Team India, at the start of the Australian summer were set to play 3 ODIs, 3 T20s and 4 Test Matches as part of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21. The excitement and buildup to the Australian summer normally begins weeks, sometimes months before the first delivery of the series is even bowled, thanks to all the debates of squad selections, captaincy, venues picked for the games, etc.
2020 was an unprecedented year that snatched away happiness from people in so many unfortunate ways, leaving them out of jobs. Industries around the world were heavily affected and it was no different for cricket boards as well who had to cut down jobs as they lost commercial contracts due to lack of cricketing action for months. Recovery is never an instant process, it has to be backed by patience.
Although cricket resumed, the games had to be played with players kept in a Bio-Bubble that negates any potential chances of infection. The Indian team and a few Australian players who played the IPL before the Australian summer were in the bio-bubble since September.
Australia became the first nation to welcome the fans back in the stands during the pandemic and the cricketing world was full of smiles after hearing that news. Australia and India won the ODI and T20 series respectively before the start of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 which was nothing short of iconic. The world was ready to witness the class of Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, the deadly pace bowling of Pat Cummins and Jasprit Bumrah, and the skillfulness of Marnus Labuschagne and Cheteshwar Pujara.
However, this series turned out to be special because of the youngsters of the Indian Team who led from the front in absence of big names missing out due to injuries.
After getting bundled out for just 36 runs in Adelaide, this team bounced back by not only retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but also winning the series 2-1 against a highly experienced Australian side. What were their challenges? Strict bio-bubble conditions, racial abuse from some fans and disastrous injuries. But, the resilience, the courage, the character meant this team wasn’t in a place to make excuses, it was there to prove themselves and the world that they will achieve their goals despite those challenges and create a rich legacy. It didn’t matter to them that they were playing at the fortress Gabba, because they managed to conquer it and break the winning streak of Australia.
Two magnificent sides once again proved why they deserve to be ranked at the top in Test Cricket by playing what will be known as the greatest series of all time.
This series was more than just about cricket between the two nations. It defines the modern representation of India and Australia as cricket powerhouses with ever-growing bilateral relationship off the field.
The impact of Border-Gavaskar Trophy is beyond the cricket field as it acts as a medium to bridge the gap between the two nations and encourages trade relations. Foxtel Group confirmed the enthralling finish to the fourth Test gripped the nation, with an average audience of 407,000 for the final session that saw Rishabh Pant guide his side to a remarkable and unlikely fifth-day victory.
Such encouraging figures tell you how important is cricket and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Australia as it has led to the resurgence of the economy at least from a sporting perspective.
India-Australia is supposed to be one of the fiercest sporting rivalries in the world simply because of the champion players present in both the sides. The entire summer was gripping this year, given the amount of close finishes witnessed by the world in the limited overs as well as the test series.
But, there couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to the series. India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane on behalf of his team members presented Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon with a signed jersey to felicitate him on his 100th Test appearance.
We at Australian Indian Sports, Educational and Cultural Society (AISECS) took this opportunity to promote and foster bilateral ties and connect the diplomats of both these nations who share commonwealth and love for cricket. We would also take this opportunity to thank Cricket Australia for organizing this wonderful series and the Indian team for participating and winning theBorder-Gavaskar Trophy. It is moments like these that make this rivalry special and one of the best.