The first T20 match on Republic Day against England will witness Virat opening as the T20 captain of team India. Before I speak further about the reigning emperor (Kohli), I consider it my moral responsibility to dedicate a few words to the outgoing captain Shri M.S. Dhoni.
Although he only averaged 39 in test matches– arguably it was Dhoni who made the highest contribution in shaping India into an invincible cricketing superpower. No batsmen at 5 down in tests or in O.D.I.’s can equal his prowess as match-winner (Gilchrist being the only exception). Above all he is the most unselfish cricketer and never MS cared about his batting average or any personal milestones. Dhoni, in my opinion deserves a place amongst the top dozen cricketers of all time with the likes of Hayden, Donald, Warne and Tendulkar. No wicket keeping batsmen could ever resurrect a side from the grave to register a famous win like Dhoni did in the world cup final against Sri Lanka in 2011. Like all others, I would also credit Dhoni for the various feasts- the No.1 Test ranking for 18 months starting December 2009, the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the World Twenty20 on his captaincy debut in 2007.
England’s outing so far
England’s tour has been devastating till now. Those who didn’t tire referring Jimmy Anderson as best seam/swing bowler EVER and Stokes as the greatest all-rounder”—all those dudes have gone into hibernation. Out of the 17 Tests England played in 2016, they have lost eight– equalling their record number of losses for a calendar year, and finished the year at No. 5 in the Test rankings, some way below the levels they might have anticipated after winning both the Ashes and a memorable away series against South Africa last year.
Except for a narrow loss in the final ODI at the Eden Gardens — by five runs — India clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1 and the 5 match test series 4-0. After passing the tests with flying colours, Virat Kohli commenced his innings as the ODI captain with a bang. He scored a signature century in the first game alongside Kedar Jadhav, to help India chase down 351. In the next ODI, Yuvraj proved that his recall was not a gamble. Yuvraj established his raj again as he scored 150 while Dhoni cracked 134 which helped India recover from 25 for three –and post an imposing 381 for six at Cuttack! With Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni finding form, India’s middle-order looks settled ahead of the Champions Trophy in England in June, where the Men-in-Blue will be defending their title which they won in 2013.
Best of luck Team India
Make this republic day an unforgettable one.