INDIA VS AUSTRALIA | BORDER - GAVASKAR TROPHY | 2ND TEST, MCG
DAY 4 REVIEW
Anand Mahindra, chairman of automobile and IT conglomerate
Pic / image courtesy: BCCI.TV
Mahindra Group tweeted this after India's 8-wicket Test victory at the MCG on Wednesday: "This match should be studied by psychologists & motivational experts to understand & appreciate the turnaround."
Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, the man of the match, summed up this turnaround in three words: Character, Intent, Attitude.
So Mahindra's recommendation to psychologists and motivational experts would be to include these three traits, CIA, into their study of the match.
The word 'Character' confounded commentator Harsha Bhogle who felt that it was being used increasingly. Bhogle, originally from Hyderabad, became more curious when legends Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar too used 'Character' when summarising the series leveling victory.
'Character' is indeed a popular term used in Mumbai's cricket world from where all three Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Rahane rose to fame.
The word is used loosely to refer to someone's eccentricity as in "He's a character" as well as to explain a person or team's positive side as in "They showed great character".
Together, Rahane and head coach Ravi Shastri, who's also from Mumbai ended up using the most appropriate of the several meanings Character, Intent, Attitude have in the English dictionary.
These, for themselves and for the entire revamped team, without Virat Kohli, another Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Implementing the true meaning of these three words or terms on the field was a herculean task.
However, all of India's 11 players, two of them debutants, successfully applied them against an opposition, playing at home and riding on the back of a thumping victory.
"Really proud of the players. Credit to debutants Gill and Siraj, they showed 'character' after the loss in Adelaide, " News18's CricketNext quoted Rahane saying after the match that was the 100th Test between the two sides.
Rahane also had a message for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and selectors when he indicated that Gill and Siraj benefited immensely from the extensive first class level cricket they had played before their debut. "When you play first-class cricket and then come here, it becomes really easy for the captain," Rahane said.
As humble as his nature is, what Rahane did not broach or boast about is how he made each team member believe and follow his own example that is: 'Patience is virtue.'
His patient, calm and composed approach throughout the match rubbed off on his teammates.
Jasprit Bumrah used it to for himself and while tutoring newcomer Siraj on how perseverance with poise brings results.
Rahane showed remarkable patience like the popular bird
The Shikra is known to display immense patience in hunting down faster moving preys such as the squirrel and rodent.
Rahane, whether he was batting, taking crucial DRS decisions, making bowling changes, exhorting his bowlers and fielders to remain focused, was stoical.
As the stand-in captain, he has immediately accomplished Part One: Helping India level this 4-Test series 1-all.
By doing so, he even emulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni's record of three successive Test match wins as captain.
Part Two of his goal now would be to improve upon his shrewd selection of players, bowling changes, reading of the pitch and opposition during the 3rd and 4th Tests and ensure India leave Australia victorious in the Test series.
If he achieves this feat, he'll have unintentionally staked a claim or stoked a debate for a separate or specialist captain for Tests.
Rahane did acknowledge the fact that the last five Aussie wickets were a tough nut to crack for him and his bowlers.
This is, perhaps, one grey area that he and the Indian thinktank need to strategize on.
He may also do well to figure out what could be done with Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara, India's two top order batsmen who have been sorted out by the Aussies.
It's not about their form. It's about the chinks in their armor that the Australian bowlers have figured out in the four innings each that Agarwal and Pujara have batted.
In such a circumstance, it would be only wiser to make few more changes in the team for the better.
Could the likely playing XI for the 3rd Test be?:
Ajinkya Rahane (C)
Rishabh Pant (wk)