Mike Holmans February 16, 2010

To drop or not to drop?

For the future, the big question is how the Indian selectors are going to deal with the inevitable loss of Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar
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"It was painfully apparent at Port Elizabeth that Ntini had lost his zip" © Getty Images

Established players' careers end (or take a long break) either through retirement (whether for personal reasons or injury) or because the selectors think someone else can do the job better. Retirements take the decision out of the selectors' hands – they only have to work out how to replace what is lost; the harder call is when a dip in form signals terminal decline, or who has to be omitted to accommodate someone whose form and ability simply screams “pick me!”. Getting those decisions right is what justifies a selection panel.

England's selectors have done quite well at this recently. Andrew Flintoff's retirement was met with a lot of worry about how he would be replaced, but he was hardly missed in South Africa. There is no one specific player who replaces him, but what he brought to the team is being covered. Super Fred, the great all-rounder only really played between 2004 and 2006; thereafter, Flintoff's value to the team was as a mid-innings specialist.

An hour and a half's batting would bring 60 or 70 quick runs, demoralise the opposition bowlers and buoy the England tail so that what had looked like being a mediocre 264 turned into a healthy 380. The lack of five-fors shows that he was no destroyer, but his special gift was coming on with a 58-over-old ball and nabbing three middle-order wickets to start a slide, cutting what had bid fair to be 480 to a manageable 305.

Matt Prior, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann have all shown themselves capable of the rumbustious cameo with the bat, and Swann and Broad are now regularly chipping in with those mid-innings spells. Between them, they usually now produce the impetus which Flintoff provided. What the selectors got right was predicting that would happen, allowing them to pick Ian Bell – much criticised at the time – whose batting was crucial to winning at Durban and drawing at Newlands.

The transition between specialist swing bowlers was also pretty smooth. When England lost the first Test on their tour of New Zealand in 2008, they took the tough decision that Matthew Hoggard should be replaced by James Anderson, who responded with a five-for and England went on to win the series. Hoggard complained bitterly for months that it had been one bad match that did for him, but the selectors have to be praised for getting it right.

South Africa's selectors, on the other hand, got it wrong in a similar situation. They really had little choice but to pick Makhaya Ntini for the first Test. Steyn was injured, and an attack of Morne Morkel, Friedel de Wet and Wayne Parnell would have been horribly inexperienced and what Ntini certainly has is experience.

However, although it was painfully apparent at Port Elizabeth that Ntini had lost his zip, his 390 career Test wickets tempted the selectors to give him the nod ahead of de Wet for Kingsmead. Strauss made mincemeat of him and set up England's big first innings total, and thus South Africa prevented themselves from winning the series as they should have.

To be fair, they have recognised that whatever fine qualities Ashwell Prince has as a No. 5 or 6, he can hardly open a beer can, let alone a Test innings, and Alviro Petersen's debut hundred has rewarded them.

For the future, the big question is how the Indian selectors are going to deal with the inevitable loss of Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar. Will they have the courage to wield the axe when it becomes necessary, or will they leave it to them to retire? Of course, there is no point in dropping legendary players unless and until there are players ready to take over and as yet there is little sign of any serious challengers emerging, so perhaps it will not matter. But if their constant dithering about what would be a good bowling attack is anything to go by, it will be chaos.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jorge on July 31, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    This squad will be more strong, if Samaraweera, Mathews, Tharanga, Malinga &Dilhara were rmoveed & more experienced players like Jayasuriya, Mubarak, Chamara Silva, Dilruwan Perera & Vass were included. Even if we had got Peter May, Allen Border or David Boone type selector , there won’t be any change to the squad . The plain truth is that we have dropped down to the No 7th position from No 2 position of the ODI rankings after the retirement of Marvan. We have lost almost all home ODI tournaments since 2007 & we were nearly beaten by Zimbabwe & Bangladesh in away tours in2009 with all these experienced stars . This happened so because we didn’t have a single batsman who can deliberately play the ball right along the carpet at the top in tough situations until Mathews has forced his way into the National squad. Though Samaraweera is the most proficient complete batsman of last decade, he has been sadly under used. In fact he had to make way for selectors’ favorites. He should have been our play-maker instead; he is the ideal No 3, immediately followed by Angelo Mathews. During this disastrous period of 15 years many brilliant schoolboy cricketers couldn’t make into the National side instead very ordinary players were selected at regular basis. If these favorites were not picked to play in the 1st XI, they’ve always found places in all other touring squads.If we are to select a batsman, the thing we have to consider most is his current form & his playing history from present to his early school days. A batsman who doesn’t have skills to maintain consistency can never be any help to win a tournament in the future. Why did we win the 1996 WC? What it had mattered most? Was it risk filled stroke play of Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana & Gurusinghe or the chanceless clean hitting of Aravinda, Hashan & Mahanama.In this regard I rate Khausal Silva, Paranawithana, Lahiru Thrimmanne, Chandimal, Angelo Perera & Dimuth Karunarathna, Sachithra Serasinghe, Romesh Bhuddhika together with Samaraweera, Mathews, Dilshan & Upul Tharanga highly as best batsmen the country has at present. When it comes to spinners it is hard to ignore skills of tall bowlers like Sachithra Senanayake & Umesh Karunarathne for their consistency. (0)

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  • Ellie SeriousCloun on May 10, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Indeed cool story as for me. It'd be just great to read more about that theme. Thank you for giving such information.

  • Murali on February 25, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Like all other countries, India will take a dip in performance and miss these good players. When australia lost Hayden, Langer, Martin, Gilcrist, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and Glen Mcgrath, they suffered a few losses but have bounced back stronger then before. Lot of youngsters will standup to the expectation. These players were youngsters when they replaced Gavaskar, Vishwanath and vengsarkar.

  • Murali on February 25, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Like all other countries, India will take a dip in performance and miss these good players. When australia lost Hayden, Langer, Martin, Gilcrist, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and Glen Mcgrath, they suffered a few losses but have bounced back stronger then before. Lot of youngsters will standup to the expectation. These players were youngsters when they replaced Gavaskar, Vishwanath and vengsarkar.

  • Anoop on February 24, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Sachin could play until he is 50 years old and he would still be one of the best in the world because he is that good. As long as Dravid and Laxman look after themselves I don't see why they can't carry on for at least 5 years.

  • Dj Das on February 22, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    @ Abhishek Mehta

    How is discussing this matter with you going to help anybody with anything? You're not the selector nor do you have any influence on the Board. So stop trying to feel important.

    I think we will just have to accept the fact that India's batting will simply not be as strong as it is once the Big Three retire. Look at how the Windies are still struggling to replace their pace attack even after 12 years.

    I think we should just enjoy our stay at the top while it lasts, as in two years, this will not be the same. I for one, will marry an Australian, move to Sydney, and cheer for whoever picks up Ponting's scraps, maybe Clark.

  • getgopi on February 19, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    I don't think Flintoff would have made a big difference. Given England's "here and there" form, the ECB needs to actively find solid talent for their lineup. Flintoff would have injured himself again, given the ECB more selection headaches and slowed down an otherwise important process. Its better the way it is.

    There are some cool-headed Indian fans who know their Test cricket like that groundsman who prepared that Kolkata pitch for the 2nd Test between India and South Africa. But, yes, quite a "bit" of them are sentimental about their Cricket players. Nothing wrong with such passion as long as the Indian selectors don't get carried away with that same mentality...and the selectors showed that in the way they picked up and later dropped Dravid from the ODI side last year.

    Last year, I remember fans chanting Raina's name during a game in NZ and later during a match against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy. So India has a decent chance of replacing the big 3...a decent chance...

  • Abhishek Mehta on February 19, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    First of all i would love to say if someone want to know whats Patience can achieve just observe dravid statistics......What is Commitment,just see VVS Laxman.well i really respect this man...he nver played world cup but the way he is professional and the way he manages 4 or 5 matches in a year..Superb......well i will nt say anyting for master blaster.........Sachin paa ji..wht can i say is 20 years still he is hungry for runs......but its part of life as well as in cricket that we have to move on ...i feel after 1 or 1.5 year these people will retire till then BCCi have to make test players like Raina,dinesh karthik really deserve to b there,murli vijay n one guy which i feel can b huge investment if he n board pay attention towards him.Mainsh pandey...see no1 can replace sachin paaji..but sumwhere dravid n vvs can be replaced by murli,karthik,raina,dinesh karthik n Manish Pandey......Hope u guysalso agree with me......mail me if sum1 wanna discuus abhishekmehta1712@gmail.com.

  • Jorge on July 31, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    This squad will be more strong, if Samaraweera, Mathews, Tharanga, Malinga &Dilhara were rmoveed & more experienced players like Jayasuriya, Mubarak, Chamara Silva, Dilruwan Perera & Vass were included. Even if we had got Peter May, Allen Border or David Boone type selector , there won’t be any change to the squad . The plain truth is that we have dropped down to the No 7th position from No 2 position of the ODI rankings after the retirement of Marvan. We have lost almost all home ODI tournaments since 2007 & we were nearly beaten by Zimbabwe & Bangladesh in away tours in2009 with all these experienced stars . This happened so because we didn’t have a single batsman who can deliberately play the ball right along the carpet at the top in tough situations until Mathews has forced his way into the National squad. Though Samaraweera is the most proficient complete batsman of last decade, he has been sadly under used. In fact he had to make way for selectors’ favorites. He should have been our play-maker instead; he is the ideal No 3, immediately followed by Angelo Mathews. During this disastrous period of 15 years many brilliant schoolboy cricketers couldn’t make into the National side instead very ordinary players were selected at regular basis. If these favorites were not picked to play in the 1st XI, they’ve always found places in all other touring squads.If we are to select a batsman, the thing we have to consider most is his current form & his playing history from present to his early school days. A batsman who doesn’t have skills to maintain consistency can never be any help to win a tournament in the future. Why did we win the 1996 WC? What it had mattered most? Was it risk filled stroke play of Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana & Gurusinghe or the chanceless clean hitting of Aravinda, Hashan & Mahanama.In this regard I rate Khausal Silva, Paranawithana, Lahiru Thrimmanne, Chandimal, Angelo Perera & Dimuth Karunarathna, Sachithra Serasinghe, Romesh Bhuddhika together with Samaraweera, Mathews, Dilshan & Upul Tharanga highly as best batsmen the country has at present. When it comes to spinners it is hard to ignore skills of tall bowlers like Sachithra Senanayake & Umesh Karunarathne for their consistency. (0)

  • executive escorts london on May 16, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    It was certainly interesting for me to read this article. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on this blog soon.

    Hilary Smith

  • jammers for sale on May 11, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    And how about adding some more illustrations? I don’t want to offend anyone, content is really great. But as I know visitors acquire info much more efficient if they see some useful illustrations.

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  • Ellie SeriousCloun on May 10, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Indeed cool story as for me. It'd be just great to read more about that theme. Thank you for giving such information.

  • Murali on February 25, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Like all other countries, India will take a dip in performance and miss these good players. When australia lost Hayden, Langer, Martin, Gilcrist, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and Glen Mcgrath, they suffered a few losses but have bounced back stronger then before. Lot of youngsters will standup to the expectation. These players were youngsters when they replaced Gavaskar, Vishwanath and vengsarkar.

  • Murali on February 25, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Like all other countries, India will take a dip in performance and miss these good players. When australia lost Hayden, Langer, Martin, Gilcrist, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and Glen Mcgrath, they suffered a few losses but have bounced back stronger then before. Lot of youngsters will standup to the expectation. These players were youngsters when they replaced Gavaskar, Vishwanath and vengsarkar.

  • Anoop on February 24, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Sachin could play until he is 50 years old and he would still be one of the best in the world because he is that good. As long as Dravid and Laxman look after themselves I don't see why they can't carry on for at least 5 years.

  • Dj Das on February 22, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    @ Abhishek Mehta

    How is discussing this matter with you going to help anybody with anything? You're not the selector nor do you have any influence on the Board. So stop trying to feel important.

    I think we will just have to accept the fact that India's batting will simply not be as strong as it is once the Big Three retire. Look at how the Windies are still struggling to replace their pace attack even after 12 years.

    I think we should just enjoy our stay at the top while it lasts, as in two years, this will not be the same. I for one, will marry an Australian, move to Sydney, and cheer for whoever picks up Ponting's scraps, maybe Clark.

  • getgopi on February 19, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    I don't think Flintoff would have made a big difference. Given England's "here and there" form, the ECB needs to actively find solid talent for their lineup. Flintoff would have injured himself again, given the ECB more selection headaches and slowed down an otherwise important process. Its better the way it is.

    There are some cool-headed Indian fans who know their Test cricket like that groundsman who prepared that Kolkata pitch for the 2nd Test between India and South Africa. But, yes, quite a "bit" of them are sentimental about their Cricket players. Nothing wrong with such passion as long as the Indian selectors don't get carried away with that same mentality...and the selectors showed that in the way they picked up and later dropped Dravid from the ODI side last year.

    Last year, I remember fans chanting Raina's name during a game in NZ and later during a match against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy. So India has a decent chance of replacing the big 3...a decent chance...

  • Abhishek Mehta on February 19, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    First of all i would love to say if someone want to know whats Patience can achieve just observe dravid statistics......What is Commitment,just see VVS Laxman.well i really respect this man...he nver played world cup but the way he is professional and the way he manages 4 or 5 matches in a year..Superb......well i will nt say anyting for master blaster.........Sachin paa ji..wht can i say is 20 years still he is hungry for runs......but its part of life as well as in cricket that we have to move on ...i feel after 1 or 1.5 year these people will retire till then BCCi have to make test players like Raina,dinesh karthik really deserve to b there,murli vijay n one guy which i feel can b huge investment if he n board pay attention towards him.Mainsh pandey...see no1 can replace sachin paaji..but sumwhere dravid n vvs can be replaced by murli,karthik,raina,dinesh karthik n Manish Pandey......Hope u guysalso agree with me......mail me if sum1 wanna discuus abhishekmehta1712@gmail.com.

  • Kool Kat on February 18, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    We have the usual ignorant clique seeking Dravid's retirement. Prejudice and ignorance are a dangerous combination. Add sentimentality (like Sachin should never retire) and you have fans who are passionate, but know precious little about Test cricket.

  • Chandra Sekhar on February 17, 2010, 21:46 GMT

    The least the BCCI and the selectors can do for Dravid, Laxman & Tendulkar for the great contribution they have made is not to insult them by dropping them one fine day (like they dropped Dravid so unceremoniously), but let them continue as long as they are contributing; but with one caveat...each of them would be responsible to mentor and develop one or two players to take their place. Once their wards are ready to take over, a class act like Dravid would step down himself in the interest of the country and the future of Indian Cricket. But even when any of this holy trinity of Indian cricket has to leave, it should happen with dignity, decorum, and respect through a mutually agreed process between them and BCCI/Selectors

  • Harshad on February 17, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    I think Sachin is in form of life. And more importantly, selectors have already started thinking about future by including Vijay, Raina in squad. Some too good players like Pujara, Nayar are performing well in domestic cricket. Too me at least, the scene looks optimistic. I see no reason why someone would want to drop Sachin, Rahul given their current form. Too sceptical, ain't it?. Flintoff was not in good form with bat, forget about the injuries.

  • Mark TC on February 17, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    considering how the English were outplayed in all but one test, I would say they missed Flintoff. The Aussies stuttered a bit with the loss of some legends, but look at them now. It is time for SA to use some good sense and drop JP and let Prince bat where his average is 50-60. No one player is above the game. But hen there is also no use dropping players for the sake of it. Look at the talk about dropping Boucher before the England tour- and who played well?

    [Mike: If Flintoff had played, Bell would not have, and then England would not have won the Test they did. England's weakness was in the batting, and Flintoff's form with the bat over the previous two years was poor enough that he would simply have exacerbated the problem.]

  • Anand Desai on February 17, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Hi All, I think we do have good stock of players like Virat Kohali,Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey,Pujara,Dinesh Karthik,Suresh Raina (in test only if he work out his inability to play shortpitch stuff),Badrinath , M Vijay to take over..It is just a matter of confidence...In Test i am sure that Rohit, Pujara , Kohli & Manish Pandey will fill in the slots once they start getting their opportunity. Also how they are groomed is going to be very important.It is a time now for selectors to start considering them atleast for home series .....give them atleast few test under their belt to build their confidence before Sachin , Laxman or Dravid retires .... one of the two Laxman & Dravid can play alternately....

  • Callum on February 17, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    I have to disagree with you about Flintoff - I would have had him in my World XI side for both tests and ODIs as a specialist bowler, with his batting a useful bonus. His speed and bounce made him one of the most intimidating bowlers in the game, and when you add swing and a huge heart into it, he's an obvious choice.

    It's so disappointing that such a great player's career was cut short by injury... just like Shane Bond.

  • Bhaskar on February 17, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    I agree with Vikram that Yuvraj hasn't quite fitted into Ganguly's shoes. Though there's no doubt that he is one of the finest one day/ T 20 players around, he hasn't quite showed the same potential in tests, even though he has been given a pretty long rope by the selectors. Raina also does not have a domestic record to back him, which Badri and Vijay do. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have been doing well in the Ranji ciecuit for a couple of seasons, and if anyone watched the Ranji final this time, Manish Pandey looks an exciting prospect.

  • Vishal Bulbule, 8087551058 on February 17, 2010, 6:18 GMT

    Veerat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, and new other players who will be the outcomes of the next IPL should get as much attention as possible in the process of building a new team with extra ordinary talents. There would defentalely be great difficulties in replacing players those calibers like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman. In fact seems nearly impossible to fill the places with such players. I would be again a great coincidence if we get such 3 or 4 players at a team in the next team. Even I would say it will be more interesting to see weather can get player like Virendra Sehwag. Very very very difficult. You will get hitters. But Veeru hits consistently. Consistent hitters were and are very few. Adam Gilchrist, Sir Richards are a few major names to take. Players like Dravid's caliber are desperate to see players on the other side who can move the score fast and firm. It is kind of support a wall like Dravid needs. Otherwise we will see only and only drawn matches. Find strikeres too.

  • Vishal Bulbule, 8087551058 on February 17, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    I think time has come when a player like Dravid will take decesion at any moment regarding his retirement. I am a bit more confident about little master that he will preserve his postion in the team as number four batsman for the next atleast one and half or two years. Why should Sachin retire that is a question. See in the last four matches he has hit four centuries. This is a kind of dream for many youngsters even and still Sachin is managing to perform so well at his age. He is running 37. He is still scoring at the same strike rate as he was used to in the past. I will remain in the team for a long time only and only due to his abilities not because he is a legend in the team and selectors will have to dare droping hims. He himself knows when to retire. Laxman will also stay in the team for atleast two more years and he should. No effect on his batting yet. But one thing is sure that Sachin will try to announce retirement immediately after a match in which he will score a ton.

  • Vikram Maingi on February 16, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Even the void created by Gannguly is not filled up. Yuvraj is not upto the mark at Test level. So, this back-up creation will be a slow process. We have Murali/Badrinath/Rohit/Raina/Pujara who are knocking the doors at test level and are making Yuvraj's life miserable. At this point of time, it is more important for India to find quality spinners rather than replacement for Rahul and VVSL (Nobody can replace Sachin).

  • AReddy on February 16, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    Sachin, Rahul & laxman should stay as along as they can. In the meantime we need to have a good backup. Was wondering why BCCI is ignoring Dinesh Karthik. He has proved himself time & again. HE can bat & keep wickets. Guessing Dhoni is a bit insecure with his place in the team as wicket keeper. They have given Badri a go in the SA series but it should have been Karthik. HE did well in domestic cricket. He did well in the last england tour.Common give him a break. He can be the AB Devilliers of India team.

  • Rohit Jaishankar on February 16, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    Nice article. But why would the Indian selectors be thinking of replacing players who are in such fine form? Yes these guys cannot carry on forever but until and unless there is a significant drop in form, why should the selectors even contemplate replacements?

  • Ashok Kumar Mishra on February 16, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    In onedayer stock india having Suresh Raina,Rohit Sharma,they may select the above because they are having international exposure other than Badrinath/Murali Vijay.India has no stock like austrailia/SA as separate player for test and one dayer.These players to be taken pemanentally after one year and so,that they can fill inevitable loss of our great player

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  • Ashok Kumar Mishra on February 16, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    In onedayer stock india having Suresh Raina,Rohit Sharma,they may select the above because they are having international exposure other than Badrinath/Murali Vijay.India has no stock like austrailia/SA as separate player for test and one dayer.These players to be taken pemanentally after one year and so,that they can fill inevitable loss of our great player

  • Rohit Jaishankar on February 16, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    Nice article. But why would the Indian selectors be thinking of replacing players who are in such fine form? Yes these guys cannot carry on forever but until and unless there is a significant drop in form, why should the selectors even contemplate replacements?

  • AReddy on February 16, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    Sachin, Rahul & laxman should stay as along as they can. In the meantime we need to have a good backup. Was wondering why BCCI is ignoring Dinesh Karthik. He has proved himself time & again. HE can bat & keep wickets. Guessing Dhoni is a bit insecure with his place in the team as wicket keeper. They have given Badri a go in the SA series but it should have been Karthik. HE did well in domestic cricket. He did well in the last england tour.Common give him a break. He can be the AB Devilliers of India team.

  • Vikram Maingi on February 16, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Even the void created by Gannguly is not filled up. Yuvraj is not upto the mark at Test level. So, this back-up creation will be a slow process. We have Murali/Badrinath/Rohit/Raina/Pujara who are knocking the doors at test level and are making Yuvraj's life miserable. At this point of time, it is more important for India to find quality spinners rather than replacement for Rahul and VVSL (Nobody can replace Sachin).

  • Vishal Bulbule, 8087551058 on February 17, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    I think time has come when a player like Dravid will take decesion at any moment regarding his retirement. I am a bit more confident about little master that he will preserve his postion in the team as number four batsman for the next atleast one and half or two years. Why should Sachin retire that is a question. See in the last four matches he has hit four centuries. This is a kind of dream for many youngsters even and still Sachin is managing to perform so well at his age. He is running 37. He is still scoring at the same strike rate as he was used to in the past. I will remain in the team for a long time only and only due to his abilities not because he is a legend in the team and selectors will have to dare droping hims. He himself knows when to retire. Laxman will also stay in the team for atleast two more years and he should. No effect on his batting yet. But one thing is sure that Sachin will try to announce retirement immediately after a match in which he will score a ton.

  • Vishal Bulbule, 8087551058 on February 17, 2010, 6:18 GMT

    Veerat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, and new other players who will be the outcomes of the next IPL should get as much attention as possible in the process of building a new team with extra ordinary talents. There would defentalely be great difficulties in replacing players those calibers like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman. In fact seems nearly impossible to fill the places with such players. I would be again a great coincidence if we get such 3 or 4 players at a team in the next team. Even I would say it will be more interesting to see weather can get player like Virendra Sehwag. Very very very difficult. You will get hitters. But Veeru hits consistently. Consistent hitters were and are very few. Adam Gilchrist, Sir Richards are a few major names to take. Players like Dravid's caliber are desperate to see players on the other side who can move the score fast and firm. It is kind of support a wall like Dravid needs. Otherwise we will see only and only drawn matches. Find strikeres too.

  • Bhaskar on February 17, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    I agree with Vikram that Yuvraj hasn't quite fitted into Ganguly's shoes. Though there's no doubt that he is one of the finest one day/ T 20 players around, he hasn't quite showed the same potential in tests, even though he has been given a pretty long rope by the selectors. Raina also does not have a domestic record to back him, which Badri and Vijay do. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have been doing well in the Ranji ciecuit for a couple of seasons, and if anyone watched the Ranji final this time, Manish Pandey looks an exciting prospect.

  • Callum on February 17, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    I have to disagree with you about Flintoff - I would have had him in my World XI side for both tests and ODIs as a specialist bowler, with his batting a useful bonus. His speed and bounce made him one of the most intimidating bowlers in the game, and when you add swing and a huge heart into it, he's an obvious choice.

    It's so disappointing that such a great player's career was cut short by injury... just like Shane Bond.

  • Anand Desai on February 17, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Hi All, I think we do have good stock of players like Virat Kohali,Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey,Pujara,Dinesh Karthik,Suresh Raina (in test only if he work out his inability to play shortpitch stuff),Badrinath , M Vijay to take over..It is just a matter of confidence...In Test i am sure that Rohit, Pujara , Kohli & Manish Pandey will fill in the slots once they start getting their opportunity. Also how they are groomed is going to be very important.It is a time now for selectors to start considering them atleast for home series .....give them atleast few test under their belt to build their confidence before Sachin , Laxman or Dravid retires .... one of the two Laxman & Dravid can play alternately....

  • Mark TC on February 17, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    considering how the English were outplayed in all but one test, I would say they missed Flintoff. The Aussies stuttered a bit with the loss of some legends, but look at them now. It is time for SA to use some good sense and drop JP and let Prince bat where his average is 50-60. No one player is above the game. But hen there is also no use dropping players for the sake of it. Look at the talk about dropping Boucher before the England tour- and who played well?

    [Mike: If Flintoff had played, Bell would not have, and then England would not have won the Test they did. England's weakness was in the batting, and Flintoff's form with the bat over the previous two years was poor enough that he would simply have exacerbated the problem.]