Second run

This is the second time that India is in the middle of a good run of victories. The last time it happened was back in 2003 during the World Cup. And obviously, I would like to rate that higher despite opposition like Namibia and Kenya (twice) figuring in the list. But India’s current run against countries like Pakistan and England would definitely rate much higher. So while India has won 8 games in a row and look favourites to make it 9 (not counting the washed out match at Guwahati) when they play on April 12 at Jamshedpur, the real stat to look at is this: 14 wins in 16 games.
The two losses in question have been against Sri Lanka and Pakistan but the record is still just as impressive. Austraila’s run of 14 wins was great because they were on the trot but this is almost as good.
Chasing targets for some reason has suddenly become India’s strength. I clearly remember a time in the late 90s and early part of this decade when India could not chase easy targets without making them difficult. But of late, they seem to total punters at doing so. Of course, playing in the subcontinent helps… but I would think this would not matter even on quicker, bouncier or more seaming pitches either. So the West Indies should watch out!
Speaking of which, I really hope that the Indian tour to the West Indies this time around is a successful one and not like the last one when they should have won, but lost hopelessly. This time around, the opposition is better equipped, but I have to put India as the favourites. Getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Ah, well!
Coming back to the original point I wanted to make, I hope India can continue this run. Not just for the records, but because it always keeps the team in a winning frame of mind. A stray loss here or there would not matter as much then. In such a scenario, playing a two-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi may not be the best idea. India have had the better of them in recent years, but a 2-0 loss here could demoralise the team just before the WI tour. Also, with nothing really at stake, motivation could be low and could lead to a loss.
That’s where the beloved BCCI needs to step in and be firm. These matches could well have been played after the WI tour when there is a longer break in cricket. And the time after the 7th ODI against England could have been used to rest players, many of whom have earned it while all of them definitely need it.

But there is money to be earned and the BCCI will do so (even if a good cause is involved, the cricketers will tire themselves). Just hope there is no adverse effect on player fitness and psyche.

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