India’s Rise to the Top in the World of Cricket
India’s recent Test Match victory over Sri Lanka saw the Indian team move to the number one position in cricket’s Test Match world rankings. It was the first time that the Indians had received such a position.
In many ways, their rise to the top of the rankings was a reflection in the emergence of India as the new super-power in the world of cricket. They’re achievement in confirming their position as the best team on the field follows the increase in influence that India’s cricketers and administrators have had in recent years.
Gone are the days when international cricket was dominated by the likes of England, Australia and South Africa. Those traditional cricketing powers have had to move over, being replaced by India.
Given the massive population of the country and increasing wealth, this probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. The last couple of years have seen more and more top cricketers drawn to play in India’s leading domestic competition – the Indian Premier League (IPL). Seeing the world’s best players competing for the Indian provincial sides has demonstrated that the players certainly know where the money and the prestige are to be found.
But these developments have been about far more than just money. There’s a great passion for the game in India and leading home-grown players, such as Tendulkar, Dravid and Dhoni have been experiencing the thrill of playing in packed, lively grounds for some time. It’s natural that great overseas players should want to share the experience.
We might ponder what the future holds. It’s already clear that most Indian fans are considerably more interested by the shorter forms of the game than they are by five day Test Matches. Does that mean that Test cricket is set to die? Fans in Australia and England will certainly hope not. It seems unthinkable that there should ever be a time when the great Ashes contests, for instance, are seen as an inconvenience.
Shorter cricket matches may involve a faster pace and great excitement for spectators but it’s the longer form of the game that many still see as the ultimate contest between bat and ball. It’s during Test Matches that we get to see who the great players really are.
It’s clear that the current generation of Indian cricketers appreciate this too. They want to be compared with the likes of Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith and the great players of previous generations too. If they are to be seen in a positive light then they know that they need to perform well in the longer matches.