Warriors assemble: World Cup 2023 marks a new dawn for Indian cricket – Hindustan Times

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How do you get a team to pull together, in the same direction, without a doubt in their minds? It’s a question many captains have tried to answer, but each unit has its own circumstances, compulsions and motivations. There is no one path that everyone can walk, but there’s always a beginning and an end.
Rohit Sharma was born in Nagpur, but before he turned two, his family shifted to Dombivali and he spent his childhood with his grandparents in Borivali, a suburb of Mumbai. His well-chronicled cricketing journey has been anything but smooth, but once he got stuck in, he didn’t let go.
Virat Kohli was born in the national capital into a Punjabi family. He grew up in West Delhi and for those who know the city, there is a quintessential hardiness to people from that part of the world. He grew up loving parathas and chhole bhature. He is now an era-defining legend and a fitness icon to the cricketing world.
Mohammed Shami is from Sahaspur Alinagar in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha district but played all his first-class cricket for Bengal, and made his white-ball comeback thanks to a stint with the Gujarat Titans. Now the UP government plans to build a cricket stadium in his village.
Jasprit Bumrah was born in Ahmedabad to a Sikh family, and was picked out of the blue by the Mumbai Indians. He started out watching and learning from TV, and perfected his yorker by trying to hit the base of a wall in his house, because he wasn’t allowed to play outside on hot afternoons. He is now often unplayable.
KL Rahul is a gentle soul from Bengaluru, who seemed riddled with self-doubt through his early career. He has finally found his peace, and his calling as a wicket-keeper batter.
Shubman Gill was born in the village of Chak Jaimal Singh Wala, or Chak Khere Wala, near Jalalabad in the Punjab’s Fazilka district. He was marked out for greatness early — the sound of the ball hitting his bat has a divine ring to it. He is shy on the field and does most of his talking with his bat.
Ravindra Jadeja, all-rounder extraordinaire, was born in Navagam Ghed in Jamnagar district, Gujarat. For a long time, one wasn’t sure whether he was a batter who could bowl or a bowler who could bat. He could field though — and how. Now he’s got it all together (with some talwar baazi thrown in for good measure) and is the fulcrum that lends balance to the unit.
Born in the Mumbai suburb of Chembur, into a traditional Tamilian family, Shreyas Iyer was spotted by former India player and Mumbai coach Pravin Amre, at age 18. It took him a while to break into the Indian team, and he’s had a constant battle with injuries. These days, he struts about as if he owns the stadium.
Few can match the sheer energy of Mohammed Siraj. Raised in Hyderabad, he was never trained professionally (and it shows at times), but he always runs in hard, and kept the team going when Bumrah was injured and Shami wasn’t even in the picture.
Kuldeep Yadav, from Kanpur, wasn’t even being picked by his IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders, a couple of seasons ago. But he rebuilt himself, and his left-arm wrist spin is the edge India has needed in the middle overs.
R Ashwin, born in Chennai, has a BTech degree but is the best spinner of his generation. Not always treated well despite his formidable numbers, few can match his resolve and force of conviction.
Each player has his story, and they all illustrate how different and diverse this team are.
Cricket got them together, and now it is taking them on a journey that most Indian sides only dream of. If you are wondering why we’ve never seen this team play together like this before, it is simply because they haven’t.
Between workload management, the pandemic, injuries and a packed international schedule, the team have almost never played at full strength. It made their true potential difficult to gauge; but those who knew, knew.
As they finally assembled at the Asia Cup, just before the World Cup, the pieces started to click into place.
At the World Cup, the sheer dominance of the 10-match winning streak has been beyond the wildest imagination of most fans, but there’s one game still to go. So, for a wild bunch of mavericks from across this vast country, here’s to beginnings and glorious endings.


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