Tale of a Tail

            India has been on the brisk of an unassailable success marathon right from the start of 2016. The famous Aussie whitewash triggered India’s winning streak which never succumbed to any opposition. Beating the Windies in their own backyard and then reigning supreme over the Kiwis and the Englishmen in all formats, Indian cricket left no leaf overturned. Be it the finesse in bowling, the exuberance in batting and the confidence in fielding, a balanced performance sought great praise. However a stood out throughout the season was the batting contribution from the lower order batsman.

             Kapil Dev had garnered India to be technically sound in all dimensions and Azharuddin had helped gain stability. Sourav Ganguly then further spurred the initiation of an all-round development leaving it to Ms Dhoni for being a torch-bearer to the purpose. As cricket matured to be more competitive, bowlers were burdened with multiple duties. Be it going in as a night-watchmen in tests, saving the game in crunch situations or supporting a well-set batsman contributing a cause, batting was a prowess even bowlers needed to master. Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in latter halves of their career enjoyed a lot of success, an exemplary to many budding talents. The 2016 season was a revolution with hope. TAILENDERS as they are often called kept India’s tail wagging for long in crisis situations. Apart from the victories, the responsibility that they displayed with the bat was striking.

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                 Contributions from Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant Yadav were instrumental in blanking out the Kiwis. With India recording the most number of international runs scored in 2016 by tail-enders, the sense of optimism engulfed the team. Sensible strike rotations, gutsy hard hits and timely delicate touches, batting standards improved manifold throughout the season. Sanjay Bangar, India’s batting consultant deserves praise for the confidence he instilled and the techniques he developed. Apart from the spinners, even fast bowlers in Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami have grown extensively to be someone team could rely on for support.

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                    It all started with the Australia tour in 2013. A certain MS Dhoni motivated Bhuvneshwar and Shami to generate the required resistance in the lower order. Player’s captain as he’s known for, knew all the limitations but utilized the resources quite well. The slogs transformed to proper cricketing strokes, the impatient hooks were now patient placements and the suicidal wickets now adored a valuable price. Even the legends in J Srinath, E Prasanna, Bishan Singh Bedi failed to replicate their bowling highs with the bat. With the current generation enabling it even in such a limited cricketing exposure, their perseverance, dedication and determination is commendable. Building up on establishing an invincible legacy in world cricket, the balance these lower order batsmen bring into the squad goes unmatched. Also it allows the skipper to play 5 specialist bowlers and adapt to his policies according to the conditions. For all facts, it’s just a start and there’s a steep slope towards success. But with such control, skill, talent and credibility, Indian tailenders assure a certain promise!

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