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​​Unity in the Unit
Dec 11, 2023, 1:00:00 AM

​​Unity in the Unit

The unity and camaraderie displayed by this Indian cricket team are nothing short of remarkable. It's a bond that goes beyond the field, making them not just a team but a tight-knit family, and it's this very unity that makes them an unstoppable force, fearless in their pursuit of victory in the World Cup.

These players are grown men in their 30s, many of them fathers to beautiful children like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, and Jasprit Bumrah. Yet, when you see them together, especially during T Dilip's post-match medal ceremony, they transform into a heartwarming ensemble, reminiscent of mischievous yet well-behaved schoolchildren from a primary classroom.

While they enjoy the trappings of success, including big houses, luxurious cars, loving partners, and adoring families, it's evident that their cricketing family becomes their "main" family during their extensive travels. This is a departure from the traditional Indian cricket teams, which typically comprised exceptional individuals rather than close-knit friends. The camaraderie witnessed in the World Cup 2023 is a revelation.

The positivity and support within the team are palpable. For example, Siraj's rise as a white-ball bowler has pushed Shami down the pecking order as India's second primary pacer, but there is no sign of friction. Instead, the players celebrate each other's successes, and it reflects in India's dominance in the World Cup points table with six wins out of six matches, 12 points, and a spot in the semi-finals. Even with the knowledge that he might have to sit out when Hardik Pandya returns, Shami remains unfazed.

In the past, the sight of Shami, Bumrah, and Shami operating together was common in Tests but rare in ODIs. However, when this "holy trinity" was in full swing against New Zealand and England, it marked a refreshing and effective change. Shami may have been on the bench, and it might have been painful for him, but he harboured no guilt because India was winning titles, including the Asia Cup and victories against Australia at home and other World Cup matches.

The team's cohesion and support for each other are apparent. They don't leave a player alone on a bad day; instead, they offer encouragement and comfort. A conscious effort to enhance team unity was made during India's tour of the West Indies, with players bonding over dinners, music, pool sessions, fun activities, and games, much like close-knit teams do. This 15-member squad only reunited for the Asia Cup due to sporadic gatherings, and their goal was to infuse the energy and positivity needed for a monumental event like the 50-over World Cup, which comes once every four years.

For instance, when KL Rahul missed his century against Australia, he made sure Virat Kohli achieved his. Later, Ravindra Jadeja took a page from MS Dhoni's book in the 2014 World T20, defending the last ball of an over to bring Kohli back on strike for a shot at Sachin Tendulkar's record-equalling 49th century. The emotional intensity of this team is perfectly encapsulated in Jadeja's expression when Glenn Phillips took the catch.

Team India has certainly come a long way from the days when rifts and internal conflicts in the dressing room were making headlines. The days of discord and divisiveness within the team are now a distant memory, replaced by a heartwarming display of camaraderie and unity that has taken centre stage. Today, the bromance of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli is not only evident but also topping the charts, setting a new standard for team dynamics in Indian cricket.

In the past, there were reports of friction and conflicts between players, which often spilt into the public domain, casting a shadow over the team's performance. These internal rifts were not only detrimental to the team's success on the field but also to the overall image of Indian cricket.

However, the transformation that has taken place in recent years is remarkable. The focus has shifted from individual rivalries and ego clashes to a collective spirit of togetherness. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, two of India's premier cricketers, have played a significant role in fostering this positive atmosphere within the team credit for which is due to Rahul Dravid, who had a mammoth task of bringing the team together and nurturing this positivity.

Their friendship and mutual respect are not only visible during matches but also off the field. The camaraderie between Rohit and Virat has become the epitome of team unity. Their public interactions, support for each other, and shared moments of celebration have endeared them to fans and set a new example for professional sportsmanship.

The significance of this change cannot be overstated. A harmonious and united dressing room translates to better performance on the field. It has not only elevated the team's morale but has also helped them achieve remarkable success, including their strong showing in international competitions like the World Cup.

Team India's journey from a fractured dressing room to a unified, harmonious, and emotionally connected team led by the bromance of Rohit and Virat is a testament to the power of teamwork, friendship, and shared goals. It not only makes headlines for the right reasons but also sets a shining example for cricket teams worldwide.

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Written by: Anurag Singh


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