Team India in 2014 vs Team India in 2018: Then & Now
The most-awaited and intense part of the Indian tour of England gets underway on 1st August 2018. India play a 5-match Test series against a strong England side, and being the critical Indians that we are, often for our national team, the ghosts of 2014 make their way into our minds.
India suffered a 3-1 drubbing and it raised a lot of questions on the side’s quality and intent. Things were different back then. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was still the captain, Virat Kohli was his deputy, KL Rahul had not made his debut, Stuart Binny was the best all-round option available, Varun Aaron had not faded into oblivion and Gautam Gambhir was fighting to keep his Test call-up alive. India also had a couple of domestic bowlers in the form of Ishwar Pandey and Pankaj Singh who had made their way into the 19-member Test squad. The only win that India managed was the one that came after 28 years at Lord's.
Four years down the line, things are different, in a much brighter perspective though. India are the No. 1 Test team at the moment. Virat is going with all guns blazing with six Test centuries as a skipper, Dhoni is no more around in whites, a spin sensation called Kuldeep Yadav has emerged, KL Rahul is the next big thing in Indian cricket, Dinesh Karthik has found a new lease on life, Hardik Pandya is now the perfect all-rounder that Binny once was, Jasprit Bumrah is a batsman’s nightmare, Ravichandran Ashwin is sitting at more than 300 Test wickets, and 20-year old Rishabh Pant has knocked down the doors of the Indian team.
The two squads are highly contrasting, indeed. The current set-up is all the more aggressive with result-oriented practices and procedures in place. It remains to be seen whether they live up to their billing or not. With this being said, it is quite clear that the Indians will have to fight this series hard as ever. A win in English conditions will mark this team as truly a great and special one, in all probability.
When the sides clash in Birmingham in the first Test, a lot of careers are at a stage where they are ready to announce themselves to the world. Media and fans have often hyped this Test series to be one of the toughest for Kohli and his men, and that’s precisely the reason why a lot is riding on it.
Head Coach Ravi Shastri and the skipper have made it very clear in the press conferences earlier that they are here to win, and there would be no lack of dedication or even a single loose moment. The war of words might have just begun with England fast bowler James Anderson choosing to have a go at the Indian Team.
India is actually facing a problem of plenty which is, in fact, a blessing in disguise in the broader interest of the team. 5 fast bowlers, three quality spinners, quality all-rounders. Deciding the playing XI is going to be one uphill task for the team management. The expectations are higher than ever. Will India get past the tough Alastair Cook? Can they counter the guile and spin of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali? Will they be able to bury the horrors of 2014?
Just a few days left for the action. Wait and watch!