India wrapped up proceedings and normal service has resumed. Ashwin has proven to be Kumble's second coming in India. The England home series was an aberration simply because they had good spinners and good batsmen. I say that tongue in cheek of course.
What's disturbing is that Dhoni thinks India have a settled side. Openers haven't provided a decent start in several innings. Neither opener has managed good scores consistently. Pujara keeps getting to bat too early and Sachin's waning days mean that this test could have been an aberration. Australia don't have the batsmen to take India on like England did. Australian batsmen just want to get on with it and that's a terrible mindset in Indian conditions.
This Indian side will get creamed in South Africa. A third whitewash in three overseas series is not progress or even mildly amusing. India can take cue from the time when Gilchrist was still in the Australian side. He played pressure free for most part because there were accomplished batsmen ahead of him. He was the "all rounder" in the side. Dhoni would do well to think about building a team with those fundamentals. It's time to give Rahane a go as opener instead of thinking that Vijay can step up in South Africa.
Jadeja can play if he proves that he can bat with the tail or if he can make the number seven spot his own. At this time he is not showing any of those possibilities. It's time to put Tiwary in the hopper to see what he can do. Taking a rookie to South Africa may work like Amre and Sehwag coming good, but its a risk given the bowling attack that they are going to confront.
India is paying the price for not looking beyond Raina and Yuvraj in a timely manner. In fact, I would argue that they still have no plan for life after Tendulkar. While the IPL is certainly to blame, I see meaningless domestic matches also as a problem.
The fact that Mumbai has won 40 times should us something about lack of competitiveness. In addition, first innings lead rules means to me, less emphasis on team work and more on individual glory. Personally, I think the Ranji Trophy should be trimmed to 20 teams or less. An NFL like format needs to applied to foster intra-division rivalry. A nationwide draft should be instituted to bring parity to teams. This way a 303 not out score truly has meaning and gravitas as opposed to a number to justify inclusion in the national team.
And maybe a minor league needs to be put into play for very major team. These could be in smaller towns. Maybe even privately owned teams or player owned teams. Like a partnership model. What's frustrating is that there is talent in India that's being wasted. Poor coaching, un-supportive set up and misplaced incentives such as IPL. BCCI can funnel money in a way such that young cricketers are forced to consider test cricket. No one should be coerced but the money on the table should provide a positive motivation. Plus, cricket awards etc can be other sources of recognition for test cricket.
Tendulkar's departure is likely to make no difference anymore.