Dominant Kiwis, India grab cricket headlines

Monty Panesar Wednesday 27th November 2019 08:23 EST

India have become the first team to win four consecutive Tests by an innings. Undoubtedly, Virat Kolhi's team is the best in the world at the moment. They beat South Africa in the last two Test matches by an innings and Bangladesh in both matches. It is to be seen how good this team is while playing away from home.

This is the first time in India that the seamers from an Indian team have taken all 20 wickets. Also, it is the first time in the history of Indian cricket that all three seamers have taken 20 or more wickets during a year and averaged under 20. It is a phenomenal statistic because five of the eight tests were played at home where it is the spinners who should have dominated. It is phenomenal that Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav are the key men in this Indian Test team.

This is the longest streak of wins by India since 2013 when they won six Tests. Can they beat the Australian Test record? India definitely needs some away wins for sure!! Can you account for West Indies games as away wins where the pitches are very similar to the Indian conitions? The real test for this team will be in New Zealand after the New Year. New Zealand seems to be a strong team at home but with the strength of the Indian seam department and its current form I think India should be competitive and have a good chance of winning in New Zealand.

What is fascinating about this Indian team is the manner in which they are winning. It is their complete dominance - winning the last four Test matches by an innings which is a phenomenal statistic, and the first two wins have been by more than 200 runs. They are completely outplaying other teams at the moment. I believe there is a gap now in world cricket where India are the strongest while other Test teams are closer in comparison, with the likes of England, Australia and New Zealand of an equal standing. Even though Virat Kohli has been playing down the Indian team's winning streak because they have played more Test matches at home, one cannot forget that they are completely ouplaying their opponents. You cannot put this down to the advantage of playing under home conditions alone.
So, on that score, I disagree with Virat Kohli. This Indian team does carry a tag that they are the best team at the moment. The points table gives us an indication of how strong India is, and the level of performance that they are consistently displaying compared to other teams is a revelation.

Australia are beginning to find their mojo as they beat Pakistan at the Gabba. They have won their last seven Test matches in Brisbane. All eyes will be glued to the performances of NZ and Australia in the next Test. If NZ do win, comparisons will be made with India's dominance at home. Having said that, Virat Kolhi has a good point in saying that there should be equal number of Test matches at home and away for teams to be fairly assessed.

It was unfortunate that Jofra Archer was racially abused during the recent Test match. Sports and its competitive nature is for everybody's enjoyment. Racial abuse has no place in the game and fans should be punished with either a total ban from games or a financial penalty. Governing bodies should do more to stamp out racial abuse. 

BCCI should make Indian domestic cricket stronger by further investment and handing professional contracts to players in Ranji Trophy teams. Saurav Ganguly has suggested a domestic structure similar to that of the English county cricket where players have a professional contract rather than being paid on match-by-match basis.

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