Travis Head Proved In 2023 That Big Success Didn’t Only Belong To The Indians, The English Or His Famous Teammates

Travis Head

More runs than Steven Smith, better consistency than Joe Root, and bigger impact this year in 2023 than Kane Williamson, especially in the limited overs format. And yet, you won’t get to hear the name of Travis Head in the same elite compartment to which these biggies belong.

Not that it worries the daredevil lad from South Australia. The Australians don’t quite care about adages or sobriquets; they are the no-nonsense beings to whom excellence in the sport matters.

For truth be told, that is what really matters.

The rest, including the headlines, or the lack of it, doesn’t affect them, doesn’t actually increase the price of fish.

In some ways, therefore, it made perfect sense that Travis Head head butted the famed Indian cricket team twice this year and on each occasion, during decisive moments for his team and for his opponents and yet, remains as the year draws to a close a hugely under-celebrated cricketer of 2023.

You could say, the star that always was but wasn’t celebrated as one.

And that’s despite scoring no fewer than 919 Test runs this year (12 games, 5 fifties, 1 century) and 570 one day runs from 13 games (averaging 51 and a strike rate of 133).

Lest it is forgotten, Travis Head was the one who completely changed the dynamic of that big and widely-watched final of the World Test championship on the very day and pitch at the Kennington Oval where Siraj and Shami had his Australian teammates on their toes.

After Thakur joined the noise-creating and virtually unplayable duo of Siraj and Shami who had reduced the Aussies to 3 down for 76, in came Travis Head and out went India’s hopes of conquering the Aussies.

A giant in the cricket field would soon be toppled, humbled; this was no ordinary team. This was a World Test Championship finalist who was surely in the finals to seek a win for nothing else or little other than victory would do.

But it wasn’t to be.

Combining grit and technique, bravery and a forward-looking approach to counter pace and spin, Travis headbutted India on way to his 163.

It was an inning which, it ought to be reminded the way the world is regularly fed about Kohli’s greatness, came off 174 deliveries.

Just 174 deliveries.

Head scored a century of his 174 runs by way of just boundaries.

The more India under Rohit Sharma attacked the Aussie, the more he counterattacked the Indian bowling attack subjugating them, ridiculing them as if they didn’t have a right to belong at this level.

It is a pitty that Rahane’s gutsy 89, arguably the other under-appreciated knock of 2023 in Test match cricket the firs being Head’s 163, appeared in a valiant cause.

However, that’s not the only time that Travis Head emerged as a thorn in India’s path; the other occasion where he trounced India was India itself.

He couldn’t have chosen a bigger, better occasion although much to the chagrin of spectators than which to have stunned India.

In the 2023 ODI World Cup finals, an occasion where thanks to media description and broadcaster projection, read blind bias, content coverage was heavily India-skewed, Travis Head emerged a lone battler.

Why Travis Head deserves just as much regard as held by the others?

He fought off early hints of seam movement and variable bounce to fend off a famed Indian attack that on that big occasion included Jasprit Bumrah and that too, during an Australian run-chase.

In needing what could well have been a tricky 241 to win the ODI World Cup, Travis Head took it upon himself to score the big share of runs. That’s despite having titans of the game in the form of David Warner and Steve Smith on his side.

A fireball 120-ball-137 blew the mighty Indians out of the very venue where it was supposed that the hosts would reign supreme.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Not playing Ashwin was the foul-play for the Rohit Sharma-captained side, some said. Others believed, the four pacer and one spinner combination including Jadeja on a slow pitch was indeed the right way.

Whatever it was, Head didn’t seem to care.

He smashed and smashed and smashed the bowling scoring nearly 1,500 runs in international cricket at the end of the day.

Surely, Virat and Rohit and Williamson and Root are bigger heroes. They are the ones whose names fill stadia anywhere.

They entertain and draw large swathes of crowds.

Fan-clubs belong to them; both in the real and on the Instagram or Facebook world.

But does cricket only belong to the celebrated heroes. Does it not belong to the knights who save the day, especially under pressure?

For if it does, then it surely belongs to Travis Head, who maintain a cool head, as seen during much of 2023, amid adversity.


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