Can the version 2.0 of Fab Five emerge from our current test squad?
The disastrous tour of England has finally come to an end. The Indian Test team which aspired to be the best touring side in the world lost comprehensively to England. The margin of defeat 4-1 speaks volumes about Team India’s dismal performance. After a heart-breaking defeat at Edgbaston in which India went down by 30 runs, many felt this Indian team can bounce back.
But the fragility of their batting line-up was well-read by the opposition. Then came a shameful defeat in the 2nd Test at Lord’s when the team lost by an innings and 159 runs. When winning the series seemed like a daunting task, India somehow managed to keep the series by registering a 203 runs victory in the third Test at Trent Bridge. India displayed a clinical performance after bidding adieu to Murali Vijay and Kuldeep Yadav.
The fourth Test at Southampton looked competitive but India lost it in the middle to wrap up the English lower batting order. India fell short of 60 runs while chasing England’s target of 244. India lost the series and in the fifth and final Test which turned out to be a dead rubber or more importantly Cook’s farewell Test match, 2 young lads; KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant managed to put up a fight but still lost the match by 118 runs.
So there comes the big question. After being a formidable side which produced the finest of batsmen in the world, why do we fail in our batting department in overseas conditions? The answers are too many.
If we leave aside Virat Kohli’s obsession to experiment with the playing XI in every Test or coach Ravi Shastri’s backing in every move of the captain, one fact is very evident - Indian batsmen don’t apply themselves to basics when it comes to playing in SENA countries (South Africa, England, Australia, and New Zealand).
Although India earned the reputation of being the No. 1 side in the world, the current batting unit clearly lacks composition that the Fab Five (Virendra Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, and Sourav Ganguly) brought to the table. Rather than experimenting too much with the batting line-up in every Test match, India should look out for Fab Five version 2.0 which can emerge from the existing talent pool.
#5 KL Rahul for Virendra Sehwag
Virendra Sehwag can rightly be termed as the legend killer. The man better known as the ‘Multan of Sultan’ retired the spin bowling legend Saqlain Mushtaq on his home turf in 2004. Sehwag never considered off-spinners as bowlers and during his prime, he slammed some real big hundreds and he is the only Indian having 2 triple hundreds to his credentials.
KL Rahul has given ample signs of fitting into the shoes of Virendra Sehwag on top of the order. No doubt, he had an abysmal tour of England this time, but his stroke-play is immaculate. While playing his knock of 149 in retaliation in the final Test, he gave goosebumps to the English side. For a brief period, it appeared that KL Rahul may singlehandedly win the match for India.
Also, KL Rahul had a dream run in the IPL 2018 and managed to overshadow the exploits of his senior teammate, Chris Gayle. It was good to see him play all the 5 Tests in England despite of some early failures in the series. With time and most importantly exposure, KL Rahul can perfectly fit into the shoes of Virendra Sehwag as a swashbuckling opener.