Ideal replacements for the big three
The 100th ton has finally arrived, The Wall has hung his boots and the Very Very Special is slowly fading away. These are transition times for Indian cricket. Back in 2008, it was the Fab Four of Saurav, Sachin, Rahul and VVS. After Ganguly retired, it became the terrific trio. These are the people who have carried the expectations of the Indian cricket fans. With Dravid bidding adieu and Sachin and VVS in the twilight of their career, it’s time for the young boys to take the big stage. Luckily, we’ve managed to discover one trio who seem very capable of filling the void. It’s time for Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. With all 3 being regulars in the shorter versions of the game, they need to prove themselves at the test level given a chance. Let’s take a look at what they’ve to offer.
Mr.Dependable, Virat Kohli is the latest sensation of Indian cricket. From leading the team to the U-19 World Cup to smashing 183 against Pakistan, Kohli has matured as a cricketer. He has stunned the world with his batting prowess and has a long way to go. If he continues batting the way he is, a 100 centuries is a strong possibility.
Strengths:- Classy, technically sound and has a great temperament. Paces his innings perfectly and his shot selection is superb. Never really tries to slog, relies heavily on timing and placement. Whether it’s chasing big targets or setting them, he knows perfectly what to do. He has already proved his mettle in Australia and England. With Dravid no longer playing, No.3 spot will be his own atleast for the next 10 years. He is sharp on the field and is very fit. Has leadership skills, is aggressive and is pitted as the next Indian captain. A true match-winner in every sense.
Weaknesses:- He is the angry young man of Indian cricket. Though being aggressive is his strength, he can lose his cool pretty quickly. If he lets his batting do the talking and keeps his finger quiet, glory will follow him all the way. With him receiving so much attention at 23, fame management is something he has to master.
The floater in the Indian cricket team. Perfect for the limited overs game but yet to get a break in tests. When he made his way into the Indian team, many said he would be the next Tendulkar, but has never really lived upto the expectations.
Strengths:- Talent galore, Rohit can bat at any given position. Plays the supporting role to perfection and always keeps the score-board ticking. Has shown us in The West Indies that he can also bat with the tail. He is strong on both sides of the wicket. Also, sharp in the field and decisive with throw. Very handful with his off-spinners. Has a cool head and can soak up pressure quickly, Rohit is a perfect choice for the No.4 slot.
Weaknesses:- Rohit hasn’t been consistant at the top level. He has a tendency to give away the wicket with his poor shot selection. He needs to learn the art of finishing the games. His fitness is also a concern. The test cap is beckoning and he has to make use of the opportunities.
The Finisher, most experienced out of the trio. Stunned the world with his glorious cover drives in his debut against Pakistan. Had the perfect test debut as well, but never really carried on. Whether the cover drives or big hits, everything seems elegant when Raina plays it.
Strengths:- Raina has been a regular in the ODI side for a long time now. With his exquisite timing and shot making, Raina is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball in the world. He gets his runs at a very quick rate, hence perfect for the slog overs. Electrifying in the field and can bowl tidy spells. A perfect all-rounder and team player, he has made the No.5 spot his own.
Weaknesses:- He is a pale shadow of himself outside the sub-continent. Yet to prove his mettle overseas. Has to handle the short-pitched delivery better, which has been his biggest weakness. If he makes it to the Test team, he has to carry on from where he left off. With youngsters like Tiwary and Pujara knocking the door, Raina soon needs to make a mark at the highest level.
With successive losses overseas and the senior players slowly fading away, India soon needs to find the right combination if they have to compete at the highest level. Otherwise, more whitewashes are on the card. All hopes are now on this young brigade and we need this trio to fire quickly and consistently. They certainly did carry Tendulkar on their shoulders, but can they carry the burden of expectations? Only time will tell.