Sometimes, in team sport, the past can sit heavily on the present.

The team that won India's second World Cup contained the first player to make a double century in 50-over cricket. That apart, Sachin Tendulkar is probably the finest all-round batsman the game has seen. Opening with him was Virender Sehwag, who went on to break Tendulkar's record. The man of the tournament was Yuvraj Singh, the top scorer in the final was Gautam Gambhir. Also in that team were two bowlers with over 250 wickets: Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.

Yet, two years later, none of them was in the team for the ICC Champions Trophy. And incredibly, none of them were missed. Continuity was provided by the captain, MS Dhoni and two stalwarts in their mid-20s, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. For the first time in a major one-day tournament abroad, India began as favourites, played like winners and remained unbeaten. Dhoni alone is in his 30s, and he is only 31, in a team with an average age of 26. The transition is complete; the team for the 2015 World Cup is here.

For Sehwag read Shikhar Dhawan, for Harbhajan read Ashwin; for Munaf Patel read Umesh Yadav, for Yuvraj Singh read Ravindra Jadeja. Like for like, for those who prefer it that way - with the added bonus that some of those sidelined are young enough to fight their way back into the squad. Long before they won, India were already the No. 1 team in the world. At the Champions Trophy they showed why.

New heroes have emerged; new hopes have been given wing. Dhawan and Jadeja, both with their twirling moustaches and abundant confidence have emerged post-World Cup, and must now go into the next one as the potential stars. Kohli has been around so long that one tends to forget he is only 24. South Africa and England may not have been fielding their best teams owing to injury to players, Australia may be in transition, Pakistan in some disarray - but India can only play the team that turns up.

The message for the winners is clear: the transition has been successful.


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