August 12, 2011

Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Zaheer at the crossroads

These three Indian players must ask themselves how they want the rest of their careers to pan out
  shares 125

As things stand, Indian cricket's acquaintance with the No. 1 status will be a bit like a budget airline's with an airport: land and then a quick turnaround. It must come as no surprise, for those possessed of independent thought and an appreciation of our game have been suggesting that the ascent was unlikely to result in a long reign. And there is a reason rather more different than disdain for the subcontinent or those who inhabit it.

All great teams over the years have been built around outstanding bowling sides; indeed, have represented an excellent bowling generation. West Indies seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of fast bowlers, and Australia, whose best four were probably McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and Lee, had other fine cricketers they could call on: Stuart MacGill, Andy Bichel, Damien Fleming, even Paul Reiffel. For India to stay No. 1 they needed more depth: replacements for the tiring Zaheer Khan, the suddenly inconsistent Harbhajan (not to speak of the large-hearted Anil Kumble). Only Ishant Sharma has seemed to fit the bill, sporadically. New-ball bowlers have come and gone with the frequency of coalition ministers (Irfan Pathan, L Balaji, Abhimanyu Mithun, Jaidev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Pankaj Singh, RP Singh for a start), and now even spinners, like grants for the impoverished, are being lost in transit.

Imagine you are a selector and have to make a list of spinners to play for India. You would start with Harbhajan but wouldn't move much past Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin. Maybe you would add Piyush Chawla to that list, though he seems to have acquired stagnancy too. India have sent left-arm spinners Iqbal Abdulla and Bhargav Bhatt to the Emerging Players tournament, and legspinner Rahul Sharma looks a prospect over a 50-over game. Maybe the time has come to blood Ashwin, a fine, thoughtful cricketer who takes his batting seriously but has yet to run through sides. His finest moments have come in 20-over cricket, but fine players of spin bowling like Sanjay Manjrekar and Navjot Sidhu think his time has come. And maybe Ojha needs a comforting arm around the shoulder and lots of bowling in longer games.

But for India to be the best team in Test cricket, there must be a settled bowling line-up, at least some members of which will keep the opposition awake. At the moment, while people may not be queuing up to bat, they aren't exactly quaking in their boots either.

For India to be the best team in Test cricket, there must be a settled bowling line-up, at least some members of which will keep the opposition awake

India need to be aware, too, that three key players are at the crossroads of their careers. There is a road ahead but it will be paved with extraordinary intent and determination; call it Rahul Dravid Avenue. Zaheer has been an outstanding cricketer for India, as have been Harbhajan and Yuvraj Singh, but this break is a good time for them to think about where they want to be.

Zaheer turns 33 in October, by when he will probably be planting his ankle rather gingerly and waiting to start fitness training. The road from there to becoming one of contemporary cricket's finest bowlers again will be long. The injury will prey on the mind, the pace will drop, and while the mind can remain sharp, his arsenal will deplete. It is not easy to begin afresh at 33, especially if you take the new ball for your country.

Harbhajan is 31 but has been 13 years in international cricket. It has been a stellar career, whatever metrics you use to judge it by. But the future is about incremental results rather than history; for history tells you what you were, while recent results tend to tell you who you are. Recent results have not been flattering for Harbhajan, and while young challengers aren't exactly snapping at his heels, the selectors will be tempted to look elsewhere. Maybe he needs to prioritise, make one form of the game paramount and take what he gets with the rest. All of us face such moments in life but only some can look at the present squarely in the eye.

And surely by now Yuvraj should have been the one holding the baton handed over by Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman. In limited-overs cricket there are few more thrilling players in the game, but Test cricket has yielded relatively unflattering results. So as he heads towards 30, he must make sporting and lifestyle choices. Few tours these days are as demanding as this one in England, so fewer questions will be asked of him, but he must ask himself if he is willing to do what it takes to play 50 Tests, starting now.

Each of the three is accomplished enough to write his own future. But whether they have the unwavering determination we will have to wait and see. India's position in the top three could also depend on that.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Viswasam on | August 15, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    I think it may be appropriate to add Sehwag to the list. He did himself no favours with his performance at Edgbaston and one of the key reasons India cannot be number one. As Dhoni put it, to be number one you have to be consistent and Sehwag we all know does not fit that bill. One thing strikes me about the great teams of the past; strong methodical opening partnerships coupled with bowling that had depth. Windies of the 70's 80's had the Greenidge/Haynes couple with the pace quartet; Australia had the Hayden/Langer couple with McDermott, McGrath and Warne - both sides had enviable second XI's that could have taken on the other countries tio demonstrate depth. I think India used Dravid, Tendulkar, Zaheer et al to get to the top but I don't think that there is quality in the depth of the pool to sustain the number 1 ranking.

  • POSTED BY Sidthoughtworks on | August 15, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    It is always hard to reach the pinnacle of glory and yet stay motivated. That is what separates legends from talented cricketers!!Probably, they need to take a break and bring back their focus...it is all about playing for your country, tournaments and series are only incidental!! It will do wonders if they can follow the adage" stay hungry and stay foolish!!"

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 14, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    It's about time India starts preparing some hard, dead and flat pacy wickets so that the youngsters will get accustomed to some back foot play. We are masters at negoitiating any kind of bowling on our challenging spin friendly tracks. Just a little bit of practice should enable us to play well on those dead tracks of England, SA and Australia where bounce is much predictable but comes at a different height.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 14, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    @Martin, get your vocab right. What do you mean by batsman friendly wickets? You mean the dead decks with predictable, pace friendly, ball coming nicely onto bat as in England, Australia and SA or the flattest of flat decks at Edgbaston? Wickets like hard wood and concrete rolled into one? And on top of that use the heaviest of rollers to make it even more flatter and even more harder? Lol...Spin friendly wickets are challenging with their variable bounce and turn and unpredictability. If they are batsman friendly, I wonder what is meant by a challenging track!

  • POSTED BY sundar1967 on | August 14, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    It high time for Bhajji and Zaheer quit test cricket. India has to now groom for new fast bowlers and train them to play only Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments and not IPL for sure. Please ban IPL

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    The scrutiny should start from K Srikanth. How could he leave out a player like Rohit sharma who has been scoring consistently in the domestic circuit and the one day series in WI. K Srikanth must take the blame and resign.

  • POSTED BY Mahatma_of_Great_Britain on | August 14, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    This will be a final nail in the coffin of Test cricket. Out of 10 Test playing nation, only England & Australia cares a damn about this Victorian format of cricket. Frankly, they just don't wish to move on with time & would rather live in 18th century. No one has a time to wait for 5 whole days of slog to watch a Test that often culminates into a draw anyway. It's like me working for 5 days and not getting any result or pay. Anyhow, if India's not playing Test, Test viewership would lose one of its biggest audience & without the viewership, Test matches bound to die - it's just a matter of time.

  • POSTED BY iamsoumitra on | August 14, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    Entirely agree with Harsha. We are now moving into a phase which might make us even more vulnerable than what Australia are at this moment in their phase of transition.The next year/15 months are critical for Indian cricket and the BCCI needs to look at the monster called the IPL. In 15 months time there will not be Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and we hardly have replacements for them.Zaheer needs to look as what form of the game his body is best suited to and the vacuum left behind by Ganguly's exit has not been filled up in two years of his retirement by either Raina or Yuvraj.Yuvraj ,it is now certain, will never be a world class Test batsman suited to all conditions and even Sehwag at 31 needs to look as to which way he wishes to take his game forward once the batting trio retire. Probably it would be a better idea to convert Dhoni into only a Test batsman and tell him to give up the big gloves for somebody younger and a better keeper. Also: revive the career of Irfan Pathan.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    We need specialists for each formats. We need to balance the heavy load being exerted in form of FTP, IPL and ICL.Also Indians might start playing other upcoming leagues. We need to strategize well. Dhoni needs ample rest. We need a good stand by captain.Gambhir is a good choice. Raina, Kohli, Yuvi are good for ODIs and T20s. However, groom Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane for tests and try getting back Wasim Jaffer. He is any day a better bet than Mukund or Murali Vijay. Also, we need to get left handed fast bowlers to be a diverse attack. We have Sreeshant, Ishant, Praveen being 3 good bowlers when looked at separately, but while combined, pose no real threat. We need to trust RP Singh more. He can handle the spearhead's responsibility. Sreenath Arvind, I Pathan need to be groomed to have good pool of left arm seamers.Also, it's high time, Bhajji is displaced. He has no surprise element left. He does not have the humility to sustain his talent. Good pool of spinners also need to be groomed.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    For me the more important question is not that India needs good bowlers but why we are not able to produce one? Though who follow Indian cricket have heard these from generations that we need a tear away fast bowler or a "genuine" spinner but why we are not able to produce one.

    I have heard Indian mud bowls or flat tracks are the reason but then Pakistan or Sir lanka does not create/have seamer friendly track but keep coming with Amir, Aaseef, Malingas.

    I have also heard that there are fast bowlers in India who loose pace because of not enough of care but again i fail to understand how could Pakistan create this support system.

    Harsha, I expect a more justified reason next time that what is stopping creation of good bowlers in India?

    BTW, if you have time, also think on why we dont produce good umpires too ?

  • POSTED BY Viswasam on | August 15, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    I think it may be appropriate to add Sehwag to the list. He did himself no favours with his performance at Edgbaston and one of the key reasons India cannot be number one. As Dhoni put it, to be number one you have to be consistent and Sehwag we all know does not fit that bill. One thing strikes me about the great teams of the past; strong methodical opening partnerships coupled with bowling that had depth. Windies of the 70's 80's had the Greenidge/Haynes couple with the pace quartet; Australia had the Hayden/Langer couple with McDermott, McGrath and Warne - both sides had enviable second XI's that could have taken on the other countries tio demonstrate depth. I think India used Dravid, Tendulkar, Zaheer et al to get to the top but I don't think that there is quality in the depth of the pool to sustain the number 1 ranking.

  • POSTED BY Sidthoughtworks on | August 15, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    It is always hard to reach the pinnacle of glory and yet stay motivated. That is what separates legends from talented cricketers!!Probably, they need to take a break and bring back their focus...it is all about playing for your country, tournaments and series are only incidental!! It will do wonders if they can follow the adage" stay hungry and stay foolish!!"

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 14, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    It's about time India starts preparing some hard, dead and flat pacy wickets so that the youngsters will get accustomed to some back foot play. We are masters at negoitiating any kind of bowling on our challenging spin friendly tracks. Just a little bit of practice should enable us to play well on those dead tracks of England, SA and Australia where bounce is much predictable but comes at a different height.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | August 14, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    @Martin, get your vocab right. What do you mean by batsman friendly wickets? You mean the dead decks with predictable, pace friendly, ball coming nicely onto bat as in England, Australia and SA or the flattest of flat decks at Edgbaston? Wickets like hard wood and concrete rolled into one? And on top of that use the heaviest of rollers to make it even more flatter and even more harder? Lol...Spin friendly wickets are challenging with their variable bounce and turn and unpredictability. If they are batsman friendly, I wonder what is meant by a challenging track!

  • POSTED BY sundar1967 on | August 14, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    It high time for Bhajji and Zaheer quit test cricket. India has to now groom for new fast bowlers and train them to play only Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments and not IPL for sure. Please ban IPL

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    The scrutiny should start from K Srikanth. How could he leave out a player like Rohit sharma who has been scoring consistently in the domestic circuit and the one day series in WI. K Srikanth must take the blame and resign.

  • POSTED BY Mahatma_of_Great_Britain on | August 14, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    This will be a final nail in the coffin of Test cricket. Out of 10 Test playing nation, only England & Australia cares a damn about this Victorian format of cricket. Frankly, they just don't wish to move on with time & would rather live in 18th century. No one has a time to wait for 5 whole days of slog to watch a Test that often culminates into a draw anyway. It's like me working for 5 days and not getting any result or pay. Anyhow, if India's not playing Test, Test viewership would lose one of its biggest audience & without the viewership, Test matches bound to die - it's just a matter of time.

  • POSTED BY iamsoumitra on | August 14, 2011, 2:11 GMT

    Entirely agree with Harsha. We are now moving into a phase which might make us even more vulnerable than what Australia are at this moment in their phase of transition.The next year/15 months are critical for Indian cricket and the BCCI needs to look at the monster called the IPL. In 15 months time there will not be Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and we hardly have replacements for them.Zaheer needs to look as what form of the game his body is best suited to and the vacuum left behind by Ganguly's exit has not been filled up in two years of his retirement by either Raina or Yuvraj.Yuvraj ,it is now certain, will never be a world class Test batsman suited to all conditions and even Sehwag at 31 needs to look as to which way he wishes to take his game forward once the batting trio retire. Probably it would be a better idea to convert Dhoni into only a Test batsman and tell him to give up the big gloves for somebody younger and a better keeper. Also: revive the career of Irfan Pathan.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    We need specialists for each formats. We need to balance the heavy load being exerted in form of FTP, IPL and ICL.Also Indians might start playing other upcoming leagues. We need to strategize well. Dhoni needs ample rest. We need a good stand by captain.Gambhir is a good choice. Raina, Kohli, Yuvi are good for ODIs and T20s. However, groom Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane for tests and try getting back Wasim Jaffer. He is any day a better bet than Mukund or Murali Vijay. Also, we need to get left handed fast bowlers to be a diverse attack. We have Sreeshant, Ishant, Praveen being 3 good bowlers when looked at separately, but while combined, pose no real threat. We need to trust RP Singh more. He can handle the spearhead's responsibility. Sreenath Arvind, I Pathan need to be groomed to have good pool of left arm seamers.Also, it's high time, Bhajji is displaced. He has no surprise element left. He does not have the humility to sustain his talent. Good pool of spinners also need to be groomed.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    For me the more important question is not that India needs good bowlers but why we are not able to produce one? Though who follow Indian cricket have heard these from generations that we need a tear away fast bowler or a "genuine" spinner but why we are not able to produce one.

    I have heard Indian mud bowls or flat tracks are the reason but then Pakistan or Sir lanka does not create/have seamer friendly track but keep coming with Amir, Aaseef, Malingas.

    I have also heard that there are fast bowlers in India who loose pace because of not enough of care but again i fail to understand how could Pakistan create this support system.

    Harsha, I expect a more justified reason next time that what is stopping creation of good bowlers in India?

    BTW, if you have time, also think on why we dont produce good umpires too ?

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    india needs bowlers who can swing and make of pitches abroad, england,australia or south africa, they must have learnt a lot from the way anderson bowled today in the morning. indian bowlers definately lacked the venom & Zing ( as david llyod would say). our batting is still a worry considering the form of our so called HOLY TRINITY. we should also consider making a very strong bench strength, as australia had b4. hopefully india can bear the burnt of this drubbing defeat, losing the No1 tag and show some spirit in the 4th Test @ the Oval.

  • POSTED BY ssbrad on | August 13, 2011, 18:02 GMT

    Agree with all Harsha says but it is amusing and predictable how Harsha, Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri studiously avoid mentioning Tendulkar's name from the list of culprits.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Well Said Harsha. All is not lost for India, but rebuilding must begin and the old stalwarts must make way for younger players. It is time.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    First of all, a bold decision is required to sack Sachin, Dravid, Lakshman, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Saha, Parthiv Patel and the likes. Include Mukund, Mithun, Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, Rahul Sharma, Iqbal Abdullah and youngsters. Don't see the immediate future. Think in terms of long future, and build future team from now onwards.

  • POSTED BY sunnysaeed on | August 13, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    i will blame to IPL and continues cricket schedule for india cricket.

    lets think about the players need and their fitness.

  • POSTED BY MartinC on | August 13, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    If I could add a comment as an England fan - to encourage the development of young fast or even fast medium bowlers you need to give them pitches which offer some encouragement. Bowling on batsmen friendly pitches of rolled mud it no surprise you don't have a seam attack to speak of.

    Better pitches would also mean your young batsmen have to work for runs and develop a technique to play quicker and short pitched bowling.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    Let BCCI and indian cricketers learn from this england series debacle. no matter in one series defeat. bcci must take notice on following points. 1.make separate strategy for different format of d game. like select a bunch pf players for test and so on. have players with proven first class record in test team with solid technique nd bowlers with ability 2 take wickets anywhere. 2. select a pool f 7-8 spin bowlers from ranji trophy & nurture them taking help pf former bowlers. 3. while going 4 a tour keep replaements at ur hand. 4.spend money in compensating fast bowlers f national team not 2 play in ipl. 5. try 2 prepare some pitches with genuine swing and bounce in our country and use that in ranji matches. INDIA WILL SURELY BOUNCE BACK WITH A ROAR.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    Ur absolutely correct harsha

  • POSTED BY Iftunbl on | August 13, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    After World Cup cricket Indian Players played IPL for just MONEY, now they are not able to play for their country...............

  • POSTED BY Jaggadaaku on | August 13, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    @ msbasi, you are just blind supporter of Harbhajan Singh who took his last 10 wicket/match haul exact 3 years and 12 days ago, and since than he grabbed 5 wickets/inning haul only 3 times, and played every series and every match. Secondly, Harbhajan is not a batsman. Indian selectors don't select him as a batsman, nor as an all-rounder. Because batsmen should maintain their batting average around 40 in Tests, and all-rounders also should keep their batting average above 30 in Tests. India have many many talented batsmen who carry healthy batting averages and records. India don't need the batsman/all-rounder whose batting average is only 18 in Tests. Harbhajan's bowling average is also more than 30 runs per wicket (32.22 exact) at only 400 wickets and it is keep increasing. Thirdly, Kumble never ever passed in "Out of form" era like Bhajji has been. Use CRICINFO and open both of their profiles and compare them. and last line in your comment is ridiculous. I don't have enough space..

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    Agree with everything Harsha says. In addition, our selectors must learn to understand that test and one-day games are different. Why are they playing 1-day stalwarts like Yuvraj & Raina in tests (both have weak first class records) when there are folks like Pujara, Kohli & Rohit Sharma in line. Each of these guys has better technique and their first class record is leaps and bounds above that of Raina & Yuvraj. Even Abhinav Mukund is highly promising.

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 13, 2011, 2:15 GMT

    @ Venkat. You are spot on. I've said one time b4 that Ind bowlers rely too much on reverse. The times it doesn't reverse (especially outside the rough, drier subcontinent conditions), they can't really bowl sides out quick enough or make enough early in roads.

  • POSTED BY silent_death on | August 13, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    This tour shows the fallout of the IPL.Some players had niggling injuries during and after the world cup and risk it for $$$$$ in the IPL. Now India's number 1 ranking is over. The current set of players although good on paper is not rising to the occassion and is just surrending.Their display in this series is pathetic,Currently Zimbabwee will be a big test for the way this team is playing.I foresee a further decline in Indian criket after the Dravids tendulkers and laxmans retire.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | August 13, 2011, 1:25 GMT

    India doesn't need to panic. Sure, England are giving them a drubbing at the moment. But the young fast bowlers are showing promise. PK has a lot of heart, Sharma is dangerous in spells and needs to be more consistant and Sree, is Sree. They are young, and they will grow, just as Anderson and Broad have grown. There was a time where they were at the mercy of batting attacks, but the selectors stuck with them and they are the best bowling team in the world. India need to do the same. The same can be said of the spinners. Yes, India have lost No.1, but give these young guns time to develop, and they will have the ability to be No.1 again.

  • POSTED BY AvidCricFan on | August 13, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    All of the sudden it looks like India does not have depth that is required for the test cricket. The best of the young crop like Raina, Kohli, Dhoni are woefully short on skills to handle real good bowling in unfriendly environments. It is very annoying to see Raina not being able to sort out problems in handling short pitch stuff in spite of being around for 5 years. Sreesant is also a gone case. He has been around and doesn't seem to have improved much at all. The performance of second string young team could not be any worse than these guys.

  • POSTED BY ultimatewarrior on | August 13, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    harsha sir, i want to ask a simple question i agree u can't expect from every new player to show X Factor in 1st 5-8 test matches but even than selectors should not be generous to JUST FEW players yuvi, raina, vijay to hand 35, 14, 12 tests respectively without giving a SINGLE chance to badrinath, rohit sharma, ajinkya rahane & more. Test match is very different from one day is sure and compare all these players' First-class & List A stats which will show who is better fitted where. Plz select players like tendulkars, dravids who were able to play swing and fast wickets from 1st match and plzzz do not try to train players for no. of test matches to play swing, fast and short pitch ball.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2011, 0:30 GMT

    EVEN PAK BEAT SAME ENGLISH SIDE ONE TEST MATCH LAST YEAR WITH A RELATIVELY YOUNG SIDE; NO YOUNISH, MISBAH AND YOUSUF.

    THE WORLD NO.1 SIDE SHOULD STOP PLAYING CRICKET!

  • POSTED BY RickOShay on | August 12, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    Dear Harsha,

    I agree with you on most things but this article is pretty much a repeat of the one you wrote about Harbhajan not so long ago. All you have done is add Zaheer and Yuvraj o the list. I think you may need to reinvent yourself as well. One more thing - everybody knows that cricketers coming through the age group sides in India have their birth certificates doctored so when we say Zaheer is 33, or Harbhajan is 31 maybe we need to really think about this.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    You Mr.Harsha Bhogle have never played a single first class game. I am surprised at the confidence you ask such questions to these extra-ordinary players who just won us a WORLD CUP.

  • POSTED BY HazimEjaz on | August 12, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    I am hardcore fan of Team India or should I say Injured India. We need fresh legs lets sack Tendulkar, Dravid, Zaheer, Dhoni, Harbajhan, Laxman, Ghambir and PK

  • POSTED BY Crazy_Cricket_Fan on | August 12, 2011, 21:36 GMT

    WTH?? bhajji is saying he is still NO # 1 bowler for India..this is why I hate him..you will never learn/improve if you have such attitude...Murali/Warne/Kumble never said anything like this in their prime times forget about patches...

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    I think Sachin should be on that list too. As Vijay Merchant used to say : Leave when people ask you "why" and not "why not"? In my opinion, India should be marginally ahead of NZ, WI, Pak and BD. They should be 4th place behind Eng, SA and Aus.

  • POSTED BY ashesm on | August 12, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    Harsha, with all due respects why is everyone so circumspect about writing their thoughts on Sachin. Is it because to question him is inviting the wrath of billions of partisan supporters. His, I believe is the biggest choice. Does he need the money from IPL? Does he need to prove anything else on the one-day circuit? Everybody who follows cricket avidly [in their minds] acknowledge that Sachin very seldom delivers under pressure in test cricket. To become a GREAT player there is a requirement to play match defining innings. Ask most fans and they will come up with brilliant test innings [when it mattered] from Lara, Steve Waugh, Laxman, Dravid, Kallis, Gavaskar....but alas, one has to think a bit longer when you think about Sachin. So, to me, how is he GREAT in test cricket? He is very good, and it should be left at that. HE should be the one deciding which format he wants to continue in.

  • POSTED BY cric_follower on | August 12, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    You are suggesting that these three practically retire from test cricket. I think the situation will take dictate the terms. I don't expect to see them last in test cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    One thing we need to improve drastically is the skill with the new ball. Our seamers are too dependent on reverse and forgot to use the new ball effectively. This England tour has proved that. Even Zahher struggles with the new ball. We have had enough of Bhajji and Yuvi in Tests. Bhajji does not seem to accept the responsibiltyof the lead spinenr. I would put KOhli,CHeteshwar and Rohit in the tests. Probably give BAdri another run in tests.As far as bowling is concerned Ojha seems to be the best. by the way is Murali Karthik done and dusted with?

  • POSTED BY a2keffect on | August 12, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    India is on verge of downfall in near cricket due to senior players getting injuries and opting out their selection for series on own will, The times has come for transition,youth member should take responsibility of pushing the team india ahead..still shocking about selection policy why the players like Kaif, Ashwin, Rahul Sharma are ignore in test cricket..kaif have better test average and performed well for the given opportunities....young blood like Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Ojha, Kohli should be injected in team and senior players need to be said ADIOS!!! they achieve the best for team in past, we salute them...but if they want to show same meagre performance then new young team is much better option..atleast we can build up better team ahead.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | August 12, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    How about a rotation policy for the spinners like Mishra, Ojha, Bhajji and Ashwin? That will keep them match fit as well as create healthy competition. Right now, Bhajji seems to be ruling the reigns, no matter how he performs! Pace bowling is a shot in the dark, PK is a good find though.

  • POSTED BY sports99 on | August 12, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    I think even if Zaheer and Harbhajan focus their rest of the carrier on Test cricket, there is no way India will be a better test team as I see the bigger problem ahead once Dravid and SRT retire. The only way india can win a test match is play all the test matches in sub continent and batsmen pile up huge runs and use 2 or 3 spinners to get the opposition bowled out twice.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    Zaheer's career neatly splits into two - first 5 years when he had some pace, but not enough nous and drive to match the aggression. In last 5 he has had skills but an ageing body hasn't kept up. Ishant is the heir apparent if he can keep up his work ethic. Bigger question is where's the rest of the fast bowling pack. RP Singh improved and then faded. Irfan never recovered from his slump. Munaf and Nehra ain't fit and fast enough for 5 days. Sreesanth for all his talent is inconsistent! Ditto for Harbhajan, ever since Kumble has retired - the lead spinner crown hasn't rested easy. Maybe like he admits, he can't ever be the king, he needs to be the minister under someone. He's a fighter, cops some unfair flak too, but he has lately lost his mojo. And our spin reserves are even more alarming. As for Yuvraj, agreed his chances were limited until Ganguly retired. But in last 3 yrs he's had enough time. Look at Gambhir, he pursued and created his opening position despite competition..

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    I @ Natx realy much agree with u. I think its time sachin should step down and let young players start early, and be groom for upcoming series, there is no point of scoring on dull pitches in subcontenat.India's bad luck Zaheer got injured.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 18:02 GMT

    Zaheer wil retire from tests. I dont think he will play another test. ODI and t20. Harbhajan is going to be there, regardless of his performance, since there is no alternative. Ashwin could be tried, particularly in one dayers. Yuvraj should not be selected for tests, just for odis and T20. He has never been a good test player in his twenties, and wont get better in thirties.

  • POSTED BY msbasi on | August 12, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    I think Harbhajan suffers unnecessary crticism on all levels, he is one of India's best ever cricketers. Obviously he wont do well on flat spin-unfriendly surfaces. Furthermore, the other bowlers are also struggling, when the surface favours there type of bowling. Harbhajan also has many catches dropped of his bowling, and a lot of decisions going against him, he is just going through a bad patch in which all bowlers have, especially kumble through many stages in his career struggled in quite some big patches, as is harbhajan now.

    The batsman in West Indies and England have gave harbhajan nothing to play with, negative fields have to be set to save boundaries due to India not scoring many runs, and when he produces good magic, his potential wicket gets dropped. Harbhajan is a fighter, especially with the bat... he will come back and he deserves more credit. No spinner in India or perhaps the world is even close to Harbhajans capabilities.

  • POSTED BY binojpeter on | August 12, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan should concentrate rest of their career more on Tests. In ODIs and T20s we have enough bowlers to win the match for us but not in Tests.

  • POSTED BY Natx on | August 12, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    Shall I also add Sachin's name on this list? Not sure what is the last time he won a test match for India? May be against England in Chennai during the last series. All the 100's and 200's that he piles up are of no value if it doesn't even save a game for the country forget winning, unless we rewind to the Tendulkar of a decade ago. Better he starts to contribute back to the team or step down at the end of this series - as he has seen everything already - #1 test team, one world cup title and one runner up. What else is left? Few more useless runs? No point in scoring thousands of runs on the back(grave)yard.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | August 12, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    As far as the future is concerned,it was often the case in the past when they dropped players after just a couple of chances.Now I feel it is the other way around. Harbhajan has just carried on and on as if there is simply no one around. Ashwin is a match winner because he seeks to evolve unlike Harbhajan. I say this because he started as an opening batsman but took to off spin as a last ditch effort to stay in the game. There are others like Rahane who have just not been tried for whatever reason. Who knows there may be another Gavaskar lurking amongst the players currently in Australia with the emerging players team.It is not too much to expect. We have to try others instead of saying that the cupboards are empty all the time.Instead of sticking with just the likes of Munaf and Sreesanth why not try others. I wish the selectors look around more and reward players like Ashok Maneria, Bharghav Bhatt and Varun Aaron by selecting them instead of approaching the task with blinkers.

  • POSTED BY slmn on | August 12, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Plz. send over AAmir Khan's LAGAN team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    @batnpad

    Shouldn't the first two tests have been enough of a warm up to avoid this situation?

  • POSTED BY ChuckyDoll on | August 12, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    Mr. Bhogle, I agree with you. The key is that that management needs to identify talent in the early 20s and stick with it. Yes, they may get it wrong but it is better to identify a pool of 10 good batsmen and 10 good bowlers (just for test cricket) and persist with them for some time. By this process, even if you find 3 really good and 3 really good bowlers at the end of 5 years, it can be called a mega success. We have talent, but we don't manage it well.

  • POSTED BY ecricl on | August 12, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    problem is Indians tends to have very short memory. As whole team got naked in England they are attacking the whole team. just wait within days this same team will plunder opponents in home soil and this very crowd will be again up with posters, banners worshiping their gods. Gavaskar, shastri,sidhu will be talkative praising their great team and lots of idiots in front of TV will eat their words. short term games stars gave Indians the false belief of being no-1

    in reality they are yet to find replacement of VVS or RD let alone SRT

  • POSTED BY Jaggadaaku on | August 12, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    Yuvraj isn't even an automatic pick in the Test XI because the 3 vaterans-Sachin, dravid, Laxman still in the team. They all got failed in England, but won't get retired nor would be dropped by selectors. How would he find a place in Indian side? I am not really a Yuvraj's fan, but the truth is truth. Harsha, you can say anything about Harbhajan because he grabbed 10 wickets haul already 3 years ago and since than he took 5 wickets/inning haul only 3 times and participated in every innings and every match. You can tell Zaheer's name because he is the leader of pace attack of India but his bowling average is more than 30 runs per wicket, which looks odd for leading bowler. Leading bowler's bowling averages should be under 30 runs per wicket and stay around 25 runs per wicket. Look at the statistics of Mc Grath, S. Pollock, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald, Chaminda Vaas, Michell Johnson.

  • POSTED BY citizenkc on | August 12, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    You're right about these 3, Harsha, but the problem is much bigger. Let's talk about the next year or so when not just these 3, but Dravid et all will retire. Lots of promising young cricketers have been handed a pot of gold in the form of the IPL, so their development as test cricketers will be hindered. They will not learn to build an innings nor bowl sustained long spells. Of course, as always, they will not be able to play genuine pace because they will never face any such bowlers. A couple of overs from Steyn in the IPL don't count! They few times they will play in the long format will be on dead pitches. How will this scenario develop promising young cricketers? The problem, therefore, is far greater than a few players retiring. Where are the quality players going to come from? As long as the BCCI is guided by circus revenue, we are doomed to produce mediocre players. The solution: the fans must hold them accountable as well as stop supporting the circus.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    For India, I think they went for honeymoon period just after winning the world cup and never planned for actual which international 50 Over and Test matches. Then two sided sword "TPL" which for some (including me) created a huge of pool of talent and for few destroyed the seriousness and dedication towards the "REAL CRICKET" as they are getting easy bucks while playing in "IPL". For all these bad performances I am not blaming "IPLs" matches, I would like to blame both BCCI and our so loved and hyped cricketers who forget that either you quite it or if can't they give your best or at least play for billion of cricket fans watching you at home world wide. I just love Harsha's one line "history tells you what you were, while recent results tend to tell you who you are" which exactly forced you to introspect yourself and motivates you to do better, even in real life's day to day work and responsibility.

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | August 12, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    it is time to try Iqbal abdulla, Ashwin, Pujara, Rohit sharma, Ajanke Rahane, may be bring back Irfan pathan as he is the only sort of all rounder India had for a while

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | August 12, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    well said harsha, but Yuvraj doesn't have the technique and temperment and body stamina for test cricket, so i think he should realize it wisely and quit test cricket and he should lead a disciplined life and concentrate more on his fitness if he wants to prolong his ODI career

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | August 12, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    well said Harsha, it is time to give opportunity to Ashwin and Iqbal Abdulla, both bhajji and Zaheer should give up all forms of T20 including IPL and CL, if they want to prolong their Test and ODI career, it will be shame if they decide to quit Test cricket to extend their T20 and ODI career. as anyway as aging bowler both would find T20 more difficult to cope with and contain runflow.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    quite a good one and food for thought. what about chateshwar poojara. seems a great prospect for the Test Badri also fits the bill. BCCI should change its priorities/

  • POSTED BY batnpad on | August 12, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    How many would agree with me? If IPL were never to have happened, India would not have lost this England series. Reasons 1. A well deserved 6 - 7 weeks of rest celebrating WC win, rejuvenating body and mind and spending quality time with family. 2. Sehwag would have completed recovered by the WI series and Gambhir would not have injured himself. 3. The original test XI would have eased them them to form and match fitness playing the WI series. 4. And if BCCI had any insightes would have moved the WI series a week or two earlier and so the players would have landed in England earlier and would have played a couple of warm-up games and acclamatised better. Now then, do you think India would have lost?

  • POSTED BY batnpad on | August 12, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    The glitz, glimmer & glamour of Indian night-time cricket (read IPL and ODIs) have been stripped bare naked in this English summer. The majority of the Indian populace who went gaga over their success of the shorter format and were raising pom-poms & were soaking in the confetti have been suddenly woken up from their dreams and brough to reality. As long as the public and fans understand what truly is the best form of cricket - tests- and follow it, support it, fill up stadiums, make the TRPs higher, the BCCI won't heed it. And until they are swayed and give more importance to tests, don't expect the Indian test team to be great. If its entertainment you want watching cricket, thats what you get with IPL. Don't expect the same players to excel in tests. You reap what you sow- from an Indian test cricket fan

  • POSTED BY sitaram58 on | August 12, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    The very insgihtful Ian Chappel said pretty much the same thing about great sides having great bowling attacks a few months ago. A lot of patriotic indians attacked him then!!!! Given the state of wickets in India we will rarely produce champion bowlers who can run through sides regularly. Every youngster wants to be a batter - it's easier to fill your boots rather than wear them out being a batter.

  • POSTED BY siddharth_r2001 on | August 12, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Talking about spinners, what is wrong with Murali Kartik?? Like Nasser Hussain mentioned on commentary, has he done some wrong to someone that matters? He has been doing stellar work for Somerset on the county circuit. Agreed, he isnt one of the younger players going around, but then when you have slim pickings in the spin department, doesn't he deserve a chance?

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    Apart from RD,SRT &VVS we dot have any players of test class and are only flash in the pan.How can a team claim No 1 status witout beating Eng,Aus or SA in their home grounds.Merely winning 5 home series and winning against BD,WI and NZ 7claiming No 1 is not right.You cannot sustain it.When this trio retires India will drop to No 5 or 6.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    Good article Harsha.. @chokkashokka..lol money doesn't make fast bowlers mate. Its a natural thing and we can only polish it to become lethal one

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    shewag,raina,harbhajan,sreeshant are all one match players. They play well in one match and save their place in the side and doesnt play well in other matches of the tournament. what is the use of having such players in the team. I dont understand. One bad thing is, if the selectors are trying to find replacement for those players wit players like kohli,rohit,ohja,etc.. they are unable to impress. I stongly fell all these players are lacking attitude. They can play well but they dont want to bend their backs and play well. All these players must be banned for an year from ICT and IPL for beeing lazy and not showing attitude. Stupid fellows. I strongly feel sachin, dravid, and VVS should play till they reach 50 years and bring back gangulu and anil kumble back to team.That would be better than giving chances again and again to these careless youngstars.

  • POSTED BY WTEH on | August 12, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    It is a simple question to answer Harsha. Play as many IPLs possible. Get all the commercials, make lot of money. And if and only if you are fit enough play few ODI and tests for the country.

  • POSTED BY ambrishsundaram on | August 12, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    India's rise to the Number 1 spot had nothing to do with player technique and temperament. It had to do with scheduling of matches to suit them. IMHO, Harbhajan was never a world-class bowler, 400+ wickets notwithstanding. He neither has the guile of a classic off-spinner like Prasanna nor variety like Muralitharan. The current injury notwithstanding, Yuvraj has to be given the marching orders for his lack of application and temperament. Zaheer should call it quits, for he is more unfit than fit. India needs to start afresh - past successes were not because of the system but inspite of it. The cash-rich BCCI needs to invest in good quality pitches, invite young and nnovative coaches (get rid of the the notion that great players make great coaches) and spot and develop talent - fast, seam, swing & spin bowling and batting based on technique and temperament, not on a flashy style - from a very young age. Maintain a high brand image for cricket - do not make it a cheap commodity.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    I think BCCI should start looking at Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Badri, rather than waiting on Raina and Yuvi, as far as the test cricket is concerned.

  • POSTED BY Finn92 on | August 12, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    A little harsh to state this about Yuvraj bearing in mind he was just man of the tournament at the world cup! Zaheer and Harbhajan are coming to the end I feel, yes they are a lot younger than VVS,Rahul and Sachin but I don't believe that they can bounce back and prolong their careers another 4-5 years or more. It is time to blood some new bowlers, Mithun looked ok but hasn't played a lot, Ashwin could be a useful bowling all rounder one day. People like that need to step up and replace these senior players

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | August 12, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    I'm really disappionted with Harbajan.It was Murali who set up wins for Sri Lanka in England whereas Harbajan was a total failure when it mattered.Dhoni should be fuming inside because it is our spinners who set wins for asian teams and to whom English batsmen most susceptible.Asian fast/medium bowlers cannot immulate the England bowlers unless they are exceptional in the mould of Waqer,Wasim,Malinga etc.Harsha,the other important adverse issue is IPL bringing run of the mill type of players into public glare and prominence overnight without proper development.I'm grateful,in fact to BCCI,the SLPL did not take off the ground. Rather than quick bowlers we should find good quality bowlers like ,Bedi,Chandrasekar and Murali. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    for those criticising yuvi 1 he missed wi coz of illness which can happen to anyone at anytime 2 now injury was sustainded when a ball hit is finger so cant blame him ya and he got a nice 62 at trent bridge and has played some good test innigs like 3 centuries against pakistan chennai 2008 he has been dealth harshly so before finding faults in him we should think about raina i have always said he is not a test player i said before lords test play yuvi and before this match play kholi and now whats happened has shown for test cricket if i have to pick the no 6 spot my pref will be 1r sharma 2y singh 3v kholi 4 c pujara 5 a rahane 6 raina rohit sharma is the most talenented batsmen in india he has been not presented enough oppertunitys he and kholi are better than raina for odi and t20 too mark my words raina will struggle in odi too against england in england mark it and suddenly hit great from in champions league

  • POSTED BY AidanFX on | August 12, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    When India first made it to #1 I felt they were unworthy of the tag. Here is the situation from the past several yrs: Ind for some time has had a strong batting line up but during this same time an average bowling team at best. As you point out Harsha powerful teams have strong bowling line ups. SA and Eng both fit this category. They are also professional units. India has relied too much on their batting line up for too long. If they fail with the bat against quality bowling they will invariably fail the match. Added to the problem - Ind have played too many games against SL/ Bang on dead flat easy batting pitches. This has conflated their batman's averages - even of quality batsman like Tendulka/ Dravid. Suddenly they come up against a quality line up more attune to the conditions favourable to bat AND ball and are undone. England handle the pitch and score well. India however implode against swing bowling. Moroever Eng bowlers more equipped to exploit the swing.

  • POSTED BY Pankaj_INDIA on | August 12, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    are these really cricket fans asking for SRT, RD, VVS to retire??? guys, these are the players who have given us no.1 ranking...these are ones making runs in SA, WI and Eng...and these are the ones who will give us maiden test series win in Aus later this year... stop judging them on a single series performance... SRT has been in form of his life since past 4 years, i would like to see him play as long as he wishes...ditto for RD and VVS... just look at Aus, they have retained ponting even though he hasnt done anything significant in past 4 years...we should stop judging our stalwarts... these 3 will come back strongly, as usual and as they are used to doing all these years... come on champs, show your true mettle...

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | August 12, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    well said Harsha! The key takeaway for the 3 cricketers above are - better work ethics and major changes in lifestyle.

  • POSTED BY Pankaj_INDIA on | August 12, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    very good article Harsha!!! i would like to see rejuvenated and fired-up Bhajji wich we are used to seeing over the years..

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    Harsha: Fine analysis. I see a few corrective actions from BCCI / players as well - not just these three. 1) For starters, India must be eager to put its young talent on the green tracks of England and even SA if possible - as part of their county program. Players who have not been initiated by the fire seem to display a serious whole in their arsenal. There is no need for BCCI vs ECB pissing contest. 2) Are we really serious about test cricket? I know the politically correct response if is to sing kumbaiya - but when the rubber hits the road - we seem to prioritize other forms over tests. England / Australia have not done this. You can see the results. Players are fresh, hungry and raring to go. So, where do we stand on this ? We cannot offer half hearted efforts to tests and dream of ruling the world test scene. It will require the kind of talent that you have enumerated in your article.

  • POSTED BY chokkashokka on | August 12, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    Why doesn't India put some money into scouting talented teenagers with athletic prowess who can be developed and trained to be the most lethal fast bowlers on this planet. India's got the cash - now pump some creatine into these lads and lets give them the best nutrition and training during the developmental years. At the end of the day - cash is king.

  • POSTED BY Tauqir on | August 12, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Mr Bhogle You used to be a good cricketing brain. But I guess after IPL you have lost your touch. Few days ago you wrote an article on Harbhajan , declaring him a GREAT and now you come up with this. Whats wrong with you. http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/518468.html

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | August 12, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    You are wrong about Yuvraj; anyone who saw him bat in thw second innining of the second test would tell you he is in the same bracket as Raina; they should never be considered for tests. You are right about Ashwin. Sometimes it is not about your arsenal but your mind as Kumble showed; after Zaheer only Ashwin has the level of arrogance necessary to stand up against overseas cricketers. He must be thrown in from the 4th test. I feel Rahul Sharma will make a good partner to him. Ishant, Praveen & Aaron should make it 5 bowlers. Sreeshanth is only good for one test in a series so is the 6th replacement bowler. Abdulla or someone the seventh bowler. 5 batsmen for India; Sehwag has to be dropped for he fields like an old man; no Mukund the pusher. The 3 greats too have to go. So Ghambir, Badri, Kohli, Pujara & Rahane are the 5 batters with MSD. The real burning desire of Badri will casuse him find a way to succeed. He must be given an extended run. Rohit, Tiwari and Saha will make it 16.

  • POSTED BY boston_pride on | August 12, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Typical Indian article... No matter how bad a player has been in terms of form, fitness and performance (Harbhajan, Zaheer and Yuvraj) ppl just keep talking them up... Face the fact that India def are not the best test playing nation n with the imminent retirements, they are prob going to find themselves mid table... Yet the media control that this nation has, its always going to be a big team... For the first time in the history of cricket, a country that spins out money is going to be called a great team... Shame on you Windies n Aussies... You just couldnt spin out enough money

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | August 12, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    So according to Mr. Bhogle, Yuvraj Singh will get a break once more to speculate more. All 3 will be back for Australia after some performances in meaningless onedayers before the Australia tour and will flop again (Zaheer if he is fit could be an exception). Too much mollycuddling by Indian media and Cricket Experts by Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri. Let us blood new talent.

    Enough chances have been given to Yuvraj Singh and Bhajji. They can come and play when India has oneday international within the sub-continent.

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | August 12, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Yuvi is supremely talented...but he needs to channel it like Ian Bell and Alastair Cook. He has to work hard and stop sulking. Zaheer, I am afraid is done. His has now become a fragile body. Bhajji needs counselling and a conditioning coach. He is unpenetrative and costly. He gets wickets @ around 40-50 runs. He should retire from Tests.

  • POSTED BY Asghar_Shahzad on | August 12, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    Too much cricket, greed for the money that is IPL + T20 are the main reasons that some the most talented batsmen are failing in English conditions and bowlers are not delivering. This is an alarming conditions for people like me who love to watch conventional cricket. I would rather name T20 as T20 and not as cricket. Besides, new breed of players are focused at playing in T20 mode instead of cricket......group of business active in BCCI should think about cricket and next generation of players....

  • POSTED BY anexpat on | August 12, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    I don't think the question is how long these three and others like Tenduklker,Lakshman and even Dhoni would last. I think they have lasted long enough and done their journey. Perhaps this tour is clearly reminding us that it is about time to build for the future. A new captain with new young talents should be chosen and given to Fletcher to build a team like this English team. Team India had had a good run as No1. Players like Raina and Yuvraj had their chances and are not test batsmen. They should concentrate on the shorter versions. We will lose some matches but this will be a price worth paying to construct a long lasting team for the future.

  • POSTED BY sachin_mumbai on | August 12, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Yuvi will bounce back and that to with a bang....have no doubt in his capability..Zahher's experience and brilliance can be put to use to nurture future bowlers....Harbhajan was never a brilliant bowler, I wonder how he got in the elite club of 400 wicket takers....he should quitely retire or someday he will be kicked out....

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | August 12, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    But Harsha, looking from this perspective, wouldnt all of India's players be at some sort of cross roads? Sehwag- how to manage his fitness, whether to play for T20, ODIs or focus on tests Gambhir- Which form must be concentrate more on, should he be planning for more leadership roles? Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman: how can they prolong their ageing bodies- when is a good time to retire? Dhoni- how much punishment and pressure can be absorb? How to improve focus on batting and keeping? SHould he develop an understudy wicketkeeper- and if Yes, then who? Should he devote more time and attention to managing bowlers- especially spin bowlers? Sreesanth, Ishant and Munaf: how to be good and consistent bowlers and make use of current opportunities- Praveen Kumar- should be bowl a few yards faster, should he focus a bit more on his batting? Can he be the pace spearhead or is it okay to play supporting roles? Raina: what is his forte- is he really a test player- which many doubt

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    "pace will drop" is this a joke. if the pace drops any further he will be classified as a slow bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Good job, Harsha!Even you have started looking squarely in the eye of the present day situation. This article is a far cry and quite realistic from the one you wrote two months back where you had marked out Bhajji for GREATNESS.

    You had said:"I believe Harbhajan Singh was born to be great, but now he must make his tryst with destiny. And he must do it himself."

    That was a bit too much.Looks like you have started looking beyond the facade of numbers, which augurs well.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    Great Article harsha...injured players are very often selected in team and reducing the balance... time to find strong replacements and strengthen our bench

  • POSTED BY cricfanraj on | August 12, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Nice article HArsha. The biggest issue now India is facing is judging people ability and form on wrong formats . Selectors should play a crucial role to assess the player form and if he doesn't fit into 11 they should take steps to givem them a break. Ex. Bhajji should have been dropped out of India side at least 1 to 2 years back. But we are still continuing which is not helping Bhaii or the team. He can improve only by taking a break and practicing real hard. Zaheer should never play ODI cricket any more. IPL is his choice but whatever games BCCI responsible , they should use him only in tests if we still want to do well in tests. Last BCCI should stop the meaning less serieses 3 ODIs 2 ODIs etc to reduce players getting fatigue

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    As always a well constructed article, based on simple yet compelling facts. It's about time these players take honest calls, whether to play for pride or a price? Most of us sensible cricket fans would be more than happy if India prepare for their next series with a full fitness test and nothing else. Make them run the miles, face the machines, do the cone drills and I am sure we will have more causalities. The idea should be to have the fittest possible from the best available, coz a healthy attitude canl do little if you are joints and muscles are screaming for rest. Selection process to represent India at highest possible should not be based on earlier merits or player values alone; it should be based on how happy and fit you are with your body. I would still recommend a mix of 20's something team comprising of Raina, Rohit, Kohli and Mukund. These players may lack experience, but so did VVS, Sachin and Dravid when they got their first cap.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Another fine article by Mr. Bhogle. Just to add a bit of humour 'Rahul Dravid Avenue' = 'Wall Street'

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | August 12, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Another great article Harsha, spot on.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    Harsha, If the 3 above mentioned read this, they might say, right we know what to do, retire from test cricket !! That's the irony of the state of the game in India. The board has a lot of blame to take for this. Are they short of ideas ? Did India deserved to be a # 1 ? Was it only an accounting error, made possible due to FTP ? We are not holistic in our approach. Its sad to say, Sorry, but the future looks bleak, very bleak !!

  • POSTED BY KiwiPom on | August 12, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    From what I've seen in this current series I'm a little surprised that there isn't a 4th player on this list. His name begins with "T" and he is a batsman.

  • POSTED BY charlie1863 on | August 12, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    Indian cricketers especially the younger generation are spoilt by the riches of IPL money and hence are not willing to do the hard yards to sustain excellence at the highest level. Indicative of that phenomena is their poor & really embarrasing fielding standards, not good enough training for fast medium bowling. Our bowlers seem incapable of bowling to a plan [if any]. They seem to leak runs by the dozen in every over. If India's international bowling attack reads Zaheer Khan [for whom ambulance is waiting on a 24 h beckon call at all grounds], Sreesanth [who has no desire, discipline and attitude], Ishant Sharma [who's brainless & stupid], Amit Mishra [who's out of this league & no talent} and an overrated Harbhajan Singh [brainless, thoughtless] then GOD only help Indian Cricket. For all the hype of IPL, the next genration of bowlers who can take wickets consistently at the international level has not been sighted yet.

  • POSTED BY ab_cricket on | August 12, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Of the three mentioned. Zaheer is almost over, he'll play in the series in India but I doubt he will have the fitness to go to Australia later this year and that will be that for him. Harbhajan is going through a poor form and it will be a real test of his character if he can over come it as this stage of his life. The biggest disappointment is Yuvraj, after the World Cup he looked to be in control of his game but you give him one opportunity to sit out (be it injury or poor form) he gains weight and then his game deteriorates. Discipline is the Key Word for all of them. They cannot take this lightly any more (I'm sure they dont but something in their approach has got to change). If I were a selector this is there LAST CHANCE.

  • POSTED BY blondblackberry on | August 12, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    i don't think many indians r following test cricket.indians would b more furious if they lose odi's than tests 'cause they watch more odi's\t20's.don't worry india v can win odi's hands down.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Harbhajan has been going down slowly but steadily over the past years... his match turning performances are more like flashes in the pan right now.. And Ashwin has done enough to command a place.. Agreed his best is in the shorter format but he has shown the variety, a big heart to flight the ball and a street smart head which does carry some points.

    Zaheer is still the best but then injuries are a serious worry... May be he should call it quits from ODI's because i feel he is a far better bowler in TESTS than ODI's and probably we need him in TESTS more...

    YUVI still has a chance. I seriously hope this is his last injury for a long time.

  • POSTED BY Rangarajan_Rajamani_Chennai on | August 12, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    In India, fame is instant. So is fall. So is the planning. They do not like to GROOM. They want performance. Instant coffee . . . Instant performance . . . It doesnt happen like that. The Aussies, though are on the wane now, can still bounce back because players know their priorities. It is justa matter of time before they settle.

    It is difficult to replace legends overnight . . but legends became legends over a period of time. Sachin didnt start after playing 170 tests. He started with 0 tests and 0 test runs. So did Dravid . . .

    Our youngsters are not taught the virtues of PATIENCE . . . and DETERMINATION . . . thast why they dont have will power to stay on . . .

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | August 12, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    I think all these 3 players are done for tests. Zaheer is fragile, Harbhajan too stale, Yuvraj will never master the art of building a long innings as far as tests are concerned. May be Zaheer should only play T20 if he can get fit at all while the other two can play shorter formats for may another 1-2 yrs. That's it. Ind better start looking for replacements by that time. They had their chances and time under the Sun till now. Time to move to next generation.

  • POSTED BY sramesh_74 on | August 12, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Harsha - please stop coming back to Harbhajan. I would advice you to write on better topics !!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    I definitely say that though playing in IPL helped indian cricketers in odis and t20s it ruined the INDIAN TEST CRICKET at a great extent which is the pinnacle n ultimate form of the international cricket.Hope BCCI should take stringent measures to save test cricket. By watching india in england series it is observed that the role of ipl is in suspicion.Though they may say that Ipl finds and encourages young talents but it ruined existing bowlers without inflicting young ones in to indian cricket.hope a bright future for indian test cricket.

  • POSTED BY venky2010 on | August 12, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Well written article Harsha. Realisation of facts and planning for the future is needed for these 3 as well as Indian cricket. You also need to acknowledge the fact - Sahin, Rahul and Laxman is not too far from caling it a day. If our selectors and BCCI is not thinking in the right direction, we could slip to 6-7 in test ranking in the next 24 months.

    Wish all Country men Happy Independence in advance.

  • POSTED BY BhargvaRao on | August 12, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Well said Harsha. We might accpet that Zak has a genuine reason to sit back but not Bhajji. After Kumble, we have not seen a great spinner in our Indian team. Ofcourse India is not a great bowling attack in the world cricket as such. As you rightly said if you want to be No.1 team in the world you should have a best bowling attack. Nevertheless this series is going to be 3-0 minimum. Yuvraj had bounced back in WC but seriously I don't see the fire what he used have earlier. Hope Yuvi and Zak both will come back to the team with high spirits. Being an Indian fan I expect 2-2 in test and ODI series win in england.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | August 12, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    You keep forgetting a key concept. Franchise player in batting and bowling. We have many franchise player in batting dravid , sachin , VVS certain extent. You need someone to produce 50% of the score consistently day in and day out. And rest is role players like sehwag , gambhir raina and dhoni. Yes india lost in England. But other teams do not have that many tall bowlers to trouble india. But Core issue is do we have franchise bowler in spin department and Fast bowling. Zaheer and bhaji cobined franchise bowler for india for a while. Once you lose your core wicket taker , it is difficult for role players to step up. As far as i see next 300 indian bowlers , i only see role players who can take 2-3 wickets occasionaly if pitch helps. Anyone taking 5 wickets consistently in ranji nowadays. Bhargav bhatt is best spinner but i think he also role player of sort. We really need big wrist spinner. I understand india can't find fast bowler but why no good spinners in india?.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | August 12, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Another key person who needs to think about what exactly he wants to do is Sachin Tendulkar. Does he want to play tests and ODIs for as long as possible, and quit before WC 2015, or present the selectors with an inconvenience of having to ask to leave for WC 2015, or play only tests and play them well like Dravid and VVS have showed, or play only in sub-continental tracks. He should not have to reveal them to the public, but I sincerely hope he has thought of a plan, communicated to the coach and captain at the least, and is committed to the plan. It hurts to see him rudderless in England when his peers VVS and Dravid have put up a good fight, and he has been struggling to get a series aggregate of hundred.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | August 12, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    if dravid , sachin, vvs cant draw the game , how can you expect any young indian players to play well in england. We already seen it in 2007 worldcup. Same thing will happen in ODI also. Bresnan is a monster. :). I have not seen one writer write why india can't find tall strong bowler?. India really need a military rule to achieve anything worthwhile. Free for all only makes certain section of the society enrich themself. if you ask people like ravi sashtri , he will say we have no talent. he probably looking at himself.he will say if you know someone out there, we can bring him...etc etc like politician talk. Lionell messi strong acceleration because he had steroids for him to grow. Instead of tall his knee got double strong made him accelerate faster. Easiest option is find indian kids who born and brough up USA and Canda who are taller and stronger than indians living in India. I doubt BCCI will do extreme steps to fix , they will happily minting money in IPL. Heros to zeros.

  • POSTED BY Test_rocks on | August 12, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Harsha, I feel sorry that you got it wrong for first time!! You see India never had likes of Walsh, Akram, Younis, Ambrose, McGrath, Lee but it was Indian batting strength which use to overcome their bowling. In this series Indian batting were unable to cross 300 mark....(Shame !!). Its the likes of Dhonis,Tendlkrs, VVS, Gambhirs, Rainas who has not performed. And when Dravid made century it was individual effort and not a team effort. Bowling is still doing OK (except this 3rd test), bowlers morale is down bcoz their batting side is not putting enough runs on board.

  • POSTED BY crikbuff on | August 12, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    As Geoff Boycott said on BBC: Has the IPL and all its dollars had such an effect on the players that test cricket doesn't mean that much? That is the question to be answered by Yuvraj, Bhajji, Zaheer, Sachin, Dhoni, and especially Sehwag whose attitude on the field at Edgbaston suggests that he just doesn't care.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    no problem harsha .. we have some extra real quicks .. we can supply them to u ;) ... your friend from Pakistan

  • POSTED BY Dr.Hasan on | August 12, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    Excellent article by Harsha with precise analysis. India really do need to find some quick bowlers quickly to regain the top spot as they look down and out of this series. Rahul Dravid Avenue ... excellent comparison, Dravid is one of my favourite batsmen of all time up there with Saeed Anwar, although extremely contrasting style to the latter. Its sad what has been done with him by sidelining him from the ODIs. I regard him as a better batsmen then any indian batsman in the past decade even Sachin.

  • POSTED BY AB99 on | August 12, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    Viru gets injured in every IPL, Gambhir breaks down after every two matches, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman are nearing the end of their road, Raina / Kohli / rohit Sharma are yet to make the grade to test cricket, Dhoni is not a test class wicket-keeper, Sreesanth is a talent wasted and not his captain's favourite, Prvveen Kumar has no pace (reminds of Madan Lal). Our fielding is worse than a school team. Forget #1, if India would be in top 5 - it will be a miracle #2 after the top spot.

  • POSTED BY straightdrive1 on | August 12, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    In addition to the 3 mentioned players prioritizing their game, lifestyles etc, it is upto the BCCI as well to sort out the priorities for the team, and therefore the players. For ex, Bhajji need not play one day cricket as much he is now. Instead, he can concentrate on tests solely. that way he need not bowl flat and look for containment. As for Zaheer, he should quit ODIs and T20 since he will be 37 by the next world cup. He should be looked after well and entrusted the job of grooming fast bowlers for the test team. As for Yuvi (and Raina), as long as they continue show weakness against short balls, they will struggle to make an impact in tests. He should show the hunger to improve himself on that. And BCCI, no matter what you say and what happens, MONEY will be their top priority. Enough said.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    when would i see dedication discipline hard-work parallel to those of dravid, kumble and sachin in these new players.. phew

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Its been heart breaking to watch India's performance on the tour of England. They have ruthlessly exposed both our batting skills on swing and seam pitches against decent pace and our bowling. I hope Duncan Fletcher can identify a group of fast young bowlers who can carry India forward. Without a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets, we don't stand much of a chance. Harbhajan IMHO has been given far too many opportunities, perhaps that's indicative of lack of alternatives. Yuvraj does not have the technique to withstand Test matches, not overseas at any rate. It will be interesting to see if Zaheer can make yet another comeback at 33 and be effective. Remove the 3 great batting stars and we will slide outside the top 3 in no time.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | August 12, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    The more Big 3 delay their retirements, the more they will not allow players on potential to gain experience. World class talent Rohit is already 24 ( I have seen Gavaskar and an SRT playing between 16-21 so know what I am saying). Might as well start rebuilding with a newish team on tour Down Under against a team also looking to rebuild.My NEWISH TEAM for Aus:Sehwag,Gambhir(captain),Pujara,Rohit,Kohli,Rahane/Badri, Parthiv (WAS a more gutsier batsman at 17 against searing pace of Bond and Akthar as opener than Dhoni at 30 will ever be),Varun Aaron (we simply NEED pace),Ishant (only if he COMMITS to bowl at 140 kph),RP Singh (has pace), Ashwin. Reserves: M. Tiwary(has raw talent but mindset issues),Mukund,Ojha,Sreesanth (highly inconsistent but has WON 2 Test matches against SA away). Will this happen? Fat chance; too many holy cows in Indian cricket. Plus the endorsements and contracts riding on Dhoni/SRT/Yuvi. How much WORSE can the series result be from what happened in England.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | August 12, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    1. As one of the biggest supporters of Big 3 (who doesn't love SRT?) of Indian batting, Zaheer and Bhajji;it pains me to say this. The time has perhaps come to CULL them. And this I say as one with a firm belief that only those with the best current form irrespective of AGE should be in the Test team as Test caps are sacrosanct. But all this talk of youngsters being groomed into the line-up with 2 of the Big 3 don't/won't work. Yuvraj was BADLY exposed in 2nd innings last Test and could not guts it out. Yuvi's innings showed that as a batsman, you are on your OWN in tough Tests. Raina should NEVER play Test cricket again. 28 Tests have been played since Ganguly's forced ouster in 2008. Yuvi and Raina's Test averages are still below 40. Gang's Test average NEVER went below 40 (only Gavaskar,Sutcliffe,Miandad and 14 others have this record; not even Dravid and SRT). Give Big 3 a golden handshake in 3 Test home series against West Indies in Oct. CONTD.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    In an interview broadcast in the first week of July on an Indian news channel Z Khan said that he would like to be called as an Indian bowling spearhead. How can he achieve that if he cannot give more priority to playing for India rather than to playing for some league. Also, he has often missed test matches and ODIs because of poor fitness and injury in the past. I think he has missed almost 18 to 22 test matches overall because of poor fitness or injury. How can he then be a spearhead for India which he deserves ? I think that Z Khan or H Singh should seriously check their priorities and choose playing for country rather than playing for the franchisee in IPL like a paid slave. If they cannot consider this, then they should retire from tests to play in ODIs and IPL for many years.

  • POSTED BY ROCKYSJOCKEYS on | August 12, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    Well Harsha, Zak has to still unfortunately lead the pack. I dont see another leader emerging from the shadows. Ishant is still learning and Sreesanth though probably one of the best fast swing bowlers needs someone to handhold him in every innings. Harbhajan,should reinvent & restrict himself when touring. He should not be a member of the paying XI and only play onedayers of twenty 20 as his batting skills would also be handy in those situations. Yuvi shud be playing county cricket when not playing for the country to improve his batting against quality pace & swing bowling,he has a strong will & right guidance by the three pillars & ganguly should do wonders for him. He is a sureshot matchwinner.

    On the other hand whatever hapenned to the likes of Irfan Pathan/RP Singh/Balaji.... These were three bowlers who breathed fire and aggression. You need to take 20 wickets to win test matches & these three shud be an addition to all foreign tours atleast. Need to match fire with fire to win.

  • POSTED BY Realforever on | August 12, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    Great Points Harsha, I really don't know whether our BCCI is really playing Sufficient interest in keeping Test cricket to its ionterest.It would be tough when our top trio retires from international cricket.

  • POSTED BY Shaktiamar on | August 12, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Excellent article ending with a fervent wish to see Ind at least be in the top 3.For a team which is on the last days of its #1 ranking, these words seem to indicate a free-fall in near future.Harsha is right in stating that Yuvi hasn't taken the leap to replace the golden age.If anything, he has regressed.He had a couple of fighting test tons in seaming conditions aganist Pak but has lost the stomach for the fight, it seems.Probbaly the WC win has satiated all.Zak's case is even more of a despair.On2nd Apr, he was at the cusp of true bowling greatness but apparently whiled the next couple of months in IPL and gourmet.What a pity it's to see the one potential fast bowling great from Ind wasting.Bhajji had it coming for sometime and his attitude hasn't helped.The WC win masked his deficiencies where he was not the leading spinning wicket-taker for Ind as well.Eng were whitwashed in 2006 in Oz and virtually mauled them in 2010.Can Ind do an encore in 2014?

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 12, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    I think Sharma is the future of Ind's bowling hopes. The sad thing is he only seems to be consistent and improves his avg. vs poor batting teams like NZ, Bang and W.I. Whenever he meets Sri Lanka, SA and now Eng, he goes missing more often than not. Time for him to man up. As for the 3 mentioned...Yuraj is destined to be a semi-Bevan (good enough in ODI's but forget about tests), Harbhajan has this deluded belief that he is an all-rounder and not a front line spinner and Zaheer Khan is taking up a spot that should go to a younger, fitter player. He should go the way of Brett Lee, Shane Bond and Malinga.

  • POSTED BY ecricl on | August 12, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    These ODI wonders like Yuvi killing Indian cricket. There fans are too live in a dream when they make tons of runs in pajama cricket...which does not need technique but need baseball like hitting ability............they worship these players make them a millioniere within days of getting MOM awards

    when they come to test side.....the pans falls off

    how many times Gavaskar, Shstri & Co predicted Yuvi being successful in test....."why not...he has talent he is mature now" etc etc.

    those guys speak in favour of India becoz that's what the fans in front of TV want to hear. i think in heart they also know the truth but speaks rubbish in front of TV becoz its the Indian fans keeping that channel alive and that's why they are earning money.............

  • POSTED BY denza on | August 12, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Determination is something which has to be brought in the hard way, you have to make a lot of sacrifices to achieve that. Its like the good old yogi of our vedic times who meditated to achieve the impossible. Guess these cricketers are experienced enough to understand this fact that its time Darwin's theory came good, " SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST"

  • POSTED BY ecricl on | August 12, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Yuvraj has long been a overrated cricketer i personally believe. Lots of faulty technique but an intent to hit cleanly. This guys can survive ODI or TT condition when the bowlers have no much advantage. And a hitter like yuvi if stays hour or two he makes quick 50+ runs and all world bursts on claps what an innings.........

    when comes to test; bowlers have advantage and comes the short bowl.........he is out!

    and indian selectors try to make a test team from ODI or TT or IPL "STARS" one yousuf pathan on his day may get you a match winning century from no-7 but this is not IPL. i told you when these are sort of players when they manage to survive by luck few hours then they become giant and if not; a mice........

    this luck dependent players cant keep a team no-1.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 12, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    It is really unfortunate that like the rest of the masses even you (Harsha) have swayed by ICC Cricket Ratings. Test cricket never should be played for just ratings. India never in its history was a great team. It was a good team (with quite a few flaws) that became No. 1. It really doesn't matter whether India are No. 1 or not. The crucial factor is that India is losing (rather pummeled/ battered is the right word) in/against England for the first time in 15 years. If India can win test series' in both SA and Australia in the near future it will be bigger than '83 and '11 World Cup truimphs (at least for me).

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 12, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    It is really unfortunate that like the rest of the masses even you (Harsha) have swayed by ICC Cricket Ratings. Test cricket never should be played for just ratings. India never in its history was a great team. It was a good team (with quite a few flaws) that became No. 1. It really doesn't matter whether India are No. 1 or not. The crucial factor is that India is losing (rather pummeled/ battered is the right word) in/against England for the first time in 15 years. If India can win test series' in both SA and Australia in the near future it will be bigger than '83 and '11 World Cup truimphs (at least for me).

  • POSTED BY ecricl on | August 12, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Yuvraj has long been a overrated cricketer i personally believe. Lots of faulty technique but an intent to hit cleanly. This guys can survive ODI or TT condition when the bowlers have no much advantage. And a hitter like yuvi if stays hour or two he makes quick 50+ runs and all world bursts on claps what an innings.........

    when comes to test; bowlers have advantage and comes the short bowl.........he is out!

    and indian selectors try to make a test team from ODI or TT or IPL "STARS" one yousuf pathan on his day may get you a match winning century from no-7 but this is not IPL. i told you when these are sort of players when they manage to survive by luck few hours then they become giant and if not; a mice........

    this luck dependent players cant keep a team no-1.

  • POSTED BY denza on | August 12, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Determination is something which has to be brought in the hard way, you have to make a lot of sacrifices to achieve that. Its like the good old yogi of our vedic times who meditated to achieve the impossible. Guess these cricketers are experienced enough to understand this fact that its time Darwin's theory came good, " SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST"

  • POSTED BY ecricl on | August 12, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    These ODI wonders like Yuvi killing Indian cricket. There fans are too live in a dream when they make tons of runs in pajama cricket...which does not need technique but need baseball like hitting ability............they worship these players make them a millioniere within days of getting MOM awards

    when they come to test side.....the pans falls off

    how many times Gavaskar, Shstri & Co predicted Yuvi being successful in test....."why not...he has talent he is mature now" etc etc.

    those guys speak in favour of India becoz that's what the fans in front of TV want to hear. i think in heart they also know the truth but speaks rubbish in front of TV becoz its the Indian fans keeping that channel alive and that's why they are earning money.............

  • POSTED BY _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on | August 12, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    I think Sharma is the future of Ind's bowling hopes. The sad thing is he only seems to be consistent and improves his avg. vs poor batting teams like NZ, Bang and W.I. Whenever he meets Sri Lanka, SA and now Eng, he goes missing more often than not. Time for him to man up. As for the 3 mentioned...Yuraj is destined to be a semi-Bevan (good enough in ODI's but forget about tests), Harbhajan has this deluded belief that he is an all-rounder and not a front line spinner and Zaheer Khan is taking up a spot that should go to a younger, fitter player. He should go the way of Brett Lee, Shane Bond and Malinga.

  • POSTED BY Shaktiamar on | August 12, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Excellent article ending with a fervent wish to see Ind at least be in the top 3.For a team which is on the last days of its #1 ranking, these words seem to indicate a free-fall in near future.Harsha is right in stating that Yuvi hasn't taken the leap to replace the golden age.If anything, he has regressed.He had a couple of fighting test tons in seaming conditions aganist Pak but has lost the stomach for the fight, it seems.Probbaly the WC win has satiated all.Zak's case is even more of a despair.On2nd Apr, he was at the cusp of true bowling greatness but apparently whiled the next couple of months in IPL and gourmet.What a pity it's to see the one potential fast bowling great from Ind wasting.Bhajji had it coming for sometime and his attitude hasn't helped.The WC win masked his deficiencies where he was not the leading spinning wicket-taker for Ind as well.Eng were whitwashed in 2006 in Oz and virtually mauled them in 2010.Can Ind do an encore in 2014?

  • POSTED BY Realforever on | August 12, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    Great Points Harsha, I really don't know whether our BCCI is really playing Sufficient interest in keeping Test cricket to its ionterest.It would be tough when our top trio retires from international cricket.

  • POSTED BY ROCKYSJOCKEYS on | August 12, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    Well Harsha, Zak has to still unfortunately lead the pack. I dont see another leader emerging from the shadows. Ishant is still learning and Sreesanth though probably one of the best fast swing bowlers needs someone to handhold him in every innings. Harbhajan,should reinvent & restrict himself when touring. He should not be a member of the paying XI and only play onedayers of twenty 20 as his batting skills would also be handy in those situations. Yuvi shud be playing county cricket when not playing for the country to improve his batting against quality pace & swing bowling,he has a strong will & right guidance by the three pillars & ganguly should do wonders for him. He is a sureshot matchwinner.

    On the other hand whatever hapenned to the likes of Irfan Pathan/RP Singh/Balaji.... These were three bowlers who breathed fire and aggression. You need to take 20 wickets to win test matches & these three shud be an addition to all foreign tours atleast. Need to match fire with fire to win.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    In an interview broadcast in the first week of July on an Indian news channel Z Khan said that he would like to be called as an Indian bowling spearhead. How can he achieve that if he cannot give more priority to playing for India rather than to playing for some league. Also, he has often missed test matches and ODIs because of poor fitness and injury in the past. I think he has missed almost 18 to 22 test matches overall because of poor fitness or injury. How can he then be a spearhead for India which he deserves ? I think that Z Khan or H Singh should seriously check their priorities and choose playing for country rather than playing for the franchisee in IPL like a paid slave. If they cannot consider this, then they should retire from tests to play in ODIs and IPL for many years.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | August 12, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    1. As one of the biggest supporters of Big 3 (who doesn't love SRT?) of Indian batting, Zaheer and Bhajji;it pains me to say this. The time has perhaps come to CULL them. And this I say as one with a firm belief that only those with the best current form irrespective of AGE should be in the Test team as Test caps are sacrosanct. But all this talk of youngsters being groomed into the line-up with 2 of the Big 3 don't/won't work. Yuvraj was BADLY exposed in 2nd innings last Test and could not guts it out. Yuvi's innings showed that as a batsman, you are on your OWN in tough Tests. Raina should NEVER play Test cricket again. 28 Tests have been played since Ganguly's forced ouster in 2008. Yuvi and Raina's Test averages are still below 40. Gang's Test average NEVER went below 40 (only Gavaskar,Sutcliffe,Miandad and 14 others have this record; not even Dravid and SRT). Give Big 3 a golden handshake in 3 Test home series against West Indies in Oct. CONTD.