They are young, fit and absolutely agile. Currently, India is rated as one of the world's best fielding sides at least in the shorter format of the game. Adjectives you would not associate with previous Indian cricket teams. But things are changing. For better or not one will know soon enough, but as an Indian cricket fan, the smile stays pasted on one's face. Large as life.
There is a hunger in the young(er) lads as they go about their practice rituals. Fielding coach Trevor Penny admits that there's a sense of enjoyment among the boys who relish the 'competitive' edge that the fielding sessions possess. For captain MS Dhoni, this has to be a happy situation. Athletic team mates saving runs every over that helps the overall cause in the long run.
The 2013 version of the ICC Champions Trophy showed the cricketing world that there's a ‘new India' in the 50-over format of the game. In conditions that are known not to favour the basic nature of Indian cricket, the team's performance proved otherwise. Fresh from the not so palatable scandals of the just concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), the Indian team far away from home, could not have been happier.
The media these days in the subcontinent is like an animal gone insane, full of fury, burning within. When the team does not perform it is about lack of interest and advertising commitments and sponsorships, basically all that's considered to be distractions in the general public eye. But as soon as the team performs well, they are catapulted into another zone, where everything is just near perfect. The fickleness of the nation's ‘insane news media' and the spineless Indian cricket fan are fine examples of the nothingness that exists in humungous proportions these days.
At the end of the day it's how one adapts and the attitude that one imbibes. And of course when one is winning everything seems just so right. The fine cricket played by the Indian team in this final edition of the ICC Champions Trophy surely would have warmed the hearts of the ‘genuine' cricket lover and the fickle ones too. Be it the successful opening pairing of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, or the consistent bowling from the unassuming Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The absolutely jaw dropping fielding action from the likes of Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik. And to top it all , the sensible, effortless and simple captaining from an under pressure MS Dhoni. All this and more would make any individual hold their head up high and wave the flag for their team with renewed gusto.
One thing is for sure. This is a ‘fresh' India and investing in the ‘young' lot has worked brilliantly for the team. In this 50 over format of the game, for now, there's a lot to feel proud of.
Just remember that everything fresh will lose the initial freshness, but the essence remains and thrives on if given the right ingredients. And one such input is support for the team especially when it's not all hunky dory. But for now celebrate. For this is the ‘renewed' India. An India bursting with intensity, promise and raw passion. Long live the ‘spirit' . For Cricket is Life.