On 23rd August 2012, team India will kick-start its first domestic series of the year after a long gap, as they take on New Zealand in the first test in Hyderabad.
On the same day, Indian Colts (Under 19 Team) will also take on New Zealand Colts in the semi-final match of the under 19 world cup in Townsville.
An interesting co-incidence! Add to it the recent changes in the Indian squad, and 23rd August 2012 promises to be an important day for Indian cricket.
For the first time in many years, the senior team will play without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Actually, it is hard to imagine a team without the “Wall” and VVS; they have carried the Indian batting middle order together for so many years. Such was their brilliance that we will have to fill numerous pages if we were to write about their achievements as individual or as partners.
Their departure, however, also provides the likes of Pujara, Kohli and Badrinath that rare opportunity to make their mark in real cricket – test cricket. In a way, this marks the beginning of a new era with new bunch of young guns in charge of the Indian middle order. For someone who has grown up seeing the holy trinity in the test team, this indeed is a big change to cope up with. But the show must go on and the die-hard Indian cricket fan in me is looking ahead….
In the other corner of the world, Indian Colts have somehow managed to move to the semi-finals of the Under 19 World Cup despite being ‘strictly okay’ in the last two weeks. A win against the arch rivals, Pakistan, in a thriller of a quarter final would have surely lifted their spirits. In a way it was also a fitting revenge of their quarter final loss in the previous edition.
Unmukt Chand, Sandeep Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Harmeet Singh and Vijay Zol aren’t really household names today but all of them would know how important this game, and hopefully the subsequent game is. Without looking too far back, they would be thinking of Yuvraj, Raina, Kaif, Kohli and Jadeja. A World Cup win is a World Cup win and history suggests that it has done wonders to the careers of the U19 stars. The die-hard Indian cricket fan in me, again, is looking ahead…
Only time will tell how far Chand or Aparajith or Harmeet would go as they aspire to become the Yuvraj or Kohli or Raina of tomorrow….
Only time will tell how far would Kohli or Pujara or Badrinath would go as they aspire to become the Rahul or VVS or Sourav of tomorrow…..
So here we are, at the cusp of metamorphosis of Indian cricket, marked across two different tournaments, played across two different continents, and the Indian cricket fan in all of us is looking ahead with optimism…
All the best the Team India !!!
– Aashutosh Chaudhary