At the time of writing this copy, team India need 200 odd runs in nearly 53 overs with nine batsmen in search of greatness. The 4th Test in Brisbane can still tilt in favour of the hosts, but to me, India is already the winner.
For an ordinary spectator but a die-hard India fan like me, who would skip a meal if Sachin Tendulkar was wrongly given out in Australia, this team is a surprise. We might have wanted Michael Vaughan to be proven wrong when he predicted a whitewash against India, but we held our jubilance till our team actually started making inroads Down Under.
I will give you three examples that validated my beliefs and why nobody could write us off the 22 yards.
Ajinkya Rahane taking DRS: In the second test at Melbourne, under pressure, India was looking for redemption when Ravindra Jadeja bowled a flipper to Tim Paine. There probably was a sound, the bowler and the wicket-keeper were contemplating DRS, but they missed the determined look on the captain’s face, who had already taken a review.
It could have been his short-sightedness of not consulting the keeper, but it was out and that needs to be seen in an entirely new light. It was the victory instigated by a super-focused captain who was much more than just a fill-in for Virat Kohli.
Needless to say, it changed the course of the match.
Hanuma Vihari correcting Babul Supriyo: India drew the Sydney match with the help of Herculean innings by Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin, but Supriyo tweeted this: “Playing 109 balls to score 7! That is atrocious to say the least. Hanuma Bihari has not only killed any Chance for India to achieve a historic win but has also murdered cricket. Not keeping win an option, even if remotely, is criminal.”
He gave the final touch with this: “I know that I know nothing about cricket.”
This was good enough to make him ineligible for any serious thoughts, but Vihari decided to correct him, so he wrote: Hanuma Vihari, with an asterisk, which was more of an exclamation mark on Supriyo’s statement.
Vihari remarkably didn’t talk about his game. Why? Because he knew what it meant for all of us. It was not anger, not frustration, not even fatigue, but indifference towards unnecessary criticism.
A player achieves that state of mind when he conserves his best talents for the ground and is ready to shoulder more responsibilities. All he wants to hear in that moment is the sound of the ball hitting the middle of his bat.
Shardul Thakur’s post-Brisbane innings: In a video conference, Thakur, with the look of a Physics prodigy, in Hindi, said that he has some talent for batting and how he practiced in the nets for such an opportunity.
You may have seen the news translated into English, but its real charm was in Hindi. If you look at this conference closely, you would immediately realise that he meant every sentiment shown in that one sentence. There, he was reeling beyond win and loss, batting or bowling, winner and runner-up. He was there to conquer it all.
I just checked the score, we need 145 in 37 overs with seven batsmen left. Not much has changed in the match, but probably a lot has in the Indian dressing room.