Sunday, January 8, 2012

Its time for a change

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman

3 Absolute Legends of the game
Forming the most formidable batting trio in the history of Test cricket, Statistically. 
Some 35 thousand odd runs, nearly 450 tests, over 100 Test centuries between them. There is no doubting these numbers. These have been built over years, across all sorts of conditions and match circumstances. Together or as individuals they have given us some of our most cherished victories in the past decade and a half. The current Australia tour was to be the Final Frontier for them. But like Steve Waugh's India dream, this also remains unfulfilled.

Since the World Cup win India's test performances have moved from one disaster to another. The batting has been a total disaster. 17 innings without a score above 300. Whatever be the conditions certainly does not bode well for a team which went to No. 1 Test ranking based on its batting might. And the results have shown. 1-nil victory in 3 Tests against West Indies, 4-nil hammering in England (all matches lost by huge margins) and now seemingly halfway to another 4-nil hammering in Australia. 

Last 4 overseas Tests have resulted in 3 innings defeats. If nothing else this statistic alone calls for a large scale change in the personnel. And provides a golden opportunity to build the team for the future and the present as well.

The time is apt now for Indian cricket and its fans to thank Dravid, Tendulkar & Laxman for the services they had rendered and bid them farewell. The newcomers would have a nice opportunity to begin afresh without any baggage. With no further overseas tour planned for some time, it also would allow the batting lineup to settle down. And frankly speaking the newcomers cant do much worse than this. Rahane, Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Kohli, Manish Pandey and even Badrinath, Raina and Yuvraj are all waiting in the wings. 
The golden oldies can take a leaf out of Sourav Ganguly's book and retire on their own accord rather than being dropped. And if they don't the selectors should not wait any more. The time is set to move on. The selectors have shown in the past that they can take some big decisions, e.g. bringing in Murali Vijay (who initially did quite a good job) as replacement for Gambhir rather than going back to Jaffer or Akash Chopra.  Or when Pujara was brought in ahead of Yuvraj. 

Certainly this is not going to be an easy task. To give an idea of how hard the task is going to be I can give this illustration  
After the first innings in Sydney I had put this idea on Facebook. Immediately a few outraged comments  arrived. "Sachin ko rehne do yaar"... "I dont see next generation performing either"... "Sachin & next gen will retire at the same time"  were some of the comments which were made to this post.
The idea might seem outrageous. After all, Dravid was the highest run-getter in 2011, VVS won so many matches through his 4th innings specials and Sachin is "God". But the results of last one year show only one way forward. Tough decisions are required. The selectors may face lots of flak if they do take the decision to drop the trio but it would certainly be good for the team. 
And can the replacements perform? Well I don't know but Harbhajan Singh, the highest active wicket-taker in test cricket has been replaced very easily by Ashwin. So we won't find out till we try them out.

Team India, this is the time to move on.

P.S. The current England team took the major step towards becoming the top ranked Test team when they blooded in Trott ahead of growing calls to recall Ramprakash or Trescothick for the Ashes decider in 2009. Certainly some valuable lessons are in there.


  1. ashwin cant replace harbhajan not as yet... :) ... infact i wont give ashwin more than 10 test matches :)

  2. May not be able to replace Harbhajan at its best, but is certainly much better than Harbhajan in his current form. 2 wickets in 3 Ranji matches


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