It is known to us and most of us would agree that India have been the strongest batting unit in cricket for past one decade or so. With the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh etc. India has mostly dominated the world with its supreme batting performances and these players have been a nightmare for the bowlers all over. It was a real headache for the pacers as well as the spinners to get rid of these batting masters and more than not they ended on the lower side. Not only in the Indian subcontinent, but they have proved their brilliance many times even abroad. The trio of Sachin, Dravid and Laxman has played for more than a decade together on every track and in every condition and stirred India through again and again playing hundreds of big innings. These three have a cumulative of more than 35,000 runs and around 100 tons and that is an unprecedented record which any team just dreams of. It was during these players’ era that India became the world No. 1 for the first time ever in Test cricket. Team India achieved every single glory during this golden era.
But all good things do come to an end and so did this era too. With Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman having already called it quits and Sachin playing only a few selected games of his immortal career, this supreme force of batting is almost in its last stage and its time to accept the truth that India needs a solid replacement of these masters of the game.
It is true that getting a backup of these greats and that too in a short span of time is over-expectation but at least we need some match winners and consistent performers in all the formats of cricket. Talking about the present youngsters who have almost settled themselves in past few years like Gambhir,Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina,we will find that either these players are playing good in any one of the formats or they are inconsistent. Cricket is a team game and to win matches the batsmen have to play in units. We blamed the seniors for the flop show of our team in the last two overseas Test series but the youngsters also did not do anything to remember. Those who we expect to carry Indian hopes in future also played each and every game and got the opportunity to perform under pressure too but alas! It was failure again and again. Yeah, it is right that those seniors didn’t perform but we don’t expect them to play for India in future for long and what they did for India in their primes is unforgettable. Their failures exposed our current hopes and unfortunately we are nowhere near those greats who carried India proudly everywhere in the last decade or so. Virat played a brilliant innings but except that, their was nothing to remember from our youngsters in those eight Tests. Instead, Rahul and Sachin had some good knocks in England and Australia respectively to back them a bit. Gambhir, Sehwag, Dhoni and Raina all were completely uprooted by the pacers on the bouncy and green tracks which proved that our young guns are not ready to fire yet.
Virat Kohli is the most promising of the current players. He has very good potential to perform in every form of cricket and he has so far delivered more than what is expected from him. If he continues to do the same in future too, he is indeed a great in making. But other than him, no one has promised to be a consistent performer. Players like Raina and Dhoni have played some really good innings and has guided India to some spectacular wins but they are largely restricted to the shorter versions. Rohit Sharma is my personal favorite when it comes to be a complete player. He has the ability to do well in all the three formats but lack of concentration and poor short selection in recent times has left him to be more of a burden for the team. He needs to get into the groove as soon as possible because this is the time when team India is transforming and those places of these greats are vacant. Manoj Tiwary and Cheteshwar Pujara are also very fine players and can perform well if given opportunity, while Ajinkya Rahane and others are not going to play too much in Tests if these above mentioned players get going.
In conclusion, India are going to miss these wonderful match winners in the near future as the present hopes are not looking anywhere close to them be it class, patience or consistency. But there are a few in the lot who can go the distance if they can do justice to their ability and the opportunity they get.
But still the question remains the same Can India be the same batting power again? Only time can answer that!