fools if we plan now for something that is scheduled a year and half later. Future is what will happen tomorrow. That has been the motto of Indian Cricket. Long Live the Indian Cricket!