Indian cricket ends glorious 2021 with two fortress breaches of Brisbane and Centurion

The Indian cricket team ended 2021 on a glorious note by breaching two fortresses in world cricket in Brisbane and Centurion, thus cementing the legacy of the team under Virat Kohli.

The Indian cricket team ended 2021 in glorious fashion by winning in Brisbane, Lord's, Oval and Centurion. (Image credit: Ajinkya Rahane Twitter)

Breakfast in Brisbane. Lunch at Lord’s. Dinner at Centurion. This was one of the viral tweets that were posted out after India’s historic 113-run win against South Africa. The year 2021 will forever be remembered for the Indian cricket team ensuring the end of fortresses for their opponents. No one in their wildest dreams would have imagined that an India B team ravaged by injuries would pull off one of the greatest moments in Brisbane. The anticipation was higher than the last sentinel of South African cricket which was Centurion could be breached.

In the space of one full year, Indian cricket has achieved history on so many fronts. They became the first team after 31 years to reduce Australia’s sentinel at Brisbane to rubble. That too with their army lacking the star power. 11 months later, India became the first Asian nation to win a Test against South Africa in Centurion. Australia had already breached the fortress in 2014 thanks to a monster display of bowling from Mitchell Johnson. England won in 2000 at this venue but everyone knows the circumstances. In 2021, an Indian team that thrives on team spirit and determination has ended South Africa’s dominance of Asian nations at the venue.

The win has put them one step closer to global domination. Johannesburg is a venue where India has never lost. If they win in Johannesburg, then India will join Australia, South Africa, and England as the only countries to have won everywhere on the planet.

Indian cricket team on the road to greatness

One should make no mistake about it. This Indian team is THE G.O.A.T team of its generation. They have won two series in Australia in consecutive years, something that only South Africa managed. They are on the cusp of ending 14 years of pain in England. But, like most G.O.A.T teams, there is one nation that always breaks its stranglehold. In the West Indies’ case of the 80s, it was New Zealand and Pakistan. The Australian team of the 90s struggled to get over India. In India’s case, it is New Zealand now.

Read | Mohammed Shami in elite list after 200th wicket in Centurion

But, their performances in the last three years have made them the ultimate team in all conditions. They have won four Tests outside Asia which is equal to the number they won in 2018. At that time, they had to taste defeats in South Africa and England. But, here, the picture is totally different.

A total Indian cricket team

This team relies on the contribution of everyone. Batters right from 1-7 make it a point to value their wicket. Perhaps, the greatest asset for this Indian team is the bowlers. Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and now Mohammed Siraj have delivered in all conditions. In fact, taking 20 wickets consistently is now a given.

The quartet, in addition to the guile and genius of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, gives the bowling unit wholesomeness. It was this wholesomeness that was missing in tours until 2014.

Perhaps, it is apt that the crescendo of India’s dominance is on show now in South Africa. Four years ago, in Johannesburg, India played out of their skin on a treacherous pitch to win one of their finest games. The lesson from Johannesburg was that a wolf pack of bowlers, combined with gritty yet aggressive batting was the blueprint of success. Although they stumbled against New Zealand three times, the lessons from Johannesburg helped them achieve glory in England and Australia.

Seam, swing conditions now do not intimidate India. In fact, if the opposition prepares conditions that aid their bowlers, it backfires purely on the logic that India’s bowlers are better. The opponents all over the world have not yet aced spin. Thus, when they come to India, they are sitting ducks.

2021 a golden year for India

This was Virat Kohli’s 40th Test win as captain. In this period, he has already joined an elite list of captains who have won the most Tests. Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, and Graeme Smith are ahead on the list. It might not be long before Kohli overhauls them. But, in 2021, the world saw the brilliance of how Ajinkya Rahane stepped up in Kohli’s absence. From the horrors of 36 all out in Adelaide, India are now the dominant team in any condition.

Melbourne, Brisbane, Lord’s, Oval and now Centurion are all a symbol of India’s global might. There is depth in the Indian team when it comes to both batting and bowling. This depth was unimaginable even 20 years ago. The Indian cricket team has moved away from individual brilliance. It is now total team spirit. Everyone from 1-11 contributes in all facets. 2022 could be a continuation of the dominance. But, in eight days’ time, India might have completed ‘Mission World Domination’ in South Africa. At a venue where it all began.

Siddharth vishwanathan

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