How India tore down the Gabba fortress after 33 years

By Sridhar Subramaniam
Photo: Getty Images

India lose the Adelaide Test. The batting order capitulated to a dismal 36 in the Second Innings. Adding to the ignominy, they were virtually written off by the media, their detractors and their worthy foes. The “prophets of doom” and the naysayers predicted a 4-0 whitewash. The captain Virat Kohli, being the dutiful husband that he is, flew off to be with his partner to herald the arrival of his bundle of joy!

India was, it seemed, like a rudderless boat, without anyone at the helm. Its cup of woes, was brimming and full!

Then the magic unfolds…India win the Melbourne Test convincingly. They draw the Sydney Test showing grit, tenacity, character and resilience. Ajinkya Rahane, played a Captain’s knock in Melbourne and in Sydney Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari saved the day for us by playing sensibly, putting their heads down and to playing to a plan. They were a testament to the power of endurance

The Indians, with their flag flying high, were raring to go!

Photo: Getty Images

To Gabba (Brisbane) they went to take on the Goliaths. Gabba was considered to be a veritable fortress and the last time a visiting team won was in 1988. For 32 long years, Fortress Gabba could not be breached. Then the inexplicable happened. India put up a superlative performance with the highest run chase by any visiting team. History was created. The Indian Tricolour was astride the Fortress! The Aussies were rubbing their eyes in disbelief! The Indians had redeemed themselves. From a slough of despondency, they girded up their loins and lifted themselves by their bootstrap to pull off one of the greatest cricketing heists the World has ever seen. Their heroics will be part of eternal folklore!

The Indian Cricket Team re-scripted the 1983 World Cup Win and “Aaha” moment for the 1.35 billion Indians to savour and cherish. They pulled off the Incredible despite injuries, tragedies, sledging & racial taunts by a section of the spectators. Success, therefore is sweeter!

Who were the heroes of this pulsating series? Ajinkya Rahane, the stand-in captain with his Zen like demeanour, disposition & classy batting, the dashing Shubman Gill, the Willow wielding Warrior Cheteshwar Pujara, the Swashbuckling Rishabh Pant, the wise, crafty and battle hardened Ashwin, the determined but demure Hanuma Vihari, the lanky and flamboyant Washington Sundar, the speedster Siraj with his scorching pace, the scintillating Shardul Thakur with his lance like bat, the fiery Bumrah who unleashed fusillade after fusillade with the new ball and the “Newbie who could be Nemesis “ Natarajan.

Great players who have played for India and contributed to the game in various capacities like Rahul Dravid and Ravi Shastri are moulding and nurturing talent and grooming them professionally

What are the factors contributing to this galvanized energy and effervescence in this new team? Never before seen in any Indian Team in the past!

Young players getting an opportunity to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League) an exciting format which not only rewards the players but also is helping unearth raw talent from the hinterlands of India. Players are getting to play cheek by jowl with experienced players drawn from all parts of the globe. So they are not in awe of names and pedigree!

These young players are coming from diverse and humble backgrounds. Many have sacrificed a lot, to be where they are. They are grabbing an opportunity, if it comes their way, with both hands and acquitting themselves with elan, panache and flourish. With a series of resounding performances, they are staking their claim, in the pecking order!

Photo: Getty Images

The Board of Control in India (BCCI) is for the first time under the stewardship of an erstwhile Captain who was also a dashing batsman to boot! A person who has trodden the path is better able to confront the challenges and empathise with the players than a champagne sipping businessman or an official.

Great players who have played for India and contributed to the game in various capacities like Rahul Dravid and Ravi Shastri are moulding and nurturing talent and grooming them professionally.

Confluence of factors which is making India a force to reckon with in the Cricketing Arena.

Last but not the least, with India’s demographic profile, which is characterised by youthful preponderance, the archetypal New India is likely to put up a fight be it on the war front or a cricketing field…Be it a Balakot or Brisbane! ★

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