The Indian cricket team created history last week, when it won the One Day International (ODI) series against S. Africa in S. Africa, for the first time. India won a series in S. Africa on its 7th attempt proving that 7, is indeed lucky for some.
This year India played 6 ODI games against S. Africa, of which, it won 5 and lost only 1. It was a massive contrast to earlier visits where S. Africa has, in fact, dominated India the same way that India did this time. While the entire team played exceptionally well, a few noteworthy contributions were from:
1. Virat Kohli, who scored a total of 558 runs in total and became the record holder for most runs scored by a player ever, in a bilateral ODI series,
2. The spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who spun a web around the S. African batsmen, taking 15 and 17 wickets, respectively.
Such was the control of India’s spinners that S. Africa’s average score across the 6 matches was less than 200 runs, which, in this era of batting-friendly conditions, is abysmally low for a team as strong as theirs. With this comprehensive victory, India also became the number 1 ODI team in the world, displacing S. Africa from that position.
Previously, India had also created history in 1992 by being the first country to play cricket in South Africa after it was re-admitted to the international cricket roster, after the apartheid ban. Surprisingly, even though S. Africa was playing international cricket after several years of exile, India had not managed to win that inaugural series against them. Due to such performances while playing abroad, the Indian team was teased that they are ‘Tigers at home, lambs abroad’ or even called ‘Backyard bullies’.
However, let us all hope that this win, will be the first step towards changing that – with actions and not words. It will be exciting to see whether we can build on this momentum when India tours England and Australia in the later half of the year.
Written By: Gaurav Saraf