TEAM INDIA: RELAUNCHED (HOME EDITION)

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Over the next week or so, any all-knowing Indian cricket fan is bound to overhear cautionary whispers like ‘The midas touch is back? Already?’, ‘Revenge is best served cold (and at home)’, ‘It was only a matter of time’, ‘We’re World Champs, and we’re THAT good!’….

But I have come to the following conclusions:

Dhoni, the captain of Team India, would make a wonderful scriptwriter. He has planned his career to be nothing less than a Warrior-style potboiler. Success came too early, he won all there is to win before he was 30, and then led the Indian team to their worst cricket tour in history- into the depths of dark hell for four whole months.
But now, back home, after completing his ‘top-dog falling down’ act with the Super Kings, Dhoni has fashioned a brilliant counter-attack out of nowhere. Team India has won the ODI series in a virtual no-contest within less than a week. They are 3-0 up, with no less than a second-string side- almost the same side that was whooped senseless just a month ago. With 2 games to go, the ironic part is that Dhoni can’t be testing any bench strength- simply because there is nobody left on that famed bench. All of them are now playing for Team India, in place of players who were already playing for the first 11. Any Indian fan who can actually remember the supposed first 11- the team that won the World Cup- will be rewarded with a free Diwali trip to England…alright, not Eng(mother)land then. Just kidding.

Walking on thin ice

Virat Kohli continues to play in the ‘spirit’ of the Royal Challengers, still in denial about their Champion’s league Final defeat to Mumbai. Expect him to self-detonate and ruin the English team at Mumbai on Sunday- and exact revenge on atleast two of the four born-Indians in the England squad.

Gautam Gambhir seems to have shifted a nerve-ending or two after that concussion, and playing for KKR only proved that he was using his IPL outfit as net-practice for this important ‘revenge’ series. He is back to his best, being the seniormost batsman in the line-up, and playing the role of Sehwag, Sachin, Yuvraj and Sharma together. A post-World Cup draught has been corrected in style, with him playing a crucial role in the third ODI along with Rahane to take India home. Who says we need a new superhero? Oh, it’s his team owner…

Rahane has proven that he is a very resourceful player who believes in anything but IPL-style gangbanging. With only 6 boundaries in his 91 on Thursday, his stats made for wonderful reading, with him running more than 70% of his runs scored. Quite a good omen, we say.

Parthiv Patel is longing to get past the 30s. And we may just be talking about his age this time.
Raina and Dhoni cannot be mentioned, if not in the same sentence nowadays. The odd Siamese twins from different mothers, towns and castes, are bonding on-field once again, extending our previously-clueless (swinging-condition specialists) batting order to number 7. Jadeja is always a bonus, either for the opposing team or us, depending on whether he is playing on a Sunday or not. It’s complicated.

Back to the future

Our bowling line-up merrily went on to fail in the third ODI, with every possible weakness exposed ruthlessly by an ageing and young Trott, as well as the now-all-rounder-in-Harbhajan-category Samit Patel (apart from Peiterson). For some reason, though, Dhoni was still smiling after walking off the field after conceding almost 300 runs on a flat pitch.

We wonder why.

Onto Wankhede Mumbai, for the fourth ODI- also known as the dead rubber– the type of games that the Indian team had played more than even regular competitive games back in England. Much like the World Cup final, played way back in April.

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