October 17, 2013

How soon can India find a new No. 4?

It is important for the game that India remain competitive at Test cricket. Their ability to find a replacement for Tendulkar will go a long way to determine if they succeed
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Kohli looks the most likely candidate to succeed Tendulkar at No. 4, but his Test average overseas isn't much to shout about yet
Kohli looks the most likely candidate to succeed Tendulkar at No. 4, but his Test average overseas isn't much to shout about yet © BCCI

It's a cliché to say that a player's worth to his team is only fully appreciated in his absence. A cliché that's not always true.

India don't have to wait until they take to the field against South Africa in December for them to understand the difficulties their Test team will face in the post-Tendulkar era. After 24 years, 200 matches, 51 centuries and countless comparisons to Bradman, India's selectors are perfectly aware of the 5ft 5in chasm he will leave in the heart of their Test batting.

There are reasons to believe a smooth transition could be made. Other members of India's recent golden generation of batting have been deemed irreplaceable, yet it was the younger players who took their place who built the foundation of runs for last year's 4-0 hammering of Australia. Of them, Virat Kohli's performances are starting to match expectations - press expectations if not quite his own. Cheteshwar Pujara has the temperament of a genuine Test match opener and a cover drive that could make angels weep. Whilst Shikhar Dhawan arrived in international cricket with a mountain of runs and a moustache that hints at an outrageous degree of self-confidence. Clearly India's production line of batting talent is still rolling.

But if India need a warning of the difficulties they might face, they only have to look at England's squad for the coming Ashes series. It has been two and a half years since England last toured Australia. Two and a half years since Paul Collingwood retired from Test cricket, during which they have failed to find a replacement for him at No. 6 in their batting order.

You could point out that England don't quite have the depth of batting strength available to India, but then replacing Collingwood shouldn't quite be the same problem as finding the new Tendulkar.

Collingwood, of course, was an underrated player and one who does fit the cliché of only being fully appreciated after he was gone. A dependable presence at six, capable of economically bowling the half dozen overs that get you through to the second new ball, and a fantastic pair of hands at backward point. Perhaps not a CV that makes you a regular in the back-page headlines, but when taken together the sum of his parts add up to a whole that England have singularly failed to fill.

In the 32 Tests since Collingwood retired, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Ravi Bopara, Jonny Bairstow, James Taylor, Samit Patel and Joe Root have all been shoved into and out of the No. 6 position by the national selectors. A succession of seaworthy batsmen have disappeared into English cricket's Bermuda Triangle, where, in over 50 innings, none of them has made a century.

The last player given a chance, Chris Woakes, made his Test debut in August but was left out of the Ashes squad only a month later. Instead, another candidate, Gary Ballance, has been included. It's hardly the continuity of selection that England pride themselves on.

India's problem is that Tendulkar leaves open the even more pivotal position of four just as they have to face Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis in their own backyard. For all the quality of India's new generation of batsmen, their prolific run-making has mainly come in home conditions. Between them Kohli, Vijay and Pujara have played just 16 overseas Tests, with a combined average in the low twenties. Far from an ideal situation in which to introduce Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit Sharma as Tendulkar's replacement.

For all the hype that surrounds the Ashes, it's the Test series between South Africa and India - the on- and off-field powerhouses of cricket respectively - that is the more significant. It goes without saying that it is hugely important for the game that India remain both competitive in, and interested in, overseas Test tours. Their ability to find a new No. 4 quicker than England have replaced their No. 6 will go a long way to determine if they succeed.

Dave Hawksworth has never sat in a press box or charged a match programme to expenses

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 17, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Kohli has been doing fine at #5 with home and away centuries. Why fix something that is not broken. Simply just put Rohit and #4. He bats there in first class cricket with an average greater than 60. He has also had a very good year in the international circle with his hundred against Aus being the highlight. He has the right statistics, technique and now confidence. The rest can be the same as the team which thrashed Aus. In the bowling department I would like to see Mohit replace Ishant who has been woeful in the last few years.

  • Sagar0507 on October 19, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Does it really matter that who will come at number 4 ? or is it because Sachin used to come at number 4 so need a victim whom we can compare with Sachin in coming months. What about the spot of VVS , the savior of Indian Batting line up inside/outside India. Had it been filled? It's too early to prize The God's batting position to anyone. I believe , Indian Team Think tank would experiment with various combination of number 4,5 and 6 for a year or two .

  • on October 19, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    No man is indispensable.Like those before him,the majestic Tendulkar will soon say good bye,and be watching cricket instead of playing.I remembered the fearless Sunil Gavaskar,one of the greatest of all batsmen. In his days he tore the hearts of all bowlers.It didn't matter who the customer was.But his tenure also came to an end.The fact is,nothing will stop the continuation or the process of life.Its nature's way.Looking at the inventory,there is a rich arsenal of players.Kholi,Rohit Sharma,Pujara,Sehwag and more.There should be no room for commotion.

  • Nampally on October 18, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    Dave, While you have complimented the achievements of Dhawan with military moustache, Kohli with prodigious scoring in the ODI's & Pujara's super temperament, yet did not designate any for these 3 for #4 spot. In my opinion both Pujara & Kohli can qualify easily for #4 based on their form, performance & record. Kohli is one of the most prolific scorers in the ODI's in the world & his recent 100* vs. the Aussies in 52 balls adds to his credentials. Pujara has dominated the Test scene so completely that he leads all Indian batsmen with a Test average of 65 in 11 Tests. Pujara is one of the few batsmen in the World with 3 Triple centuries in first class Cricket. He is easily the best Test sheet anchor- hence rule him out for opening. Of course Dhawan is a fine & aggressive opening batsman. His likely opening partner would be very talented Rohit Sharma.So the opening spots are fixed. It leaves either Kohli or Pujara taking the #4 spot as both are good- so #4 spot can be filled with either.

  • on October 18, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Quick note, Collingwood batted at number 5 for England normally. He batted at 4 for a while until KP said he wanted to, and then he batted at 5 until the end of his career. He batted at 6 27 times in test more often than not when a nightwatchman was used. India with pick Rohit Sharma at 5 and move Rahane up one, or Gambhir at 3 and move Kohli down one.

    And Benjamin, England have a sensible way of picking players, the trouble they have had post Collingwood is that no one has played well enough to keep the spot.

  • on October 18, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Barking the wrong tree! India has quite a few batsmen who can play at many different spots; including No. 4. Why so special about it? Just because Sachin used to come at No. 4 ? Ridiculous. If at all there are doubts about batting, it is regarding the openers, especially for Test Matches.

    India's problem is in bowling. India has, as of now just half a bowler -- Bhuvi/ Why half? He is OK with only new ball. He still is not good enough for death bowling.

  • on October 18, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    You were talking about England's no.6. What about India's, post Ganguly's retirement? Rainas and Yuvrajs have come and gone. But until now none has been able to cement the no.6 position

  • VB_Says on October 18, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Sachin's #4 position is not crucial simply due to the legend's presence. He would have performed as well as he did at #4 anywhere else. But, the positions #3 & #4 are assigned to most dependable and most prolific batsmen in the squad. They not only score most runs, but also face max deliveries. In other words, it is not just the technique that is necessary for this position but also temperament. For India, Pujara is ideal #3, as he has been most dependable. The other batsman who scores lot of runs is Kohli and he has the temperamant too for #4 position. #5 can have other takers like Yuvraj or Rohit or Rahane or Raina.

  • jimbond on October 18, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    I suppose it is not the question of whether Kohli is good enough to take over Tendulkar's position or not. It is also about the best position for Kohli to bat. No. 4 is also a specialised position. Of the current lot, possibly Rohit Sharma seems to be the best fit for it. Kohli has done well at number 5. The real problems is with their opening pair. Especiallyiif Gambhir doesnt recover his form. Dhawan- yes, but Vijay is not good enough. It may make more sense to go with Dhawan and Gambhir at the top of the order, Pujara at 3, Sharma at 4, Kohli at 5 and possibly Sehwag at 6, and Dhoni at 7. Misra at 8 followed by 3 seamers (B Kumar, Khan, and possibly Yadav) is possibly what the best India can come up with right now. Sehwag at 6 is always a risk work taking. Ashwin is not good enough to be a test bowler, and Jadeja is effective only on subcontinental tracks.

  • on October 18, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is best to fill no.4 spot. He can score out of india as well which Kohli lacks. Kohli can bat at no.3

  • on October 17, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Kohli has been doing fine at #5 with home and away centuries. Why fix something that is not broken. Simply just put Rohit and #4. He bats there in first class cricket with an average greater than 60. He has also had a very good year in the international circle with his hundred against Aus being the highlight. He has the right statistics, technique and now confidence. The rest can be the same as the team which thrashed Aus. In the bowling department I would like to see Mohit replace Ishant who has been woeful in the last few years.

  • Sagar0507 on October 19, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Does it really matter that who will come at number 4 ? or is it because Sachin used to come at number 4 so need a victim whom we can compare with Sachin in coming months. What about the spot of VVS , the savior of Indian Batting line up inside/outside India. Had it been filled? It's too early to prize The God's batting position to anyone. I believe , Indian Team Think tank would experiment with various combination of number 4,5 and 6 for a year or two .

  • on October 19, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    No man is indispensable.Like those before him,the majestic Tendulkar will soon say good bye,and be watching cricket instead of playing.I remembered the fearless Sunil Gavaskar,one of the greatest of all batsmen. In his days he tore the hearts of all bowlers.It didn't matter who the customer was.But his tenure also came to an end.The fact is,nothing will stop the continuation or the process of life.Its nature's way.Looking at the inventory,there is a rich arsenal of players.Kholi,Rohit Sharma,Pujara,Sehwag and more.There should be no room for commotion.

  • Nampally on October 18, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    Dave, While you have complimented the achievements of Dhawan with military moustache, Kohli with prodigious scoring in the ODI's & Pujara's super temperament, yet did not designate any for these 3 for #4 spot. In my opinion both Pujara & Kohli can qualify easily for #4 based on their form, performance & record. Kohli is one of the most prolific scorers in the ODI's in the world & his recent 100* vs. the Aussies in 52 balls adds to his credentials. Pujara has dominated the Test scene so completely that he leads all Indian batsmen with a Test average of 65 in 11 Tests. Pujara is one of the few batsmen in the World with 3 Triple centuries in first class Cricket. He is easily the best Test sheet anchor- hence rule him out for opening. Of course Dhawan is a fine & aggressive opening batsman. His likely opening partner would be very talented Rohit Sharma.So the opening spots are fixed. It leaves either Kohli or Pujara taking the #4 spot as both are good- so #4 spot can be filled with either.

  • on October 18, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Quick note, Collingwood batted at number 5 for England normally. He batted at 4 for a while until KP said he wanted to, and then he batted at 5 until the end of his career. He batted at 6 27 times in test more often than not when a nightwatchman was used. India with pick Rohit Sharma at 5 and move Rahane up one, or Gambhir at 3 and move Kohli down one.

    And Benjamin, England have a sensible way of picking players, the trouble they have had post Collingwood is that no one has played well enough to keep the spot.

  • on October 18, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Barking the wrong tree! India has quite a few batsmen who can play at many different spots; including No. 4. Why so special about it? Just because Sachin used to come at No. 4 ? Ridiculous. If at all there are doubts about batting, it is regarding the openers, especially for Test Matches.

    India's problem is in bowling. India has, as of now just half a bowler -- Bhuvi/ Why half? He is OK with only new ball. He still is not good enough for death bowling.

  • on October 18, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    You were talking about England's no.6. What about India's, post Ganguly's retirement? Rainas and Yuvrajs have come and gone. But until now none has been able to cement the no.6 position

  • VB_Says on October 18, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Sachin's #4 position is not crucial simply due to the legend's presence. He would have performed as well as he did at #4 anywhere else. But, the positions #3 & #4 are assigned to most dependable and most prolific batsmen in the squad. They not only score most runs, but also face max deliveries. In other words, it is not just the technique that is necessary for this position but also temperament. For India, Pujara is ideal #3, as he has been most dependable. The other batsman who scores lot of runs is Kohli and he has the temperamant too for #4 position. #5 can have other takers like Yuvraj or Rohit or Rahane or Raina.

  • jimbond on October 18, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    I suppose it is not the question of whether Kohli is good enough to take over Tendulkar's position or not. It is also about the best position for Kohli to bat. No. 4 is also a specialised position. Of the current lot, possibly Rohit Sharma seems to be the best fit for it. Kohli has done well at number 5. The real problems is with their opening pair. Especiallyiif Gambhir doesnt recover his form. Dhawan- yes, but Vijay is not good enough. It may make more sense to go with Dhawan and Gambhir at the top of the order, Pujara at 3, Sharma at 4, Kohli at 5 and possibly Sehwag at 6, and Dhoni at 7. Misra at 8 followed by 3 seamers (B Kumar, Khan, and possibly Yadav) is possibly what the best India can come up with right now. Sehwag at 6 is always a risk work taking. Ashwin is not good enough to be a test bowler, and Jadeja is effective only on subcontinental tracks.

  • on October 18, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is best to fill no.4 spot. He can score out of india as well which Kohli lacks. Kohli can bat at no.3

  • on October 18, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    Dave, I hope no other so called 'best' India batsman is like Sachin, who can only bat in one position, 'No.4", and say he's an all round batsman! The guys should adopt the Dravid model instead - that is, being flexible in accordance with the needs of the team, and not to suit their own whims and fancies, as Sachin did! In fact, Sachin was the reason why India lost so many matches, before Dravid made the team. Because, Saxhin could only bat at No.4., there was no flexibility in the lineup to help out when difficult situations arose! No.4 is also the best spot to score a 100. At that position, he hoped the openers would always tire the fast bowlers, so he can come in and feed off the easy stuff - Sachin always wants everything easy. Dhoni should warn the young guys not to be so inflexible! Wherever they bat, work hard for their team, not for themselves! No one has Sachin's luck!

  • yoogi on October 18, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    We havent toured much outside India after Darvid-Laxman retirements. One has to remember that we havent found the real replacements for them yet. It is just that Dhawan comes in for shewag and Pujara is in for Dravid. kohli may take the no 4 position, but they need to get the tough part of experience on their own, unlike kohli who had the luxury of the big threes company in Australia.

  • Ryan_H on October 18, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Regarding the powerhouses quote of the author, South Africa is certainly not an on field powerhouse given its most recent performance against Pakistan or s it is made out to be in the media. This is no longer an era where there is a powerhouse team like Australia of the 2000s. India maybe an off field powerhouse but it certainly is an on field powerhouse when it comes to two formats - ODIs and T20s. In test cricket it may not be number one but it is certainly not far behind. England has good strategy and is aspiring but cannot go anymore beyond that due to lack of talent and quality. The only hype Ashes has is because it is the oldest bilateral competition but the quality of the teams contesting it during these times is mediocre. Also, their total audience put together is no more than 30 million. Compare than to the population/audience for sub continental matches and that gives you some perspective.i

  • on October 17, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    Kohli is the experienced mad in that batting line-up so the slot should be his. Still mystified as to why Ghambir has been ditched so suddenly by India when he looked like such a quality batsman for so long. But you cannot apply the madness of how England pick players to the way India does, it least in India's case it makes some sense.

  • SelvakumarK on October 17, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    Kohli is the person for #4. Don't know what the discussion is all about.

    Sachin was a legend, it is hard to fill anyone of his experience. But in present situation if you cannot have Kohli take is spot I am not sure who else would fit the bill.

    Also bring in Rohit Sharma at #5. With his technique he is a more capable player in tests.

    My 11 for SA tour would me

    Dhawan Gambir/Vijay/Sheway Pujara Kohli R Sharma Dhoni Jadeja Bhuvaneswar Kumar Umesh Yadav Zaheer (If Fit) / Praveen Kumar (What happened to this guy ?) Ojha / Ashwin

  • on October 17, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    @ankit doshi Jadeja's fielding is also a big plus.

  • alarky on October 17, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    I didn't know about the Kholi vs Sachin stats before: In his first 5 years of ODI, Sachin 'Zero' 100s vs Kholi '16' (100)? this is an embarrassing statistical indictment against the Little Master! Again, in his first 18 tests Sachin averaged 37 runs vs Kholi in 18 tests averaging 42 , which is '5' points above Sachin, yet people still questioning if Kholi could replace Sachin? I wonder how Kholi feels when he sees this article? And not even that, Kholi has shown himself to be one of those pit bull type batsmen, with every stoke in the book - the Bradman, Lara and Sir Viv type, while SRT is this little HOT and COLD timid rabbit, afraid to get out! Come on Dave, shame on you, write something better about Virat! He won't be happy, but if he catches you in the right forum, he's a guy who will tell you exactly what he thinks! In addition, only yesterday these young Indian batsmen, once again put to rest, all these false exaggerations about an 'India-less Sachin', and you still doubting!

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on October 17, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    It depends on which SRT we are talking about , if you are considering the SRT of last 2 years who never scored even one test century and with an average nowhere even close to be considered good we wont have much trouble , anyway the new batsman wouldn't do much worse , but with all respect to Sachin unlike other top nations like Australia we have enough depth in our batting department with guys like kohli , pujara , rohit sharma , give them enough experience on away pitches and they will develop into world class players

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 17, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    PAKISTAN just beat the SA,, The only way SA can win against india is by preparing ultra green pitches,, so that steyn & morkel could get something out of it,, Otherwise they are facing another jab from INDIA.

  • on October 17, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    My starting eleven for the South Africa Tests would be : Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Rahane, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bhuvi, Ishant and Yadav. 12th : Ashwin. I would love to see Rahane get a decent number of games to prove his worth. He is talented and has the temperament to play in the longer version of the game. We have given a lot of opportunities to Yuvi and Raina.Y not give Rahane a decent run... I go with Jadeja as the lone spinner because of his accuracy and the ability to bowl long spells from one end so that our pacers can attack from the other end. However, considering Ashwin's record as a Test all rounder, it looks difficult to see Jadeja take the lone spinner's spot.

  • crickblaster on October 17, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    Rohit deserves a chance and is surely gonna replace sachin at no.4..... The mumbai lobby is too powerful and with a person like rohit whose forte is longer version and talented, it is a no-brainer.Just hope MSD would sort the opening slot by looking outside his csk team mates like vijay/raina to develop a team and bring stability for 2015 WC.Rahane could be a good try over there wit his technique and his experience of playing in jaipur on pacy and bouncy tracks.

  • on October 17, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    With Tendulkar's form over the last two years being a pale shadow of what it used to be before that, I believe india has already moved on with respect to winning without his services as was evident in the India Australia series this year. I guess Rohit Sharma will get a test cap soon.

  • GRVJPR on October 17, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    @sachin_paul Lets see if they get shattered. They will be meeting same team who escaped with draw series last time and whom they comprehesively defeated in champions trophy. Also don't forget the way south africa got hammered in UAE. Are they really no. 1???

  • on October 17, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    My guess is that Virat Kohli will be asked to bat at No.4, which would also send out a powerful signal about his significance to the team, and Rohit Sharma will get an extended run at No.5. Actually, it will be the No. 6 position that will be the real problem -- as it has been since Sourav Ganguly retired and Laxman moved up the order. Dhoni can bat at No. 6 in India with Ravindra Jadeja at 7 but that won't be an option overseas. Yuvraj and Raina have repeatedly tried and failed to fill that slot. Maybe Rahane can make a mark there?

  • on October 17, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Reality check, but not new as this was coming for sometime now. As rightly poonted out by the author India's batsmen production line is going strong & it is matter of time before no. 4 sets in.

    But do not agree with the comment of the author that India is an off-field powerhouse. India is the reigning odi world champ & just demolished a decent bowling attack a day before...

  • Cricketfreak18 on October 17, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    Somebody here is forgetting the 116 that V Kohli got in Australia, when none of the other Indain batsmen got a single ton in the whole of a wretched series. He (vk) showed the aggression, talent, and the right attitude against Aussies. He came of age then. Now SAfrica will be his first overseas tournament after the Aus. Moreover he hasnt played many tests either.. But speaking of STATS.. VKohli has an average of almost 50 in overseas ODIs.. That should be enough to boost his confidence.. And every body knows what he does when he gets going.. Ask SL, Pak and recently (yesterday) Aussies.. Aak them what he did to them..

  • RAJA_06 on October 17, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    I think Sachin should have shown the exit door when we were white washed in England and Australia. He will never hang his boots nor the useless selectors dare to tell him. Now, i guess the new selection committee has the guts to show him the exit door, first it was one dayers and now tests. Just imagine how selfish Sachin was, he should have quit the game gracefully after winning the WC and just for his 100th ton, he made India lose to minnows Bangladesh.

  • RAJA_06 on October 17, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    The No., 3 and No., 4 positions are vital for any team. TI hasn't even right replacements for openers, No., 3 slot, 5 and 6th positions as well. Though Shikar and Pujara are doing good as of now, they haven't been tested on tough conditions yet. Murali Vijay is useless for the longer format. I feel Sehwag would be the right choice for No., 4 position as he can keep the score board ticking and will play without much pressure in that position.

  • SamRoy on October 17, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    Dave,since you don't know India cricketers as well as I do you don't have to worry about our batting. A little bit of planning and we will have the best batting lineup in the world. To give you an example, in my opinion if we play, Dhawan and Rohit as openers,Pujara, Juneja, Kohli, Gambhir, Dhoni we have the best batting line up in the world. The young kid Juneja is the one you have not heard of. Kid's a dynamite, I am telling you. Has all the time in the world to play the fast bowlers and even plays good spinners on dustbowls brilliantly. And Rohit Sharma is a brilliant talent you can bat as opener and will still be very successful. Now why would I play Gambhir in middle order at 6? Because he is the best player of spin along with Pujara and Juneja and he is a left hander and most importantly he has problems against the short ball if it bounces more than his expectation. This is a cracker-jack batting lineup better than any team. It is potentially the finest lineup India has ever had.

  • IPSY on October 17, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    In my view, comparing India's young 'fire-brand' batsman, Virat Kholi with Sachin Tendulkar, as Sachin's replacement in any position, in any format is so ridiculous, it doesn't worth a response! It's an insult to the world's best young batsmen! In fact, if SRT is seen as India's best batsman of All Time, then Kholi has done everything at this stage of his career, to show that he will be leaps and bounds ahead of SRT, at the end of his career, if he's allowed even half of THE MYRIAD OPPORTUNITIES THAT WERE GIVEN TO SRT! Eg: Virat has only played 18 TESTs, averaging 42, with 4 (100s). At the same stage of 18 tests, SRT's average was 37, with 4 (100s) also. In Virats first 5 years of ODIs, he's averaging 50+; and scored 16 (100s); while SRT in his first 5 years of ODIs averaged a bare 24; WITHOUT A SINGLE 100!. Also, at this stage of his career, Kholi, batting in 110 ODI innings has scored 4600+ runs, while SRT at the same stage scored 3800+; about 800 runs less! So useless point!

  • on October 17, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    It's very difficult to find a replacement for Tendulkar I was amazed that he has crossed 50000 runs in the 3 formats of the game The only person near to take the no 4 position is Kohli

  • sachin_paul on October 17, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    I heard Rahane is not in favour of the board because he is quite a feisty character. Rahane is a classy batsman and would be a much better option as a specialist batsman than Jadeja. Although, Dhoni might just throw in Rahane is South Africa , and he will fail most likely (imagine playing the best bowlers in their home conditions in your second match) and once the easy tours come around, Jadeja will be favoured and Rahane will go into oblivion. It's a sad state of affairs, Indian cricket...ridden with politics

  • sachin_paul on October 17, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    It will be a real disaster if Dhoni plays Jadeja as a part of the seven batsmen in South Africa. A better solution would be to drop Ashwin and play Jadeja as a specialist spinner. But since both Ashwin and Jadeja are part of the 'Dhoni gang' , the playing XI will probably look like - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Sharma, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Yadav......and unsurprisingly , they will get thrashed.

  • on October 17, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Thanks to Sachin we know have to thrust an experienced person on a critical tour on than spot...I would like to see Ajinkaya get a shot in the team

  • Nagendren on October 17, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    at NO:4 i think Rohit is better option.Considering his current form he gains some responsibility.He has been playing great when given responsibility.So Go ROHIT GO

  • vrn59 on October 17, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Replacing Tendulkar is impossible, but yes, India do have some very talented young batsmen. The top three look settled for now: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara (although I don't think Vijay is a good long-term option in overseas conditions). My middle order for SA would be Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at 4 and 5 (although Kohli seems the obvious choice, Rohit seems to be a better fit in that position). Rahane could be given a go at 6 and maybe then be promoted to Vijay's slot (like England did with Joe Root). MS Dhoni at 7, followed by R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Zaheer Khan (if fit) and Umesh Yadav. No Ishant Sharma! But I have no suggestions for backup seamers :( maybe Shami Ahmed, or Ashok Dinda (I recall Ganguly saying his strength is long-form cricket)

  • on October 17, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    India have a number of options and it may be somewhat controversial, but I think they will benefit and their will be strengthened by the inclusion of Sharma. He has a long way to go, but if you based your thinking on only the last year, I think Rohit is a stronger more reliable player than Sachin has been of late.

  • vinjoy on October 17, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    For years and decades, experts have discussed replacement for a player. Strange that for SRT, we talk it as replacement for number 4. I wish he had realized it last year to give exposure and experience to someone who might be traveling to SA with more confidence!

  • amitgarg78 on October 17, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Most teams have struggled playing away from home. Even the mighty SA are having a tough time saving game against Pakistan. Given Kohli's game and impressive performances so far, I would indeed expect him to manage his role at 4 after Sachin. Likewise, the other new boys are beginning to gel together as a team and their skills have improved over time with exposure. Whether these things are sufficient to counter Steyn / Philander in SA conditions, remains to be seen. So, while Indian interest in playing test matches is important, being competitive, is another matter altogether. I would say, that it's the bowling that needs to produce results in SA. As we are seeing, SA can falter against a sustained high quality attack. I would like to think that the batting unit can cope up with whatever SA have to throw at them.

  • amitgarg78 on October 17, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Most teams have struggled playing away from home. Even the mighty SA are having a tough time saving game against Pakistan. Given Kohli's game and impressive performances so far, I would indeed expect him to manage his role at 4 after Sachin. Likewise, the other new boys are beginning to gel together as a team and their skills have improved over time with exposure. Whether these things are sufficient to counter Steyn / Philander in SA conditions, remains to be seen. So, while Indian interest in playing test matches is important, being competitive, is another matter altogether. I would say, that it's the bowling that needs to produce results in SA. As we are seeing, SA can falter against a sustained high quality attack. I would like to think that the batting unit can cope up with whatever SA have to throw at them.

  • vinjoy on October 17, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    For years and decades, experts have discussed replacement for a player. Strange that for SRT, we talk it as replacement for number 4. I wish he had realized it last year to give exposure and experience to someone who might be traveling to SA with more confidence!

  • on October 17, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    India have a number of options and it may be somewhat controversial, but I think they will benefit and their will be strengthened by the inclusion of Sharma. He has a long way to go, but if you based your thinking on only the last year, I think Rohit is a stronger more reliable player than Sachin has been of late.

  • vrn59 on October 17, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Replacing Tendulkar is impossible, but yes, India do have some very talented young batsmen. The top three look settled for now: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara (although I don't think Vijay is a good long-term option in overseas conditions). My middle order for SA would be Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at 4 and 5 (although Kohli seems the obvious choice, Rohit seems to be a better fit in that position). Rahane could be given a go at 6 and maybe then be promoted to Vijay's slot (like England did with Joe Root). MS Dhoni at 7, followed by R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Zaheer Khan (if fit) and Umesh Yadav. No Ishant Sharma! But I have no suggestions for backup seamers :( maybe Shami Ahmed, or Ashok Dinda (I recall Ganguly saying his strength is long-form cricket)

  • Nagendren on October 17, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    at NO:4 i think Rohit is better option.Considering his current form he gains some responsibility.He has been playing great when given responsibility.So Go ROHIT GO

  • on October 17, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Thanks to Sachin we know have to thrust an experienced person on a critical tour on than spot...I would like to see Ajinkaya get a shot in the team

  • sachin_paul on October 17, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    It will be a real disaster if Dhoni plays Jadeja as a part of the seven batsmen in South Africa. A better solution would be to drop Ashwin and play Jadeja as a specialist spinner. But since both Ashwin and Jadeja are part of the 'Dhoni gang' , the playing XI will probably look like - Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Sharma, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Yadav......and unsurprisingly , they will get thrashed.

  • sachin_paul on October 17, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    I heard Rahane is not in favour of the board because he is quite a feisty character. Rahane is a classy batsman and would be a much better option as a specialist batsman than Jadeja. Although, Dhoni might just throw in Rahane is South Africa , and he will fail most likely (imagine playing the best bowlers in their home conditions in your second match) and once the easy tours come around, Jadeja will be favoured and Rahane will go into oblivion. It's a sad state of affairs, Indian cricket...ridden with politics

  • on October 17, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    It's very difficult to find a replacement for Tendulkar I was amazed that he has crossed 50000 runs in the 3 formats of the game The only person near to take the no 4 position is Kohli

  • IPSY on October 17, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    In my view, comparing India's young 'fire-brand' batsman, Virat Kholi with Sachin Tendulkar, as Sachin's replacement in any position, in any format is so ridiculous, it doesn't worth a response! It's an insult to the world's best young batsmen! In fact, if SRT is seen as India's best batsman of All Time, then Kholi has done everything at this stage of his career, to show that he will be leaps and bounds ahead of SRT, at the end of his career, if he's allowed even half of THE MYRIAD OPPORTUNITIES THAT WERE GIVEN TO SRT! Eg: Virat has only played 18 TESTs, averaging 42, with 4 (100s). At the same stage of 18 tests, SRT's average was 37, with 4 (100s) also. In Virats first 5 years of ODIs, he's averaging 50+; and scored 16 (100s); while SRT in his first 5 years of ODIs averaged a bare 24; WITHOUT A SINGLE 100!. Also, at this stage of his career, Kholi, batting in 110 ODI innings has scored 4600+ runs, while SRT at the same stage scored 3800+; about 800 runs less! So useless point!