Millennium Post

In new swagger

In new swagger

Test cricket, or cricket in general, is all about three things — talent, technique and temperament. The Indian team did put on a brilliant display of all the three attributes at the Lords — clinching their third win at the historic cricket ground after 1986 and 2014. The team spirit had been at its peak. The Test victory has earned applause within and outside India and is being seen as a special victory. Where Sachin Tendulkar hailed the "resilience and grit" displayed by the team, Shane Warne would classify it as a memorable match. It can be wondered why this win is so very special. The beauty of the Test match came not from the victory margin, but from the spirited fight that the Indian team put forward. The team that is consistently evolving with each tournament was starkly visible in its new form — with no blurs. This new form is in sync with the emerging India which has also recently left a broader-than-ever imprint at the global stage in Tokyo Olympics. At Lords, it was the same fighting spirit that was in action — adding to the joy of Independence Day and Olympics performance. This is nowhere to imply that the fighting spirit was absent in the past. A calm and composed Sachin, Dravid or Laxman would put the best fight against aggressive Australia or any other team in the 90s and 2000s. Aggressive Ganguly or Yuvraj would stand out as an exception. The nature of the fight seems to have changed now — from calm resilience to matching rebuke. This change could not have been more starkly visible than in Bumrah at the Lords. While the ferocity and discipline of his fast bowling is widely acknowledged among cricketing nations, his aggressive body language has surprised many. This may not just be an odd instance but rather a symbol of change. Bumrah's was no hollow aggression, it was marked with the temperament that the pacer exhibited along with Shami and others. Siraj's aggression has also caught attention. This ferocity of the Indian pace attack is novel in its outlook which has been largely absent all through our cricket history. Siraj put up the best performance by any Indian fast bowler at the Lords, claiming eight wickets for 126 runs. Collectively, the Indian pace attack claimed 19 wickets in the match. Aggression has always been seen as a "desirable attribute" for a fast bowler. The very word aggression reminds of Brett Lee, McGrath, Akhtar etc. What was visible in the eyes of Indian pacers at lords — compounding the aggression — was the sense of vindication and the seriousness of it. In the last 60 overs of the game, Indians were unforgiving, claiming all quarters. The English team seemed to have no answer — neither in terms of technique nor the spirit. Lords test was sensational — contrary to the usual flavour of Test cricket. Winning or losing is part of the game but certainly, the Lords test had something more defining, particularly for Indian cricket, which is catching the attention of all but remains mostly unarticulated. The team is changing, and change is never so easy to define. The change has been in the making for since long but is more visible today than ever before. It is a new Indian team holding the flavour that its captain represents. Virat Kohli's spirit and aggression on the field has never been prompt, it has always been organised, and he upholds it in his references. Of course, there has to be a line that separates sporting spirit and aggression with hostility and vindication. Coming to the current tournament, already a lot of verbal stuff and physical energy has been exchanged between the two teams, and four test matches are yet to come along. The fightback spirit and resilience of the Indian cricket team is cherished by all. The team is also expected to display a matching amount of maturity when it faces the English team in the next match. The Indian cricket team is perhaps among the best in the world and the whole world will be looking for the next game, expecting a high degree of sportsmanship and positive competition.

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