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Ring out the Old, Ring in the New

837   //    06 Mar 2012, 11:37 IST

Our Indian team is in a state of transition—the stage which can very well change the set-up of any cricket team.  It was the West Indian cricket team in the 1980s that had an incredible line up; their bowling unit with Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose was considered  deadly, leaving opponent batsmen gasping for breath, and batsmen like the legends Sir Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd hit the bowlers to all parts of the ground. But reign is never constant.  Here we are today with the West Indian cricket team considered underdogs.

The Indian cricket team must handle this period of change cautiously.  Repeated failures overseas have raised the question as to when this Indian test team with tired legs will be infused with younger blood. The BCCI has been evasive in addressing the issue of senior players continuing to play.  Past couple of years have seen major transformations in the Indian team in the shorter format. Youngsters have replaced seniors like Sourav Ganguly, VVS  Laxman, Rahul Dravid etc. who retired from one day cricket.  M.S.Dhoni  replaced captain Sourav Ganguly and has done extremely well . Under his captaincy, the team has won some major series including 2007 ICC World Twenty20, CB Series of 2007–08, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008 and 2010 against Australia and  the marvelous 2011 World Cup win.  His captaincy in the 50-over format has been commendable, though his Test captaincy has been questioned now.  His own batting performance in the Test team recently has been under fire. While youngsters like Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina have failed to seize the opportunities they have received in the Test arena, Virat Kohli has made his appearances count with some contributions that include a Test hundred in the last test match in Adelaide this year. Experts believe that Rohit Sharma has got the right technique and the temperament to succeed in Test cricket. But one must say that he has got very few opportunities till now. He will have to be patient and wait for his chances and most importantly make them count.

The Indian team after the exit of the seniors can still manage to face challenges on home turfs, but their biggest test will be the away tours.  Over the years the batting trio Sachin, Dravid and Laxman have mounted heaps of run in countries like Australia, England where the pitches have got considerable pace, bounce and swing in them. With no away tour for some time now the selection panel has a huge task on hand.  The selectors need to demand clarification from the seniors to know what they are trying to prove now.  They have done a lot for the country and now, perhaps, the time has come for them to give the reigns away to the upcoming talent.  The youngsters need to play more for the team to formulate a healthy whole once the seniors are gone for good.  The BCCI must act with prudence in making space for players like Sharma, Kohli, Raina while phasing out the seniors. If Sachin Tendulkar had entered the team at a time when there was dilly-dallying with the playing order, he may not have been brilliance personified that he is.

Not willing to leave the field yet.
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