Friday, August 24, 2012

India's refurbished batting order

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It is obvious that the real test for India’s refurbished (but not completely rennovated) batting order lies in how we perform in Australia, England and South Africa. Unlike their predecessors, the current set of youngsters will perpetually be in the shadows of one of the greatest set of batsmen ever to play together.  

It would seem that allowing the new batsmen time to play a few Tests at home before they are thrown on fast tracks, is a good approach. Many will point out that Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly were all christened in far more hostile conditions away from home. Even VVS Laxman was discovered only in Sydney. However that was not by choice. At the time many of these players made their debuts, India was running a deficit on batting talent. Given a choice it is logical to groom youngsters at home and reserve judgment on their class for away tours.

There is guarded optimism around the performances of both Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara.

Will they be as good as their predecessors? Perhaps no... No one can say with any amount of certainty whether there will ever be a batting line up as good as the one that we enjoyed over the last decade.

Even the men who made up that batting order may no longer be as good as that batting order.

When we are confronted with the retirements of Ganguly, Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar in the near future, we tend to look at their contributions holistically (fondly remembering the highlights) and wonder if we have anyone who ‘deserves’ to replace them.

However if you look at their collective performances over the last 14 Tests, the question that needs asking is that do these batsmen have the numbers to justify delaying the inevitable. India is certainly better off ‘moving on’ than investing in batsmen nearing 40, whose likelihood of putting up performances that can win Test matches for India is uncertain.

Virendra Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have collectively scored 3931 runs @ 35 runs per innings with only 6 100s since the World Cup and IPL 2011. Of them only Rahul Dravid and to some extent Sachin Tendulkar have looked authoritative. Although @ 36 runs per innings and no 100s for Sachin, it would be a bit sarcastic to say that he is ‘on top of his game’.

India’s selectors had largely left it to the batsman to decide India’s future and as expected even when the numbers; both individual and collective from a win-loss perspective; clearly scream the need to do things differently, the batsmen chose to either continue or when nudged to retire made an emotional scene about it. Rahul Dravid, left with dignity. VVS Laxman seemed hurt and made sure we all knew that but his numbers and age were clearly making a case for his axing. When Sachin Tendulkar says that ‘one should not retire when one is on top of his game’ and implies that he is; we chose not to laugh only out of respect.

With Virendra Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir they have age on their side and giving them more time to emulate themselves makes sense.

In the shorter term the benchmark for Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli is not really very high. Averaging 35 odd and producing 6 100s the next time India embarks on away tours is not that daunting. It is my belief that the retirements of the VVS, Dravid and Sachin will have no short term impact to India’s Test Match performance only because they aren’t exactly leaving an all conquering team. The recent record is so poor that even the most incompetent set of youngsters will find it tough not to better. I think some new thinking will make India a better team than the one we saw in England and Australia last year.


Govind Raj said...

Completely agreed. Those that have left, have done well to do so. Those that are waiting are delaying the inevitable while not being completely unselfish !

Golandaaz said...

as someone wiser said....from an elephant in the room he has become an entire zoo.

Host Pay Per Head said...

and I think that India so really needed this and I hope they can learn from it in order to become a stronger team