In the second Test match against New Zealand, it were the partnerships between MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli in both the innings that proved to be the difference between the sides, writes former India coach John Wright in his column in Hindustan Times. “With India five down for 179 in the first innings, New Zealand would have eyed a substantial first innings lead but MS and Virat combined to take the score to parity. Again, at 166 for five in their second innings, and needing 95 for victory, they came together to guide India home,” writes Wright, adding that the good news for Indian fans is that they knew that such situations brought the best out of their captain, but in ODIs and now, they've found that Virat can do the same in Tests.
“When you lose players like Dravid and Laxman, you are losing men who can handle pressure. It's not just technique and ability that needs to be replaced but temperament, which is even more critical in important games. Virat seems to possess that quality. Good players understand that more the difficult and challenging the circumstance, bigger the opportunity to shine. The ability to concentrate and avoid the thought of victory or failure is a difficult discipline to master,” writes Wright.
Meanwhile Indian Express reports that in the high-decibel celebration of a couple of three-digit scores by twenty-somethings and the deafening moan over the dismissal of a star in late 30s, a bit of good news got lost. “Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s contribution of 73, 62 and 48 not out in India’s season-opening Test series win over New Zealand didn’t have the glow of the cheerful tons that Virat Kohli or Cheteshwar Pujara hit but his innings did have the worth, weight, and also significance, to eat into the time spent subsequently revisiting Sachin Tendulkar’s eye-sight, muscle movement and future,” says the report, adding that stability and continuity are like air and water for teams in transition.
“With VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid signing off and a new pecking order vaguely taking shape, India is one such unit. The dressing room is younger but it still has several old hands with a past. When impressionable young men find themselves in a dressing room that has a cloud of ambiguity over it and a sea of ambitions underneath, the atmosphere isn’t conducive for a smooth and seamless passing of the baton,” adds the report.
Meanwhile another media report says that before the India-New Zealand series begun, all eyes were on the Indian youngsters as it was the new look Indian team that was supposed to take on the Kiwis. Two batting power-houses of Indian cricket--Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retired after the Australian tour and cricket fans were a bit nervous seeing the young look of the Indian team.
It was a test for the youngsters. Now the series is over and India as expected won both the matches and the biggest plus point for Indian team was that almost all their youngsters passed their most difficult test with flying colours. It was a brilliant sight to see the young men shouldering responsibility with the senior pros and bettering the performance put up by the Indian cricketing giants.
It is true that New Zealand, who are ranked number eighth in the ICC Test rankings, is not a difficult team and there will be people who will rubbish the youngsters’ performance but one thing should be noted that young batsmen were playing against the same ‘week’ Kiwi attack that troubled the experienced pros. In both Indian wins, it was the young brigade who played a decisive role. There was a huge worry that Indian team will crumble once the senior retires, but going by the way these young players played it looks like a question to which India has a pretty good answer to.