Now that India have been on the top of Test world for a while, Dhoni & Co. will have some serious business at hands in the coming months, to maintain their cricketing supremacy, and to fill the void created by Australia as the undisputed world leader.
But that won’t be easy because they will travel to England in a month where they are expected to face a stiff challenge from Andrew Strauss-led English team. England will leave no stone unturned in defeating the Indian team and establish their superiority in Test cricket after their Ashes euphoria.
After beating the Australian outfit Down Under, England are eager to prove that they are the ‘real’ number one Test side. Though Test rankings tell us otherwise, they believe deep in their hearts that it’s just a matter of time that they would displace India from top.
Can India prove England wrong by clinching the upcoming series in England? If it’s not impossible, it will be mighty difficult for the Indian team to beat England in their own conditions.
In the last couple of years, England’s cricketers have grown from strength to strength, beating almost every opponent that challenged them, whether at home or on foreign soil.
They got the better of Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh and most importantly Australia in last couple of years. The most significant victories came against the Aussies as they not only beat them in home series in 2010, they humiliated the Kangaroos in Australia at the beginning of this year, formally ending their two-decade long domination.
India’s captain MS Dhoni, who has almost achieved everything a captain can dream of in three years, will be aware of the huge task at hands. Can Dhoni again shock the cricketing world by thumping the belligerent England side this time?
Going by the comments of leading English cricketers and their former players, England are just waiting to give India a crude reality check when they visit their country. From a meek team, England’s progress as a top Test nation is nothing but extraordinary.
When Andrew Strauss took over the reins from maverick Kevin Pietersen, England cricket was in total disarray. Pietersen spoke openly against the then coach Peter Moors. Team morale was at an all time low. Things were bad to a point where the English board had no other option but to remove both of them and hand over the rein to Strauss who, at that time, was not a regular member of the Test side. Former Zimbabwean captain Andy Flower was elevated as the chief coach in place of Moors.
And what a masterstroke that was! Both of them clicked immediately. They re-established team spirit, spotted some young talents, gave them a fair chance to prove themselves. Graeme Swann, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott are the results of the visionary policies envisaged by Strauss and Flower.
Swann, Bell, Bresnan, Tremlett and Cook, once seen as no-hopers, came back to the new era and became match-winners instantly. That they achieved the unthinkable by defeating Australia in Australia was not a fluke but the upshot of a long-term goal set by the captain-coach duo.
So Dhoni’s men will up against an outfit which is full of confidence and character. It’s not surprising that they will settle no less than the top spot.
Team India, which is no more just a ‘tiger at home’, will have to produce their best under their newly appointed coach Duncan Fletcher to maintain their Test supremacy against England, a team which started believing themselves under the same man way back in 2005.