In the immediate aftermath of India’s first series win against Australia in Australia, there were some hyperboles, coming from everyone, including the captain and coach.
While the Indian team and its management including Captain Kohli and Coach Shastri deserve a lot of credit for this stupendous victory, one must take some of their comparisons with some other historic victories of the Indian cricket team, with a pinch of salt.
Captain Kohli has compared this win with the 2011 World Cup and said that this is the biggest achievement in his career. However, to his credit, he qualified his statement by saying that the reason for considering this as a bigger achievement was purely from an emotional point of view for him.
He was a young player playing his first World Cup in 2011 and hence the win did not have as much resonance with him as was with the senior players who had seen failure in their previous campaigns. But this was his third Australian tour and he knew how tough it was to win here as he had never experienced the taste of a series victory here.
On the other hand, Ravi Shastri considered this Indian victory as a bigger achievement than the 1983 World Cup victory by India. His reasoning is that unlike the World Cup, this victory came in the ‘purest form of the game’ – the Test cricket.
He is right in saying that test cricket is the pinnacle of cricket and success in this format in the most difficult of circumstances against a team which has never been defeated by India on their home soil, is a remarkable feat.
However, one must not forget that when India won the 1983 World Cup, it was against a side that was the most dominant in the world for years, had won the first two editions of the world cup and is widely considered as the greatest cricket team ever. At that time, India was not among the top teams in the world. And we all know how much of an impact that World Cup victory has had on the growth and popularity of cricket in the subcontinent ever since.
Unlike 1983 when India was an overwhelming underdog, this Indian team has been ranked number one in the world for quite some time now and was playing against an Australian side depleted by the absence of its two best batsmen.
This is not to take away anything from India’s historic series win. But it is important to not undermine India’s other historic achievements while appreciating this one.