Every Indian who was alive on April 2nd, 2011 remembers that date as the day India won the Cricket World cup for the first time in 28 years. The final was hosted in Mumbai, and that Indian team was the first to win the World Cup on home soil. Celebrations kicked off all around the country, the long wait had finally ended. But now, more than a year later, things are starting to look not so good for the future of the Indian team.
In the 2011 CWC, India’s success was due to numerous reasons. Zaheer Khan was the joint top wicket taker, with 21 wickets in 9 games, and Tendulkar was second on the runs chart with 482 runs. Yuvraj Singh had an amazing all-round tournament, and was deservedly declared man of the tournament. Gambhir and Dhoni performed in the final, although their main batsmen Sehwag and Tendulkar failed. The bowling had an under par performance, conceding 274 runs, and chasing 275, at a run rate of 5.50, could turn into a RRR (required run rate) of 6 after just a few good overs.But India pulled it off, with 8 balls to spare.
Now in the coming years, we need to think, will India will be able to do something like this again? With Tendulkar nearly as old as my dad, and Rahul Dravid retired, the backbone of the Indian ODI team is gone. Sehwag will turn 34 later this year, Dhoni is 31, and Yuvraj is 30. Harbhajan’s career seems over, and Zaheer has way too many injuries, he misses half of the games that India plays, and is currently 33. Gambhir is also 30 years old.
Now, you may be thinking, 30 is not that old, and is usually the prime of most players’ career. But that’s the thing. The “prime” was during the 2011 World Cup. In 2015, add 3 years to all the players above. Now, will they be able to perform? Some of them might have retired, and some just won’t be able to play as they did in 2011. So, what shall India do?
Yes, India has some really great youngsters, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, and Rohit Sharma being the main batsmen. Along with Cheteshwar Pujura, they make a formidable middle order. But it is a gamble, no one can guarantee that they will bloom into stars, stars that can step into the shoes of the legends who in 2011, became World Champions.
Bowlers like Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, and Vinay Kumar will probably be India’s next pacers. Jadeja and Ashwin provide some hope, and Ojha and Mishra aren’t that bad too.
All of these youngsters are really good, I am not bashing them at all, all I am trying to say is that I think they will have a problem replacing the current Indian team. Players like Tendulkar come around once in, say 50 years. Can Kohli take over the captaincy after Dhoni leaves? Who will lead the pace attack after Zaheer? Who will open the batting? Will we finally come across a real allrounder?
These questions will all be answered in the next 5 years or so. Now, you may think, there are doubts on EVERY team in international cricket. Futures are always uncertain. Teams like England, South Africa, Australia, all of them do NOT have a fixed team for the next 5 years. Players like Kallis, Strauss, and Ponting need to be replaced. But the thing is that most of the Indian stars are old and need to be replaced with youngsters. This is not the case for others, with South Africa having youngsters like Morkel, Duminy, Tahir, and others who have proven themselves. It’s just the case of Indian youngsters not having proved themselves yet. It’s a pretty tough bet, and they could overcome the odds to succeed. I’m going to have to bet against India in this one. The shoes of World Cup winners are hard to fill.