Thursday, January 26, 2012

And the new era begins...

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Years ago when I was in college, I returned to the building complex where my folks lived. One evening, I saw some high school kids playing cricket and I decided to join in. The kids were cool with it. I enjoyed my batting, hitting a few sixes off the 14 year olds (I was 21). About halfway into the game after our batting turn was over, one of the guys said,"Do you want to keep wickets, uncle?" I was zapped!!! UNCLE??? (For those that don't know India, every kid addresses grown ups as Uncle and aunty.) I was indignant, pissed, you-name-it, etc. and I took the kid to the cleaners.

Little did I realize that the problem was not with them, but with me. I was over the hill and playing in the wrong league. India's batting seniors are in a similar place. Cricket has gone past them into the Pattinson-Kohli era and our uncles are insisting on playing with the boys because kids in India don't disrespect uncles and tell them not to play. Our selectors, fans and sponsors are all being kids (normal) and our seniors are! It's time to leave before they start feeling the unwelcome stares.

Kohli's century should have put things into perspective. While Sehwag's consistent underperformance can be put down to unwillingness to adapt, Laxman, Sachin and Dravid are just too slow. SRT can score runs and centuries until he is 50. He has that God-given ability. But the "uncle" should decide whether it's smart to play with the boys.

Kohli's performance over the last two tests should put to rest any fears that India will not be able to replace the seniors in the team. The new crop may not score 10,000 runs each, but for sure they can team up to score 300 plus on a regular basis. Along with a promising seam attack in Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, the resurgent Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma, India also has some bowling riches to exploit yet. The spin ranks are also suitably staffed.

The troika have served India very well, but their last hurrah on Adelaide's forgiving pitch is unfortunately a sad farewell to a great era.

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