India and Australia are two nations that play cricket in many different contexts. There is a certain familiarity between Australia and India due to the volume of sports played in both nations. When the two captains are tasked with the toss today at the historic Oval, in England, there is the temptation to label India as underdogs.
Two captains of different natures will go out for the toss. Two captains with different personalities will be going out to do the toss: Rohit Singh and Pat Cummins. It would be like fans deluding themselves to think that India has the best preparation. The Indian Premier League or recent internationals are not an accurate measure of India’s ability to perform in the most important of all matches in a neutral nation.
Both teams did well enough to make it into the final, which is a sign that they dominated Test cricket (now known as red ball cricket). India has played a lot of cricket against Australia over the past nine years. On paper, India has an advantage because they have played so many times in England, including the final Test in Birmingham in July 2022. This was the result of the 2021 series with England, in which the last test was abandoned, or even thrown away! At that time, the priority was to fly to the UAE deserts and play in IPL.
Symbolically, much water has flowed below the Thames. India has won under Rohit Sharma’s leadership, there is no doubt about that, but he does not set an example as a leader. Sport is a competitive environment, so comparisons to previous captains are a waste of time. The BCCI’s screams for Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri were reminiscent of an old Roman amphitheater where gladiators wore the disguise of Indian Cricket Board officials.
The appointment of Rohit as leader was seen by many as the panacea to all the ills that Indian cricket had suffered, namely, not winning ICC trophies. This was the BCCI’s official grudge against Kohli, and Shastri. Rohit also flopped at many other events including the Asia Cup and ICC T20 World Cup in last year. Rohit’s performance as Mumbai Indians captain was even worse. He showed no flair and no fluency. Rahul Dravid in conversation with Rohit Sharma.
Rohit has many lucky moments. If India loses this Super Test, Rohit can hide behind the curtain as the Asian giants suffer from several injuries. Captains lead, whether it is on the flight deck during stormy weather in mid-air or when they are commanding a large ship with tourists aboard through rough waters. This is not an attempt to romanticize Titanic – a film that most people have probably seen.
The Titanic-like feeling that Team India is not ready for the high stakes final against the gutsy and greedy Aussies sinks in. The Baggy Green boys are looking for big titles. They did lose the BGT Series at the beginning of the Indian year. Rohit Sharma, however, was not the most attractive guy to an Indian. He was a prosaic man despite his Nagpur hundred. Mumbaikars know that performance will be what counts, regardless of the support they give him from Bombay’s old cricketers. Rohit must prove he’s a master batter and a man that can handle the conditions.
The Aussies are coming at Rohit with all guns blazing
India is plagued with injuries. They will miss the cheerful Rishabh Pan, and the man that broke down literally in the last test India played in England, Birmingham ( JaspritBumrah). India’s sick list is lengthy, and includes KL Rahul and Shreyas IIyer. When it comes to fitness, you should not confuse the form of white ball cricket and Test. The DNA of white ball cricket and Test cricket are as different as gold and bronze.
Australia is in that mood, mode, and attitude, with a care-adamant attitude, as they prepare to take on India. Steve Smith has returned and is hungry like an infant. How can one exclude the bull David Warner who is in his twilight years?
The green color of the Oval pitch, as seen in images posted by Dineshkarthik, was a warning sign for India. The collective experience that India has in batting — Rohit and Virat, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar pujara — is like a Rolls Royce. DK is a Sky Sports commentator.
The difference between what you see on paper and the reality on the ground is huge. Sports’ mantra is “perform or perish”. Rohit is aware that he must fire and deliver. HardikPandya has now been appointed T20 captain. Rohit can be sure that he will captain India at the ICC World Cup in October/November this year. Rohit will realize that being on the watchlist is not something he wants. Indian cricket fans and officials can be very unforgiving.
Nobody backs a losing horse. Virat Kohli took the heat and showed that he would play as a batter. Sachin Tendelkar had done this a long time ago. Kohli is a well-known player in Indian cricket, as he scores runs. Rohit must now deliver with his bat and his leadership skills.
Cricket predictions can be as unpredictable as the English weather. If Rohit wins the trophy that millions pray for, then he becomes a hero. The Oval is next.