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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Cricket

Destructive trio ready to take over from old order
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
Mohali, October 18, 2013
First Published: 00:19 IST(18/10/2013)
Last Updated: 10:40 IST(18/10/2013)

Individual players keep surfacing to add spark to teams, but only when a group of talented men rises together is a formidable outfit formed. The previous India and Australia teams are an example.

For some time now, the concern has been what next after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

It’s still early to make a statement but there are enough signs from the young Turks, who have stepped in, for Tendulkar to have the satisfaction that he is leaving the team in reasonably safe hands.

Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma came up with a batting display on Wednesday which even Tendulkar & Co would have been proud of, winning in Jaipur by nine wickets while chasing 359.

What left everyone awestruck is that the heroic chase was achieved without the help of their two most destructive batsmen --- Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni.

The lynchpin
If the three go on to realise their potential, India’s future will be secure in all formats as the trio has the ability to be the nucleus of the top order. Add run machine Cheteshwar Pujara in Tests, and it will be a formidable line-up.

Virat, who has taken over the role of lynchpin, looks like getting a hundred every time he comes out to bat. Not yet 25, he has scored 16 ODI hundreds and the 52-ball record-breaking century was his second such whirlwind knock, after his hurricane hundred against Sri Lanka in Hobart in the tri-series.

Rohit is finally showing signs of maturing into a complete player. As he showed at Jaipur, the Mumbai batsman has almost every shot in the book but retains his flamboyant touch.

Defining knock
The experts are predicting that the unbeaten match-winning hundred could be the defining innings of his career and the confidence gained will help him open up and show his real quality.

Shikhar looks to be making up for the years he lost in his early struggle. He’s taken his game to the next level and the key is his balance while playing his strokes. He says power yoga has helped his game a lot and he looks set to play in the blue jersey for another five years.

It was compelling action, seeing how the Delhi duo went about derailing the Australian strategy.

The key was how quickly they adjusted to the short ball. Shikhar swiveled on his heels and pulled and punched, while Virat exploded like dynamite, taking the short stuff on the front foot.

At the other end, Rohit was left to play his game and anchor the innings, and he put on a show for the connoisseurs with his scintillating driving.

More than anything else, it is about attitude. For Virat, there’s no fear of failure and he walks out with the confidence of a man who believes he is the best in the world.

It was there for all to see on the eve of the Jaipur game when he said, “If I am good enough to score runs at the international level, I should be good enough to face anything that is thrown at me. We should be good enough to play everything at this level and we are confident we can.”


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