The manner in which the first couple of days of the first Test of the Ashes series between England and Australia have started encourages the belief that we will be in for a riveting summer of Test cricket.
We in the subcontinent have always prided ourselves on the intensity of the contest between India, Pakistan and now Sri Lanka, but there is something to be said about the competitive element of an Ashes series.
Both England and Australia maybe playing for a mythical urn, but the fact remains that the followers in both countries remain excited, anxious and glued to their seats when play is on.
The other thing that adds to the contest is that there is no compromise on the venues where they play against each other, and so the best grounds get to host the Tests and there is no rotation simply to keep everyone happy.
India’s team has certainly lifted the spirits of Indian cricket followers after their nail biting win over the Sri Lankans in the triseries final. With this trophy also in the bag after the prestigious ICC Champions Trophy earlier on, the Indian team is showing good signs of preparing for the defence of their title as the world champions.
The core group will remain the same, but the other bits and pieces are also beginning to fit in to make for a really strong and nearly impregnable unit. Of course in the game of cricket, there will be the odd loss, and learning from them so as to avoid making the same mistakes is the key and the Indians seem to be good learners.
Virat Kohli took over the mantle of captaincy after Dhoni was injured and responded with a brilliant century that gave the Indians just the momentum and impetus that it needed.
The batting has generally been good but there has been a tendency to throw wickets away, and if there is something that the others must try and learn from Kohli, it is how to go on to get a century without letting up on the scoring rate. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a real find and he has shown that he can get the ball to move both ways and can trouble the best of batsmen.
Having pace is one thing, but if there is no movement then batsmen get used to the pace and can play through the line. It is when a bowler gets the ball to move in the air and deviate off the pitch that he becomes really dangerous even if he does not have the extra speed off the surface.
The spinners Jadeja and Herath also have enjoyed some success in the triseries, but it is the duo of Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who are the joint holders of the accolade of the Ceat international cricketer of the week.