Cricket is a festival in India. Every aspect of the game is celebrated all around the country with more amusement than anything else. There are some accomplishments which are considered as a nationwide topic of discussion while others just don’t get attention. Usually, the big matches bring big expectations and those who fulfil them are termed ‘National Heroes’.
When we talk about big innings or match-winning innings in the 21st century, we often remember MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir”s knocks in World Cup Finals. Mohammad Kaif’s innings in Natwest Trophy, VVS Laxman’s innings in 2001 Kolkata Test, Virat Kohli’s innings against Australia in the 2016 World T20, Rohit’s three double hundreds and many more. But some innings are also precious like any of the aforementioned but never get enough credit.
Here is the list of five such knocks which are underrated and should have been given enough attention: –
1. Rahul Dravid’s 180 against vs Australia in 2001, Kolkata Test
How many times have you seen a team winning after following on? It has happened only thrice in Test cricket and only once in this century. India after losing the 1st Test at home against the mighty Australians was under enormous pressure. Australia, after getting a first-innings lead of 274 runs, enforced the follow-on against the home side. Dravid, who batted at his usual position of no. three in the 1st innings, got just 25 runs and got bowled by Shane Warne.
VVS Laxman, who scored a marvellous fifty in the first innings, was promoted to bat at no. three in the second innings. Thus, Rahul Dravid, the Team Man, had to change his batting position. Dravid was not in form but Laxman was. Hence, the team demanded Rahul to bat later and he never says ‘No’. After losing three wickets in quick succession following a solid opening stand, Sourav Ganguly and Laxman played well to give India some solidity in the middle.
When the captain got out, India still required 42 runs to level the score. With just six wickets remaining everybody was predicting an easy Australia win. Then came Jammy, he stitched arguably the most celebrated partnership in Test cricket with the very very special Laxman. Without taking any credit away from the guy who scored 281 runs in that innings we all know that Dravid has never been appreciated enough for that knock.
He scored 180 against a bowling lineup that included Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie. The right-hander was not in form and India were under enormous pressure but here we are talking about the guy who had ‘the most solid defence’ the world has ever seen.
He would have gotten a double century as well but he got run out. What if he had a failure that day like other Indian batsmen? In that case, the most special innings of Test cricket wouldn’t have been completed. That partnership and that Test match have a huge significance in breaking the Australian dominance and rising of new India. Dravid’s inning was also as significant as that.
2. Gautam Gambhir’s 150 against Sri Lanka in 2009
A lot of people say that Gambhir is an underrated cricketer, his performance for India has always been neglected, his accomplishment in World Cup finals were amazing, still, he doesn’t get enough recognition. There have been 16 situations where India chased down a target above 300 in an ODI match. In one of such games, there is one inning from the left-hander, that never gets enough praise.
A match when India was chasing 316 against Sri Lanka at home that too under lights with Lasith Malinga, who was at his peak, in opposition. India lost Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag early in the innings and didn’t have Dhoni or Yuvraj Singh in middle. The situation was crucial, Gambhir was joined by Virat Kohli who was still taking baby steps in international cricket.
Both Delhi lads stitched a partnership in the middle with Gambhir dominating the Sri Lankan lineup. Kohli got out when India needed 64 runs off 69 balls and Gambhir took India over the line with 11 balls still remaining. As the finishers were not there, being an experienced campaigner, the southpaw took that role. The impact of that innings can be known from the fact that Virat ‘s strike rate was 93 and the left-hander scored at 110.
Still, the match is known for Kohli scoring his debut hundred but not for the former Delhi captain’s 150. We don’t know how many 150s scored while chasing in ODIs have been forgotten but this has to be one of them.
3. Rohit Sharma’s 30 against Pakistan in World T20 2007 Final
Rohit Sharma has played a lot of breathtaking and match-winning knocks for India. There are two phases of Rohit Sharma in international cricket. One before 2013 and one after. He scored two centuries in his career before Dhoni asked him to open the innings for the first time in 2013 and has already scored 27 since then, which includes three double hundreds as well. The limited-overs vice-captain was playing only his third T20I match. It was the pressure at its highest latitude, World T20 final with Pakistan as the opposition.
India were never the favourites in the tournament and was led by a young keeper with no player above 30 years of age. India started well and Gambhir provided solidity to the batting but on the other end, wickets just kept on falling. Then came the young Rohit Sharma tn the crease. When the Mumbai lad came the score was 114-4 in 15.2 overs, the run rate was not on a great side as Yuvraj and Dhoni went out cheaply with strike rate below hundred.
The then 20-year-old came and dominated the experienced Pakistani bowling line up. India would have scored something near 140 but Sharma’s quickfire 30 made sure that India scored 157. India eventually won by five runs and that tells us how important those 15-17 runs were for India to clinch the inaugural event. Gambhir’s 75 and Sreesanth’s catch were quite valuable for India to win the final but Rohit’s inning was not behind at all.
4. Kedar Jadhav’s 120 vs England in 2017
Another chase of 300+ for India, another Kohli hundred but the story is not as modest as the other matches. India and England were playing in the former’s backyard. Pune was the location and it was Virat’s first match as a full-time limited-overs skipper. England were the no.1 ODI team and their squadron was known to muscle the opponents with ease. England batted first and scored a total of 350 runs effortlessly on a pitch where the ball was coming on the bat comfortably.
Then came India to follow, but it didn’t go as anticipated as the wicket became a bit slow in the second half and India were under intense trouble as the scorecard read 63-4 after 12 overs. Then came the local lad, Kedar Jadhav, who’s fairly new in the international setup with only the stadium crowd knowing his aptitude. The whole nation almost lost their hope, the only promising thing for India was that the captain, arguably the best chaser of the game was still present.
Kedar came and he dominated the opposition, even outscored Kohli throughout his innings. The master was short in stature, but was hitting giant shots. It was like a competition between them but it was Jadhav’s day. He played the best innings of his life as even when both Virat and he got out, India won the game rather easily. His strike rate of above 150 and India’s win with 11 balls to spare tells us how important the innings was but still underrated forever.
5. VVS Laxman’s 96 vs South Africa in 2010
The Indian cricket team’s performance is always judged on the basis of how they perform overseas, especially in ‘SENA’ countries. The culture of winning in overseas conditions came under Ganguly’s captaincy and VVS Laxman was an integral part of that team. Then came the Dhoni era. The team was more experienced with Dravid and Tendulkar’s presence and with other batters’ ability, it was the best chance for India to win in foreign conditions.
In one of such tours, India were playing South Africa in the rainbow country itself. The home team won the first match by an innings and the Indian team was under immense pressure. Then came the Boxing Day Test in Durban. The Kingsmead has one of the pernicious pitches for the batters. The subcontinent team did miserably with the bat in the first innings but with some exceptional bowling performances, India managed to take a lead of 74 runs.
The second innings started on a terrible note. India lost five wickets for 93 and what could have been a golden chance to hold the home team against the wall was ruined. Captain Dhoni came to the crease and started to build a partnership with the man who is known to take India out of the problematic situations, Mr. dependable VVS Laxman. Laxman held one end of the crease and started playing positively.
Can’t be called a counter-attack but he was actually giving it back to arguably the best bowling side at that time under difficult circumstances. The last wicket to fall was of Laxman only but before that, he scored 96 runs. His failure to score a hundred came as the reason that he was trying to score at a quicker rate as only one wicket was remaining.
He stitched a partnership with Zaheer for 70 runs while demonstrating his ultimate class of playing with the tail-enders. This innings made sure that India set a target of 300+ and eventually win their only Test match on the tour. The inning, which should have been one of the most celebrated overseas Test innings, is not given enough appreciation.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar – The warhorse India needs the most in 2021
- Hemang Badani not pleased with Varun Chakravarthy after the spinner fails to clear fitness tests ahead of the England T20Is
- ‘Six 6s, Adelaide 36’ – Ravi Shastri shows Indian cricket’s unique connection with number 36
- ‘Let Rishabh Pant be Rishabh Pant’ – Rohit Sharma backs the left-hander to come good against England in the T20I series
- India vs England: Wasim Jaffer predicts the hosts’ probable playing eleven for first T20I