Virat Kohli’s men overpowered South Africa to end 2021 on a high
The Indian cricket team, in the Test format, has never had it better. 1-0 up in a Test series going into 2022, and chances are this could be India’s first ever Test series win in South Africa. What stands out in the two Test wins at the Gabba and Centurion, perhaps two of our best ever, is the fact that they have come in the absence of two of our biggest stalwarts.
At the Gabba there was no Virat Kohli, and in Centurion there was no Rohit Sharma. Even without them, the team has won and that’s the best outcome for Indian cricket.
Both these Test wins are serious team efforts. In Brisbane, Rishabh Pant played the innings of a lifetime while in Centurion, KL Rahul reinforced his presence at the top of the Indian order. There were important contributions from Mayank Agarwal and important cameos from Ajinkya Rahane. And in both cases, the bowling has been sensational.
While it was a relatively inexperienced bowling attack led by Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur in Brisbane, India’s best bowling line up was in full bloom in Centurion. Arguably, this is the most lethal attack in the world at the moment and if the bowlers can stay fit, there is no reason why India won’t dominate world Test cricket in 2022.
Virat Kohli as a batter needs to arrive in 2022
Virat Kohli will hope to score a lot of runs in 2022
So is this India’s best ever Test team? For sure it is India’s most successful Test team and if numbers overseas are anything to go by, it is fair to say they are at the very top of the Indian ladder. There is a tremendous degree of self-belief and with bench strength second to none, India can justly aspire to be the best in the world.
And that’s where thoughts go back to Virat Kohli. As captain, it has been a superb year, the WTC loss notwithstanding. As a batter, though, it has been a lean one. Each time Virat has walked out to bat, he has looked good. But each time he has given it away with a moment of indiscretion. India will want more from Virat the batter in 2022, for that will go a long way in helping Virat the captain.
South Africa will come back hard at the Wanderers, but as Sourav Ganguly tweeted from his hospital bed, it will be very hard for them to beat this Indian team, which is at the peak of its powers. Wish Indian cricket a very successful 2022.