Former Australia captain Greg Chappell has a word of advice for teams striving to be the best in world cricket: Follow India.
In a column for the ESPNcricinfo, Chappell praised India’s wealth of talent and especially their mentality that has seen them firmly holding onto their no. 1 ranking in Test cricket since 2016 and have been almost unbeatable at home.
“If Test cricket is to be a viable part of the game’s future, the standard of play needs to remain high. Whilst it’s true India – with a large talent pool, unlimited finances and the IPL – has a huge advantage, it’s their attitude towards achieving excellence that should be copied by any team with an ambition to be the best,” Chappell wrote.
Despite the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, India dominated South Africa in a one-sided three-match Test series at home which they won 3-0. The emergence of world-class fast bowlers has only added to India’s strength making them suitable to face any conditions, feels Chappell. “These pace spearheads, added to India’s always capable spinners, give the attack a potency that not too many other countries can match. Slot a fit seam-bowling allrounder in Hardik Pandya into that group and India are more than adequately placed to cope with any conditions they encounter,” he wrote.
He added, “With an enormous talent pool, young players gaining experience from mixing with international stars in the IPL, and the right selections, India should remain a powerful opponent for the indefinite future.”
He said Virat Kohli has been a major factor in India’s ascent saying his desire to succeed has rubbed onto India teammates. “The other factor in India’s ascent has been the shining example set by their captain, Virat Kohli. Always a player who wanted to perform well in all conditions, Kohli’s desire for excellence has rubbed off on his team-mates and the whole side has the common goal of wanting to be the best,” he said.
Chappell, however, sounded warning bells for the future of Test cricket connecting it with the downfall of South African cricket team who finished seventh among the 10 teams at the ICC World Cup earlier this year before being thoroughly outplayed in India. “South Africa’s demise is ominous for the Test match version of the game. Test cricket is a great format, but only if the teams are competitive. Test cricket relies heavily on a good contest to be entertaining and exciting. Recent contests like India’s triumph in Australia and the enthralling Ashes series will keep patrons fascinated by the game. However a plethora of lop-sided series or boring batting exhibitions have little appeal as a contest and will quickly lose favour with the fans,” Chappell wrote.