In the limited chances captain Virat Kohli has got, he has done well for his team to be a deserving Test No 1. But numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Whether India are the best team in the world is open to debate for you need to beat every other country home and away to be worthy of that tag.
However, there’s no doubting India’s potential to become a very good side in all conditions. The ascent of Kohli’s team to the top has come after wins over Sri Lanka and West Indies away, and South Africa and New Zealand at home. Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand don’t count among the toughest of opponents, while South Africa were given no chance on rank turners.
Still, compared to the heavyweights of world cricket, India seem to have the best balance and are playing as a unit. More importantly, they are playing an exciting brand of cricket with a strong leader at the helm. Since Kohli took over as captain on the 2014-15 Australia tour, India have won 10 Tests and drawn five, losing just one game.
First number 1 batch
When India first became No 1, in December 2009, the team was full of superstars – Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman. But they were entering the last phase of their careers. Their reign lasted till 2011, but the fall after that was dramatic. The new batch’s advantage is they have their careers ahead of them.
In Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, after almost six years, India can claim to have a settled batting unit. Like the 2009 batch, anyone in the top six is capable of getting a hundred.
Ashwin’s support cast
Also encouraging was the bowlers’ performances. R Ashwin was the standout performer again and got good support from left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and the pace bowlers. Mohammed Shami, Buvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav provided vital breakthroughs. Ashwin is a lethal operator, heir to Anil Kumble and Harbhajn Singh.
“It’s a very balanced side, and all the players are contributing. If they maintain this form, they will be No 1 for long,” India batting great Gundappa Viswanath said.
“The top order is firing. Vijay is very consistent, they have the option of KL Rahul, and Gambhir has done well in recent domestic games.
“Rohit is shaping up very well, which is another good sign. Pujara has come back strongly. With Wriddhiman Saha and Ashwin doing well with the bat, India can afford to play five bowlers.”
For the Indian stalwart, most impressive has been Kohli’s batting as well as captaincy. “He is one of the best batsmen in the world and he captains aggressively. His batting has been unaffected by the pressures of captaincy. He is No 1 in all aspects.”