India vs England: Mysterious shift of momentum

India is back on the winning track and the margins of victory in the previous two ODIs against England may well have brought back the positive vibe to the team and skipper MS Dhoni.

Reported by: Amrit Mathur
Last updated on Tuesday, 22 January, 2013 13:24 IST
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Having suffered extreme stress for a month, skipper MS Dhoni has reason to smile once again. When India lost to England and Pakistan, he was hauled over the coals. There were angry calls asking for his head and Rahul Dravid suggested he needed to take a break and reduce his workload .

Now, with successive wins, he is King once more, secure on his throne. The dark clouds have blown away, all sins washed away in this Indian cricket's on-going cricket kumbh.

India is shining again and Dhoni himself is in cracking form - finishing games with trademark brutality, launching the ball into orbit with his remarkable helicopter shot.

As demonstrated in Dhoni's case, it is momentum - a mysterious, tantalisingly unknown quality - that runs cricket and impacts results. Very often, teams  come together or  fall apart  without reason. They  go off the boil or succeed in a manner that is difficult  to explain.

Not long ago India looked a side that was  jaded, needing oxygen if not life support. Now after Kochi and Ranchi, there is a healthy, fresh feel about the team.

Like teams, players too suffer sudden changes of form which no coach/colleague/expert or computer analyst is able to sort out. Players know cricket is  terribly  uncertainty and a  great leveller, which is why they respect and fear the law of averages. Experience teaches them  the fundamental lesson that each day is a new challenge, each innings a fresh start - from zero .

At the moment, Alistair Cook must be feeling the same emotions Dhoni went through the other day. After a great start in the ODI series, he has plenty to  worry about because serious cracks have appeared in the team. Batting is brittle, the top order unable to handle rookies  Bhvaneshwar and Shami and are struggling against spin.

Nobody illustrates the significance of shifting momentum better than Ravindra Jadeja. He gained selection for India by hitting triple hundreds but did little of note initially, which prompted critics to question his place in team. But he came back strongly with bat and ball, forcing the same critics to revise their opinion.

What caused the change?

Sudden improvement, some jadoo or just that uncanny shift of momentum that makes balls hit the middle of the bat instead of the outside edge?  If he was to ask Dhoni, the battle hardened  veteran, chances are  he will not get a satisfactory  answer - just a half smile.

Note: The author's views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of NDTV.

Story first published on: Tuesday, 22 January 2013 10:13 IST

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