Samir Chopra January 22, 2009

Worrying about Indian batting

Whither this anxiety then
67



A recurrent feature of the Indian cricketing landscape, especially since the Azhar-three spinner era of the early 1990s, has been the optimistic expectation of a New Dawn in Indian cricket following a win or two, perhaps in a series, perhaps in a solitary game. Such optimism (whether journalistic or fan-based) has, ever since the first Indian Test win (Chepauk 1952), never flagged in its timing or its hopefulness. And nowhere is it more manifest than in the period immediately following a home season that has gone well for the Men in Blue (or White).

We are in a similar period now, following the Test wins at home over Australia and England. Sure, no one is going overboard in their claims (leaving aside some suggestions that the Indian bowling attack was the most varied or the most incisive or whatever, in the cricketing world). But the feel-good vibe is present, with the twin Test series (and the 5-0 ODI thrashing of England) putting a convenient distance between the team and its recent past. But the anxiety that underwrites this bluster has, for me, been most intriguingly revealed in the discussion over whether Dravid should remain in the Indian team, especially for the forthcoming tour of New Zealand.

For the central claim of the pro-Dravid camp in this regard is that Dravid is needed in Kiwiland, on its spongy, seaming, pitches. That without him, the Indian middle-order will be at the mercy of those dreaded seamers, cutters, swingers that are the hallmark of the New Zealand attack.

On the face of it, there is something very odd about this claim. The Indian cricketing world is currently glowing in the glory of its new opening pair (confidently proclaimed by some to be the best in the world); we have rediscovered the glories of Tendulkar and Laxman; and only one batting retirement, that of Ganguly, has taken place. The Indian team has not replaced its entire middle order and the New Zealand team is judged by most folks to thoroughly deserve its position in the Test cricket rankings table. Given the bluster about India and the brick-batting of New Zealand, it would be plausible to claim that India should do just fine and win comfortably (we do have a very effective pace attack, after all).

Whither this anxiety then? Will the replacement of Dravid by a relative newbie (and not necessarily at No. 3) do such damage to the Indian team, if it really is poised for greatness? I think what this argument reveals is that there is considerable worry about the Indian batting. Most of Gambhir's heroics have come at home; Yuvraj remains untested overseas as well; Laxman might be going off the boil; and you can insert your favourite worries about Sehwag (loose cannon) and Tendulkar (will age catch up soon?) here. (I only worry about Yuvraj and Gambhir but I sense insecurity about the entire order out there).

The caution that pervades the latest spell of boosterism for the Indian team is appropriate. Much needs to be done: the Holy Grail of away wins over South Africa and Australia will only come when the batting order can do well there and if the quicks can remain injury-free and turn in consistent match-winning performances over an extended period.

For what its worth, I cannot make up my mind on whether Dravid should stay or go. But the arguments made on his behalf have been very revealing of the justifiable guardedness the Indian fan has at this point in Indian cricket.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ross on January 24, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    I think that a lot of Indians are going to be surprised when New Zealand fight back in the ODIs. They do deserve their wretched Test ranking, but in ODIs their medium pacers and spinners are advantaged, plus the smashing power of Ryder and McCullum (yes Sehwag and Gambhir are better) but the home advantage will tell too.

  • Jayesh on January 23, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    We went to New Zealand last time in 2002 to play 7 ODI's. We were comprehensively beaten 5-2. Out of the two that we won, Sehwag had scored centuries in both the matches. No other batsman could score even a 50. Tendulkar scored 3 runs in 3 ODIs, Dravid scored 116 runs in 7 ODI's. So all this talk of technique is nonsense. That technique is best which enables you to score runs

  • vs on January 22, 2009, 23:56 GMT

    Chill out junta! Peace!

    What the heck - lets just watch the series and have fun. If Dravid plays lets wish him the best of luck. If a newbie gets a shot at it we can look forward to new/fresh talent.

    Samir, we enjoy what you write so please continue to do so.

    Although, I never understand speculation about selection, team construction fantasies, etc.

    And, Dravid is my fav player so I'm biased in his favor. I was eager for him to do well when he struggled thru his first few ODI innings and will continue to hope for the best for him. :)

  • Longmemory on January 22, 2009, 22:44 GMT

    The last time India won a series in New Zealand was in 1967 - that is, 42 years ago. We have never won a series in Australia or in South Africa. When we won (1-0) in England it was after 21 years, and the victory (again 1-0) in the Windies came after 38 years. I think the last time we won a series in Sri Lanka has to be at least 15 years ago if not more, and over the decades we have won exactly one series in Pakistan (2-1). This is the backdrop against which Samir's pessimism and anxiety about our likely performance in NZ should be viewed. His piece is only incidentally about Dravid, on whose future the author is agnostic anyway, and many of the comments equate the author's paraphrasing of common viewpoints as his own. I wish many of the readers would take a moment to actually comprehend the point of the piece before rushing off to respond.

  • Laki on January 22, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    The only ones who should be left out of Indias tour of NZ are cursed, greedy, megalomaniac Lalit Modi and the BCCI. This would make both countries free to field their best possible teams and be in the greater interest of cricket. For while these two are consistently allowed to throw their toys out of the cot when they don't get their own way and unduly influence cricket in other nations by forcing the banning of non Indian players then India can never be considered a truly great team. While the Australians have always played tough neither they nor the great WIndies of the 80's ever had to use blackmail and politics to undermine their competition. You are not great unless you overcome all the other greats at their full strength - and while NZ are not great I think without any unwanted Indian influence even they would be a handful for the current Indian mob.......

  • Mahek on January 22, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    No one has forgotten his solid batting of over a decade, but how long do you keep hoping he will get back his form? Why should the team suffer because of his, or anyone else's form? No player is above the team, that includes Sachin Tendulkar as well. These guys are what they are because they've had the privilege of playing the sport of cricket. Had they not played it, someone else would have and they would have attained the kind of iconic status the current players have.

    The Indian team finally has a chance to be the best in the world, and it's because the focus has been on performance more than reputation. We're arguably the best limited overs side in the world, but we're nowhere close to the South African test unit no matter what the chauvinistic fans and media will tell you.

  • Mahek on January 22, 2009, 20:39 GMT

    It is sad to see most of the people undermining the ability of the next generation of Indian cricketers. But that's how it has been with us forever. We want people to get a chance after they've proven themselves, but how are they supposed to prove themselves when they haven't been given any chances?

    Subramaniam Badrinath has been consistently good for over half a decade and hasn't even played a test. This while Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly have endured a prolonged run of bad form. The argument in favour of them is that they've scored truckloads of runs and how can anyone dare to argue against that? Matthew Hayden has scored truckloads of runs too, but he was asked to go. As was Steve Waugh, and he was averaging over 50 over his last few tests.

    New Zealand are an average test side and even if the pitches are seamer-friendly, how do people see today's Dravid coping with it better than the rest of the lineup? He has been an eyesore and a burden on the batting lineup for two years now.

  • rocky on January 22, 2009, 20:16 GMT

    another ridiculous piece by this author to cover the space!!( this author talks bout indian stadiums though he claims he has never seen them.) anyways coming to the present topic, dravid had a lean patch for a while but he did come back with a century. anyone picking a team to play in NZ will try to pick batsman who can cope up with those conditions.anyone who has seen a bit of test cricket played in NZ (atleast on tv) or followed statistics of batsman who excelled down there would not write a rubbish article like this. and guyz just cos' u r making a living penning these spaces does not give u the right to write off established cricketers whose life and careers r dependent on the game. Please let them make their own decisions.

    ((probably will be deleted cos' of the frankness of my opinions))

  • Sachinfan on January 22, 2009, 19:52 GMT

    Haha! What a joke! You are suspecting everything. So why don't you think stuff like whether there will be rain? India won all these matches with someone performing. Its about team. Not about individual performance. Don't worry, Zaheer (both bat and ball) will save us if everyone fail.

  • Gopal on January 22, 2009, 19:12 GMT

    This is a truly bewildering article , and it is extremely disappointing that Cricinfo has chosen to highlight this on its home page.

    It is news to me that there is a debate on Dravid's position. Dhoni and Srikanth have made it clear they want him in NZ

    Secondly, the claim about anxiety is really puzzling. Debates on places in a team dont necessarily arise out of anxiety. There was a big debate on whether Symonds or Watson should play for Australia against NZ recently. Everyone knew that in either case, Australia would win easily- but the debate was which one would be more effective. Frankly, whoever bats No 3, we should comfortably beat NZ in NZ. I am a huge Rahul Dravid fan, and believe he has been India's greatest match winner in test matches, but there are good reasons for him not to be selected- ie mayve he is no longer the bastman he was, and someone like Vijay deserves a chance. But this idea of Dravid being selected as an insurance against others losing form is bunkum.

  • Ross on January 24, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    I think that a lot of Indians are going to be surprised when New Zealand fight back in the ODIs. They do deserve their wretched Test ranking, but in ODIs their medium pacers and spinners are advantaged, plus the smashing power of Ryder and McCullum (yes Sehwag and Gambhir are better) but the home advantage will tell too.

  • Jayesh on January 23, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    We went to New Zealand last time in 2002 to play 7 ODI's. We were comprehensively beaten 5-2. Out of the two that we won, Sehwag had scored centuries in both the matches. No other batsman could score even a 50. Tendulkar scored 3 runs in 3 ODIs, Dravid scored 116 runs in 7 ODI's. So all this talk of technique is nonsense. That technique is best which enables you to score runs

  • vs on January 22, 2009, 23:56 GMT

    Chill out junta! Peace!

    What the heck - lets just watch the series and have fun. If Dravid plays lets wish him the best of luck. If a newbie gets a shot at it we can look forward to new/fresh talent.

    Samir, we enjoy what you write so please continue to do so.

    Although, I never understand speculation about selection, team construction fantasies, etc.

    And, Dravid is my fav player so I'm biased in his favor. I was eager for him to do well when he struggled thru his first few ODI innings and will continue to hope for the best for him. :)

  • Longmemory on January 22, 2009, 22:44 GMT

    The last time India won a series in New Zealand was in 1967 - that is, 42 years ago. We have never won a series in Australia or in South Africa. When we won (1-0) in England it was after 21 years, and the victory (again 1-0) in the Windies came after 38 years. I think the last time we won a series in Sri Lanka has to be at least 15 years ago if not more, and over the decades we have won exactly one series in Pakistan (2-1). This is the backdrop against which Samir's pessimism and anxiety about our likely performance in NZ should be viewed. His piece is only incidentally about Dravid, on whose future the author is agnostic anyway, and many of the comments equate the author's paraphrasing of common viewpoints as his own. I wish many of the readers would take a moment to actually comprehend the point of the piece before rushing off to respond.

  • Laki on January 22, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    The only ones who should be left out of Indias tour of NZ are cursed, greedy, megalomaniac Lalit Modi and the BCCI. This would make both countries free to field their best possible teams and be in the greater interest of cricket. For while these two are consistently allowed to throw their toys out of the cot when they don't get their own way and unduly influence cricket in other nations by forcing the banning of non Indian players then India can never be considered a truly great team. While the Australians have always played tough neither they nor the great WIndies of the 80's ever had to use blackmail and politics to undermine their competition. You are not great unless you overcome all the other greats at their full strength - and while NZ are not great I think without any unwanted Indian influence even they would be a handful for the current Indian mob.......

  • Mahek on January 22, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    No one has forgotten his solid batting of over a decade, but how long do you keep hoping he will get back his form? Why should the team suffer because of his, or anyone else's form? No player is above the team, that includes Sachin Tendulkar as well. These guys are what they are because they've had the privilege of playing the sport of cricket. Had they not played it, someone else would have and they would have attained the kind of iconic status the current players have.

    The Indian team finally has a chance to be the best in the world, and it's because the focus has been on performance more than reputation. We're arguably the best limited overs side in the world, but we're nowhere close to the South African test unit no matter what the chauvinistic fans and media will tell you.

  • Mahek on January 22, 2009, 20:39 GMT

    It is sad to see most of the people undermining the ability of the next generation of Indian cricketers. But that's how it has been with us forever. We want people to get a chance after they've proven themselves, but how are they supposed to prove themselves when they haven't been given any chances?

    Subramaniam Badrinath has been consistently good for over half a decade and hasn't even played a test. This while Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly have endured a prolonged run of bad form. The argument in favour of them is that they've scored truckloads of runs and how can anyone dare to argue against that? Matthew Hayden has scored truckloads of runs too, but he was asked to go. As was Steve Waugh, and he was averaging over 50 over his last few tests.

    New Zealand are an average test side and even if the pitches are seamer-friendly, how do people see today's Dravid coping with it better than the rest of the lineup? He has been an eyesore and a burden on the batting lineup for two years now.

  • rocky on January 22, 2009, 20:16 GMT

    another ridiculous piece by this author to cover the space!!( this author talks bout indian stadiums though he claims he has never seen them.) anyways coming to the present topic, dravid had a lean patch for a while but he did come back with a century. anyone picking a team to play in NZ will try to pick batsman who can cope up with those conditions.anyone who has seen a bit of test cricket played in NZ (atleast on tv) or followed statistics of batsman who excelled down there would not write a rubbish article like this. and guyz just cos' u r making a living penning these spaces does not give u the right to write off established cricketers whose life and careers r dependent on the game. Please let them make their own decisions.

    ((probably will be deleted cos' of the frankness of my opinions))

  • Sachinfan on January 22, 2009, 19:52 GMT

    Haha! What a joke! You are suspecting everything. So why don't you think stuff like whether there will be rain? India won all these matches with someone performing. Its about team. Not about individual performance. Don't worry, Zaheer (both bat and ball) will save us if everyone fail.

  • Gopal on January 22, 2009, 19:12 GMT

    This is a truly bewildering article , and it is extremely disappointing that Cricinfo has chosen to highlight this on its home page.

    It is news to me that there is a debate on Dravid's position. Dhoni and Srikanth have made it clear they want him in NZ

    Secondly, the claim about anxiety is really puzzling. Debates on places in a team dont necessarily arise out of anxiety. There was a big debate on whether Symonds or Watson should play for Australia against NZ recently. Everyone knew that in either case, Australia would win easily- but the debate was which one would be more effective. Frankly, whoever bats No 3, we should comfortably beat NZ in NZ. I am a huge Rahul Dravid fan, and believe he has been India's greatest match winner in test matches, but there are good reasons for him not to be selected- ie mayve he is no longer the bastman he was, and someone like Vijay deserves a chance. But this idea of Dravid being selected as an insurance against others losing form is bunkum.

  • Siddy on January 22, 2009, 18:40 GMT

    I think there is too much of talking being done in this article on our batting which I believe is very strong at present. Yes, the likes of Gambhir, Yuvi, MS and Sachin have scored massive amount of runs mostly on home soil. But there is nothing to worry about. These guys have a very good defense and are good players both of the back and front foot. Most importantly they know which ball to leave and which to play, especially Gambhir who has shown a lot of maturity in these regards during his recent innings. As for Dravid, I agree with most of the people here that he deserves a last chance. If he fails to deliver then it will be time for us to bid him adieu. Keeping my fingers crossed I hope that this tour will erase the blues & the blacks of the 2003 tour of NZ

  • Kumar on January 22, 2009, 18:36 GMT

    This article was a complete waste of time written in a very negative mindset. I agree, we need to worry about the batting in alien conditions but pondering too much about it will only lead to our demise like in the past...

  • Kumar on January 22, 2009, 18:34 GMT

    This article was a complete waste of time written in a very negative mindset. I agree, we need to worry about the batting in alien conditions but pondering too much about it will only lead to our demise like in the past...

  • Gabdul on January 22, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    Kya boltis

  • Amit Patange on January 22, 2009, 18:12 GMT

    Dravid should get enough rope to hang on. Recently he had a century against his belt and great players perform on big stage. I feel a liitle bad for players like Badri and Pujara who are scoring consistently in domestic circuit only to get brushed aside by the selectors, though the latter has warmed the benchs for some time. Dravid has proved it time and again, what mettle he is made up of. We are too much worried of NZ pitches and conditions. What we have witnessed in last 2-3 years is that the pitches in that part of the world are as flat as subcontinental pitches. I remember, NZ chased down 300+ totals thrice, only a couple of years back, against the mighty aussies. And the fact is that NZ are ranked 8th in world. Sehwag's tounge must be wagging to score some big ones out there as a simmilar kind of player in Gayle has scored 197 recently. So pitches are not a concern, nor are their bowlers. My verdict, a 2-0 series win for India, if not a cleen sweep. All the best to team India.

  • JK on January 22, 2009, 17:47 GMT

    I think Dravid has done enough to decide if and when he wants to leave the scene. I don't think he will be "crucial" on the "green, spongy/seaming" wickets of NZ. As some have pointed out, others have as much of a chance as Dravid, but given what he has done for India over the years, he must be given a choice to go if he wants.....Think about it, this guy averaged almost the same as Sachin for most of his career..Not many have done that worldwide!

  • itachi on January 22, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    pointless article.. author just wants to get more comments posted here. article is not even worth commenting.. hope this is the last article from this author on cricinfo..

  • spreddy on January 22, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    Hi..It is just waste of time to invest some time on reading artilces regarding Dravid retirement..Dravid will be and should be picked up for the NZ tour..He will play for one more year atleast even if he does not play well..it is better if people in the media like you keep quiet regarding these issues and not focus on dravid for one more year...

  • Anonymous on January 22, 2009, 17:17 GMT

    Samir, pity you could not think of anything else except this! by the way, what do you do for a living?

  • Brijesh Chauhan on January 22, 2009, 17:15 GMT

    We should not have any doubt about inclusion of Rahul Dravid in Indian Team for NZ tour. This tour is very tough for and we should not forget that man who is the most successful player in NZ in past. Rahul Dravid is the champion player and the current situation is not the best time for him. We should support Rahul Dravid because it is very tough to get a replacement of Rahul. Every player goes through this situation. And this is wall that can never be broken easily. We should keep maintained this wall so that we can face the one of the toughest tour in Cricket. According to me Rahul is the player who clicks in worst situation, he won matches for India in worst situation. We cann't forget his dedication to cricket, We know he is on the edge of his career,but when to quit ? This question should be left on him only. He knows better it.whenever he would realise that he can not play any more, he will definitely quit.Mr. Dravid you will remain an icon for every cricketer, I salute you.

  • Sugam on January 22, 2009, 17:12 GMT

    "Most of Gambhir's heroics have come at home; Yuvraj remains untested overseas as well; Laxman might be going off the boil; and you can insert your favourite worries about Sehwag (loose cannon) and Tendulkar (will age catch up soon?) here. (I only worry about Yuvraj and Gambhir but I sense insecurity about the entire order out there)."

    Common, isn't this the case for batting orders of all the teams. there are too many ifs and buts. It just doesn't make sense. By far the senseless article I have ever read on cricinfo.

  • Heman on January 22, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    Samir, dude you definitely are half glass empty type. Cheerup!

  • Malay on January 22, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    Samir, mate. Stick to computers and spare us this drivel please....

  • Sundar on January 22, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    Should dravid make it to NZ? What kind of question is that? Whichever moron thinks of these topics?

  • Subramani on January 22, 2009, 16:02 GMT

    New Zealand is a fairly good side at home. Their bowling can be quite a handful there. In such a situation, it may be wrong to destroy the confidence of any of the young guns waiting to be baptised at the international level. The top order of the Indian batting have been there before and though people talk derisively of our performance the last time we went to the antipodes, I will venture out to say that had the toss gone the other way in the Tests and ODIs, the results may have been in our favour. The wickets were what was called ' drop in pitches ' which denied even the most tecnically sound players which included the Kiwis themselves. If they have normal wickets like they had in our earlier visits there, I am sure we will do well. Dravid seems to relish the weather in England and New Zealand as his record will show and so I think he must go. I am surprised that the author seems to think that our batting is over rated. I wonder if he is really in touch with the changing order.

  • rahul on January 22, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    this is the most absurd blog topic ever seen in my life. How the hell can u guys come up with such thing like dropping RD for NZ tour.This man is a legend and i think who r commenting that dravid needs to be dropped seriously need to visit a doctor and watch the game closely and learn a few things about cricket.Also there is no one in Indian Cricket apart from Sachin who can play the moving ball better.The youngsters like Rohit Sharma,Raina are proven facts that they would be unpredictable against the moving ball.Also why does everyone talk about this being Dravid's last series,the man has lots more to deliver and NZ is the right place to come back to great form.People should start giving respect to the dravid as he has in the last decade won more matches for India in abroad and at home and also just for the simple reason of scoring 10000 runs in both format of the game,he needs to treated better,as he is truly one the greatest batsmen of the game and also a true ambassador of the game

  • vikrant on January 22, 2009, 14:50 GMT

    This is an extremely confused article. First Dravid, then the entire batting order, then Dravid again? Can we talk about one thing at a time please? Also, you're talking about batting successes in India. What about the series in Australia? And then win in England before that? Our batting has been performing pretty consistently for sometime now. Try and be a little more balance in your thoughts and you just might be able to write readable articles. Thanks.

  • Aditya on January 22, 2009, 14:47 GMT

    I don't think it's a bad idea to pick another player - like M Vijay or Badrinath in the squad, but let Rahul play the games. That will put enough pressure on him to perform.

  • sainand on January 22, 2009, 14:43 GMT

    I ve seen Dravids best knocks,game saving knocks, each century made was either to win tests or save India from blushes, yeh i am pained to see him struggle yet i will prefer him to be in team when india play abroad series,we shoudnt forget some of his late innings has been shortened by umpires dreaded fingers ok.His selfless attitude keeping wickets, playing from opener to no7 spot shows his greatness to adapt any place while playing.Yes India has to groom youngster to replace him and youngster are on q let it be done in phased manner dont dump him yet let the legend decide it.I wish his average be 58 when he retires ,good luck Rahul.

  • Abhijeet Dongre on January 22, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    This is so typical of Indian cricket fans. Either they are strongly pro-dravid or strongly anti-dravid (You can as well replace dravid with tendulkar or ganguly in above sentence). Why not be a little more rational and constructive and try to come up with some guideline which can bring some consistency in selection..

  • Hazza on January 22, 2009, 13:36 GMT

    I think that Dravid is just about done, but he deserves a farewell and the NZ series should be it. He should announce this to be his last series and retire at the end of it. After that, India aren't slated to play any test cricket until late in the year and it will open an opening that new players can compete for in the meantime. He's scored 10000 runs at an average of over 50, including 26 centuries in well over 100 tests. He's captained his country in both 50 over and test cricket. He's now 36 - what else can he achieve and what does he have left to prove by playing on?

  • JP on January 22, 2009, 13:26 GMT

    most of the ppl wanna give him last chance

  • Rutvij on January 22, 2009, 13:19 GMT

    am sick of constant pestering over Dravid and his future. he is a great batsman and has earned the right of deciding when he will retire. The very thought of him not going to new zealand is absolutely absurd. haven't all great playersgone through protracted bad periods in their career? And when there is no reliable replacement in place why all this discussion. Is Rohit Sharma, Raina and others ready for a place in the test tour to new zealand. The young plkayers success in the one day and 20/20 arena doesn't mean they can make the transition smoothly. Anyway, anyone who thinks Dravid should be dropped needs to look through the records and see how many tests he has won for india. You can't kick out a "great" so unceremoniously. He is required in new zealand to provide solidarity and play his customary sheet anchor role.

  • Adhil.mothie on January 22, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    I think as a nz cricket follower,it would be a pity if dravid isnt on that plane to nz,however i think the writter has conviently forgotten india's trashing the last time around in both series.i wont be surprised if the nz currators prepares greenish pitches with a bit more pace than usual as india are quiet poor on fast pitches & the writter says india should win comfortably,well here again he conviently forgot about india's poor performances away from home.they are by no means a south africa who beat england & australia away or an australia who are world beaters.we know it will be tough to beat india but we have come a long way from the visiting england last year to know it can be done.india must not under estimate the nz attack on home friendly conditions

  • Vikrant on January 22, 2009, 13:03 GMT

    India just beat Australia and England. Home advantage notwithstanding - these teams outrank NZ by a mile and yet we are having nightmares about whether to choose Dravid or not. Our seamers are much better than theirs and so are our batsmen- if they really prepare seaming pitches and we get shot out for 150 they will fold under a 100. Old or not - compared to the indian batting card - what does New Zealand have to offer - they struggled to beat Bangladesh and their best bowler is a spinner for Chrissakes. And you are worried about seaming wickets? Dravid should be selected but should refuse and retire - because he deserves a better farewell than having to prove himself capable enough to face a NZ attack. Unfortunately a truly great player is denied a swansong because this year we dont play any quality opposition till year end. He should think I got a hundred and a duck in my last test - unlike Saurav!Time to go Jammy! Play Pujara in his place-this is the opportune time to blood him

  • Ranga on January 22, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    It was a good post and I am very surprised at how much of backing Dravid has, after reading the comments section. India must go, thrash the Kiwis because they are a sub standard team that has failed to play well even against Bangladesh / WI recently. With our batting and bowling line-up, irrespective of Dravid's presence, we must start obliterating ordinary opposition if we have to stake a claim to the # 1 spot. Thats how the Aussies or WI dominated earlier and we must do it too. Give Dravid a last chance - thats my vote, too :-)

  • jaganmohan on January 22, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    The very thought of not including Dravid in the team for New Zealand is absurd as he one of the greatest batsmen of cricketing era that started in 1996.He has served the team admirably till today barring a few low scores which is very common for any batsman even Sachin had to undergo yhis trauma in his glttering career.Dravid will be of immence help to Indian Team in New Zealand on seamer friendly pitches.Even if he fails in New Zealand,It can be a last chance for batsman of his calibre before retirement.Hence, Dravid must be in the team for New Zealand and any talk of his non performance should be totally in conceivable at this stage.

  • Sanju on January 22, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    tell me whoz gonna neogotiate kiwi spongy wickets,bhadarinath,R.Sharma,yuvraj,c.pujara.i hav learnt sombody mentioned Kartichs name,wud lik to ask on wht basis he dared to do dat .let him play in domestic circuit make som runs atlest for T.N.The very first thing is to fill the void created by Ganguly's retirement then go for the Dravids,Laxis etc.we need these legands atlest for 1-2 years...test cricket is not a days play..media can sticth a fairy tale sucess,but not a legand.you name a short in cric book he has it&he is such a beauty to watch when on song... form may be temporary,but class is permenant !!!!!!

  • Shaaa on January 22, 2009, 11:24 GMT

    Somebody in selection panel badly needs to drop Dravid.

  • srivathsan on January 22, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    I am really surprised that every one wants to criticize dravid at the drop of a hat. It is a fact that he was out of form last year. In his illustrious career ,this may be second time.This is mainly due to vengsarkar who has so much humiliated him .Dravid is a person who does not speak out against any body& every one is exploiting this goodness. Had this happened to ganguly he would have made a hue cry whole bengal would have protested. Even sachin was out of form manymore times than dravid .Did any one even opened their bloody mouth ? when it comes to dravid even a begger would like to poke his nose. Even captaincy, every one hails saurav & dhoni .well,that is fine but has any one bothered to look at statistics which reveal that dravid has fared exceedingly well as a captain ?dropping him from one dayers un ceremoniously has affected his morale & again India has won many many matches because of Dravid. He never boasts about himself. Drop him if you want but don't humiliate him

  • Chitraj Singh on January 22, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    As frustrating as it is to watch Dravid and as often as I have partaken in a "Whats wrong with Dravid" debate- it is extremely premature and quite ruthless to talk about dropping the man or asking him to retire.

    Most batsmen go through multiple lean patches in their careers.Unfortunately for Dravid, arguably his only lean patch has come in his mid 30's. An age at which spectators and crtitics seem to lose their long term memory and ability to think rationally.

    I am by no means extolling the past and overlooking the present. What I am saying is yes, there is a problem- lets try and solve it.

    Dravids problem, as cliched as it sounds, is mental-his confidence is shaken but his skill and class is intact. What he needs is support from his captain, support from his team,support from his fans and support from the game i.e. more cricket.

    He is the wall and will come good, and I will not be surprised if its against the Kiwis.

  • Anonymous on January 22, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    As frustrating as it is to watch Dravid and as often as I have partaken in a "Whats wrong with Dravid" debate- it is extremely premature and quite ruthless to talk about dropping the man or asking him to retire.

    Most batsmen go through multiple lean patches in their careers.Unfortunately for Dravid, arguably his only lean patch has come in his mid 30's. An age at which spectators and crtitics seem to lose their long term memory and ability to think rationally.

    I am by no means extolling the past and overlooking the present. What I am saying is yes, there is a problem- lets try and solve it.

    Dravids problem, as cliched as it sounds, is mental-his confidence is shaken but his skill and class is intact. What he needs is support from his captain, support from his team,support from his fans and support from the game i.e. more cricket.

    He is the wall and will come good, and I will not be surprised if its against the Kiwis.

  • Shardul on January 22, 2009, 11:03 GMT

    samir - its a little dissappointing reading this piece. his inclusion for NZ is in no doubt at all. infact he will be the amongst the first few names to be jotted down by dhoni, kris srikanth & co. he may have struggled off late but his committment can never be questioned. Proven performer in all conditions, he has a good season or two ahead of him. its a pity that cricket observers in India are even raising this concern. im sure that the men who matter dont read this blog anyways!

  • nick on January 22, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    BCCI has made sure NZ's best player can't be in the match so why even worry?

  • nikhil purohit on January 22, 2009, 9:32 GMT

    cmmon guyz..dravid is a legend ......n we shud get that ok....there is no two ways aout dravid's greatness and his utility to india ...he is still the best choice for no. three ....noone can replace him...and plz... lets not talk too much about rohit, badri,pujara or raina being his repalcement..they are still learning to bat..u cant shun someone like dravid so easily...he is far better than anybody in india after sachin.21000 runs in international cricket ts not a joke people....he is still classy ...and eloquent in his stroke play...no chance in hell dropping him for nz tour!!!!!!

  • Sam on January 22, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    Enough of Dravid bashing. Show me one yound Indian batsman, who has performed consistently on the domestic circuit, to be drafted in at #3. Rohit Sharma - unpredictable and inconsistent, Pujara - too raw and needs another season, Badri/Raina and the rest - been for long and havent been able to push through. Given these, would you want to take a chance? Till one of the above[or anyone else] pushes their game higher, I would not tamper with my #3. Period.

  • Sheethal on January 22, 2009, 8:54 GMT

    Average of 33 in Test Matches in 2007 & less than 30 in 2008. I don't think he deserves a place in the Team. He has got most chances than any other player in India even though his performance has gone from Worst to Worse. I think Time has come for Draivd to say adieu, otherwise he will be dropped from the team as it happened in ODI's. One more important thing to note here is his Test Match average has dropped from 58 to 52. If he continues to play, i think avg will drop to less than 50. If that happens, i am not sure whether he can called as GREAT Batsman as his avg doesn't fall into Great Player category.

    Avg 40: Good Player Avg 45: Very Good Player Avg 50: Great Player

  • waterbuffalo on January 22, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    Is Shane Bond playing? Then why worry? Seems to me India is not only picking their own side but picking everybody else's side as well! Nice job if you can get it... Yes by all means play Dravid against NZ's devastating pace attack. Next time you indians can pick their spinners and batsmen too.

  • Vinish on January 22, 2009, 8:31 GMT

    I understand the concern over number 3 position in famed Indian test batting line up, in 18 months from now if not in forthcoming New Zealand tour.

    I feel that ideally, somebody else (Pujara, Badrinath, or Karthik who handled English conditions wonderfully well in 2007 summer) should be groomed for no. 3 slot but Dravid should be retained for next position - no. 4. It is time that Tendulkar should drop down to no. 5 or 6. He has got experience to bat lower down the order, with the tail, and can attack as well, if needed.

    For years, we have seen that Border, S Waugh, Cronje, Azharm, Ranatunga dropped themselves down the order as most experienced players so that new and less experienced players should be groomed for vital positions as No. 3, 4 and 5. But I doubt that will happen. Unlike Dravid, Tendulkar has never compromised with his position in test matches. Dravid kept wickets in ODIs, opened the batting in tests and even in ODIs in the interest of team. Tendulkar can't.

  • siba mohanty on January 22, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    The Kiwi land is like a watery hole. The short boundaries may help the slambang Sehwags and Yuvrajs (I am a little assured about Gambhir as lately he has shown the willingness to dig in) but what will happen when the top order collapse? There must be one who holds one end. We saw what happened in Mohali against England. On the foggy mornings, after Gambhir and Rahul departed after a huge partnership, the rest folded up. You need someone with the right technology to tackle the situation. I guess, sloggers lack this. Else Mr Robin Utthappa would be Kevin Pietersen. Take Virender Sehwag to a corner and ask him for a candid confession. He might just agree.

  • RameshS on January 22, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    This should be Dravid's last series whatever the outcome. Let us assume India will face seaming conditions in NZ. Which batsmen in the current lineup are adept against the moving ball?? Gambhir is suspect..so is Laxman. And Yuvraj? He cannot play his trademark booming drives. Can he survive such testing conditions? Dhoni is a BIG SUSPECT against the moving ball. This leaves out Tendulkar, Sehwag and Dravid. The number 3 spot should be his in NZ. The man is a legend...here's hoping he does well and goes out in style.

  • Longmemory on January 22, 2009, 8:00 GMT

    The sensible Indian fan (an eternally endangered species) will always be worried about our batting, bowling, fielding and fitness when it comes to away-games. No one savvy about cricket is fooled by home wins, really. We had to chase down close to 400 to beat an English team that was mediocre and distracted; and in the second test our fearless skipper refused to even set them a target in an effort to win the test. Against the Aussies, if it wasn't for Ponting's truly brainless decision to bowl part-timers to get the over-rate up at a critical point, they might well have squeezed out a 1-1 draw and retained the B-G trophy. With or without Dravid, our guys will be clueless against NZ in NZ. As a longtime fan, I've learned to stay off the euphoria about home wins, enjoy the all-too-rare away wins against quality opposition, and hope to see a series win in Australia or SA before I die.

  • Freddie on January 22, 2009, 7:21 GMT

    I think there is a genuine case for extending Dravid's career for the NZ tour, especially because it is the NZ tour. I wouldn't put my money on the likes of gambhir, Yuvraj coping with those conditions. RD will be an asset, and not just because of his phenomenal cv. His 35 odd runs from 120 odd deliveries might be extremely valuable in NZ, while being considered a waste here. His presence in the middle will give the others the time they need to acclamatise. Methinks this will actually be india's toughest tour since Aus '07-'08.....and it just might allow RD to sign off on the high note he deserves.

  • Karthik on January 22, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    Author is confused and trying to confuse others as well

  • Krishna on January 22, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    I could only think of these words from Srikkanth... ""He's a batsman with over 10,000 runs in Test cricket," Srikkanth said. "Dravid is also among the greatest batsmen the world has produced. If you don't give Dravid the extra leeway, whom are you going to give it to? "

  • Izaan on January 22, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    Frankly speaking I was quite enjoying reading this article until you start questioning the entire batting order. "Laxman going off the boil": Dude, he has been one of India's most consistent batsman over the past couple of years, his only bad luck was that he is made to come so low down the order. Sehwag...a loose cannon...he averages 51.06 in test cricket...and has been in brilliant form last year....what else do you want. Tendulkar (will age catch up soon?)...he just scored 4 or 5 test centuries last year! I think age is definitely losing the battle here. Also you have completely ignored MS Dhoni as batsman altogether...with an average of 36.14, I think so he demands a little consideration. Then, how can you "sense insecurity about the entire order out there"? Articles like this, based more on sentiment than fact, put unnecessary pressure on our players out there and end-up being self-fulfilling prophecies. This is might be the Golden Era of Indian Cricket. Please do not ruin it!

  • Hari on January 22, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    Dravid should be going to New Zealand on merit alone, he deserves the spot. And he has a century in the last test he played. He should not be dropped simply because there is a need for generational change. And India should win in New Zealand regardless of the nature of the pitches. I would be really surprized if they have green tops, that will make sure that India win the series easily. My guess is that it will be good batting tracks...

  • Chandan on January 22, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    Don't think there is as much insecurity as you are trying to make it. Yes, Yuvraj is untested and tends to fail outside suncon but he will mature one day and so we hope. If we do not give him a chance, how are we going to find out? Same with Gambhir too!

    I didn't see there was as much of insecurity when their entire bowling line up, bar Ntini who had always failed on Indian tracks, was visiting India last year. Then do we fret unnecessarily?

    Give the young boys a chance before doubting them. And Dravid is not finished yet. Even if he retires after this series, we have M Vijay to replace him. Let us see how the he does before throwing him out.

    Laxman can go off boil, age can catch up with Sachin, Sehwag is a loose canon and Bradman can also get out for duck. So?

  • Sensiblecricket on January 22, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    I don't see a reason why Rahul mustn't go to NZ. He had a bad run, redeemed himself partly with a century in his last test match and the selectors apparently think he is good enough to make the eleven. I don't understand the reason for this post and its quibble against Dravid's inclusion. He is one of the best ever when it comes to playing overseas, so there is no argument against his selection.

  • Sid on January 22, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Ajantha Mendis

  • jay on January 22, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    I personally think, this should be the last chance for Dravid. If successful, he should retire with greatness and if failed, I don't think he will be able to catch the eyes of selectors. He had been the most effective batsman for India in bowler-friendly wickets in Tests.

    So, he must be there for this series. Moreover, transfer of guardship from one generation to another should be in a systamatic way, slowly and steadily.

  • seema on January 22, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    I think this(NZ) will be his last series and this should be the farewell series for him

  • Rohan on January 22, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    I am not worries about Gambhir or Yuvraj or for that matter anyone. But i m worried about this entire misconception of seaming green pitches of NZ. There are no more such pitches in NZ. They are flat with good bounce and with very very short boundaries. These are the kind of pitches where one would expect certain records like fastest test century or fastest double century to be broken.

  • Gana on January 22, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    ..and Dravid has failed against Central zone in the first innings!

  • Matt on January 22, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    I think you need to remember back to the last time India were in NZ. The test series they comprehensively lost 0-2. The pitches that were used were green seamers and Dravid was the only batsmen to score any runs, and seemed the only batsmen able to adapt to the conditions. I have a feeling the pitches this time around may be a bit less green, and offer less to the seam bowlers, however, i think Dravid needs to be there for India.

  • sandeep on January 22, 2009, 5:09 GMT

    no two ways about it....dravid has to go to NZ...dont c any other new indian batsman who can negotiate the conditions there

  • Bhatti on January 22, 2009, 4:58 GMT

    It is disheartening to read on almost daily basis that Rahul Dravid should no longer be in the indian team. Dravid is a world class batsman and I believe that he belongs to the finest category in cricket books of all times. I do not think it is wise to raise doubts and questions about his batting prowess and genius. Dravid, in his cricketing career, has demonstrated his batting class in adverse times by rescuing Indian against lethal bowling attacks consisting of 2 W's including Shoaib Akthar (Pakistan), Macgrath and Warne Co (Australia), Walsh and Ambrose (West Indies). There should be no two opinions on the issue that Dravid, like Tendulkar, must be given an opportunity to decide his own fate in the game. Lets not forget that Tendulkar has been successful since 1996 because he had Dravid by his side as "Wall".

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  • Bhatti on January 22, 2009, 4:58 GMT

    It is disheartening to read on almost daily basis that Rahul Dravid should no longer be in the indian team. Dravid is a world class batsman and I believe that he belongs to the finest category in cricket books of all times. I do not think it is wise to raise doubts and questions about his batting prowess and genius. Dravid, in his cricketing career, has demonstrated his batting class in adverse times by rescuing Indian against lethal bowling attacks consisting of 2 W's including Shoaib Akthar (Pakistan), Macgrath and Warne Co (Australia), Walsh and Ambrose (West Indies). There should be no two opinions on the issue that Dravid, like Tendulkar, must be given an opportunity to decide his own fate in the game. Lets not forget that Tendulkar has been successful since 1996 because he had Dravid by his side as "Wall".

  • sandeep on January 22, 2009, 5:09 GMT

    no two ways about it....dravid has to go to NZ...dont c any other new indian batsman who can negotiate the conditions there

  • Matt on January 22, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    I think you need to remember back to the last time India were in NZ. The test series they comprehensively lost 0-2. The pitches that were used were green seamers and Dravid was the only batsmen to score any runs, and seemed the only batsmen able to adapt to the conditions. I have a feeling the pitches this time around may be a bit less green, and offer less to the seam bowlers, however, i think Dravid needs to be there for India.

  • Gana on January 22, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    ..and Dravid has failed against Central zone in the first innings!

  • Rohan on January 22, 2009, 5:57 GMT

    I am not worries about Gambhir or Yuvraj or for that matter anyone. But i m worried about this entire misconception of seaming green pitches of NZ. There are no more such pitches in NZ. They are flat with good bounce and with very very short boundaries. These are the kind of pitches where one would expect certain records like fastest test century or fastest double century to be broken.

  • seema on January 22, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    I think this(NZ) will be his last series and this should be the farewell series for him

  • jay on January 22, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    I personally think, this should be the last chance for Dravid. If successful, he should retire with greatness and if failed, I don't think he will be able to catch the eyes of selectors. He had been the most effective batsman for India in bowler-friendly wickets in Tests.

    So, he must be there for this series. Moreover, transfer of guardship from one generation to another should be in a systamatic way, slowly and steadily.

  • Sid on January 22, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Ajantha Mendis

  • Sensiblecricket on January 22, 2009, 6:29 GMT

    I don't see a reason why Rahul mustn't go to NZ. He had a bad run, redeemed himself partly with a century in his last test match and the selectors apparently think he is good enough to make the eleven. I don't understand the reason for this post and its quibble against Dravid's inclusion. He is one of the best ever when it comes to playing overseas, so there is no argument against his selection.

  • Chandan on January 22, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    Don't think there is as much insecurity as you are trying to make it. Yes, Yuvraj is untested and tends to fail outside suncon but he will mature one day and so we hope. If we do not give him a chance, how are we going to find out? Same with Gambhir too!

    I didn't see there was as much of insecurity when their entire bowling line up, bar Ntini who had always failed on Indian tracks, was visiting India last year. Then do we fret unnecessarily?

    Give the young boys a chance before doubting them. And Dravid is not finished yet. Even if he retires after this series, we have M Vijay to replace him. Let us see how the he does before throwing him out.

    Laxman can go off boil, age can catch up with Sachin, Sehwag is a loose canon and Bradman can also get out for duck. So?