Is this the Indian team the best ever? If anyone wants to come to a conclusion by looking at stats regarding the Test series in Australia, it might be true. The Indian cricket team hoisted their flag in every major cricketing nation, but things are not that smooth Down Under. As unbelievable as it might sound, the Indian team have never managed to win a Test series in Australia thus far.
Whether it's the level of Australian cricket that has gone down or the standard of Indian cricket has gone high, Virat Kohli's boys are playing a different brand of cricket in Australia. They are dominating the Aussies, something the precursors failed to do.
However, led by another such aggressive skipper, a courageous Indian team came close to winning a Test series in Australia. The four-match series was tied at 1-1 and India had a great fourth Test, but fell short of four wickets as Australia managed to keep the record intact. Let us have a look at where the members of that team are now:
#1 Openers - Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra
While Kohli is constantly shuffling his opening pair, the-then skipper Sourav Ganguly had immense faith in the Virender Sehwag-Aakash Chopra partnership. Sehwag scored 464 runs in that series which includes a century and a half-century. His average was of 58. Post-retirement, Sehwag was seen in the commentary box and he also was a mentor of the IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab. He has also opened a cricket academy and an international school.
Sehwag's partner didn't have much success in the series. Chopra could only manage to accumulate 186 runs in four matches with the best score of 48. His average was below 25. Unlike Sehwag, Chopra didn't have a highly illustrious cricketing career, but he has become a household name because of his TV stints. The Delhi-lad currently works as an expert.
#2 Middle-order: Rahul Dravid & Sachin Tendulkar
After Sehwag and Chopra, the baton was passed on to Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid was perhaps India's best performer in the series. With 619 runs in four matches, Dravid was the highest run-scorer for India and second overall to only Ricky Ponting. After retirement, Dravid has worked as a mentor for IPL franchises Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils. Currently, he is the coach of India A and Indian U19 teams.
India's reliable number four in the series, Tendulkar scored 383 runs in the series at a staggering average of 76. Like Sehwag, he scored one century and a fifty. Post-retirement, the legendary cricketer works as a mentor-cum-icon of the successful IPL team Mumbai Indians. He also was the co-owner of Indian Super League team Kerala Blasters until this year. Besides these, his name came up in many good causes.
#3 Middle-order- VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly & Parthiv Patel
The likes of Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie certainly had a very tough time dealing with the Indian batters because just like the previous two, VVS Laxman was in the form of his life. Laxman scored 494 runs including two centuries and a half-century. With an average of 82, he was the second-highest run-scorer for India and third-highest overall. He is currently seen raising bid paddles in the IPL auction table for Sunrisers Hyderabad, for he is their mentor.
Sourav Ganguly didn't have as good a time with the bat as Laxman but guided the team brilliantly. He scored 284 runs that had a ton and a fifty, with an average of 47. Unlike Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman, the ex-skipper of the Indian cricket team didn't associate himself with any IPL franchise. He currently works as the President of his state cricket board, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
Ganguly, Laxman and Tendulkar are also a part of BCCI's CoC.
Parthiv Patel, the wicketkeeper is the so far the only cricketer who is still playing. Patel scored 160 runs in the series at an average of 32. He also got a half-century in the series. Currently, the 33-year-old plays for Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL and for Gujarat in domestic cricket. He was bought for INR 1.70 crores last year and was retained for the 2019 edition of the tournament by RCB.
#4 Bowlers - Ajit Agarkar, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan/Zaheer Khan & Anil Kumble
The Indian fans are overjoyed at the performance of the current Indian pacers like Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. Fifteen years back, the onus mainly was on Ajit Agarkar and Ashish Nehra. The former was more successful of the two, having picked up 16 wickets in the series at an average of 37. He was also the second-highest wicket-taker. Agarkar works as an expert currently and can be seen in digital platforms.
Ashish Nehra, Ganguly's trusted pacer, had a very difficult time in Australia and could only manage to pick up four wickets at an average of over 95. Nehra is currently the bowling coach of IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore, the side that Patel plays for. Besides that, he also works as an expert for TV channels.
The place of the third seamer juggled between Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan, with both playing two games. Khan was more successful and scalped five wickets at an average of 42. He currently works looks after the cricketing affairs of IPL team Mumbai Indians and can also be seen in TV channels from time to time.
Pathan picked up four wickets from his two games at an average of 66. He is another player who is still playing. Though he is unsold in the IPL, the left-arm pacer is currently a mentor-cum-player for Jammu & Kashmir.
Coming down to the spinning department, the sole warrior was Anil Kumble. With an astonishing figure of 24 wickets in six games, Kumble was the leading wicket-taker of the series. Nearest to him was Agarkar who was still eight wickets behind him.
Contrary to that, Australia's spinner Stuart MacGill took only 14 wickets. Kumble has acted as the mentor of Mumbai Indians and has also been the head coach of the Indian cricket team for nearly a year.