Coming up: An era of Indian domination in world cricket

Team India’s World Cup victory is not only a culmination of a dream but also a beginning of a new era, an era of Indian domination in World Cricket. Like 1983, it will change the landscape of cricket in this country and many more kids will take up cricket, which is brilliant for the future of the game in India.

The primary reason for India’s successful World Cup campaign was the combination of skill and experience. Sachin’s sublime form and the burning desire rubbed off to others and everyone started punching above their weight.

Yuvraj Singh’s renaissance has also played a pivotal role in India’s success. When India were, supposedly, struggling in the bowling department, Yuvraj stood up and got counted. Dhoni’s calming influence, Gambhir’s grit, Sehwag’s flair, Zaheer’s accuracy and Kohli’s youth are a few more reasons that India won the Cup after 28 long years.

I think this is indeed India’s best ODI team. The batting depth is second to none, bowling might have looked weak but it has delivered and towards the end even the fielding got better. It has the right combination of experience and youth. And to top it, all a very astute leader heading the unit.

MSD is definitely one of the best leaders and now that Sachin has said that he is the best, I would concur with him. Since I haven’t played under MSD, it would be unfair to compare him with the ones I played under but the results are there for everyone to see. World T20 winner, World Cup 2011 winner and brilliant performance across the world in all formats!

Special kudos to the Delhi duo of Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir. Both of them have been fantastic in the tournament, which was their first. Kohli hit the ground running by getting his first World Cup ton in the first match itself and looked pretty much in control of the proceedings, mostly. Yes, he did have a few poor outings but that had more to do with the shuffling in the batting order.

Gautam was asked to play a different role, the role of a grafter, who keeps the innings together, and he played his part to perfection.

Yuvraj Singh made this World Cup his own. He came into this World Cup on the back of some lacklustre performances and sporadic appearances thanks to freak injuries. It’s really tough for a player to pick himself up under these demanding circumstances. But don’t they say Cometh the hour, Cometh the man. He’s been the most valuable player of this team. More than his batting, it was his bowling which bailed both Team India and MSD out of a hole, for we desperately needed a bowler to bowl well in the middle overs.

Bowling was considered the weaker link but it did deliver on most occasions. If anything, our batting didn’t live up to its reputation at times. We must face it that our bowling was badly hit even before the start of the World Cup...Praveen Kumar got injured, Ashish wasn’t a 100% fit. The combination which worked wonders for the last 15 months was disrupted even before a single ball was bowled. Keeping all this in mind, I think we did really well.

Among the bowlers Zaheer was brilliant. He is India’s best fast bowler after Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath. India could not have won the Cup without Zaheer. Whenever India needed a breakthrough, MSD threw the ball to Zak and he delivered. He’s been phenomenal!

India’s success story would be incomplete if I don’t mention the man from South Africa. Coach Gary Kirtes has gone about his job very quietly. He’s been the driving force behind this unit en route to reaching the summit. He’s instilled self-belief in this team and helped them punch above their weight every now and then. His role has been as important and crucial as any member of this squad.

We must use this victory as a springboard to achieve bigger things. Yes, winning the World Cup is a huge thing but dominating World Cricket has to be our ultimate goal. We must spread our empire around the World and win in all formats. We must win Test series in Australia and South Africa, which is one frontier we haven’t crossed the boundary yet. And this team has it in them to do it.

(Aakash Chopra opened for India in 10 Tests, forming a potent all-Delhi combination with Virender Sehwag during India`s tour of Australia in 2003-04. He also made his mark as India`s last exceptional close-in fielder. He has also played over 130 first class matches. He writes columns for leading newspapers and websites. He also penned a book `Beyond the Blues`. Aakash`s Twitter feed is here

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