Sambit Bal
Sambit Bal Sambit BalRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
Editor, ESPNcricinfo

Goodbye to India's batting greats

This series was meant to be a fitting final trophy but has ended in tears. An era is over in more ways than one

Sambit Bal

January 23, 2012

Comments: 251 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Dravid celebrates his century with VVS Laxman for company, India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 1st day, November 14, 2011
Will both of them play in India's next Test after Adelaide? © AFP

It is impossible to be completely rational about sport. Romance and sentiment are part of the deal. To think about or relate to sport with detached and clinical logic is to strip it of its very soul. So after all the misery and rage, Indian cricket fans will perhaps tune in to the Adelaide Test not hoping for a turnaround - the time for that has long passed - but for a final glimpse of their batting heroes. Who knows how many of them will turn up at the next Test?

If logic had the final say, India wouldn't be going into the final Test with an unchanged batting line-up. Fourteen successive failures away from home points to something horribly, perhaps irredeemably, wrong. Lack of preparation, injury, fitness, rust, unfamiliar conditions, none of these can fully explain why a top five boasting 48745 runs at 50.93 should average 28.75 in their last seven Tests in England and Australia.

There is only one simple reason. This isn't a sudden collective slump. The truth is that two skillful, energetic and consistently disciplined bowling attacks have had the measure of these batsmen in conditions that have encouraged good bowling. From Lord's to Perth, by no means have they encountered surfaces that have yielded exaggerated movement, pace or bounce - in fact, Edgbaston, The Oval and the SCG all settled down to become lovely batting pitches - but with the exception of Rahul Dravid in England, and to a lesser degree Sachin Tendulkar in Australia, the Indian batsmen have failed to bat through a tough session.

Virender Sehwag averages 15.90 from ten innings, Gautam Gambhir 20.50 from 12, and VVS Laxman 20.28 from 14. That all three should be playing in Adelaide must seem a massive vote of no confidence against the younger batsmen who have travelled on this tour. The message to them is that they can't break into the team unless one of the incumbents is injured, or, as in MS Dhoni's case, banned.

It is not, of course, that the younger players have knocked the door down. Two openers - M Vijay and Abhinav Mukund - have been tried and found wanting. The No. 6 position, vacated by Sourav Ganguly in 2008, is yet to be nailed down. Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina have both failed to make it their own, and Virat Kohli can still only be said to have made a good case for himself after the tough test at Perth, where he was India's best batsman.

Much hope rides on Rohit Sharma, who first served notice of his talents on these shores during the one-day series four years ago, but the truth is that he has not managed to hold on to a regular place in the one-day side, committing the serial offence of abetting in his own demise through poor shot selection. Only recently has he shown the level of consistency expected of a man worthy of filling the shoes of one of India's middle-order giants.

Ajinkya Rahane's case is more curious. For over four years he has been prolific for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, averaging close to 70. However, he has found a place in the Indian Test squad after briefly sparkling in the shorter versions - he made a punchy Twenty20 debut after being drafted into the team in England by virtue of being among the six fit batsmen available for that match - but he failed in both tour games in Australia in the lead-up to the Tests.

The selectors can be held responsible in hindsight for trusting the same set of batsmen after the England debacle, but in reality it was hard to look beyond them for this tour. It represented India's best chance of claiming their first series win in Australia. Sehwag and Gambhir had played through injury in England, and Laxman, despite his failure in England, had been India's man for every crisis all through 2009-10; it would have been a brave selector who dropped him for the series against Australia.

If logic had the final say, India wouldn't be going into the final Test with an unchanged batting line-up. Fourteen successive failures away from home points to something horribly, perhaps irredeemably, wrong

While it can be argued that the changes should have been rung in after the loss in Sydney, India went to Perth with a theoretical chance of squaring the series, and with Gambhir and Laxman both having scored half-centuries in Sydney, and Sehwag always a worth a gamble for a match-turning performance, Kohli would have seemed the obvious candidate to drop. Thankfully, he wasn't.

Adelaide, though, presented an opportunity. The series is lost, and in more ways than one, an era has ended. It can now be said that it ended in England, but Australia presented a chance for redemption. The big cycle of change had begun for Indian cricket with that titanic series against these opponents in 2001, and a cycle within a cycle had begun with that ill-tempered series in Australia in 2008. For the remaining stalwarts of Indian Test cricket's golden age, this tour provided the perfect stage for closure.

That dream now lies in the dust and with no Test series in sight for the next eight months, there seems to be nothing more to achieve for a generation of players who began their journey in the '90s - the '80s in Tendullkar's case - and have formed the most luminous collection of batsmen in the last three decades. It's cruel that their journey should end on such a low, but when they are gone, they will be remembered for their peaks.

Everything points to them turning up together in Adelaide. But the result and the performances won't, and shouldn't, matter. Indian cricket has sunk to the lowest of lows: in another time these very men, as did they so single-mindedly at the beginning of the last decade, would have been relied on to forge a revival. But their time has gone now. Indian cricket has no option but to embrace the future, however uncertain it may seem.

Not all of them will go at once. In fact, there is merit in graduating the next generation under the watch of a master or two. But a line must be drawn in Adelaide. Every player who retains his place for the next Test series must have a clear role to play in creating the future.

But for the moment, push the gloom aside and keep your eyes peeled. Viru, Rahul, Sachin and VVS you might never watch together again, and not in that order. They might or might not stroke a couple of hundreds between them, or put together one of those monster partnerships, but if you care enough to watch, there will still be moments of magic: a murderous scythe through the covers, a picture-perfect drive down the ground, a cover drive that paints the most ornate arc, or a gentle swish that charms the ball to the ropes. It's the team, and the results, that ultimately count. But invariably it is individual players who leave the fondest memories.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Sambit Bal

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (January 26, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

It is really hard to believe all d comments in this article.!!Men,who have shouldered d responsibility of Team India for so long are being asked,almost ordered to leave n be replaced by sum1 like Kaif.!!Unbelieveable.!!we have lost series,yes we have but look at dese series,your best batsman r Rahul Dravid n Sachin Tendulkar in England n Australia.!!they have to go sum day but they will decide dat not any1 else.!!Stop being so critical,who knows mayb a few years later,v wl b wishin dat dey come back....but den whn ur team is at 20/2 u wont be seeing a Sachin Tendulkar joining Rahul Dravid at d crease followed by a certain V.V.S.Laxman.!!

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 26, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

@dravid_gravitas - disagree - all failing players should go. That is Shewag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Dhoni, Ishant, Zaks(fitness). For India to blood youngsters we need the slots emptied. Kohli should captain - something he has done before - U19 world cup victor. We have plenty of batting talent - we need good pace bowlers for trips abroad. Yadav is good enough. By pace I mean the 145+ Indian pace bowlers are just right pace for batsman to feed on currently - overseas. Faster means wickets can be got with (accuracy)

Posted by ravip175 on (January 26, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

when rahul, v.v.s and sachin calls it a day indian team will become a garbage in test cricket.think for the comming succesors of these legends....who are they.....?

Posted by Rumy1 on (January 26, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

The Test team for upcoming home series should look like this....Wasim Jaffer, Rahane, S.Badrinath/C.Pujara, M.Kaif (Capt.), V.Kohli, Rohit Sharma, W.Saha (WK), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma/Umesh Yadav and Pragyan Ojha. The other three spots could be for S.Sreesanth, Manoj Tiwary, and PA Reddy/ I.Khaleel (2nd WK).

Extraordinary problems need out of box thinking to solve. Look at Aussies. They have appointed Bailey as Captain of their T20 international side even when Bailey is yet to make an international T20 debut.

Posted by Rumy1 on (January 26, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

So we saw more of the same. Enough man.Time to rest Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin and Laxman. Clearly, Sehwag is the most irresponsible player in team. This is proved time and again. Good time to bring Jaffer, Badrinath, Pujara and Kaif for the Test series at home. Wasim Jaffer, Badri and Pujara would be a great blend. Kaif would be a great addition as well. Kaif has always been a captaincy material. Make him the Captain. Besides youngsters, you need some experience too. Both Kaif and Jaffer are in early 30s.Sounds much better than greats in 38s / 39s. Time to blood in Rohit Sharma too.Bring back Harbhajan. Ashwin remains an avg. Ranji level offie who has carrom ball. Ashwin stands sorted out by international batsmen including lesser mortals like Bravo,Chanderpaul, Russel, Rampaul, etc. Pragyan Ojha should also be brought back in. He is a much better bowler with lot more variation and skills than this Srikanth favorite - Ashwin.Time to confirm Saha as wk and bring I.Khaleel as 2nd wk

Posted by spathy on (January 26, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

England series & Aus Series were dumbed by Tendulkar. Already played more than 700 international games , he put more pressure on the team. 20 innings u can not make a century , why did u omitted some one dayers . Listen some great pepole advice(like Kapil ) . You have enough welth. so why u playing IPL for 54 days. See M.Clarke always play for the nation . I am still your fan but do not distroy the test matches with BCCI. BCCI never run by cricket lovers only by money lovers.It is so sad

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 25, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

Apologies to all. I posted a comment meant for another article ... whoops !

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 25, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

I've seen plenty of aggressive Indian cricketers over the years, but most of them did it with the bat or ball (or both in Devs case). Sporting aggression to me means looking for weaknesses in the opposition and exploiting them ruthlessly and relentlessly. It comes from within and I don't think it matters where you were born or what culture you come from. You either have it or you don't. Teams can cultivate a swagger but when the going really gets tough, its up to the individual athlete to dig into the pit of their stomach. .. As you get older you start to loose the ability to go there. ....... @ Vas Venkatramani : You make an excellent point about overseas players getting used to Indian pitches. If the sub-c starts loosing its mystique, it is entirely possible that tourists may start to play better in India. .. maybe even take a series here and there. ...

Posted by   on (January 25, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

There is a saying "The flame burns brighter before it goes out". I think that's what happened to Rahul in England. I think both stalwarts Dravid and Laxman are not only failing with bat but also dropping vital catches. This shows both of them have problem of reflex and can't react fast enough. It is hightime both of them retire gracefully after this serires. Rahul who has strong admiration for his hero Steve Waugh should not prolong the agony.

Posted by a1234s on (January 25, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

Dravid's reflexes have slowed down. Coupled with his horrendous slip-fielding, he should have the decency to announce his retirement. VVS should be the next to go.

Elevate Sehwag to permanent captaincy and try to build a team around him.

Sachin should start getting into retirement mode. He is still good enough to be in the team, but I think at 38 he should hang up his boots.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (January 25, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Sehwag is out on 18 off 18 balls with one dropped catch along the way. Really! This guy seriously needs match perspective and a break. I'm done with "he is like this only" statements to rationalise his temperament. As I type Dravid is clean bowled on 1. He has been talking of "taking one match at a time". I think, now is the time to call it a day. After all, he is the oldest player playing world cricket today.

Posted by Puffin on (January 25, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

I think Australia have shown us that, in order to start over from the remnants of a great side, which may still have some great players in it, there is the need to get stuck in and get on with the job of change. Some unpleasant decisions need to be made and the sooner the better, avoiding them will not make the problem go away.

It's all very well being sentimental about aging players and thinking only of their best years, but I've seen many older players hanging around, a shadow of their former selves, it is quite sad really and it does nobody any good. So - remember the good years, but get ready for the next version of the team. You know it will be okay again one day sooner or later.

Posted by ansram on (January 24, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

Remove Laxman. Dravid and Sachin immediately. India may not have immediate replacments, and may go on to loose a few more games, but hey, the seniors are not doing a good job, are they? The way India have lost is probably amongst the worst series of losses in recent history, and only Bangladesh may have had received a more severe pasting.

India regularly concede 500 or 700 and score less than 200, I am wondering if this is an international standard test team at all. At this rate, India will struggle to compete with the A and B teams of England, Australia,Pakistan,SA etc. Sehwag must be replaced with a stable opener while playing overseas, he is just a HTB. Dhoni too has no place in the test side overseas and his contribution with the bat is next to nothing, except in dead games. How can he inspire the side? Drop Gauti too for a few games....start building a new team. Let us loose as a fresh inexperienced team and then take on the world. This is humiliating.

Posted by hhillbumper on (January 24, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

why would a county team want an Indian batsman. English pitches tend to do a bit so who wants a sitting wicket.Its been bad enough with the Aus overseas batsmen so why cheapen the competition with players who cant hit a moving ball?

Posted by VickGower on (January 24, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

"But for the moment, push the gloom aside and keep your eyes peeled. " Some of us did that, Sambit. It didn't work out that well. What we saw yesterday peeled our eyes out of us. Just killed the romance in me. 16 innings of total drubbing on the field has wiped out anything sweet in me about those murderous scythe through the covers. It will take a lot of picture perfect cover driving between now and 2020 to repair the horror I have lived.

Posted by anonymous90 on (January 24, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

Yeah, its true dat Indian top orders didnt run & there's need 2 take a serious decision. But d question is, would some change take Ind on winning peak? Absolutely not. cuz, every time v see, our batsmen didnt score etc etc & at last, Ind lost d match. But, wat abt our bowlers?

Do they play well? If u leave few matches then u'd find dat their bowling was not impressive like others & its not abt 2 or 3 matches, this drama has been running down since many years. Ind without GOOD BOWLERS.

They do get wickets & also they do work hard, no doubt on it, but still they aren't like others. Remember, last year's match before Ind vs Aus series, same Aussie's team played with SA & NZ. If any1 have seen then remember wat was more enjoyable. Good batting + Impressive bowling. All 3 teams had v.good bowlers.

If u play cric & u've min 2 v.gud bowlers & best fielders then u can save any match, chances r 95% & Ind, plz play like u r playing 4 WC which u'd get but only if u play, win/loss dont matter.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

After the debacles in Engand and Australia,the ball is now in the court of the BCCI.Are they now brave enough to show the door to Laxman,Dravid and Tendulkar?Therefore instituting a new era in Indian cricket after all they have served their country well,but the crux of the matter is that is that they are an ageing side.How many of the current Indian side are over 30? We keep on hearing about the fire -power of the BCCI's finances.Well, maybe the BCCI and the state associations start co-ordinating(if they have not done so already),recruitment centres to unearth future Tendulkars,Gavaskars,Dravids,Kapil Devs,etc? The fact that India's population is 1.2bn means that potentially they should be able to field more than half a dozen Test match sides,but instead are just relying on the same old,same old. In the not too distant future,Sachin Tendulkar is going to retire,and who is going to replace him.Have you anybody in mind?

Posted by doubtingthomas on (January 24, 2012, 16:44 GMT)

Virender Sehwag is not the same league as the other three. Stop clubbing him with the other batting greats.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

@Alexk400 India have been losing because of Tendulkar's 100? Ha Ha Ha. That's just about the dumbest thing I ever heard. I understand Tendulkar being under pressure, but don't tell me our fielders are dropping catches because he hasn't got the 100. Or our bowlers bowling a trash length because he hasn't got a 100. Or our openers are fishing outside off stump coz he hasn't got a 100. Next allegation from Alexk400; BCCI is a poor cricketing board coz Tendulkar hasn't got a 100. Cricinfo please publish. :)

Posted by big_al_81 on (January 24, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

A key reason for India's problems is that Indians, even sensible comentators like Bal, really seem to believe this was 'the most luminous collection of batsmen of the last three decades'. It isn't now and never was. Two luminous batsmen do not make a collection and only Dravid and Tendulkar will be remembered as greats by anyone other than Indians. Australia's batting line-up was far better, in more conditions for a much longer period and since the last three decades includes the 80s you could also add the West Indies batsmen of that era. It is hard to imagine how playing anything other than an entirely new team for this last Test makes any sense at all. Keep SRT and Dravid maybe plus Khan, Yadav and Ashwin but bin the rest and play 5 bowlers. You may not score any more but you'll take more wickets for fewer runs and that's quite a good way of winning matches!

Posted by Suhas_G on (January 24, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

Please send home Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman., no wasting time for Sachin's 100 also too., For all others (Gauti, Sehwag, MSD, Zaheer, Ishant, ) send them for a Ranji season and select later based on performance., Also take and experiment for a couple of series with Pujara, A Mukund, Virat, Ojha, Ashwin, M Vijay, Badrinath, Dhawan etc........ Time for a COLLOSSAL CHANGE keeping in MIND the future ., not the Money plant which BCCI thinks always !!!!!!!!! and PLSSSSSSSSSSSSS Bring in a INDIAN COACH >>> They will make these people learn from Basics !!!!

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

Really pathetic display by the seniors, if we see anyone of them in the next season in India in Test matches, the likes of Rohit Sharma can say goodbye to test matches. I am sure he or the likes of Raina, Pujara, etc will go the Badrinath way. Mohinder Amarnath used to call our selectors a bunch of jokers in his time, but now it is his turn to be called a Joker!

Posted by indianpunter on (January 24, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

@kriskingle. Brilliantly put. You gave a very good perspective to what i have been harping on about . Such a shame that these "greats" have lost the opportunity to call time on their careers. Surely, this is Dravid and Laxman's last test. One test too many for Laxman already.

Posted by teju666 on (January 24, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

Sambit, one key point you missed that the old guard must go inspite of how they perform in Adelaide. a VVS century, no matter how delightful to watch, must not extend his tenure. We Indians are reluctant to phase out our heroes well past their expiry date. Past accomplishments are held dearer than current performance. No more - we need a change and the so called "seniors" have to make way for a new crop. If we have to lose, I would love to lose with the young and the untested.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (January 24, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

It is worth mentioning the amount of scoreboard pressure that India are having to bat under...In the four Tests in England, India conceded the following scores: 474/8, 544, 710/7, 591/6. Australia have already scored 659/4 in one Test of this series, and will be eying something similar tomorrow, surely...In years gone by, this was India's modus operandi: Massive runs on the board to put added pressure on the opposition batsmen, allowing accurate bowling and aggressive close fielding to take more wickets than they might without such pressure. Going in to bat knowing you need to score 400+ to avoid follow on / losing by an innings is hard work and not something you will consistently manage, even on dead pitches, against quality bowling backed up by good fielding, which both England and Australia have. So why is there not more scrutiny on India's pathetic bowling and Dhoni's (and now Sehwag's) appallingly defensive and negative field settings?

Posted by Deuce03 on (January 24, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

The most luminous batting lineup for thirty years? Perhaps, but I feel we're in danger of forgetting just how good Australia once were. The team of the 2001 Ashes tour, for instance, comprised Slater, Hayden, Ponting, Waugh, Waugh, Martyn and Gilchrist - as fine a collection of batsmen as any of us will ever see. Individually they never achieved the aggregate statistical records of some of the Indian giants, but they played better bowlers for fewer Tests, so it's hard to hold that against them. And collectively they were never humiliated repeatedly as this team has been.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

How can they be greats when they havent won test series abroad look at the bigger picture the last seven tests they played the team has been pasted hit all around the park like zimbabawe india should drop out of tests lol any one can score on home grounds flat batting tracks where indias batsmen can score hundred after hundred on small grounds and small boundries great are those players who perform home and away now india havent got an away series till two years i believe so now is the time to make records at home and pile on the runs and averages bloody disgrace

Posted by WalkSchmalk on (January 24, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Surely demonstrable motivation to fight is the deciding factor for who is moved out first amongst the Indian side? On this basis Dravid stays, Tendulkar stays (really for as long as he likes), Gambhir and Kohli stay, Khan goes (his batting has gone from amusing to embarrassing), Dhoni goes, Laxman goes and Sehwag stays but by the skin of his teeth. The bowling lacks bite and the fielding is appalling. New young guys needed to lift both and to rejuvenate batting.

Some acknowledgement by team, selectors and supporters that batting requires more than the ability to read spin wouldn't hurt either. Australian batsmen of the recent past were judged on performances on turning tracks in India (Ponting unfavourably until he made the necessary changes and Clarke favourably for example). Why are Indian players of great pedigree not judged similarly in unfamiliar conditions. Sehwag fails far too often in SA and Australia for questions not to be raised over technique and appetite for the battle.

Posted by enigma77543 on (January 24, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

Another problem with Asian teams I feel is that when they're looking for new talent, they invariably go far younger ones in search of next Sachin, Imran & Javed instead of giving an opportunity to seasoned-veterans in domestic-comps who tend to be matura & tend to know their game well enough. It's as if they just won't pick anyone in their late-20s & early 30s no matter how well they perform - M Hussey remember was such "aging" player & irrespective of his current form, he's one of the better batsmen to have played International Cricket. Badrinath has been very consistent for such a long time domestically & has a solid technique to succeed anywhere in the world but has never gotten a consistent run, he would've been ideal replacement for "The Wall", I'd definitely like to see younger players but don't just discard domestic-pros. The bowling also needs to be looked at, Ishant definitely needs to be dropped & let him work his way back, Yadav needs to work on consistency

Posted by Gizza on (January 24, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

Laxman should have already gone. Even if at least one of them was dropped, it would have scared the rest of them. That's how our ordinary jobs in life work, don't they? The boss fires a few employees, the rest need to get their act together. Also they all can't retire together. But in 12-18 months, Laxman, Tendulkar, Zaheer, Dravid and finally Sehwag need to go. All the young talents like Rohit Sharma, Pujara, etc. are also getting very old! Their generation will probably not have a proper Test career (at least a chance) because of the selfish oldies. Such a shame. Even Raina needed to get into the Test team 4 years ago. Now it is too late since he will never develop a half-decent technique.

Posted by enigma77543 on (January 24, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

It's really naive of some people to say "whom will we replace 'them' with?" Well, you aren't going to find replacements unless you give youngsters a consistent run, afterall, these "legends" weren't made in a day, I still remember people saying Tendulkar was "too young", Dravid "too slow" & Laxman & Sehwag "too unorthodox" but they were persisted with....afterall, stalwerts aren't going to be around forever....why phase them out instead of "letting them choose their day"? Well, as "Nash_Canada" rightly said, there will always be a temptation for them to continue playing, remember, cricket is their whole life so it'll be very hard for them to leave, that's why so many cricketers have to be kicked out & very FEW actually say goodbye on their own & that's why selectors must set a timeline - Laxman must go immediately, not only for his batting-slump but since he's dead-weight in the field, India should focus on improving their fielding standards if they're to ever become better team Cont.

Posted by AtharSaleem on (January 24, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

Every rise has a fall. Every cricketer has to hang his gloves. But Fans remembered them for their heroics. No one can forget The Wall. The Ten dul Kar or VVS. for their repeatdly good performances

Posted by Meety on (January 24, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

@ Skylight28 - true, that SRT & Dravid have been the best performers of late. The problem for India is that there does need to be renewal in the side. SRT & Dravid are clearly not at their best, the runs they have scored have been ugly, (SRT has played glorious strokes, but he has looked edgey & not settled). India have one of two choices, sweep the broom thru, & sack basically the entire top 7, or introduce a controlled programme - unfortunately starting with VVS, VVS should not of played in Adelaide. It should be VVS out, Sharma in. Ghambir should be on notice, but he'll probably do well over the next 12mths due to home series. Sehwag, is problematic in that I think his best days are already behind him, he will blow hot some days, (200+ in an ODI), but they will be rarer. Sometime in the next 12mths one of Dravid or SRT has to go. This opens things up for Pujarra & Raina, (maybe Yurav). If things are left to meander, India will struggle to beat the Bangas 3yrs from now!

Posted by ruester on (January 24, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

A few points to make. No1 BCCI does not care about test cricket, only about money making. They wont drop icons of the game because they make more MONEY for them. It will be for the older guys to decide when to go. Sachin will be playing past 40....still trying to get the hundred. No.2 Indian batsman don't play well overseas because they want to cash in on IPL, why would an English county take on the likes of Kholi or Sharma if they are unavailable for two months at the start of the English county season. No.3 Nobody seems to comment on the lamentable fielding of the Indian side, anybody who watches IPl and sees some of the howlers will know that the players dont practice enough. Club players would gobble up some of the catches missed. No.4 Dhoni is an awful test captain, he NEVER comes up with a different strategy when things go wrong. NO.5 Ishant Sharma never takes wickets, should not be in the side, its not as if he keeps things tight. NO.6 Wish India well in the future.

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 24, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

It is astonishing to see same resignation from indian players again and again. Almost like they are homesick. Also i see a pattern in the players that they can't be replaceable. I think BCCI need to show all of them DOOR. It is high time. First of all all of them old. Playing for stats more than for the country. There itself everything wrong. Also most over paid. They do not want to bend their back. Bad culture in the team. For me losing is acceptable if we fight and lose. What i am seeing is a bunch of quitters in bowling , fielding and batting. Lack of athletes is a core of the problem when india visit overseas. They are out muscled with physically stronger players. They don't have crowd ewnergy to bakc them. So they look like they are in island on their own... it looks really really pathetic to see india get pummeled like this. What would be astonishing thing is , BCCI would do nothing. NADA!.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

am glad you are not the selector sambit! we watch cricket.. and read you only because of these folks.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

it's funny that india still don't see what their problem's IPL and money based cricketers who don't know how to play TEST matches. plus dravid is the only player who did well recently among the so call greats. let's face it, sachin can't play under pressure..he had this problem even in tha past, but coz of his great dedication for the game and pure talents, it was not seen that much, but i was always there that in finals sachin can't get a 100!!!!! if you remember players like aravinda who nevere had any consistancy like sachin, but remmber the way he played in semi and final in 96 WC..lara has many memorable hits like that as well..jayasuiriya, ponting their carrer is full of those types of hits..i think gangulay had plaed more ODI wining hits than the little master..then what about dhoni, shewag and gambir? what they are doing? i think there will be time that india will see the real problem of their cricket. that is MS Dhoni has to go now!!!!!!!he's ain't a proper cricketer!!!

Posted by Rawlonski on (January 24, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

Wasn't it great to see the Indian team take advantage of the dead rubber in Adelaide to try giving some of their younger players a chance...... oops! that was just a dream I had last night.

If you keep serving up the same team, you keeps getting the same results!

At least Ashwin demonstrated some value

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

Samit. India's next test is good 8 months away and people will again forget the old scars and continue with the oldies!!! This is damn selfish by seniors to continue and take Indian cricket backwards.

Posted by kuttiganeshan on (January 24, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

Dear Selectors, Please apply "Moneyball" theory and draft the Indian team. Moneyball theory might work even if we miss some big names in the team.

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (January 24, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

I would like to know as to how many Indian cricketrs have retired gracefully on their own.... I can't remember anyone except for Kumble from the recent past and Sunil Gavaskar (around 25 years back)...

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (January 24, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

Today's play once again shows us that youngsters aren't doing any great either.........331/3? no oldie in the bowling attack i reckon...

Posted by Kashi0127 on (January 24, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

Come on Tendulkar you can do your record bit (100th 100 ) ; there's nothing to lose or gain now

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (January 24, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

One thing I have learned watching India-Australia series, I don't know any Indian Cricketers did or not that "If you go for the shots like stroke, pull, hook, or glance, you will survive on the crease and also make runs, but if you go for cut or touch, you will be caught in the first circle, and mainly in sleep cordon or gully area. Look how Clarke, Warner, and Ponting played in this series. Indian coach and the Indian batsmen are that stupid who don't get the point. Indian coach may not understand this point because he played 7 ODIs in his entire career with strike rate of 67, which is too low in ODIs. Sehwag and Gambhir threw their wicket in slip and gully area in this series. Are they that stupid who won't learn? Looks like they don't care about test cricket because they know they will make more money in every IPL, and they also knew people will forget by the time of IPL. IPL is a deadly and contagious virus in the cricket, and especially in Indian cricket for sure. Really!!!

Posted by sanjay37b on (January 24, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

It's all over for India at the end of first day's play in fourth test.Pack the bags the playing eleven and book flight to India to attend republican day's celebrations staged to honour you all.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

It will be really interesting to see how our new captain Sehwag bats? Will he try to slash his way in the first few overs and get out or will he play a Captain's innings?

Posted by gopaldhal on (January 24, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

Before the series started, it was the shaky middle order of Australia vs. formidable middle order of India. By the end of it it is the reverse.

Posted by DSUS on (January 24, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

India showed a steady improvement since that historic Eden test of 2001. They gradually tied a series in Australia, won in Eng, 2x in WI, tied in South Africa. One point is there was no IPL at that time. Too much focus on IPL is taking the temperament out of test cricket. IPL time should be reduced. It looks attractive at first but the product will become stale in a 2-3 years. Pointless hitting without class is not cricket. Batting 4 overs even 10 consecutive days is different from batting 3 sessions out there in heat/cold/breeze.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Nothing will happen to these players. India doesn't have any foreign tour for two years now. These players will go back and start winning home series. And everybody will forget everything.But this will be very bad for Indian cricket.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (January 24, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

Indians judge their batsmen a lot more harshly than their bowlers who are the weak link. India needs to look beyond Zaheer and Harbhajan who are well past their prime when it comes to speed, fielding or taking wickets consistently. Ishant should be India's bowling spearhead by now after having played 44Tests, but he still sprays and shows no display of bowling that "nagging line and length". I'm yet to see an Indian bowler master pace-line-length-swing and that includes Kapil. I don't blame the Indian pitches. I've seen what Imran and the WI greats could do on the same Indian pitches. My 75 year old mum always says, that the best way of reviving an out-of-form batsman is to get them to face Indian bowlers. As I write Ricky has just scored his 2nd century of the series and Clarke is on 89. The opposition has bolted with the initiative and now the burden lies on the Indian batsmen once again! Where are the "youngsters" in Indian bowling? Why are there no articles on Indian bowling?

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 24, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

@warnerbasher . and your ponting is great on green tracks & absolute rubbish on indan tracks even when he was in his young age he can't score runs in india .

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 24, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

Why not Chopra come in test as Captain? He has patience and demands respect with politenesss and clear thinking.. A decent fielder and a good close in catcher with the best reflex in the country!!

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Kudos to sambit bal for writing an emotional, yet well thought out and balanced article. It was indeed a privilege watching such batting legends weave their magic together. But the golden era has ended and a large scale restructuring is needed for India to bounce back. Hope we dont get too emotional about this and take quick and rational decisions.

Posted by cricinfo_2010 on (January 24, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

As soon as Sachin retires, i am retired from watching cricket too. In fact, i don't watch cricket matches these days when sachin doesn't play. Most of my friend are same like me too. We, indians like, screen presense of stars (like in movies, stories doesn't matter). So Sachin gone, I am gone from here too. Cricket is a just a game, who cases who wins.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

in my point of view they all should go viru wall vvs master and mahi,,,,, viru can't score in moving conditios ,,master is not getting any younger anymore,,,so as wall and vvs i know they r gr8 ambasodors of the country but how u ll alow them to play before they get dropped they should retire its better fror the country and for the cricket

Posted by Kashi0127 on (January 24, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

I say stop living in past Glory - particularly Indian media and more so India TV channels. Chuck them out - all of them: Tendular, Laxman, Dhoni , Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid in that order. Get young gones does not matter if we lose next 5 series -even against Bangla desh, Zimbabwe and Nigeria and Mexico. In 5-7 years lets hope for a good team...

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 24, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

The reason india lost 8-0 (including this test) is sachin 100th century , it took away actual goal of winning the game. He is the elephant in the room. As long as he is there is no chance of teamwork in the team. It is always about sachin tendulkar. For me evolution happens when the livlihood threatened , it makes change is a necessity, i think without tendulkar , india and bcci worry about how to win and how to counter the aussie bowling , what indians lacking etc. we have not talked about that yet because until sachin ,dravid , VVS gone , india won't think about it. If people do not get chance there is no way we going to find next sachin , dravid. It is heinous crime to keep telling people no one is talented there when you do not give youngsters ample chance. People do not like change things in india. It is the culture. only heavy loss makes people to start to think why we lost. I hope india lose this test also. Better that way. Round number. No chance to hide.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (January 24, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, can't agree more. Absolutely fantastic analysis. I would in fact say Dravid should be made the Captain and Indian youngsters revolve around his batting and intelligence for an year or two when somebody can be found as a heir to his rare genius, integrity and dedication. Rahane, Sehwag, Dravid, Rohit, Kohli and VVS will be our main batting line-up with reinforcement from Dinesh Karthik as the specialist batsman/wicket-keeper. Sachin is failing since England series, that hundred has become a big monkey on his back, burndening him. He loses his mental balance and his wicket at the wrong time and is costing the team dearly. He has to go. But he won't be dropped. That's our cricket. VVS failed in his non-regular postion in England and that is being held against him. Talk of scape goats, this is the perfect example. Make VVS and or Dravid the sacrificial lambs when the real culprits are Dhoni, Sachin, Sehwag and Gambir.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Bitter Truth... Yes!!!! totally agreed Players are for the team and it should never be the case otherwise. Records are the milestone of a player's career but it never should be the case to prolong a player's career for records regardless of his performance and abilities. Indians must understand that every Hero has an exit and then he is remembered for what he has done. No one stays forever and no one is indispensable. Good Bye to the big stars with big numbers and welcome to the budding stars of the future. All the Best

Posted by Busie1979 on (January 24, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

Get rid of one Dravid and Laxman immediately. Sehwag in 6 months. Tendulkar in a year. There is no shortage of batting talent in India. The time is ripe to get the young guys in - Rahane and Sharma's stats are incredble. Yvraj Singh is very good. India should not worry about there long term batting prospects. It is the bowling that is the real problem. I think Ashwin is a good cricketer but hasn't shown it in Australia. Yadav is pretty good but is too much at the stumps and gets milked on the leg side. Ishant Sharma's talent is wasted - I cannot believe his career has been such a struggle - bowls at 150kph with reasonably good control and bounce. I think the pitches have made him too negative. They need some pace bowlers. Australia would have about 10 guys that would make the India team - Bollinger, Coulter-nile, McKay, Cummins, Pattinson, Copeland, Johnson etc.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

It's difficult to see where India go from here, batting-wise. Once Tendulkar, Dravid & Laxman are gone, who's left? An ageing, increasingly leaden-footed Sehwag; Gambhir, a gutless shell of his former self; Kohli, who, for all his undoubted promise, averages only 27 in Test cricket despite playing the majority of his Tests against the toothless West Indian attack; Raina, Yuvraj, Mukund, Rahane & Pujara, all of whom were bounced and/or swung out with embarrassing ease in South Africa & England; Badrinath, who's the wrong side of 30; & Rohit Sharma, who, despite being hailed as the new Tendulkar by countless Indian fans, has scored precisely two centuries in 72 ODIs at the decidedly moderate average of 34. The inconvenient truth, I'm afraid, is that, for the foreseeable future, India will simply have to get used to fighting over 5th or 6th place in the Test rankings with the likes of Sri Lanka, New Zealand & the West Indies...

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

I can't believe that people even have the thought, in their minds, that Dravid has to go! Are you kidding me? He was, by far, the best Indian batsman in England and, for a 38-year old, he had a fabulous series. Just because he failed here doesn't mean that he should be kicked out of the side! What about Tendulkar, Gambhir, Sehwag, Dhoni? These guys performed badly in both series. IMHO, no-one should even think of letting Dravid go. Laxman might have to go, but there's no way anyone can even entertain the thought of dropping Dravid!

Posted by cricket_wins on (January 24, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

The axe must be dropped on Sehwag and Gambhir, followed by Sachin Tendulkar and Laxman. Absolutely no doubt about that. In Laxman's case, the action may cause heartburn, but in the other 3 cases, there would be no major issue since they play other formats as well. I am surprised Dravid's name pops up in the comments. I think his single handed doggedness in England is being forgotten here. With respect to Sachin, thanks for everything, you are still a genius with unmatched talent, but you are still a player in the Indian team. Perform or perish.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

Mr J Dhillion please note Pakistan also plays AWAY from home and not only England. They won against SL easily. They will beat England 2-1 too.

Posted by South_Indian on (January 24, 2012, 3:10 GMT)

Pakistan and SL are the best teams from the subcontinent. SL is winning in SA without Murali and they chase 300+ scores on back to back ODIs and that in SA pitches. In coming days WI or Bangladesh or even Afghanistan can beat India. So SL must be gearing up to give India a 4-0 hammering in the Commonwealth Tri-series and that will make it 8-0 loss for India in the tri-series. Well cant wait to see the end of the Famous Four (read hopeless four) of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman after which India will become the new WI (no offense to WI here). India was very highly over rated with these famous four batsmen but truth was India was, is and will always be a below avg. team. Just few overseas test wins by luck (the opposition played bad on those games) and fans started celebrating India as if it was the invincible Australian team under S Waugh.

Posted by shrie on (January 24, 2012, 3:04 GMT)

People keep writing about the batting failures and that is mostly because thats what would be the newsmaker. It does not paint the whole picture. If a team scores 800 odd runs for the loss of one wicket its not batsmen failure alone. Indias has specialist problem , bowlers dont bat, wicket keeper doesnt bat, batsmen dont bowl and baring a couple of players they dont stay if the opposition dont bowl to their liking.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

The blame for our dismal failure lays squarely on our loud mouth selector Srikkanth.He lacks the guts and charisma to bench players like Sachin, Dravid and Laxman and to put on notice sehwag as an opener.Sehwag has zero footwork and this is all important on bouncy wickets. Gautam Ghambir is so scared of the bounce and swing that he gives up even as the bowler starts his bowling. Sadly the younger players would probably retire without playing a single test while we keep experimenting with a group of really past over the hill legends. A good start would be to sack Srikkanth and make it known that he is sacked for incompetence and unparalled stupidity

Posted by Aniltadimeti on (January 24, 2012, 2:01 GMT)

I dont think its appropriate here but according to me,a major part of the blame needs to be apportioned to the bowling.That our batting has failed is quite obvious.But,on the bowling front,we have been a disaster.We gave runs at a rate of 4 in Sydney,4.8 in Perth.This is abominable.If we had leaked at a much lower rate,things might have been different.All this,when we criticize Dhoni of being defensive.This is an irony,no. And Mr.Bal,why single out Laxman&Dravid?What about our openers?How many more chances are you willing to give them?Dhoni?Tendulkar?

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

I think Laxman should go before Dravid. Dravid has been poor in Australia, but he had a fantastic year before, including England where everyone failed.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (January 24, 2012, 1:19 GMT)

@ mannyj . first time i've seen an indian supporter wanting tendulkar gone! usually talk of him being kicked out sparks wars from indian fans :) but i agree completely with you. time to see new indian team

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 24, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

I think indian young batsman has to play in county few seasons. May be exhange programs or something. Not only indian batsman lacking , they lack energy to counter fast moving ball. May be gym culture helps to make them physically stronger.

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 24, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

INDIA have failed with batting, bowling and fielding. Yes this is the last for some of senior batsman as well as other non-performing players. It is time to replace Shewag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, and Dhoni. In bowling we need to replace Ishant and Zaks who is good but failing fitness. In could come Mukund, Chopra, Pujara, Rohit, Kholi (capt), Dinesh Karthik, Raina, Badrinath, Jadeja, Yadev, Pathan, Praveen,Ashwin,Rahul, ATUL SHARMA - talent is available in India. Change needed. A good left arm pacer needs to be found.

Posted by jdhillon on (January 24, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

It is never easy to play and win in someone's backyard. Everyone knows about it. Look at what happened to England in their match against Pakistan. They were ranked #1 not too long. And, still they lost to Pakistan. So, please stop complaining about the players being young or old. Yes, the age matters. But, how come Rahul played so well in England recently if he was getting old.

As, I have said in my previous posts, if any country wants to play better overseas, they need to accustomed to the local condition. So, the solution is - 1) BCCI takes step to make it mandatory for each player to play overseas at least 2-3 months 2) Bouncy pitch might at home might help a bit also. 3) Players should also assume some responsibilities of practicing it overseas if BCCI can't afford to send them.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

this is so true, i dont know why rohit sharma is not in this match. sehwag needs to absolutly go, he not only does not perform well, but also throws away his wicket, gambir is one to have faith in he fougth hard in world cup and now as well, laxman needs to go, dravid should retire on his good note.

Posted by theswami on (January 24, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

Dravid should certainly be on his way out, Tendulkar & Laxman have another year of cricket left in them. Sehwag has another 3-5years left in him.

Badrinath, Mukund did well in their limited opportunities & must be considered.So should Pujara, if he has recovered from his injury. Rahane & Dhawan too did well ...

Posted by lanka-is-the-best on (January 23, 2012, 23:45 GMT)

Man, this makes me really sad to see these players getting pushed out like this. (especialy Dravid, whose heroics on the England Tour have gon forgotten already)

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (January 23, 2012, 23:44 GMT)

Why so sentimental towards players who have had their day. Selection should be for the best interest of the team, not for sentimental reasons. No player retires gracefully now (the only recent exceptions being McGrath, Warne and Murali who retired before anyone raised the question), they know that as long as they prolong their own career they make more money, who cares about the team or country?

Posted by warnerbasher on (January 23, 2012, 23:39 GMT)

Bye Bye. Greats on flat decks. All at sea on challenging ones. Rahul has been a superb player and sportsman for India and Sehawag wins tests when he on song. No further comments

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 23:34 GMT)

clearly no one has good of Indian Cricket in mind.

Last three series, top performing batsman (As per statistics), Tendulkar and Dravid. What this so called new generation batsman are doing there? I really dont know when your Mr Cool Dhoni played test match to win it by his performance. Last two away series and worst performers (As per statistics) are Sehwag, Gambhir, Laxman and Dhoni.

If we really think good about Indian Cricket Lets think about performance and not about Age, and our Love with them.

Posted by WeirPicki on (January 23, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

Not a decent batsman left between them, all the old men are finished. India will struggle for years, no decent bowlers and new batsmen. This is what too much 20/20 garbage does to you.

Posted by Nash_Canada on (January 23, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

As much as everyone wants them to go, i dont think they really want quits. These are the players who have been playing cricket all their life and its their passion. Its hard to leave something that you love so much. Especially, if I put yourself in their shoes and imagine, after world cup i would be more pumped and excited to play. After england, i would be willing to play in order to prove the world. After home series', i would wanna play to continue my form. But i agree that Australia hasn't been well for these players but i would still want them to play maybe couple more series and end high and leave. So that they have good stories to tell their grand children :) I know there are gonna be yes and no in this, but this is just my opinion. Good Luck Team INDIA! :D

Posted by Raviivey on (January 23, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

Sambit, great article overall. You write beautifully. But I take issue with you subtly hinting that if anyone has to leave it has to be VVS and Dravid. Dravid has been one of the best batsmen of 2011 as was VVS in 2009-10. So why pick on these two and go easy on Sachin? They all have to go at some point but it's a pity that some of them will be forced out in shame while one is given the privilege of picking a time to go out in glory at home. Why the double standard when their achievements and contribution to Indian cricket is equal?

Posted by playitstraight on (January 23, 2012, 22:48 GMT)

Laxman has to go if he does not perform in the Adelaide Test, his time is up. Maybe one more year and its time up for Dravid, and lastly the "God" Master Blaster can retire when he gets that 100th hundred he is dying for.

Posted by BillyBlue on (January 23, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

@ Sklylight28 "Just because they are 'old' doesn't mean they are past their "use-by" date. Statistics clearly show that Dravid and Tendulkar aren't the problem." I totally agree with you, but both of them HAVE 2 BRING UP THEIR FITNESS LEVELS! Pointing & Hussey can still run circles around them in the field & in-between wickets. Also Dravid's dropped catches in the slips have been crucial momentum breakers & have cost us dearly. Shewag & Gambhir need to be dropped. Both are way out of shape, which is slowing their reaction time down. Remember how when Sehwag was dropped last time, he came back a better batsman? He, like Gambhir, needs a swift kick in the butt (dropped) & told CLEARLY to get them in shape - mentally & physically. Now is the time 4 Rahane & Mukund, @ home to build confidence. Laxman has to be the 1st of greats 2 go. Replace him with Rohit or Pujara. Finally Dhoni has to go, he, saha & patel are just NOT TEST MATERIAL. The next keeper HAS TO BE IMMACULATE behind the stump.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

Rahane was touted as one of the most technically correct & promising among the younger crop along with pujara , rohit & kohli. And Manoj tiwari has turned over a new leaf since last two seasons finally showcasing his potential & class. With such a young yet promising team we add Mukund and say Naman Ojha to the mix & we have the base batting contingent that can serve us next 5-6 years. And why do we discount the possibility of another couple more talents coming over fron the U-23 or u-19 or A tours. Typical 'chicken & egg' situation... the youngsters can prove if these oldies are not shunted out & the oldies keep touting that there are no worthy replacements! And the irony is this malaise of staying on due to absence of any able ( read young) replacement is across teams.. mike hussey said more of less the same lines when asked when wud hang his boots .. so did Punter.

Posted by Nampally on (January 23, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

@skylight28: You present an interesting set of stats. Yes Laxman bats like one with lowest average. Gambhir on the other hand batted like adicted to fishing at the balls wide outside off & paid penalty. These 2 definitely lacked form in at least first 2 tests. As your stats show Sachin was the best &" he was the only confident batsmen right thru' for India".Dravid tried very hard but somehow got bowled 5 out of 6 at bats. I think most fans wanted an in-form Rohit replace VVS right from first test. When Dhoni persisted with his own agenda, it irked all the fans to bash all the seniors - unjustly!. Younger guys need to be phased in one by one. If out of form Legends are hogging the stage, this is not possible. Sachin was just 17 when he got into tests.Rohit & Kohli have been waiting for ever! Kohli finally got in but not Rohit - both 24 now. Fortunately Yadev, Ashwin, Ojha & Aaron got a break. Forward planning Captain & Selectors are badly needed - MSD & SK are still in 20th century!.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

Guys, i have commented in a few of my postings.. Not that our TOP players are incapable ... THEY are highly Capable and THEY can still do it... BUT, there are some fundamental Issues going on within the Team... There is Lack of Cohesion, Team Spirit, Individual Team members are brewing inside with some CONFLICTS... Address that.. all things will be at peace...Our COACH and BCCI have tremendous amount of responsibilities to work with team on their Winning Spirits .. We loose our spirits , lack motivation when things do not go well.. We easily go into shell and are unable to come out... Hope these things get addressed... Good Luck Team... By CHANGING players we are just addressing the current problem in hand with SHORT TERM solution...

Posted by JG2704 on (January 23, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

@LillianThomson on (January 23 2012, 12:33 PM GMT) I usually agree with most of your posts but these guys have in the past been brilliant for India. You only have to look at their averages. One thing I noticed from looking at Australia's test history is that between 95 and 2001 , they lost 4 series and 3 of them were in India. I don't read too much into history , things can change as the England/Australia situation has since Mcgrath and Warne retired and who knows where both sides will be when they next face each other. What I do know is that India (and I include all the big names) look to be in an awful situation. They may or may not have travelled well in the past but it has never been this bad. I think they might have to pretty much dismantle their batting line up and build a team around Kohli and whoever else they have coming through the ranks

Posted by JG2704 on (January 23, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

Just wondering if Kohli is captain material. If so , I think India could have taken a gamble and tried him out as a captain in this match. Definitely think some changes need to be made in the batting line up and for me Kohli definitely stays and then you could toss a coin to see who makes way for Sharma and an extra bowler. The only way I see India winning is by playing a 5th bowler. I know that (like England) they like the tried and tested 6 batsmen , WK , 4 Bowlers , but right now (even more so for India) the tested method is failing them. What's the risk ? they go 4-0 down which most people expect anyway. At least they can say that they tried different thing to try and get a result

Posted by Crickits on (January 23, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

I fail to understand why is everyone behind the Seniors...If you talk about Test cricket and you look at the performace of your so called (comparatively) younger players which includes the ever Smart Senior Antagonist Mr .Captain Cool What has he done. Had he not been the captain of the team ,he is not even fit to be a part of the test Team.Stats speak for themselves.Check for the likes of Gambhir ,Sehwag and Kohli (Although Kohli needs more chances to prove himself) what have they done in the past year or so in Test Cricket.Had it not been our respectable The Wall in England Results would have been drastic. Even in Australia Its been Tendulkar,Dravid who hav done most of the scoring.Dravid hasn't been able to convert it big here but he has had decent 30s,40s almost everytime .What has Mr.Cool or Sehwag &Gambhir done?If you want to drop someone why not drop these and why just punish those who are still performing but don't have age on their sides.Age shouldn't be a selection criteria.

Posted by sk12 on (January 23, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

Dravid_Gravitas - VVS's is case of poor form (he was never comfortable against the moving ball), Sachin's is a case of poor shot selection but Dravid quite clearly has slowed down in his reflexes. He gets stuck with his front leg, and before he could adjust the ball just goes through. And this - is an irreversible change. Sachin and VVS need to be scrutinized in the next home series, to check if they improve. But Dravid definitely has to go. Knowing the gentleman he is, pretty sure he'll announce his retirement after this match.

Posted by mannyj on (January 23, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

I only have one question: Is it so bad to leave on a high?? Why couldn't these 3 players have the dignity to leave on a high. When people would have asked why are you going rather that why are you NOT going. Tendulkar should have left after the world cup when people would been after him to stay. Now we just can't wait to see the back of him. Only 2 people in Asian sub continent had the courage to leave on a high Gavaskar and Imran Khan. Why can't other do that. They all are practically thrown out, shunned or banned. Dravid when asked are you worried that are you are getting bowled. I was surprised at his gall to say that no I am not. Well why should he be, his greed to stay in limelight is bigger that Indian cricket. All I hear is there praises about contribution to Indian cricket,. Well they have done that and now move on. Also they did not do charity they made millions from it and now they still want to keep hogging the limelight and blocking the way of youngsters.

Posted by Roykunal on (January 23, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

The problem is not only with seniors.Every one is blaming Sachin , Dravid,Laxman but the worser problem is that India do not have anyone left in the team after these 3.Why are we looking at Kohli,Pujara,Sharma etc directly after Sachin,Dravid and Laxman???Where is the middle aged guys??Dhoni,Yuvraj,Sehwag and Gambhir are the major culprits.At their age or with the number of matches they played,they are nowhere close to the Great 3 who are being blamed.Infact,due to over relying on these great 3,BCCI had never looked for players who were able to hold the team in their absence.What we are looking at is totally fresh buch of players along with Ranji level players for the Team after this tour.Remove Dhoni,Gambhir,Sehwag from the team before Sachin,Dravid or Laxman.That will be more beneficial for the team..

Posted by prasoonkc on (January 23, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

Rohit and Rahane should be given chance over VVS and Gambhir. Both have done nothing to get another match. I think all the seniors are back scratching each other to keep their own place. VVS knows that Adelaide is a slowest track in Australia and he think he can get a big score to postpone his long pending retirement by another year. Next test series will be in India, He can still score runs in Indian condition where there is no bounce, pace and movement and he is good at playing slow spin. Selector should have forced Captain to drop VVS in last match itself they did not do it and you get the same result. These seniors are not ready to make way and they will hold on the last floating straw.

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (January 23, 2012, 20:21 GMT)

Bal echoes Indian fan / selector mentality -- go with ageing stars even when they do poorly because "it is not that younger players have knocked the doors down". Turn the thinking around; give youngsters the chance even if they struggle because they can't do worse than Gambhir, Sehwag, and VVS who are averaging less than 21 from 10+ innings. Raina cannot sort out his troubles against the short ball on Indian pitches; for that, he needs to play on English / Australian pitches. He could have been tried again on this tour. And Ishant is riding his reputation from his last Australia tour (when, admittedly, he was a much, much better bowler). Shows you how flawed the #2 ranking in tests is when you seen team India "perform" the way they have done here.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (January 23, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

Still miffed that the coruscating talent of Rohit Sharma is not getting a world stage in Tests just cos some 37 and 39 year-olds are not vacating the stage. If Mohinder or Gavaskar (was still GREAT enuf) kept playing Tests till they were 40,Tendulkar and even Manjrekar would not have found slots in the middle order b/w 1987-89. Having seen Sunny and the incandescent, world-beating talent of teenage SRT, I can say that only Rohit of the younger lot seems to be in the same class and I am almost in awe of his assured footwork, time to play strokes, classical technique. Once temperament and steel is gained, he along with Kohli (the most ambitious young bat in international cricket) will rule. To think that he would be 27 by next OZ trip in 2014 is a crying shame. Viru,Gambhir,Pujara,SRT,Kohli,Rohit, Parthiv look a great top 7 for the 11 Tests against NZ,Eng,OZ at home in 2012-13. Keep Manoj, Rahane,Badri (deserves another shot) as reserve batsmen.Rohit is the natural successor to SRT.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

it is very strange to our present critics! pl. go to history of our indian crcket. india never shined in foreign tour. , particularly in aust, eng and nz they had never any sucess right from 1950. they only suceeded in india only with poor performance many times. this is bcz we only has trend to prepare spinner pitch all the time even to day. we never cared for pace ballers. and to day situation is that our medium pacers are not effective for foreign players.

Posted by the_blue_android on (January 23, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

The last Oz series should have been the "greats'" last series. I'm glad these grand pas failed once again. If they even remotely performed like in the last series in Oz, they would have gone on to play for 4 more years. These Granpas are keeping such amazing talents like Pujara, Rahane, Rohit out of thr squad for such a long time.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 19:41 GMT)

"Two openers - M Vijay and Abhinav Mukund - have been tried and found wanting" - true about Vijay, but Mukund?? He got himself into form in that 2 day game Northants (I saw his innings live and it was a superb hundred) but was not preferred to Sehwag in the 3rd test against England. He did play well in the first test too. Definitely deserves more opportunities.

Posted by Skylight28 on (January 23, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

Drop the non-performing batsmen. No matter the age. No matter the records. The 5 lowest averaging batsmen for the last 3 series: Australia: Laxman (avg: 17 runs/inning), Sehwag (20), Dhoni (20), Gambhir (24), Kohli (27). West Indies: Yuvraj (22), Gambhir (39), Dhoni (41), Tendulkar (44), Sehwag (49). England: Sehwag (10), Raina (13), Mukund (16), Gambhir (17), Laxman (23), Dhoni (31). For the England series, Dravid was the #1 run scorer for India, Tendulkar was #2. Dravid was also India's #1 run scorer against West Indies at home. In the current Aussie series, Tendulkar is #1 scorer for India, Dravid is #2. When many of you are asking for the removal of Tendulkar and Dravid, you are, in essence, asking India to remove their top 2 performers, both historically as well as in recent series. Folks - Statistics clearly show that Dravid and Tendulkar aren't the problem here! Wake up and smell the coffee! Just because they are 'old' doesn't mean they are past their "use-by" date. Not yet!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

SAMBIT BAL everything is ok....but who the hell are you to decide the fate of these great men who have served our country from so many years???......

Posted by donda on (January 23, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

Yeh, sports is harsh, this the same team which brought india to #1 rank in test cricket for first time in 60 years. But today the batsmen who were responsible for that achievement are old and have not reflexes.

India should not disrespect the greatest batting lineup in history of cricket on papers.

They should retire these batsmen in phases and with respect. I know that players like these born once in 100 years.

You take away these batsmen and you will find india getting out on 43 all out just like Srilanka did in SA.

It's not easy to play on seaming wickets at all but also it's time to say good bye with respect and move on with new young talent.

India will see how good these batsmen were when these will be gone.

After winning the WC, #1 rank , these players should have retired respectfully but they are not. Which is sad.

Posted by TamilIndian on (January 23, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

Make Sehwag the test captain and bring in Dinesh Karthik in place of Dhoni - his technique is simply not suited for test cricket. I don't think Dhoni will really care.

Posted by calculas on (January 23, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

What about Subrmanium Badrinath? Granted he is too old for the one day format but the man can still bat I see him as the Micheal Hussey version of India. If given enough chances he will prove his mettle I reckon.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

cricket is about playing 11 fit men.. who cares about age??? stop complaining.. india has failed as a team.. u cant blame a particular group of individuals... do not decide someone elses retirement....

Posted by kriskingle on (January 23, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

Kindly stop defending the 'seniors', who offer neither strength nor direction to the team in times of strife. Yes, their contributions have been telling, their presence enormous, the determination they showed and more importantly the dignity they displayed, quite magnificent. Simply by virtue of being the seniors ,they should have shown the team the way out, instead of scratching around for their own form and personal battles. By hanging around long past their expiry date, they have not only tarnished the memories of them in the public, they are also jeopardizing the team's opportunity to rebuild. At the end of the day, it is about the team and the moment an individual stops being productive to the team, he is dead weight. Nobody knows this fact better than the seniors themselves. As soon as the seniors realize it, the better.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

The last paragraph almost made me cry. Long live the legends. Thanks guys for the wonderful moments you have given us.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

Savour the Big Four...Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid & Laxman Batting Together...They may never again :-(

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

There is too many right handers in the batting lineup we need to find a solid left hander or two for the middle order to just change the line of attack from opposition.lets see what in the future store for us

Posted by toucheandsuch on (January 23, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

Yes, the batsmen have all failed but I am mystified why no one has talked about Ashwin and Ishant. Ashwin has been a huge disappointment as a bowler. Despite the bounce on offer, he was not able to manage his flight and length and never looked like a test bowler. In fact Nathan Lyon looked much better than him. I would like to see Ojha in the team. Lets not forget that this is a specialist slot in the team and Ashwin's batting (like in Bhajji's case) should not matter if he has no wickets to show. Ishant has likewise been a disappointment and should be dropped. Assuming Zaheer and Yadav do the attacking, you need a bowler to keep it tight and not bowl both sides of the wicket. Ishant has just not got it right. I am not sure how much of the blame should also go to Fletcher and Simmons but every good side needs to have the right balance of attack and defence. I suspect Mithun is a better bet to bowl long and steady spells. Folks - lets not blame the batsmen only!!

Posted by myStraightTalk on (January 23, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

What a poor article. Why the Editor is still rooting for the failed batsman. All the senior are not 100% fit (Sehwag , Laxman , Gambir are still playing with some injuries). Look at their fileding and running between wicket, India lost many runs because of them. Editor is not bold enough to Criticize the senior.

Posted by rohan024 on (January 23, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

another one of those useless emotional article..i distinctly remember sambit bal wrote similar article 18 months back during SL series, but our overrated greats just won't retire. Afterall next 24 months are exciiting teams when they hav to play only in India..

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 23, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

For me, as an Englishman, I have enormous regard for Rahul Dravid. One of the ways in which true greatness is measured is to see how a particular player plays in adversity. When the rest of the side has crumbled and contributed virtually nothing, the player who keeps his head, plays with calmness amid the wreckage, always wins my admiration. This is what Dravid did time and time again only a few short months ago and away from home too! Not only that, but he retained his dignity (the notorious bootlace!) and won the respect & affection of the cricket-watching public in England, the only Indian batsman so to do. As for the rest, I saw absolutely nothing that justifies the extension of their careers. Indeed, it can be powerfully argued that they (SRT, VVS, VS) have been blocking the promotions of India's younger bats - so much so it is beginning to look like selfishness, esp. in the case of SRT who is now clearly burdened & obsessed with a ghastly monkey on his back that has set up home!

Posted by Sudeeksh on (January 23, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

I totally agree with Mohit Jain. Everybody seems to spking about Rahul and VVS. Nobody ever mentions Sachin!! Not that I hold anything against him. He definitely is the god of cricket. But hey!! lets face it. He has bcom very choosy with his ODI's. He definitely has aged and probably cannot keep up to the rigours of a complete tour. Or else how do you explain him not playing a single ODI after world cup. He has achieved everything he can in ODI's and I seriously think he can make way for a youngster there. Also he has not performed so well in tests recently apart from 2 half centuries in Australia. Either the former players and critics are overlooking these facts or are simply afraid that people will pelt stones or bur their effigies!!! How else can you explain this biased nature??? Flabbergasting to say the least!!!

Posted by ccrriicc on (January 23, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

Mr Bal is right and certainly sentimental and there is nothing, nothing, wrong about that. But some one should gather the guts to point to the reasons for unpreparedness. Except Sharma, there is no one waiting - or groomed who could be tried even if we wanted to. Our selectors do not think ahead - they do not think at all - the process of introducing new blood should have started after England - but they wanted to make you feel good and defeat West Indies, which they did - but at what cost. It is important now to get rid of the (Mr)management first and then experiment one by one with the seniors without forcing any one to retire - they will do so when they know there is a young competitor sitting on the bench - or they will perform - for now you have to go with what you got.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

old fellows are great players but now they dnt have the talent play 5 days..due to age they are losing their concentration.

Posted by Crictragic1 on (January 23, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

I generally agree with the sentiments. These cricketing 'gods' (certainly Sachin, Dravid and Laxman) may have played together one last time. On their day, these three have brightened our cricketing world so much, it is hard to believe that agae is showing. I am one proud Sri Lankan cricket fan, because of these three whom I idolise. They made cricket 'matter'. The fact that Dravid was bowled so many times shows slowness in movement; but Laxman's inability to get himself 'psyched up' is strange. His banter and cheerfulness in the field is a pretence. He is out of form, and at such periods, the current Coach is useless ! Raina is a top class cricketer and a future captain. Kohli is also a top class technician; not to be 'messed up'. Rohit Sharma also shows incredible promise. There are others too. Duncan Fletcher is not Gary Kirsten, and is no good for India. I suggest finding an Indian who has been exposed to hard cricket elsewhere. And, also call on former greats to help re-build.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (January 23, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

Under Ganguly, India had taken big steps forward in terms of Test performance overseas. There were wins in England, Australia etc...India were no more "tigers at home and sheeps outside". But I feel like all this good work over the last decade has been undone by India's recent performances in England and Australia. Indian team over the last decade took great pride in their performance overseas...I can not say the same about the current team under Dhoni. India is back to square Indian team in the 90s..good at home, wretched overseas.

Posted by Ngaraj on (January 23, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

It requires great heart to hang one's boots especially when the money is still quite big in the game.. so, it is the responsibility of the selectors to do the inevitable of easing the seniors either ruthlessly or gracefully.. when the selectors and the BCCI are of the opinion that this is the best team they can field, it is just the submission that India is not a force to reckon any more! If the seniors want to infuse any pride into Team India, they have to call it quits without much ado!!

Posted by MiddleStump on (January 23, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Good as he is, once Laxman is gone it will be a big relief not having to read any more articles hailing him as a great player. It is only in India that a batsman with an average of around 47 is hailed as a great. All the more absurd considering he bats at number 6 and typically comes in to bat against an old ball and tiring fast bowlers.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 23, 2012, 16:38 GMT)


Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

@ LillianThomson Sachin, Dravid and Laxman have been good batsmen and not great ones? Have you been hiding under a rock all these years? Its not just your batsmen that win you games, its your bowlers and fielders as well. Its a TEAM GAME. How many matches did Ponting win Aus once McGrath and Warnie walked out, how many dude. Its now when Aussies got a good bowling attack, they look like a force to be reckoned with. You take out this attack and see how many games Ponting and Co can win. Same goes for every team. The great WI won those matches coz they had the finest fast bowling attack ever.Do you think a Viv Richards alone could have won WI all those games? Sachin Dravid and Lax have been brilliant; Sachin and Dravid's averages in any part of the world have been exemplary. Its only SA where they faltered a little,but Sachin still averages around 43 there, any batsman would take it any given day. Don't get me started on Eng and Aus, try to watch some cricket before you come to Cricinfo

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Good bye to sambit bal.... coz removing Indian batting greats will make us pas with namibia... the thing is every1 is failing, and in this tought time if any1 is performin it is King Dravid and God Tendulkar... I think the answer is to remove dhoni... his captaincy in this series lached motivation, and his batting skills are not worth mentioning anyways....

Posted by bobmartin on (January 23, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Speaking as an outsider, I can only say what I see. And what I see is an Indian selection panel who are very much against change. Consequently they have hung on and hung on to the old guard and have been loath to try any youngsters. They now face a major problem.. Having said that, following this test series, India has some considerabl time on home turf, so the temptation will be to continue with the current crop, who will no doubt score hatfuls of runs... and then everything in the garden will be rosy again. India's position in the ICC test table flatters them somewhat. The home series may well cement them at number two or three, and give the selctors a false sense of security, particlarly if, as is likely, they beat England and tempt them into continuing with the nucleus of the current team. I think that would be a huge mistake.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

Why is no one focusing on the poor form of Indian bowlers? It is the bowlers who have failed both in England and Australia as they have allowed opposition to rack up runs in bowler friendly conditions. It is unfair to blame only the batsmen for these losses. On a batting friendly wicket we expect the batsmen to do well, likewise on a bowler friendly wicket, the bowlers should win us matches and if we don't win, the bowlers should be held accountable.

Posted by USIndianFan on (January 23, 2012, 16:22 GMT)


In this series, it has been the "old guard" which has clicked better than the new players (unless you are counting Gambhir as old guard). Sehwag is touch player and is very dependent on hitting form. Tendulkar and to a lesser extent Dravid are still relevant in tests. VVS has failed - and I am not sure how well he fields. Yuvraj has been injured. Pujara was injured. So give the selectors a break, the team is going through a bad patch. They should definitely play Rohit in the last test though.

Posted by sameer997 on (January 23, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

I cant help but think that these r the guyz who wuld mak us win the adeilade match.

Posted by Bollo on (January 23, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

An excellent article Sambit, and a fitting tribute to some of the greatest, and most admired batsmen, to have graced Australian shores.

Perhaps unfairly, the combined efforts of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman in Australia will be book-ended by the 3-0 whitewash in 1999-00 and the current lopsided series.

As you suggest however, the wonderful memories in between, and in the case of SRT the stunning performances as a young lad, will be most fondly remembered. Vale.

Posted by ptnair on (January 23, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Of all the cricket fans in the world, it seems/sounds like Indian fans are the worst, Worst of all, worst among all forms of sports. They stab from behind, when team India is on trouble. What a shame. Yes, every team has their good time and bad time. India is going through a bad time. Let it pass...

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

I am tired of reading these articles about the "Golden Trio" and they have been glorified ad nauseum. I have been a huge fan of all these great players over the years. However, their ignominious exit after two of the most disastrous tours Indian teams have ever undertaken has been painful to watch the very least. Even in the 80s and 90s India were able to at least draw some tests and take them to the final day. In the last 7 tests I think only 1 has gone to 5 days - a performance akin to Bangladesh. Team performance matters more than individual glory and while you cant blame just the trio for this shameful performance you cant absolve them of it either. While their legacy of putting India on top of the test rankings will always be remembered, their exit from International (foreign tours) test cricket will also always rankle all of us.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Don't blame the seniors blindly as they have won several matches for India. This is just a series and Aussies lost to us as 2-0 in both of their last 2 visits to India. It happens at cricket and they haven't played badly for years. Now its a bad phase where everyone has to support our legends. I'm sure this wont be lasts for longtime. You can see that quite often where greats will struggle for a while but they will come very quickly out of it and thats why they're greats. If it doesn't happen then they know that what they have to do next!

Posted by breathecricket on (January 23, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

The beauty is Tendulkar has been the best for India this series so far. But for the pressure of his 100th 100 he would have probably had at least 2 100s!!!. Dravid was without doubt the best in the last tour of England. Besides these two what Mr. Bal says is applicable to all others. And given our cricket infrastructure this is all we can expect in Australia, England and South Africa. Anything more is a bonus.

Nevertheless as Mr. Bal says let us get in the youngsters soon enough and importantly in the right form of the game. For example batsmen like Badri and Pujara should be used only in Tests so that their technique remains sound.

Even they are getting older!!! Bring them on quickly. Give a nice party to Gauti, Laxman and Viru. Get Dravid and Tendu for a few more seasons to groom the youngsters. I am sure they are still worth it.

Posted by Mann123 on (January 23, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Past is past, why are people still considering past achievements and also comparing the revivals or successes in One day cricket to test cricket. Now is the best opportunity to start re-building in Tests. India do not play test cricket for another 8 months. Which mean Dravid would be almost 40 and Sachin 39 by the next series. Plus point is next series is in sub-continent so that much easier for youngsters to settle down. We should move on now and lets make new legends, how will they get 10 k runs in tests if they are delayed by 2 years into test cricket. If past heroics were the reasons to keep going, Bradman would be playing till his death.

Posted by woremorse on (January 23, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

It is time for the ageing stalwarts to hang up boots. Like they say nothing grows under a banyan tree. Promising youngsters should be inducted and given a fairly long run to prove their mettle. It would take 5 years to find another set of batting greats like RD, SRT and VVSL batting together. Till then let us have patience and hope.

Posted by sachinrh on (January 23, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

A simple article form a simple passionate cricket lover.. something pulled very much from the common peoples thoughts. Very much shows why a gully cricket lover can think ..the national selectors can not .. may be bcos they are blind sighted & find it difficult to reach cricket ground ..too many things around (politics, money, prestige, emotions..) India made few good decisions by delaying retirements of all greats together.. one made by Australia.. but that delay seems ever going till now it came to this inevitable sad end for most of them. I personally believe Rohit, Ajinkya, Pujara & others have already lost their time due to this delay. They should have played at highest level at early age & more importantly when they r in full flow. For me the most disturbing was mindset we setup during all these series specifically England. Yes, loss is a loss but it does matter in the games to follow whether its a innings or few runs/wkts. What has followed in Australia is that negative mindset.

Posted by cric_fan_one on (January 23, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

Ok, now give me one good reason why only the "Big 3" are bashed day in and day out?? This is the first time they have failed collectively....actually, only Dravid and VVS. Sachin has looked exceptional. Firstly, what about the other 4 "batsmen" that have been failing more often than these classy guys/batsmen? Why must only the "3" be responsible for India's cricketing fortunes? Don't all 11 have the same responsibility? Why are only they penalized? They know when to retire, and will do it when they feel they cannot contribute anymore. Honestly, my fear is the media (mostly TV), where they make heroes out of mere mortals, and make mincemeat of them whenever they have the slightest chance to do so. Anil Kumble hand another full year of cricket left in him. They hounded him off, when he sat out due to injury for 1 game, and Amit Mishra took 6 wickets on a turner. The next game was his last - and we lost our greatest spinner/fighter/captain forever. Wonder where Amit Mishra is now?

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

after reading this article i have got to understand one point that Journalism can never rise above Individual partiality and bias. Media, critics, legends, writers etc don't take name of sachin in the direct manner as they criticize Rahul and laxman. This biased attitude of people shows that only your mental psych lets you to speak not your rationale. MR. SAMBIT BAL - caption below the pic which you have intentionally selected shows that you dun have rationale and audacity to write complete truth.... you know Half truth is dangerous than a lie. You must be a very good writer having illustrious writing power but u definitely lack one thing i.e. ability to write BIAS FREE Articles.... I am really sorry to have spent time and have read your article ......I hope if you are reading this then you may give a thought to it ;if you want to;

Posted by AsherCA on (January 23, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

I am now concerned that Sehwag might chose to drop one of the oldies & replace him with Rohit / Rahane risk - 1 failure will create an opportunity for the Chennai trio of Srikanth / Dhoni / Srinivasan to bring Badri / Murli Vijay of CSK in. The Chennai trio, knowing fully well that the big-3 are well past their best chose to retain all 3 of them for all of the England & Australia matches, not rotating to allow youngsters to gain from the big 3's experience simply to protect positions for CSK players. If the big 3 play 1 more test AND India lose, the Chennai Trio would find it difficult to bring Murli / Badri into the playing 11 ahead of Rohit / Rahane since an opportunity was not given....However, even 1 failure would give Chennai Trio an opportunity to bring their CSK guys (who mucked up against weaker Rajasthan Bowling attack in India) into the Indian playing 11 !

Posted by dravid_rules on (January 23, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

There is nothing left to enjoy anymore with this combination. It is painful beyond belief. I do not know how many potential followers of the game, we have turned off by sticking with this combination so long. We have ceratinly done a number with even tried and trusted ones like me (My handle is dravid_rules, LOL). Sticking with the combination in Perth and Adelaide was/is inexcusable. It is a sad matter that the greats like VVS and, yes, Rahul Dravid (esp. VVS), will be remembered for the England/Australia slump rather than the glory days of Kolkatta and Adelaide 2004. This brings in sharp relief somebody like Gavaskar who retired in his prime. There is no one in in Indian pantheon that I can think of with a similar record. Not GRV, not Kapil, not Ganguly and now, not VVS, and maybe not even Dravid.

Sad, sad, sad.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

Agreed, Mukund has been found wanting..for how long though? As long as Sehwag? Funny comparison..

Posted by majesticmaniac on (January 23, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

What a wonderful article Mr Sambit Bal, you said it all really. It is true we love and have always obssesed with our legends more than any other team in the world, and for good reason too. The Tendulkars, Dravids, Laxmans and Kumbles are the ones who gave us Indians a sense and a feel of what victory really feels like after nearly 3 decades of defeat after humiliating defeat. We owe a huge debt to these guys. Alas all good things must come to an end. Saddened as I might be for these recent losses, I will always remember them for the great moments of cricketeting magic they gifted us with and will eternally be thankful to them for all those wonderful memories.

Posted by Nampally on (January 23, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

A fine summary of Indina batting woes, Sambit. Yes it might be the last time to see Viru, Rahul, Sachin & VVS together. I personally felt at least VVS has outlived his time. India made a huge mistake by not including Rohit Sharma right in the first test instead of out of form Laxman. Who ever selects the final XI for India, needs to justify their lack of initiative or plan. At least in the final test Dhoni's lack lustre captaincy will not be on display. India defintely needs a new captain for the tests. Can Sehwag rise to the occassion? His captaincy will be under scrutiny to replace Dhoni. One of the biggest mistakes the Selectors made was to exclude all- rounders from this squad, like I.Pathan & Jadeja instead of Mithun & Vinay. A good wrist spinner like Rahul Sharma was sadly missing.Inclusion of these 3 would have given this team an option to look different in each test. Only Yadev & ZAK performed in bowling in 2 tests. Batting failure justified an all rounder to balance the side.

Posted by kaasu on (January 23, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

Very well written article. I agree it is time for the batting greats to say good bye - there is no harm in retiring with dignity. There record speaks volume about their career which shouldn't be tainted with the last few matches.

Posted by Haleos on (January 23, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

Go with the youngsters and fail rather than betting on old limp horses like Mr Tailender dependant Saviour and Wall with a big hole.

Posted by YadavAjay on (January 23, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

though harsh to say... but very true... Sambit Bal : you write hell of the articles... but I wonder what Pujara has done wrong so that he is even not mentioned in the article. I have always in that man and I think he will be one of the future great alongside the likes of AB De villiers.

Posted by zico123 on (January 23, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

i agree it is better to lose with youngstars than with this famed experienced batting line up, so lets try out Rhit Sharma, Ajinkye Rahane, Pujara and Kohli in Test matches, they are the future of Indian cricket.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

Do not beg for a place in India's National Cricket Team! Let it Chase you (as if it has got no other Choice)!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:31 GMT)

Why all the the critics fear to phase out Sachin Tendulkar?? Even in ODI's ?

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

Good Bye to that ERA! My Dear Rahul, Zak, Sach, Viru and Special, Come home! Bid good bye to an era where you held the Crowns of The Best Test and One day teams in the World at one given point of time. A doubt should never arise! Once it arises it needs to be clarified! Our Mission was the World Cup! Mission Accomplished! Time we went back to the basics and prove to a billion that we still are amongst the Top 14 cricketers in India. If we are not, no need to worry! If we are, opportunity shall knock! Take an Year, Pick a side, and Win every Single Trophy - that is IN SIGHT and that is OUT OF SIGHT. Always Remember - A Man should never chase Success! SUCCESS SHOULD CHASE US! (as if it has got no other choice). GOOD LUCK! MY BEST WISHES ARE ALWAYS WITH YOU! FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE - An Old Friend:-)

Posted by dailycric on (January 23, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

it is precisely because these greats still have a role to play in indian cricket that they should continue during the home series against england and australia. it is the middle generation that should have been leading the side - gambhir, sehwag and dhoni in particular - that has been found wanting. for extended thoughts on this, please see my blog:

Posted by laxmanrules on (January 23, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

ha! and I had you down for a romantic. There are very many analogies between this Indian team and the Rajasthan team that has just won the Ranji trophy. There are the old hags in Aakash Chopra, Kanitkar, Saxena and Parida and a rising star in Robin Bisht. Perhaps, there is a lesson there for all of us. Chopra, Kanitkar and Parida were more or less forced to retire and here they are having the best seasons of their lives. Wouldn't you agree that if Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar were five years younger, they would still (yes, in spite of all the drubbings) be without a doubt the best batsmen we can put out there to win a game. Kohli has only started flickering and he might one day bloom to push one of these men out. However, that day is not tomorrow.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (January 23, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Why is it that so many cricketers from Karnataka get oppurtunities?Rajasthan has a couple of good fast bowlers but none have really been given chances for India.Pankaj Singh & Rituraj Singh were brilliant this season.Robin Bist just passed a 1000 runs in a season as well.Dhawal Kulkarni is another good bowler who can bat well but hasn't played many games for India.India have just not been selecting the best.Cheteshwar Pujara is back now and should get another chance,along with Abhinav Mukund,Rohit Sharma,Ajinkya Rahane,Ashok Menaria,Shikhar Dhawan & Unmukt Chand.Virat Kohli can't be left out just yet.Suresh Raina doesn't deserve a sniff at an ODI spot even.India need to pick the best,not what they think might be the best.Sehwag,Gambhir,Laxman,Dhoni & Ishant don't perform consistently & need to be dropped,they are very complacent.With Saha playing in place of Dhoni,India will be much better off!

Posted by Aaryabhatta on (January 23, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

i dun knw..y u n sum guys r aftr seniors..yeah dey hvnt performd but..jrs.[dhoni,kohli,gambhir..even viru]dint give any match winning performance in last 2yrs.only srs.hve performed iin last 2yrs.we shudnt go after dam just bcoz dey r aging

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

It will be a very sad day for the world cricket when Sachin will announce the retirement. I was about 5 years old when he started playing cricket and now i am 27 still he is playing. I heard his name from my fathers and relatives when i was very´╗┐ young, then my primary school, college life, University life, then london life during my whole life span he played cricket. I would love to see him playing cricket for another 10 years. Please Sachin keep playing.and rock 2012 to atleast 2015

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

Most of us will stop watching cricket once the master retires!!! Thats the only thing i can say.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

@ Will both of them play in India's next Test after Adelaide? What the f**k, A player becomes the highest run getter of the year and very next month you are expecting him to retire. Why target Dravid, when he played superbly just a few days ago. when you have others who have not performed for years...

Posted by chitraj on (January 23, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

Its my sense of romance and nostalgia that has compelled me to delve into logic and precedent. Okay, so they are 38+ and okay they arent performing to their potential. BUT COME ON! Lets not push them to retirement just on this. Flash back to 2007, pre and post world cup. Similar issues and a similar outcry for retirement. Did they bounce back. Yes! Bounced back to a degree that was not seen before and which eventually led to world cup glory in 2011 and a #1 test ranking. I am not saying that they will not retire. There comes a day when everyone needs to hang their boots, but lets be fair and call a spade a spade. Poor form is poor form, whether its when your are 28 or 38. They should retire when their mind and body tells them to. Not when bob the fan doesnt like what the numbers are telling him.

Posted by TRAM on (January 23, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

Sambit, your statement "have been tried and found wanting" is very UNJUST. Yes, Vijay was given chances. But NOT Mukund, not Badri. Mukund did very well in pace-friendly England FAR better than seniors. He got dropped & ALL the seniors who performed WORSE THAN Mukund are still in the team , still playing&failing. Badri, scored 56 in his first test against Styn+Morkel yet he was dropped after just 3 innings. Do you call these fair chances? DKartik the best keeper & ok middle order bat was wasted in the opening slot. Opening the innings is the most difficult job, which is why , even the 3 legends would refuse to play in that slot, right? At the end of 2nd test in Aus, every one cried that Kohli should be dropped. But see what happened, he was given one more chance and showed his improvement. Why this unfair treatment to Mukund & especially Badri? Please publish a stat on how the youngsters are given chances. Thanks

Posted by Leggie on (January 23, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Sambit, you rightly summed up the Indian batting problems. What I would have loved to see is the average of India's number 6 - the spot left open by Ganguly and the averages of MS Dhoni. The players in contention for #6 Suresh Raina averaged 25.60, Yuvraj Singh - 27.20 and Virat Kohli averaged 27.15 between 1-Jun-2011 and now. Dhoni averages 26.83 in those disastorous 7 Test matches. SO..., the problems essentially have been multifold - an earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear power disaster all happening at the same time. While cricketers and fans enmasse have focussed on the aging cricketers, the problems have been much beyond. IMHO, Mukund, Vijay, Rahane, M.Tiwary and Rohit are the cricketers who must be preserved purely for Test cricket. & ODIs. Keep them away from IPLs and T20s. Dhoni should focus purely on ODIs and T20s. On the bowling front, Sreesanth, Yadav, Aaron and Ishant must not play ODIs and T20s. Some seggregation of services is all that is required. Will our selectors do it

Posted by indianpunter on (January 23, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

the cricinfo servers need to boot up quicker and reload faster. where are the comments..? indian fans would have been venting their spleens for sometime now. and nothing to show for their deeds here !!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

superlike! very well balanced and thoughtful article.. The big 4 will surely be missed but it is time to change now:D

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

The guys who don't know how to play the cricket and they are commenting on the great cricketers... Purely time bad...

Posted by rashmil09 on (January 23, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

8 months is a huge time span, Adelaide will end an era, and no way do I see any chance of the same batting order, ever batting again. Amazingly written Sambit Bal!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (January 23, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

May I bring it to the fore that Dravid had a very successful 2011, even in the last test against Windies. So, one can't count the following test at MCG as a failure. So, he basically had only 2 failures. Why are we even discussing about Dravid? The man is studious enough to say goodbye once he thinks he has had enough. Remember he even said he'll take one series at a time while answering a question from Sunny. Compare and contrast that with the other two greats of the Indian batting line-up, Sachin - continuously failing from England and into this series; VVS failed in England at his non-regular position, succeeded against Windies and failed now in Australia. Among the three, it is clear that Sachin has to go out first. But knowing 100th 100 and Sunny suggesting that Sachin has to score this many runs and this many centuries before retiring, I'm not sure if Sachin would have the decency to take it one series at a time. Don't know why we are targetting VVS and Dravid instead of Sachin.

Posted by Farce-Follower on (January 23, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

If only SRT had nailed Rahul's stats in England...We would still be talking about it in Australia. It would have guaranteed a lease of life for another 2 years. But then Rahul has none in the media or elsewhere to hold a candle for him. The sheer hypocrisy of Indian media and the talking class. Cricinfo, please publish.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 23, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

What a useless article. Who gave a writing gig to this guy? Hey, if we want to watch an emotional tearjerker, we will watch a Bollywood movie. YOU PLAY INTERNATIONAL SPORTS TO WIN. Not to indulge the whims of some past have beens. BCCI should fire this selection committee and also get rid of the OLDIES - VVS, THE HOLE (formerly known as THE WALL) and SRT. Cricinfo - please no more articles by Sambit

Posted by S.Jagernath on (January 23, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

Rahul Dravid & Sachin Tendulkar have been amazing batsmen from both the technical and statistical point of view.Both are amongst the great sights in cricket history.Batsmenship does not get any better than Dravid & Tendulkar.VVS Laxman & Virender Sehwag are similar,both unorthodox and have technical drawbacks but both can change a match at any time.Dravid,Tendulkar & Laxman are both senior to almost every other senior in cricket while Sehwag isnt so.Sehwag has no excuse for not performing.Ajinkya Rahane & Rohit Sharma should have be playing but that won't happen.Gautam Gambhir might do well & he might not.Sehwag & Gambhir usually expose Dravid & Tendulkar to early and India pays for it.Dravid & Tendulkar will hopefully get big hundreds and embrace retirement.

Posted by Sahil742 on (January 23, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

I think India should go with Rohit sharma instead of dhoni(who is out for this match) and dravid should keep the wickets for this match which will strengthen the batting and should think to win this match first instead of thinking ahead and in future the seniors should retire one by one so that all of sudden our team got so weak that we even dont have the replacement

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 23, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar have been good batsmen but not great ones. They have lost a huge number of Test series over the last 12 years. They lost 2 out of 3 home Tests to Pakistan in 98-99, lost 3-0 in Australia in 99-00, lost 2-0 in South Africa in 01-02, lost 2-0 in New Zealand in 02-03, drew 0-0 at home to NZ in 03-4, lost 2-1 at home to Australia in 04-05 and lost their most recent series in Pakistan, England and Australia. The West Indies lost one series - by 1 wicket, and because of dodgy umpiring - in two decades from the 70s and 90s. But the appropriate epitaph for Tendulkar and Dravid and Laxman is "Have Bats, Will Travel, Will Lose".

Posted by wideball on (January 23, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

it will be sad to say good by to the indian great but i think it is a right time for them to go . india need young blood in their team 10 test lost in row is a some think indian cricket board should ignore

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

India would be foolish not to heed the lessons Australia learned from our last summer against England and do some serious soul searching about what needs to change. After having lost to two of the best teams their new cricketers will now have a good chance to get experience before a few years away when they come up against Australia and England. Keep in mind that Australia's new look team is already reaping huge rewards and by that time will be doing even better, that is where the pedestal will be at. India need to keep up and I hope they do.

Posted by kartikeysoni on (January 23, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

i dont understand how can you ask for the head of laxman and dravid after onebad series? or in case of laxman 2 bad series when clearly those in the queue are not as good as them. why no one talk abt the complete useless WK we have ? or the opener who has been a failure almost a year? we dont axe a "talented" fast bowler who has managed to play for 43 year 43 test without ever winning a test ofhis own. but than the oust senior seems to be the only thought in our mind, learn from the past we are yet to find half as good a spinner as jumbo and half as good a batsman as ganguly but still we want new team as if they are goona get us wins, only thing is probably they will win till 2 year in home and than will be horribly exposed in tours

Posted by Rahul-Cricket on (January 23, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

What an article....we will not see this greats batting together again in whites. Thanks for the memories champs or should i say legends or should i say warriors....every single word seems less so against the might, beauty, dedication and spirits of this batting geniuses. Good Bye Entertainers. Farewell Time

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

Kudos to Sambit for such a well written article ........ No doubt that the end is nigh for these batting greats ... Adelaide shud be the last test they'll be batting together irrespective of the outcome ... However,selectors have to extra careful while phasing out these batting giants ... Such decisions must never be taken in haste ... shame that the golden generation of Indian cricket will be ending their careers on such a low !!

Posted by doosra95 on (January 23, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

Here we go even before any of the batsman annonce their retirement, we can see the monster of myth from indian cricket writers,only three words FLAT TRACK BULLY'S.

A inexperienced attack in Australia took them to cleaners and bit more mature one in England.Statics are for FOOLS and SOFT cricketers.

Proof is in Gautham Gambirs comment.

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 23, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Yes.. Good bye to the greats.. They bought team from poor travelers to decent competitors outside subcontinent.. Now, they again bought us back to square one.. I say "They bought" because being experienced batsmen outside India, they should shoulder the debacles.. I would be one of the saddest to see them going out in this way.. :-(

Posted by musingsofamoron on (January 23, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Instead of playing the often repeated and trite tune of ousting the seniors, the author should have focused more on as to whether India really stood a chance of winning a test series in Australia (on pacy wickets). The root cause of our problem is our toothless bowling attack . Test matches are won by bowlers and all great test teams of the past have had a wonderful bowling attack. India rewrote that age old adage by winning test matches on its batting prowess alone. Hence, in a way India's performance in tests has been always against accepted wisdom. Meanwhile, India's bowling attack has gone from average to outright substandard during this period and teams are exploiting this imbalance. Dropping the senior players is a childish reaction to a much deeper problem and reeks of an imprudent urge to do something for the sake of doing something. Btw, England, the no 1 team in the world, lost to Pakistan by ten wickets and Strauss has scored 1 fifty in his last 12 innings. Do we drop him?

Posted by Jawz on (January 23, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

A very insightful article as usual by Sambit Bal. But, as said by Ganguly, why single out Laxman when he has been the saviour in last 2 years. Sachin is still miles ahead of any one knocking at the door and Dravid just finished one of his most prolific years in Test cricket. Now we need to check out the potential claimants by having those A Tours to Australia, England and South Africa in the next 8 -12 months and see who are the youngsters who are worthy to fill the shoes of Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman and then start replacing them one by one. We have Wasim Jaffer (he deserves another chance), Mohammed Kaif (he deserves a real chance at Test Level ..he was dropped after scoring 169), Rohit Sharma (he should surely be playing even if he fails as Australians tell about Shaun Marsh) Suresh Raina, Yuvraj, Ambati Rayudu, Robin Bist, Dinesh Karthick (seriously we need to look for alternative for Dhoni at Test Level with captaincy transferred to Virat Kohli). So let us not judge soon

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 23, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

India have already played their away matches against England and Australia and they are not gona come this way again until 5 years from now. So no worries for a couple of years at least because all these batsmen will score many fifties and centuries in india and away against Zim, Wi, SL and Bangladesh. Idia doesn't need to worry much about batting when the main problem at hand is lack of quality bowlers who can knock down teams like Australia for under 250. Had there been such bowlers, then all these batsmen were not in the situation as they are in. Dravid is still the best batsman in india. He has scored at lot of runs recently and will sure score a big one in the 4th match. Laxman has to go and Sehwag is a bad choice for opening slot when the ball is moving around. His early departure is putting undue pressure on Dravid.

Posted by jackiethepen on (January 23, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

How beautiful. Dravid has been one of my favourite cricketers for years. I am an England fan of course but the glories of the Fab Four will not be forgotten. Dravid played some innings of such clarity last summer in England that it is a great shame that there has been no video box set worthy of the name to represent his swan song display of talents if that is his fate. He and Bell dazzled us with their stroke play. Surely cricket should celebrate artists of the bat when we have them.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

I support everything this guy has said. He is honest in his comments. With such a long run of failures it must be telling the selectors s/thing. And they must be listening. At least 3 of the 1st 5 will have to go after this series. Rohit should have played in front of KOHLI, I saw Rohit in India agst a fairly good WI pace attack, & he was very good. Suffice to say the wkts weren't helpful to pace as those in Aus, but his technique & footwork were good. His hooking was superb. Give the kid a break.

Posted by neverwrong on (January 23, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

I agree to the first sentence that it is difficult to be rational in sports and Samit Bal I hope is not an exception. Everybody makes call based on factors they see as important. So we all have an opinion and selection process is very difficult. Here is my two cents with some reasoning. 1. It appears that increasingly curators prepare wickets that suit the local nation. India has not fared badly in Indian conditions and the problem is not unique to India. See what happened to England recently. 2.So I think it is a big deal when a country is able to win in conditions alien to them 3. Sportsmen these days have a much longer active career compared to what we had seen earlier. 4. Sportsmen will go through lean patches. So to quickly reach a conclusion citing age as an excuse could be dead wrong. 5. I agree that the 4 stalwarts did not fare that well in England and Australia. But neither diid the remaning batsmen who did even worse. 6. Changes have to be made But Very Carefully.

Posted by ultrasnow on (January 23, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Nice article. We are India, we'll do it differently. All need to be given a warm send off worthy of heroes. I appreciate the respect the writer shows for the senior Indian players for their services. There will never be another Viru, Rahul, Sachin, VVS in THAT order. Never.

Posted by TheBengalTiger on (January 23, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

Brilliant article, brings out the true emotion and feeling of cricket. results are the most important, but its impossible not to feel sad at the thought of losing such legends. Such brilliant batsmen and such brilliant people. Test cricket will be worse off without them. But pleasee on this article do not allow these English and Australians to insult these legends. Just this once, let the comments published be constructive rather than bitter. If ever there were people who deserved respect, it is these guys

Posted by Praxis on (January 23, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

This article somewhat points out the mentality of the majority of the followers of this game in India very very well. Seven straight overseas losses, you star-studded batting line-up failing miserably in testing conditions. The much needed transition in the team isn't happening for last 2/3 years, now there won't be anything smooth, its unrealistic to expect the new batsmen to be able to rise up to the challenge. Yet you have the time to get nostalgic and emotional about what happened decade or half a decade ago. Everyone acknowledged their greatness, but be rational as they're failing more then they succeed. There's no need to keep praising them so much for past records when they are in horrible form for this stretch of time.

Posted by CricketChat on (January 23, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

I totally agree with Sambit that a line must be drawn after the next test. I see no point playing Shewag and VVS in tests anymore.That means end of career for VVS, whose terminal decline is painfully obvious in the last 1 yr. Shewag should be played only in T20s as his fitness has been a concerns for the past 2 yrs. Sachin and Dravid can still play for a yr or two, but I expect them to retire before fans start asking them to leave. Like it or not, Ind must look to future.

Posted by amit.80s on (January 23, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

Changes ae looming but not just for players but also for coaching staff, selectors and organisers. BCCI should be run by people who had played cricket not by politicians and businessmens. Pawar and co should be replace by Srinath, Kumble, Prasad and Manjerekar, Flectcher and co should be replaced by some young and energetic coaches like Fleming, Walsh, Wasim Akram, Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald and Steve Waugh.

Posted by hitender on (January 23, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

Sambit, as a fan it has been a pleasure to see our batting greats over the years but I do not think the BCCI has any plans for the players. We got all the great players together as a chance and not because of any grooming by BCCI. The statements by current office bearers of BCCI do not inspire any confidence either. Given a choice, I would rather wish for BCCI to be run like a professional organization instead of worrying about the players.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

interesting article. started with invoking emotion, then went objective in the way the side should be picked and then reminded us how this might be the last time, india's best ever batting line up will be on the team sheet. i guess it is hard to be objective with the names in question. All said, I'd like nothing more than a climactic finish to their time together with silken hundreds from VVS and SRT and a "come hell or high water i'm not getting out" stodgy 100 from RD.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

utter bollocks.

Dravid is our best batsman by far. In england he showed the youngsters how to bat in swinging seaming conditions. VVS is just going through a slump .. remember his innings' earlier this year? And are you seriously telling me youre gonna drop sachin because hes OLD?

Look at the other team.. Ponting and hussy both put under the gun in the first test by the media for being over the hill.. turned a tough match (17 for 3) around.

Please judge someone by their performance not by their age? If you have somebody in mind whos a better batsman than sachin rahul or vvs in mind please tell me, i would love to see this!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Really not the time to retire, but really a time to give a chance to youngsters,

Posted by Sarthak1305 on (January 23, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

Brilliant article about the greats. Despite the recent losses no one can deny their contribution to not just Indian cricket but the cricket in general

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 23, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

Tough job on BCCI's hand.. If they really care about team for tests, they need to prepare a pool og test specialists and play them only in tests and remove them from IPL.. Even if Virat Kohli it is.. Pay the test specialists a good amount to allow them to concentrate on that only.. Have them playing in other nation domestic competitions(Whatever format it may be) and work on their game.. Surely they can improve in near future.. All they need is, to realize "WE NEED TO HAVE A GOOD TEST TEAM WITH DEDICATED PLAYERS".. Both BCCI and players need to realize..

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

brilliant article, cricket is a sport and the role of sport is to provide entertainment. Entertainment appeals to the senses and emotions of humans and it is impossible to remain completely objective and detached. Cricket fans worldwide have been blessed to witness the breathtaking belligerence of Sehwag, the solid determination of Dravid, the all-round masterclass of Sachin and the sheer elegance and sublimity of VVS for over a decade. As one of those avid cricket fans, i can say that it has been incredibly difficult to witness these legends crumble in front of my eyes and i believe it is even harder to let go of them. Ultimately as Sambit says, it is the results and success of the national cricket team that comes first and selection should be primarily based on this. With great disappointment i must say that the Adelaide test will most likely be VVS's last test but at least may the higher powers above grant him a successful and fitting end to his career that he so richly deserves.

Posted by sharidas on (January 23, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

Its like a typical gambler's mindset. Maybe one last time and I might hit the jackpot. Hitting the jackpot never comes and again there is one more of many" last times". Irrespective of the result, this is India's great opportunity to field as many youngsters as possible.... I wish someone would listen !

Posted by din7 on (January 23, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

first let me clarify that i m indian. well the time was already done for indian players to retire. But i don't know why they didn't retire. sachin as always is running behind records and i m not saying it now, he has proved it from last 20yrs. Dravid no doubt better test batsman than sachin......i hoped he would retire graciously cause i respect him, he too didn;t retire, (hope he sets example by retiring after this test for other seniors)...and for laxman don't know when he will retire. If ponting takes retirement (i hope he didn't) it will be a slap in face of sachin, dravid and laxman. But there's no strong case for ponting to retire cause aus already has 3 to 4 positions vacant for youngsters 1,2,3 and now haddin's. But need is incrasing for india for atleast 2 of them 2 retire. GOD KNOWS WHEN WILL THEY RETIRE OR THEY WILL HAVE TO BE DROPPED (unexpected) as indian selectors have never been so strong! shameful

Posted by Buggsy on (January 23, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

Nice piece. I was devastated after finding out the Gabba test had been given to the Kiwis instead of India, really wanted to see Tendulkar for the last time. Anyway, It's just a shame that such batting legends never had the bowling and fielding support to make them a truly great team. What good is having an aggregate of 50000 runs if you can't take 20 wickets?

Posted by rocky2801 on (January 23, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

For all you may know.. the creaking terminators could be back for a 3rd edition (in 2014?).. but if the sequel is anything to go by.. I hope that does not happen.. though as a die hard Indian fan.. how I would wish for a successful encore!!! With all due respect, I can't seem to remember any of the shots mentioned above from the greats...all i see in my present memory is.. the gap between bat and pad, the horrendous swish outside off to present a catch in the gully, playing on to a rank bad ball, regularly getting beaten by pace and callous lazy pull offering a dolly at midwicket.... as of today.. it does not matter and i dun care...

Posted by moBlue on (January 23, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

to all of those arm-chair pundits who might not remember how abject IND were when they relied *only* on SRT and yet think the IPL is unearthing "talent" like rohit sharma and kohli and raina, well, i hope you are right... but i harbor serious doubts about this next generation, with the exception of pujara who was not discovered through the IPL but came through the ranks the hard way! perhaps so too shall the similarly discovered rahane succeed! but i say to you that when the big three retire, you will see for yourselves how badly IND will miss each of them - probably for many years - in different circumstances, for different reasons. the wall for providing solidity in a crisis, sachin for sheer genius and consistency, and laxman for pulling off miracles that we didn't even dare to dream about!!! i am sure that then you'll declare the new crop of players useless, but it is to your shame that you have been baying for the blood of a once-in-a-lifetime trio for at least a couple of years!

Posted by baba6660 on (January 23, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

It beats my logic as to how Sambit Bal has concluded that we are going into the final test with 14 successive failures playing away from home. India has played three series abroad before going to Australia. We drew in South Africa one all. One test was drawn. Next in West Indies we won one zero. Two test matches were drawn. In England we played four tests and lost all the four matches. Now we are three down against Australia. Therefore really speaking we have lost two consecutive series against England and Australia. Laxman has played a crucial part in the series again South Africa and West Indies and Rahul has played exceptionally well in West Indies and England. While it is true that we have lost badly in England and now in Australia, it is unfair to these all-time greats who have always given more than 100% for the country to be hounded out in this manner by the media and some section of the erstwhile test cricketers.

Posted by Smithie on (January 23, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

Embracing the future is certainly not to follow the strategic genius of Srinivasan and Gambhir who advocate " rank (appropriate in the true sense of the word) turners" for all visiting teams to India. That will do young India talent a power of good and make them freak even more at the slightest hint of green chin music! This is a big opportunity for India to take a mature long term approach to cricket development - including the use of DRS.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

great article... a thought provoking one... i was gonna giv this test match a miss, but nw i think i wil watch it... just to see these men and their magic!!!

Posted by OkyaBokya on (January 23, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Nice article as always!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

I am surprised you have said Mukund and Rahane have been given enough chances. Mukund was introduced in WIndies and England where almost everyone failed ( except Dravid ) and he did manage a century in a first class game. Rahane has been tried - 2 games - cmon - he deserves atleast 20 more before making any decisions. Even MVijay was removed after one series in the WIndies which was after his century against Australia. So ruling these players out is very immature and irresponsible. They are the future for our country.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Mr Sambit why you are making VVS and Rahul as scapegoats? Look at skipper Dhonis performance in test cricket. Its worst than Ashwin. He should go out first. Both of them saved / won matches for India more than Sachin.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

it is ridiculous from the part of veterans, critics and media who all are blazing guns against Dravid and Laxman and not tendulkar....... dravid was the top scorer in last series with great performances and even laxman had done well against west indies.......i dont have any grudges against tendulkar but when i see irrelevant and partial criticism against two people and leaving third to escape just bcoz he has mountains of records doesnt make any fair judgement...... dravid has done well everywhere last year and has been the best batsman all over world..... what else do u want from a talk about OZ tour he started well with 68 and couple of poor innings then again he had stayed at crease for good time by scoring 29 and 47 which shows the fighting spirit of a player....... on the other side people are blinded by the fact of tendulkar elusive 100th ton and they have forgotten or bypassed tendulkar for eternity ........he has not been able to score a century in 20+ innings wh

Posted by SouthPaw on (January 23, 2012, 8:51 GMT)


The photograph shows only Dravid & Laxman whereas if you look at the list of seniors by low-performance, then it should be Sehwag, Laxman, Tendulkar & Dravid or if you think Sehwag is not a senior, then it should be Laxman, Tendulkar & Dravid in that order. Why do you want Dravid to retire & not Sachin?

Posted by imry55 on (January 23, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

It's a wonderful article. It's time for the stalwarts (Viru,Laxman, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Gambhir and Dravid) to say 'adios' to test/one day/T20 cricket formats for the sake of our country and for keeping the good traditions of the game. If these players continue, we will slowly slip down to the lowest position in the ICC Test Rankings. Changes from old to new are welcome and most essential at this crucial phase of Indian Cricket saga. Fill in youngsters and bring back Irfan Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Bhaji and a host good performers in Ranji matches.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

The previous experiences are prolific ranji scorers are coming to national colors and scoring nothing and fading eg.Vikaram Rathore,Debang Gandhi.But same time an off spinner who can bat is coming to the indian side and later he became the dashing test opener with two tripple centuries.India need to try our young players in the test format.Try Manish Pandey,Sourav tiwary,Ashok Meneria they will blossom in the overseas pitches.In the emerging players tournament all these three players done good in Australia.India have good pool of players.I am wondering why selectors are avoiding Pradeep Sangwan & Abu nechim.

Posted by RJHB on (January 23, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

Yes, good words, wise words. But is anyone in India's management listening? Doesn't seem so cos the same old warhorses look like lining up again! Oh well, if they lose they can always blame the pitches!! "Just wait until you're in India"!!!!! Pathetic.

Posted by EconomistRam on (January 23, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

A well written article giving a comprehensive picture of the reality of the current team. However, touting for Rahane a place in the Indian team based on his Ranji trophy success is continuing to go through the wrong rout laid out by the selection committee....Selection of players must be given based on a 50% weighteage on Ranji and 50% weighteage on NON-SUBCONTINENTAL pitches..a decent road side "tennis-ball" cricketer, given adequate chance can score well enough in sub-continental pitches.. it's time to change the way we select our players, and widen our thoughts on the selection procedure...Also, while it is sad that the dependable trio have been unable to deliver over the last 2 tours, iff they had scored as they usually do, then they would be in the team for the next 3 or 4 aussy tours..lets count this as blessing in disguise..btw, will the ponting equivalent of Indian team (or even gambir) have the humility & commitmento attend a batting camp to correct their mistakes as Rky did?

Posted by ramli on (January 23, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

yes ... the time has come for the seniors to leave in grace ... if team India is viewed as dearer than individuals ... but not all juniors who were tried were found wanting ... abhinav mukund at least showed inclination to stay in the crease .. which none of the seniors were willing to do in this series ... Badrinath was not given enough chances then ... well .. we can go on ... let us start the process of giving chances to young players ... at least now ... and wait for some time to see the results ... cheers

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

please dont repeat speaking about their end... they are the one who built the team and they are far more experienced then any player in our squad ... they made us number one... we all know how many match saving innings they have played , how many hundreds and how many victories .... You cannot treat greats like this... we are not going get annother wall or that 281 (when allowed to follow-on) or another 99 internatinal 100's or twenty five 200+ patnerships... Lets enjoy and encourage as far as they play...

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

Well Sambit, whatever you have said above is very true but whatever you , me and the others say stays said not understood by the profillic batsmen we have as they are aged horses who have the talent but cannot use it as they are rusty now. this was the best opportunity for the youngsters to show some metal if they were given the chances in perth after 2 solid collapses by the Indians. Who knows which way the game could have gone.......!!! The Captain needs to have balls of steel to have made those choices if he really wanted to show the Ausies what the Indians are made off. One thing for sure is they need the break now in the 4th Test or else the Indians are surely going in for a White Wash. My team selection for the 4th Test would be: Ajinke Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma & Umesh Yadav - check them out and see this will be a best game of the lot.

Posted by chandau on (January 23, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

An old middle order is a problem for both Sri Lanka & India. Add to that young guys who when given a chance dont show quality. In India's case Rohit has genuine class despite his failures. Others are stilllearning. In Sri Lanka only Mathews has the class though he has not really lived upto expectations. Chandimal may mature in a couple of years if persisted with at the top of the order. The issue for ASIAN teams is their domestic cricket lacks intensity and class to mould capable cricketers. Many a new guy may score 100s of runs and look like a complete amateur at international level. Maybe its a combination of quantity over quality and playing conditions. Fed on dead batting pitches that will not challenge Boycott's mom, these boys just foldup when the ball seams or bounces or both. A lot of planning and serious decisons are necesary or else SL and India will not compete at top of international cricket. At least Pakistan away from haome have found some form :)

Posted by kasyapm on (January 23, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

This article moved me. It is very hard to digest (if true) that VVS/Rahul will not be playing together in the next test. Hope they make a good contribution in Adelaide.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (January 23, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

Completely agree and more so that even if india do put up a improved would do very little to salvage any pride for india or gives us a hope of a better future...

Its time to blood the youth.

Posted by SpartaArmy on (January 23, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

It is unfortunate that some one like Bal is writing about some of the legends of the game. He doesnt even deserve to sit in the same room where they sit, but this fellow with no sense of cricket kept writting articles to diplomatically say good bye to fab 4.

Posted by linusjee on (January 23, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

And exactly why is it such a treat to watch these legends of the past? While you're at it, why not bring in Kapil Dev, Gavaskar and Ganguly since they too were legends? This is about as absurd a form of reasoning as suggesting Pele should play for Brazil one last time so we can watch a legend ply his trade. Humbug. I would much rather see the younger guys play, get tested and see what they are made of than to tune into Adelaide to see some past talents try and exonerate themselves, only to fail miserably. They embarrass not only themselves but the country and the foolish fans that still dote on them. ALL of them should retire gracefully and then the fans can come and hear them make speeches at some college campus instead. It is an absolute disaster to see the likes of VVS poking around with bowling that they cannot handle. Time to go VVS, Dravid and Sehwag. You had your run now retire with grace.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:30 GMT)

Yes. Thanks for the music to the Big Three. Viru and Gambhir still have a bit left in the tank. However, the fat lady seems to be serenading them, and the selectors must take heed, in the same way that the Sri Lankans have done in S.A. They weren't disgraced in a difficult country to tour. So, over to you, Mr Indian Selector. It's closing time!!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:30 GMT)

I hope VVS and Dravid can repeat their heroics and Gambir n Sehwag can take the attack to the opposition and Finally Finally Sachin scores a Ton... Its important to note that not only the batting but the bowling have also failed.... ASHWIN have struggled and Mishra can hardly take wickets on Indian soil and then the fast bowlers I feel sorry for Zaheer who doesn't have a good enough support from the other end ISHANT has been the big disappointment and Yadav a very average bowler.... BCCI should plan some fast bowling hunt campaign...:) I am a pakistan and wants the Asians to perform well every where

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

Dravid should have get retirement after England series. That way he would have retired in glory. Instead of waiting for others to kick him out he should have retired after silencing the critics

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

keep dreaming Sambit ! :)

Posted by Balamuarli on (January 23, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

IS Sachin very young ?

If Laxman & Dravid has to axed from Nation team than sachin also should be Axed.

India media is very onesided ,sachin also not played well in england & Australia . alteast Dravid had good series in England and highest score in 2011. Why sachin is not pin pointed by any media ?

He is the one of the selffish cricketer playing for his 100th century , you want player to play for country or his own milestone ..................

Media should stop blaming BCCI for not axing aging player , because media also do the same by supporting Sachin (as if he is still in 20's ) .

WHy in this country there is one rule for sachin & another rule for others......

Posted by indianpunter on (January 23, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Sentiment !! what an Indian thing it is !! and something that we can least afford in this time of crisis. As you rightly said, Rohit Sharma has every reason to feel gutted if he doesnt play in Adelaide and he probably wont. Such a shame. Laxman, Viru and Dravid HAVE to go after this series. Sehwag's bullying has ended. ( as his overseas avg over the past 4 yrs indicate) and Laxman and Dravid have nothing to offer as players. Sachin can watch over the newbies for a yr max. We are playing at home for the next 18 months and the time to blood youth is ripe. Would the flippant BCCI and selectors take the opportunity or will the Indian complacency set in? The time is now !

Posted by IndieFan on (January 23, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Excellent article. The opening was thought provoking. There is already a feeling of nostalgia after reading this. We may never see Viru, Rahul, Sachin and VVS together.

Posted by syedmkr on (January 23, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

Yes it will be just a GLIMPSE to see them in their last match; means they will not last long enough to stay in the middle evidenced in the last 6 innnings. So people may have a glimpse of their last match....

Posted by Rahul_78 on (January 23, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

Each and every word written in this article sounded true. This is THE PICTURE of current Indian cricket. The great stalwarts of Indian batting are defeated cricketers in body and mind after onslaught of relentless pressure applied by 2 very good bowling attacks and lashing dished out in the media and by the fans. Changes needs to be ringed from top. The selectors, coach and the captain are all answerable to the embarrassment of last 7 away defeats. Time to ones again look at the steps taken by OZ, NZ and Englishmen to rebuild from the Ashes. As for the fans its time to wake up again in wee the hours and savor the greats playing together for one last time irrespective of the results. All good things do come to an end.

Posted by addicted_to_chaos on (January 23, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

A treu indian fan mindset by sambit bal..... infatuated by individuals records.......

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (January 23, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

India had never fallen into such embarrassment (i m not claiming Indians had avoided the series defeat) by avoiding some previous mistakes , they had given badrinath just a chance in away Tour in West Indies in of place Raina and Rohit Sharma in home series against WI in place of SRT/RD/VVS by rotation in each match of series, so that they may have 2 young batsman well tested before australian series against fast bowling....

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

Mr Sambit Bal

I do not know why you talk about removing Dravid & Laxman! Dravid was the highest run getter in 2011. He was the only one who played in England! people said that it was Dravid vs England series! Dravid fails in one series then how can you talk about retirement! Why should Sachin not retire! What good has he done? He is not able to score a century for almost an year!He has scored few half centuries! To be frank only Laxman, Dravid & Sachin have fared well! If some one has to go its the young guns who have to be replaced!!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

I wonder seriously wat kinda logic is applied to batsmen, why is it so different for different batsmen. I dont think Vijay played 4 tests in a row, Mukund has played only 4 so far and Badri has played just 2 despite being on the fringe for over 10 years. Wat has Kohli done, hit a couple of 5os and he is the future of Indian batting and he comes at No.6 wen the ball doesnt do as much and he is expected to be given a long run while openers have such a short leash. Neither the selection panel nor the scribes and former players seem to have any consistency of logic.

Posted by BrianCharlesVivek on (January 23, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

In tears reading this piece.Sambit s writing is like Mark Waughs flicks - sheer elegance.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

I am a connoisseur of this beautiful game. I have learnt to love and follow this sport owing to how much it was followed by my family.India is not the team I support. I have followed these Indian batting master classes through their good and bad. Being a fan of cricket made me teary eyed when I read this article. These were indeed some of the greatest batsmen that ever held a bat on the cricket field.

Posted by kunal_bhatt on (January 23, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

What a wonderful article Sambit...hats off to you. There couldn't have been a better way of presenting Indian Cricket current situation and the path ahead for batting stalwarts. I would want all seniors to read this article and this should help them decide their future though i strongly believe they should leave according to merit and their form and not just age and history. That way Tendulkar looks to me as the last one to go. In the end, great piece of work Sambit.

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (January 23, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

Regardless of what you say in this article, I see Vijay, Badri and Mukund getting the slots in Indian lineup!

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

Reading this brings tears to the eyes.

Posted by Heat11 on (January 23, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Its very unfair to target only Dravid and Laxman. Even Sachin has failed in series and even he was flop against England in Eng and WIs home series..his time also come now to say good bye..since he has more runs and 100s in ODI and test doesn't mean he can continue playing.. Dravid is highest run getter in 2011 and scored 100s in difficult pitches in England and WIs..only this series he hasn't fired...he deserve the place and sachin and laxman should be axed..

Posted by Emancipator007 on (January 23, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Really miffed that the coruscating talent of Rohit Sharma is not getting a world stage in Tests just cos some 37 and 39 year-olds are not vacating the stage. If Mohinder or Gavaskar (was still GREAT enuf) kept playing Tests till they were 40, Tendulkar and even Manjrekar would not have found slots in the middle order b/w 1987-89. Having seen Sunny and the incandescent, world-beating talent of teenage SRT, I can say that only Rohit of the younger lot is in the same class and I am almost in awe of his assured footwork, time to play strokes, classical technique. Once temperament and steel is gained, he along with Kohli (the most ambitious young bat in international cricket) will rule. To think that he would be 27 by next OZ trip in 2014 is a crying shame. Viru,Gambhir,Pujara,SRT,Kohli,Rohit, Parthiv look a great top 7 for the 11 Tests against NZ,Eng,OZ at home in 2012-13. Keep Manoj, Rahane,Badri (deserves another shot) as reserve batsmen. Rohit is the natural successor to SRT's legacy.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

thank you for the memories ..... only if there was a happy ending ...

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Lax will come good in this one. Suspect that Dravid may be the one to call it quits soon. Tendulkar will need to be pushed before he quits.

Hope the T20 specialists can justify their place in the Test side. Pujara, Badri need to be given first preference.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

Tendulkar did fairly well in England too of course not as per his standards. Sambit Pal check stats.

Posted by nickydude on (January 23, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

The simple & basic fact is, cricket is not played for the general game loving spectator. It is played for the sponsor & trust me, all this will be forgotten & the gr8 4 will continue for few more yrs till the sponsors get their pie.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (January 23, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

contd...While it is true that the "great"s have failed in Eng / Aus, they are also best equipped to make a tunr-around in their own and the team's fortunes. I think it is in poor taste to wail thus on the eve of a test match. There will be plenty of time to take hard nosed decisions by the players / selections before the next Test. For now, it would help if cricket writers and TV commentators alike, lift their own spirits instead of depressing the intelligent Indian fan who has a lot more cricket sense and hope in Indian cricket! The last thing that I would want is to listen to glum faced Indian commentators making depressive commentary on TV when I wake up at 5am only to watch the 4th Test match. IMO, more often than not it is the quality of commentary that makes the Indian fan bang his head in anger rather than what goes on in the field. I should Know. I have been listening to radio commentary and watching cricket on TV since 1972.

Posted by whyowhy on (January 23, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

Bal you deserve to be Editor......good article mate. If you read what Gambir has said and what other writers think - anyone will think that the wickets on which the last fourteen matches were lost were virtual minefields(only when India batted)....they want rank turners (probably under-prepared) in India to beat the rest of the world. Ishant Sharma inviting Warner to India when being smacked for sixers, I mean what good does this do for Indian Cricket ?? The sooner the young guns are introduced into the test and ODI teams the better, give them the exposure/experience and India will start winning again......not winging about wickets, DRS and anything else that they can find. Leave the winging to Bob Willis and the Poms who are getting a roasting in the UAE by a new and revived Pakistan. I suppose India can take a leaf out of the Pakistani book.....

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (January 23, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

Saurav didn't "vacate", he was ejected out of the team. Yuvraj should have been brought into the test team a long time ago. The treatment meted out to Yuvraj is now being meted out to Raina. There are people claiming he isn't good enough for test cricket without giving him a consistent run. He isn't begging for a "chance". He deserves one. While there is a case of bringing in the "youngsters", these guys have been invariably found wanting when they face "consistent good bowling". Vijay has been found sadly wanting and Rohit Sharma has been the victim of poor select selection at inopportune times to bring in his dismissal. While Dravid and Sachin like to labor, they are not geared to attack the opposition. Sehwag does that and so does Raina. Dhoni goes into a shell in Tests, a recipe for failure. Laxman plays freely as usual, but he invariably seems to lack the grit to convert that 35 into a 75 or that 60 into a big score. He is a 3rd / 4th innings player, when all others fail..contd

Posted by KK_Cricket on (January 23, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

Think we should stop getting emotional and become more practical.. Australia have dumped White and others and have gone for a young and dashing side for T20s.. India now have to make a statement, drop Laxman, pick Ashwin and Ojha both and get under skins of Aussies and win the final test comprehensively.. India need momentum and only a win can give them that push...

Posted by smalishah84 on (January 23, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

What a wonderfully beautiful piece of writing carrying a touch of finality. The last paragraph is so awesome. Gun writing.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 23, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

why only dravid & laxman should retire ?? take sachin too in this list . he should also retire from tests after this series . he can make 100 in odi series . he has not scored a hundred in past 1 year & was flopped in eng tour . he should also takes retirement . NO PLAYER IS GREATER THAN NATION 'S PRIDE .

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

Reading your article makes me feel that author doesn't want RD and Laxman to play,

Nobody cares if Sehwag,Sachin,Gambhir,Kohli and Dhoni plays bad..because they are young.What logic is that ?

Only indian's can forget Dravid's heroics in England series so fast, everybody praised him so much and now everybody wants his head.

Remember friends ' Form is temporary and Class is PERMANENT'

Posted by   on (January 23, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

On his last visit four years ago, there were standing ovations at every venue from crowds that probably didn't expect to see him again. Tendulkar will come back again for next Aussie tour for sure.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Sambit BalClose
Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

Awesome in whites, awful in colour

Osman Samiuddin: Pakistan's year oscillated between superb and dreadful, with their ODI form poor ahead of the World Cup

Two triples, and a devastating loss

Gallery: 2014 was a sobering year for cricket

The most significant act of fielding

The Cricket Monthly: Gideon Haigh, Ayaz Memon, Rob Steen and Rahul Bhattacharya on fielding moments that mattered the most
Download the app: for iPads | for Android tablets

Late highs fail to mask wretched year

Save for the rout of Zimbabwe, it was a year of suspensions and demoralising defeats for Bangladesh. By Mohammad Isam

A maverick with maturity

Janaka Malwatta: Tillakaratne Dilshan, one the few '90s era cricketers still around, is an entertainer who never backs down from a challenge

News | Features Last 7 days

Watson's merry-go-round decade

In January 2005, Shane Watson made his Test debut. What does he have to show for a decade in the game?

Power to Smithy, trouble for Dhoni

Australia's new captain admirably turned things around for his side in Brisbane, leading in more departments than one

Rudderless Shami proves too costly

Mohammed Shami bowls a few really good balls, but they are interspersed with far too many loose ones, an inconsistency that is unacceptable in Test cricket

Why punish the West Indies players when the administration is to blame?

As ever, the West Indies board has taken the short-term view and removed supposedly troublesome players instead of recognising its own incompetence

From waterboy to warrior

Ajinkya Rahane was part of India's bench strength for several series before he finally got his opportunity. He's made it count on the most testing tours

News | Features Last 7 days