27 July, 2021

The Best Gift Ever, From Our Boys

The series in Australia was won on the backs of India’s debutants. Rarely have a batch of youngsters achieved so much in so short a time in our cricketing history.

Photographs by AP, PTI
The Best Gift Ever, From Our Boys

From a tangled stream of events providing context and background, benchmark episodes stand out, cornerstones of achievement that, in hindsight, provide points of contrast and comparison with the past and the future. After Australia’s ser­ies loss to India on the 2018 tour Down Under—a stand-out event itself, being India’s first Test series victory there—a lot was made of the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith. Yet, that’s an amusingly ironical afterthought now, after this most astonishing of turnarounds, crowned by the series-­clinching victory in Brisbane, a match won unprecedentedly with the absence of seven front-line players. ‘Grit’, ‘determination’, ‘fortitude’, ‘resilience’ are, after all, hackneyed fancy words to be employed by hacks after the battle is won. The bare fact is this: a young, absurdly inexperienced Indian team has shown the world that it can cobble together a playing XI and overcome everything thrown at them, with barely 11 fit men standing at the end of it, in the most...

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