April 20, 2012

The next big things? Not just yet

It's too early to burden the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav with that label
72

I've enjoyed watching Ajinkya Rahane bat, for there is much to like about him. He seems calm and unhurried, has shots rather than words in his arsenal, and comes through in his limited interactions as being fairly modest and ambitious (the two can go together, by the way). He quite likes to show the full face of the bat, and while there is the occasional concession to T20 (clearing the front foot), he would rather hit down the ground than to cow corner.

Indicative of that are two shots he played in his last two games. Against the Royal Challengers he danced down the wicket to Muralitharan and cleared cover rather than midwicket, and against Deccan Chargers he paused in his approach towards the ball on one delivery, let it bounce towards him and hit it in a beautiful arc straight over the bowler's head. And yes, when he got to a hundred he was happy in an understated way. I say that with intent, because I haven't quite figured out the popular combination of an angry expletive and joy!

But to label him the next big thing in Indian cricket would be dangerous and, from his point of view, possibly counter-productive. You can only be the next big thing when you have made significant strides at that level. Virat Kohli could be called the next big thing in one-day international cricket a few months ago because he had scored a few centuries by then. Rahane hasn't yet found his feet in international cricket. So let's wait, let's keep the superlatives away for a while.

Admittedly his record at the qualifying stage for international cricket is outstanding. He has 18 centuries and 18 fifties in 50 matches, is closing in on 5000 first-class runs, and scores them at an average of 68. He can do more, but these numbers are at best indicators - they do not guarantee success at the next level. But this is the right time to pick him (whether at No. 3 or as opener alongside Gautam Gambhir) for as a good farmer will tell you, if you leave it too late, the fruit is wasted. Let's pick him, but leave out the hype for now.

I fear this obsession with the "next big thing" is a marketing, or more specifically a show-business, requirement. It has a few things in its favour - it provides fans with a topic for conversation, and thus strengthens their bond with their sport; it gives you another reason to watch a cricket match. But it puts a lot of pressure on the player himself, for he can easily start believing what he reads, and while it is true that at this level you have to overcome expectation, losing a player isn't great for the sport either.

By choosing to play for the Rajasthan Royals, Rahane has done well. Apart from being guaranteed 16 games, he is part of a team that doesn't fuss over things, that tries to make the best of what it has, and is generally pretty no-nonsense - a bit like its current captain, who is quite generous when it comes to sharing knowledge.

I am just as excited watching Umesh Yadav, for he is a rare species in Indian cricket - a fast bowler who wants to bowl fast. He has a lovely bowling action, with a wonderful rhythm to it, and swings the ball at pace. He is at an interesting stage in his career, where it is clear that he can bowl every ball, but as Wasim Akram told me, he's not quite sure of how to mix deliveries up. Wasim says, from personal experience, that a fast bowler after learning how to bowl a ball has to learn which ball to bowl when - which Imran Khan taught him till he himself was ready.

A batsman like a Rahane or a Kohli has many sources of knowledge, for India is, at heart, a batting country. But a fast-bowling country India isn't. And so Yadav will have to be a pioneer of sorts. He only has 92 first-class wickets so far, but his 23 from six tests have been mighty impressive. He could be the "next big thing" in Indian bowling, for Ishant Sharma has abdicated that post in recent times, but a season of international cricket in home conditions will give us a better idea.

Harsha Bhogle commentates on the IPL and other cricket, and is a television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • arup_g on April 23, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Bat him at number 3 in the upcoming series vs Sri Lanka. He'll do well on slow, low wickets, but his real test will come overseas, however he looks like he has the technique. Once he has established himself at 3, make him open with Gambhir. The greats of Indian cricket all started in the middle order - Ganguly started at 3, but made most of his runs at 5/6. Laxman started at 3, but made most of his runs at 5/6, Dravid started at 6, but moved up to 3. Kohli seems to be more suited to 5/6, especially because I feel he would be able to accelerate when batting with the tail, and is also a good player of spin, so leave him there.

  • Naresh28 on April 23, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    Lets not hide the fact that new INDIAN BATSMAN fail with high bounce on foreign fields. Indian pace bowlers do not have the stamina to compete with continous bolwing fast foreign pace bowlers. Having said that only KOHLI and YADAV look capable. We need a team of good players otherwise our limited talent buckle as there is no backup from the other end. I like ROHIT SHARMA but he is missing the resilence we see in past players. Rahane has been exposed to pace batteries but this is on Indian pitches.

  • mjrvasu on April 23, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Ajinkya Rahane has to walk into the Indian team, in any form of cricket. He has the required temparament and calibre. Are we going to wait until he reaches the age of 30+? The T-20 in Sri Lanka would be a great start since it is subcontinent wicket, and cannot harm Rahane's career too much.

    Here is my probable list (knock out two from this for final 16) Shikar Dhiwan, Kohli, Gambhir, Raina, Rohit, Manoj Tiwary, Rahane, Dinesh Kartik, Dhoni, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Dinda, Munaf, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Ashwin, R Jadeja

    Dhoni can bring the best in the above, and say adios after a grandstand finish in Colombo.

  • S.Jagernath on April 23, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    With the tour of Sri Lanka ahead,India have the oppurtunity to give all the young players test oppurtunities.That means Mukund,Rahane,Rohit Sharma,Manoj Tiwary,Pujara,Kohli,Yadav & Aaron with just Tendulkar,Zaheer Khan,Saha keeping & Gambhir as captain.This idea can't hurt as India can't go any lower than they are.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on April 22, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Rahane looks good and should be given more opportunities.

    But we are seeing repetitively failed players getting more chance Example: 1)Raina 2)Jadeja

    Players who has got chance 1)Murali Vijay 2)Abhinav Mukund 3)W Saha.

    is it just coincidence that Captain, Chief Selector and all these failed players represent a Team owned by BCCI head.

  • AvidCricFan on April 21, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    Just based on performances, Rahane should have picked ahead of Rohit Sharma, Saha, Badri, and Murali Vijay. While Rohit Sharma has technic, he hasn't shown good head so far. He has been lot of opportunities but has not cemented his position.

  • A.Ak on April 21, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Rahane is far better than Pujara (a one-off hero). He deserves a decent run of chance in the test match level. He has got a great domestic record (so does Badrinath), I want to see him how he performs at the high level. Umesh looks very solid along with Dinda. Zak would be very happy to see one of them on his side.

  • englishpropagandoo on April 21, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    No dearth of talent in India - the vast riches created by India extend to the rich vein of its talent. India can field at least 3 top international teams in a world cup if it were to be held tomorrow.

  • Evangelyst on April 21, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Rahane should be selected forthe next test series. He should be given a decent run to see if he can establish himself in all conditions domestic and international. He is one of the most promising young batsmen in the country but needs to prove himself at the international level, which can only happen if gets his chances and a fair run at that.

    Umesh Yadav is also a tremendous prospect. I hope he is able to sustain his pace and intensity and does not fade away after a few years of cricket. I dont know why people are comparing Philander and him and trying to bring down one or the other. Why cant we just enjoy both these very promising fast bowlers? We really need as many good fast bowlers as possible on the international scene and the likes of Yadav, Philander, Steve Finn, James Pattinson, Cummins etc will certainly make the international cricket scene more interesting.

  • on April 21, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    Over looking Rahane for Tests repeatedly and giving out freebie debuts to Vijay, Mukund, and even Saha as pure batsmen is an insult and a farce... No wonder India isn't becoming a juggernaut like 90s/2000s Aussies or 70-80s WIndies... Though 90% of the blame goes to our 'Speed' bowlers like Praveen, Vinay, Abhimanyu, Jaidev Unadkat.. Free All You Can Eat Dinners for Test Batsmen

  • arup_g on April 23, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Bat him at number 3 in the upcoming series vs Sri Lanka. He'll do well on slow, low wickets, but his real test will come overseas, however he looks like he has the technique. Once he has established himself at 3, make him open with Gambhir. The greats of Indian cricket all started in the middle order - Ganguly started at 3, but made most of his runs at 5/6. Laxman started at 3, but made most of his runs at 5/6, Dravid started at 6, but moved up to 3. Kohli seems to be more suited to 5/6, especially because I feel he would be able to accelerate when batting with the tail, and is also a good player of spin, so leave him there.

  • Naresh28 on April 23, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    Lets not hide the fact that new INDIAN BATSMAN fail with high bounce on foreign fields. Indian pace bowlers do not have the stamina to compete with continous bolwing fast foreign pace bowlers. Having said that only KOHLI and YADAV look capable. We need a team of good players otherwise our limited talent buckle as there is no backup from the other end. I like ROHIT SHARMA but he is missing the resilence we see in past players. Rahane has been exposed to pace batteries but this is on Indian pitches.

  • mjrvasu on April 23, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Ajinkya Rahane has to walk into the Indian team, in any form of cricket. He has the required temparament and calibre. Are we going to wait until he reaches the age of 30+? The T-20 in Sri Lanka would be a great start since it is subcontinent wicket, and cannot harm Rahane's career too much.

    Here is my probable list (knock out two from this for final 16) Shikar Dhiwan, Kohli, Gambhir, Raina, Rohit, Manoj Tiwary, Rahane, Dinesh Kartik, Dhoni, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Dinda, Munaf, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Ashwin, R Jadeja

    Dhoni can bring the best in the above, and say adios after a grandstand finish in Colombo.

  • S.Jagernath on April 23, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    With the tour of Sri Lanka ahead,India have the oppurtunity to give all the young players test oppurtunities.That means Mukund,Rahane,Rohit Sharma,Manoj Tiwary,Pujara,Kohli,Yadav & Aaron with just Tendulkar,Zaheer Khan,Saha keeping & Gambhir as captain.This idea can't hurt as India can't go any lower than they are.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on April 22, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Rahane looks good and should be given more opportunities.

    But we are seeing repetitively failed players getting more chance Example: 1)Raina 2)Jadeja

    Players who has got chance 1)Murali Vijay 2)Abhinav Mukund 3)W Saha.

    is it just coincidence that Captain, Chief Selector and all these failed players represent a Team owned by BCCI head.

  • AvidCricFan on April 21, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    Just based on performances, Rahane should have picked ahead of Rohit Sharma, Saha, Badri, and Murali Vijay. While Rohit Sharma has technic, he hasn't shown good head so far. He has been lot of opportunities but has not cemented his position.

  • A.Ak on April 21, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Rahane is far better than Pujara (a one-off hero). He deserves a decent run of chance in the test match level. He has got a great domestic record (so does Badrinath), I want to see him how he performs at the high level. Umesh looks very solid along with Dinda. Zak would be very happy to see one of them on his side.

  • englishpropagandoo on April 21, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    No dearth of talent in India - the vast riches created by India extend to the rich vein of its talent. India can field at least 3 top international teams in a world cup if it were to be held tomorrow.

  • Evangelyst on April 21, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Rahane should be selected forthe next test series. He should be given a decent run to see if he can establish himself in all conditions domestic and international. He is one of the most promising young batsmen in the country but needs to prove himself at the international level, which can only happen if gets his chances and a fair run at that.

    Umesh Yadav is also a tremendous prospect. I hope he is able to sustain his pace and intensity and does not fade away after a few years of cricket. I dont know why people are comparing Philander and him and trying to bring down one or the other. Why cant we just enjoy both these very promising fast bowlers? We really need as many good fast bowlers as possible on the international scene and the likes of Yadav, Philander, Steve Finn, James Pattinson, Cummins etc will certainly make the international cricket scene more interesting.

  • on April 21, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    Over looking Rahane for Tests repeatedly and giving out freebie debuts to Vijay, Mukund, and even Saha as pure batsmen is an insult and a farce... No wonder India isn't becoming a juggernaut like 90s/2000s Aussies or 70-80s WIndies... Though 90% of the blame goes to our 'Speed' bowlers like Praveen, Vinay, Abhimanyu, Jaidev Unadkat.. Free All You Can Eat Dinners for Test Batsmen

  • gdalvi on April 21, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    People blame Rohit without understanding full context. His average of 33 is not significantly differently than Sehwag and Raina both at 35- even though they played many more ODI. Yes he should be consistent, but shouldn't he also get consistent batting position to do that? He has been jacked around the batting order forever. His initial couple of years were not good which pulls his average down. BTW, this FC average is 63 - second next to Rahane and significantly better than likes of Vijay, Mukund and of course Raina - but all these got TEST opportunities (CSK/Tamil favoritism by Srikanth/Dhoni/Srinivasn?) and have proven themselves (Mukund apart) as failures. Yet they are never far away from getting selected in TESTS again and again. If domestic cricket performance is supposed to selection fields for TEST teams, isn't it strange that the Mumbai and Rajasthan that won 5 in last 6 years do not have a single test player, while team like TN has at least 4? Please publish

  • ElBeeDubya on April 21, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    The next big things for India in the 2000s: Suresh Raina, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Murali Vijay. A few of them are still a bit too young but, among the rest, how many of the rest have had (not brilliant but even just) a satisfying International career after being given a decent run to prove themselves? The low percentage of success of this 'cream' that is coming out of the local level suggests that there is a serious SYSTEMIC problem in Indian cricket. What has the BCCI done to fix this problem (except give us DA IPL like being given a drug that does not CURE the disease but only suppresses the symptom)? ANYONE? ANYONE? Bueller? Bhogle??

  • Natx on April 21, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    @riverlime - very good question, mate. You forgot our never ending queue of "express" bowlers that can bowl at 160mph - vinay kumar, praveen kumar, irfan pathan, etc. Great times ahead! Only Varun Aaron looks to be in the similar league of Umesh but he has fitness issues so I don't see any good support to Umesh in the near future. Zaheer is getting older, slower and will retire in a year or two. Ishant is not willing to listen and learn despite the countless opportunities he got with Wasim Akram.

  • tamrakshar on April 21, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Unless you give fair chances to promising youngsters like Rahane, how would you know how good they are? He had done pretty well in the uncomfortable situations in England. But you deny him chances on the flat batting tracks in Bagladesh. Judging from the kind of form he is in, I am quite sure he would have done much better than Sachin Tendulkar in the opening slot.

    I agree with you that Umesh Yadav is indeed very promising. If groomed well, he can be India's spearhead of fast bowling attack replacing the aging and injury- prone Zaheer Khan. I do not know the reason for dropping him in the Asia Cup!

  • riverlime on April 21, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    Yadav will take over from Zak as the spearhead, but who will he lead in the bowling attack?

  • here2rock on April 21, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Small boundaries, flat pitches, there is no hope for any fast bowler let alone young fast bowlers like Yadav and Ishant. Unless you start making good picthes at home providing some assistance to the fast bowlers then I am afraid they will all disapper from the scene just like many others before.

  • kharidra on April 21, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    And what is more - both are quite athletic and field well. Demeanor and countenance Also exhibit as you rightly pointed out on abilities when translated to achievement - a quality of the exemplary fabulous manning through the years

  • on April 21, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    Sir Sachin has nothing left to be done in ODIs. He should play a home series and make way for Rahane. In tests, Rahane should bat at # 3 for the up-coming series and Virat Kohli at # 5 or 6. Laxman can play his fare well series and call it quits.

  • anilkp on April 20, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    Hold on Harsha and all other guys. Umesh Yadav does not warrant a mention of his name here. Taking a wicket once in a while is not great; leaking fours and sixes in a Test match is NOT great. Look at his averages in Austrailia. He appears stand-out only because other Indian bowlers fared worse than him down under. There are no appreciable plants in an arid, desert-like land; that does not make a cactus a banyan tree.

  • scorbos15 on April 20, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    You are doing it by writing this article Harsha, I am huge fan of you but didnt quite relate to what you meant by your headline and article ! I also didnt see any comments from you when Tendulkar said am going to retire on my own terms, earlier in one of your article you were referring "only selectors should have that say" - you acknowledged Pontings sacking !! I was really impressed by the article "How not to close a great career" by Mukul Kesavan, none of the other authors in India were able to go against Mr Tendulkar, even today I have very high regards for you, but some how would have been glad had you made some comments on this one!! Thanks - Your fan !!

  • Harry_Kool on April 20, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    Harry has seen enough of Yadav to suggest he has what it takes to make a big impression on the test fields. India should look after him, make sure he has support so his body will serve his country in the manner he wants to. He is one to watch for the future. Until I see Rahane live & in tests, I'll reserve judgment. That is one topic just for my Indian friends to discuss until he is better known.

  • johnathonjosephs on April 20, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    Its to early to even be thinking its early for these guys.

  • vrn59 on April 20, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    This is a good article and I agree with the points on Rahane and Yadav. Yadav has made a decent start to his international career and must now focus on his consistency; he bowls with pace and aggression and is thus picking up wickets, but he tends to become too predictable with his line and length and this has lead to his economy rate being a bit too high for Test cricket. As Bhogle says, he must work on his variations and he will then be a frontline bowler for India. Rahane is also a fabulous young batsman to keep an eye on: he has a fantastic first-class average, performed decently well in the ODI series in England and is in the form of his life in the current IPL season. It may not be a bad idea to try him out in Dravid's No. 3 spot in the Test team. As for the people commenting on Philander in this forum, he shown his promise by bowling unbelievably well in South Africa and New Zealand, and is now performing well in England (he takes the new ball for Somerset) as well.

  • on April 20, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    fantastic article.. a great read..

  • Nishant_Bhajaria on April 20, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    It would be nice if some seniors cough*Sachin*cough made way for some of these younger players so we can test them out.

  • landl47 on April 20, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Given India's recent test series against England and Australia, it's clear that new talent is needed. Whether Rahane and Yadav will turn out to be top class test players is, as Harsha points out, still to be determined. However, they have to be given the chance, hopefully without too much pressure on them.

  • Kunagpal on April 20, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    totally agree. philander is yet to prove his fast medium pace in the subcontinent

  • rahulcricket007 on April 20, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    @SPELELE . I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HOW MANY WKTS PHILANDER WILL TAKE WHEN HE PLAYS IN SUBCONTITNENT . ALSO WHEN HE PLAYS WITHOUT STEYN & MORKEL TO SUPPORT HIM AT THE OTHER END .

  • on April 20, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    there is a kind of calmness and the will to do better in both Rahane and Umesh.

    In present day india where 15 mins of fame is created and hyped, both these guys as of now seem to be away from it. i hope they stay grounded because rahane can fill the shoes of a certain legend. and umesh can make his own path on being a outright fast bowler from India.

  • on April 20, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Hassan...51 in 7 was almost a record with great back up and pressure from other side...as for Yadav it has been a lonely battle...so yes it counts

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on April 20, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    @Humdingers: If Philander was Indian he'd have a 100 wickets to his name since none of the other bowlers would be capable of taking any.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on April 20, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Dont worry once shorn of the flat pitches with 65m boundaries in the IPL and having to face quality bowling attacks you'll be writing an article on how its not Rahanes fault he's struggling in International cricket. "It's a systemic malaise" are the words I can imagine Harsha using. The "system" isn't conducive for Tests which begs the question why praise his IPL form then?

  • Humdingers on April 20, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    @spelele if he was (or I for that matter) was coming on to bowl after Styen and Morkel, he would have 71! Let's see Philander take wickets bowling with Zaheer Kahn a co.! It's horses for courses mate.

  • amitgarg78 on April 20, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @spelele That's called freakish. Amazing feat, never the less. Though, he's only bowled in 2 countries that are conducive for a bit of seam and swing, 51 in 7 is an amazing feat.

  • Nampally on April 20, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Harsha, before you call anyone the "Next Big thing", he has to prove himself by scoring for India.How can one prove himself when he is being benched repeatedly by the Captain Dhoni? There are a number of batting stars who are very talented as are a few bowlers. Three talented batsmen are C.Pujara, Rahane & M.Tiwary & 3 talented bowlers are R.Sharma, P.Ojha & U.Yadev. Whilst Pujara was excluded partly based on his injuries, Rahane & Tiwary have been in the squad but permanently benched despite the failure of the "favourites"!.Tiwary was benched for 10 matches in a row as was Rahane.The same was the fate of talented bowlers like Rahul Sharma & P.Ojha. Rahul was benched for 10 games before he got one chance & then benched for another 10 games.Dhoni always manipulated Jadeja into XI at the expense of a Specialist bowler or a batsman - just for his fielding.Dhoni is like a Banyan tree under which nothing grows.India needs a Captain who encourages talent to make "Next Big things" Happen!

  • on April 20, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    lol philander got 51 in 7 so if 23 in 6 is impressive than what u call 51 in 7 ? lol

  • Srini_Indian on April 20, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    Spelele: Umesh played in sub-continental wickets and a tough tour of Australia. Its not that he played in SA graze fields where a dibbly-dobbly like Philander can take wickets. Wait until he plays in sub-continent, he would be flayed all over the park.

  • on April 20, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    Divakar Chandrasekhar V Please Rohit has played almost 100 ODI and his average barely a little above 30, he hasn't performed against good teams. I can't believe you're justifying his place based on performance against WI, which is at the bottom of ICC list. Rohit has been given too many chances, he's a domestic player, not an international class. Move him over and give others a chance.

  • Mayan005 on April 20, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @Kavindeven - Yes, Rahane seems to be scoring too fast right now. Probably an influence carried over from playing for Mumbai(and hence SRT). Playing with Dravid would help with bringing down that strike rate.

  • chilled_avenger on April 20, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    @Divakar Chandrasekhar V But it doesn't work that way,my friend! Scoring tons of runs against West Indies does not mean that Rohit Sharma has made up for his failures against South Africa and Australia! We must take into account the quality of opposition. Rohit has evidently shown inability to adapt to the Foreign conditions and stand up against quality bowlers. What reason would you give behind Rohit scoring 49 runs in 5 ODIs in South Africa last year and then 79 runs in 5 ODIs in Australia this year? Why does Rohit's bad form starts whenever India face South Africa or Australia? How come Rohit always gets back to his best form when India face West Indies or Zimabwe? There are three Series in which Rohit has played well,two of the are Bilateral Series against WI and one is the Zimbabwe Triangular!Against all other teams except WI & Zimbabwe,Rohit averages only 26.18. I ask you,does a Batting average of 20s against top Teams justify his place in the team?

  • on April 20, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    @Spelele are we discussing Philander or South African cricket here. I don't think so i really don't understand how people comment without any context !!!. Yes both Rahane and Umesh have done well and hopefully will become the future of Indian cricket. When we discuss South Africa Philander would come into play !!

  • Meety on April 20, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    @Spelele - the fact is 23 wickets from 6 wickets IS impressive, Phillander is a freak! Although, you have to see how he does on asian pitches to see whether it is a fair comparison!

  • foursandsixes on April 20, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    What will happen to Ajinkya when he plays in South Africa, England, or Australia? Ha ha..

  • rohan024 on April 20, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    funny, it's generally Harsha who goes overboard when it comes to using superlatives for players..guess no IPL 'advisor' contract is hurting him now..

  • on April 20, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    I read quite a few comments on Rohit Sharma being given umpteen chances and not performing well. Shows comment-makers stupidity and ignorance on Rohit. Since the world cup, Rohit played 18 matches and he had scored over 600 runs. He was awared MOS when Ind took on WI at home and away. Bradmanesque average in both the series. It is just one bad series in Aus and people are after him. He helped Kohli win the pak match in Asia cup. When Rahane goes through trying times, people will come after him and this attitude of people is really disgusting. Stand by the players when they go through tough times.

  • Spelele on April 20, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    ".......but his 23 from six tests have been mighty impressive." Lol the likes of Philander would laugh to scorn this ridiculous statement. If 23 wickets in 6 tests is impressive, then I don't know what 51 from 7 is.

  • jimbond on April 20, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    And wasnt it Harsha who was playing up Rohit Sharma as the next big thing, a couple of years ago?

  • Romenevans on April 20, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    Rahane is miles ahead of that Overrated Rohit Sharma. Rahen have already proved taht he can play international cricket and overseas too, becuase he was impresive against the likes of Finn, Bresnan and Broad. On the other hand i have no idea how long Rohit will survive without perfomin, purely based on his so called "talent" Rahen needs to be playing for India, Specially ODI and Tests. This guy is a treat to watch and have very solid technique. Thankfully he is in good hands of Rahul Dravid, not like Rohit in Sachin's hand who only plays for records. Example? Ajinkya was on 98 and he took his team first and tried to score, rather than tickling here n there for singles. That shows this guy's passion.

  • Dixy109 on April 20, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Until the BCCI rectifies this problem, and arranges for regular 'A' and U-19 tours and county stints for some of the younger up and coming players, the Indian team will not be going anywhere fast. India is awash with talent- nobody is disputing that. But this talent is being wasted, as these cricketers are exposed only to a diet of placid pitches and gentle wobbly medium-pacers in the IPL. Its time for the men in charge of Indian cricket to wake up.

  • Dixy109 on April 20, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    Agree totally with NLS1. There seems to be a dogmatic reluctance in the BCCI to release players for duties overseas, even though the potential benefits are obvious. Take Zaheer Khan- his international career was stagnating, he was low on rythm, form and confidence. Then a full season with Worcestershire in 2006 and BAM, he was a transformed bowler, returning to play havoc with the English batsmen a year later. The Indian administrators have to learn that no team can lay claim to "greatness" until it has conquered at home and overseas, much like the Australians when they crossed the elusive 'Final Frontier' in 2004-05. Dominating in familiar home conditions isn't enough anymore, which made some of the comments surrounding the Indian camp after their disastrous tour of Australia over the winter even more frustrating- comments along the lines of "yeah well, we'll see who wins when you guys are next in India". The thinking is all wrong in the establishment.

  • on April 20, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Harsha is spot on...We have a series of players which are called as next big thing in Indian cricket & then fade away...Munaf Patel rated as India's fastest bowler bowls in mid 120 now...Yuvraj Singh after 11 year long ODI career couldn't figure out how to play a test innings,Ishant Sharma he remains injured most of the times..fact of the matter is there is a huge void which is to be filled in Indian cricket after Ganguly,Dravid,Kumble,Tendulakar etc. hang up their shoose..Hence it is best time to groom young talents like Rahane,Yadav with the help of these legends so that they can carry forward the legecy of this golden generation of Indian cricket...

  • on April 20, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    yadav and ishant sharma will make a gr8 bowling attack in the future gor india. as

  • Vivian_Richard on April 20, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Ajinkya, Rohit, Manoj, Virat have all got talent. Would love to see Manoj and Ajinkya get a run.

  • on April 20, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle is the the best ...he knows the pulse of Indian Cricket . Knows abt cricket ,

  • on April 20, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    There should be few other players to be considered too along with Rahane & Yadav. Sudhindra & Anand Ranjan are shining with the ball for MP team. Rayudu & Venu had been contributing well. Pragyan should be given chance for atleast an ODI series and to be continued in Tests. Suman is an absoulte T20 Material. Akshat Reddy & Ashish reddy can be handy too. Atleast they should be tried in T20s. Raviteja should be given ODI chance,he is scoring consistently in Ranji ODI's. Shami Ahmed is good too. There are many players who performed well in last 2-3 ranji seasons consistently. DL Chahar of Rajasthan is good with the ball.

  • NP_NY on April 20, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    The good thing about Rahane is unlike some of the other young Indian batsmen, he's done well on bowler friendly wickets in India as well. But the real test will be the bouncy seaming wickets in countries like England and Australia. As NLS1 says, a couple of seasons of county cricket will help him a lot.

  • rkraja88 on April 20, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    We have plenty of options open for batting.. but bowling seems to under the scanner. When praveen Kumar is struggling with the form, how india will manage in the forth coming T20 wordcup. Its high time for the selectors to concentrate in picking the bowlers and encourage them to find some form.

  • ziggy500 on April 20, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    these indians need to play on pitches that actually dont favour batsmen, because thats where most indians suffer, but yadav is very good, he can bowl anywhere in the world plus gives 100 percent all the time

  • on April 20, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Rahane has been playing domestic cricket with outstanding success for the last 5 yrs but did not have a chance to come into national limelight with the same force as his 2 recent IPL knocks have given him..but better late than never, now that we all are sure of this guy's talent he should be at the the core of every Indian batting line-up for a decent number of games just to ensure he can handle intl cricket.Please give him the same number of chances as Rohit, Raina and Jadeja for he is a far better player and lets not forget Pujara between all these upheavels. Fo I believe that anyone who has succeeded in Test cricket has it in him to succeed in any format at any level

  • on April 20, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Here we go!!!Harsha sounds as if the only issue with Indian cricket is the un wanted hype for Rahane and Umesh(is there really any hype about him?he was a BIG disappointment in Aus although he is expected to improve..).If any player is hyped right now its Virat Kohli..hopefully he performs consistently.Indian cricket is right now down and out with humiliating series defeats and a complete revamp is needed.first thing to be done is remove that HUGE burden called tendulkar from ODI team.sehwag and Gambhir should be put on notice (although not much hope for them in testes as displayed in Aus..sehwag is a spent force and Gambhir just does not have the technique to play overseas..dark days ahead for Indian cricket)Harsha in your earlier post you blamed everyone but tendulkar for the clown show he enacted for a year in pursuit of a century.Now out comes this.Can we have some perspective please.....

  • NLS1 on April 20, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Both these young cricketers, Rahane and Yadav, should hone their skills playing county cricket for a few seasons. That will help them become finished products and serve Indian cricket for a long time.

  • on April 20, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    It is OK to talk about him in the test team, now that there is one more vacancy with Dravid retiring. But the real question? Rahane had a decent initiation to ODIs. He played well against England, but not so well against the West Indies. However, who do we want in the 2015 world cup, either opening or at # 3? Ajinkya Rahane or Sachin Tendulkar? There can be a facile argument saying Sehwag should make way for Rahane and Sachin should go on. But what is he going on for? In meaningless ODIs?

  • DEV_ME on April 20, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Rahane needs support - from peers, from audience, from family and freinds. The ideal thing would be to have a calm Rahane open along with the agrresive Gambhir. As it is Sehwag has been saying for quite some time now, that he wants to be in th middle order. The combo of Rahane / Gambhir has to be given an extensive run in Test and ODI's. Even if it means that the so called next sachin, Rohit Sharma, has to go back to Mumbai and develop consistency, attitude, temparament. Rahane, Virat, and maybe Pujara, might be the way forward. As of now in domestic and IPL, Rahane is on a song and is the most fortunate to be paired up with Dravid in RR; lots to learn .... make the most of it ..

  • Percy_Fender on April 20, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    I am glad that Harsha has started this nice debate on the future of Indian cricket. I would like to add a few names which crop up in my mind in the muted and objective sense that the above article conveys. I saw Shahbaz Nadeem bowl in I think the Vijay Hazare tournament and thought he was very impressive in flight and the drift. Later he got hit in some match and he probably lost it for a while. But in the company of Sehwag, Pietersen and Jaywardanevery good Test not to mention Taylor in the Delhi IPL team, I am happy that he seems to have got his skills and confidence back. He will make a fine bowler in all formats of the game. Then there are Suriya Yadav and Mandip Singh. Tey definitely seem destined for good things as well.The former in all formats but the latter in the 50 over ODIs and Tests. Of course For me the temperamen tand courage are crucial for a cricketer.Like Rahane's. I am not for anyone playing the game who wails when one gest hit.It is not a sign of strength.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on April 20, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    Rahane was piling up runs in first class games all these times and no one took any interest , now that he scored a few quick runs in IPL , there is suddenly the talk of him being the NEXT BIG THING , and umesh yadav is young and have decent pace but i doubt he will progress much playing on our batting paradises , idea of a gr8 cricket match for an average Indian is an ODI where sachin scores a 100 and the rainas and dhoni blasting a few quick sixes and then India winning after scoring 350

  • S.Jagernath on April 20, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    I love how these cricket writers suddenly back Ajinkya Rahane & are writing articles about future plans for him.A few months ago,nobody bothered about that unbelievable first class statistics.Harsha Bhogle is just another media representative using this oppurtunity to get on the bandwagon.

  • karunak on April 20, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    As Harsha said Umesh is really a rare species in Indian cricket.

  • rgolwalkar on April 20, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Harsha, Once again a spot on article. There is tendency to call out 'next big thing' as soon a good performance comes across - but like you pointed out lets wait until Rahane does something on ODI level and then celebrate the same. One thing about Umesh Yadav is that he did well in tests - and the desire to bowl fast is visible and if he can get and implement tips from a legend like Waseem Akram that will only make him better. I wait for your articles because they are spot on - always a pleasure reading your analysis.Thanks for the good writing once again.

  • rocker3487 on April 20, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    I think rohit also deserve a mention here. Umesh is good bowler and become better with experience

  • chilled_avenger on April 20, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Last year in the Home Series against West Indies,Yadav took 7 wickets in the 2nd Test but was dropped for the 3rd Test to give a chance to another Newcomer Varun Aaron but Ishant Sharma was allowed to play the whole Series even though he managed to get only 5 wickets in the 3 Tests! Why couldn't have they dropped Ishant for Aaron and let the in-form Umesh play the full Series! Even in the recent Australia Series,Umesh easily outperformed Ishant even though Ishant had the experience of bowling in Australia! Ajinkya Rahane scored 61 in his 1st T20 and then scored a Duck in his 2nd T20 and so he was dropped,but Rohit Sharma wasn't dropped after scoring a Duck in the T20 against Australia and played the next T20 matches for India! Why are some players(Ex.- Badrinath) judged too harshly by the Selectors and are dropped afer 1-2 players but players like Rohit and Ishant get chances despite repeated failures in 10-15 matches?

  • chilled_avenger on April 20, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    On a personal note,I would rather like to see Ajinkya Rahane & Umesh Yadav given chances instead of Rohit Sharma & Ishant Sharma! Both Rohit and Ishant have gotten umpteen chances at the International stage and except for a flash or two of brilliance,they never looked like they belonged in the Indian team. And yet Rohit and Ishant were referred to as the most talented of the youngsters by the 'Experts' of Indian cricket. What good is such talent if they can't even show a sign of improvement after 30-40 International games! Ishant Sharma has taken 12 wickets in his last 9 Test matches at an average of 87 while Rohit remains a failure against better opponents as he scored 49 runs in 5 ODIs in SA last year and then scored 79 runs in 5 ODIs in the CB series. And yet I am sure they will keep getting chances and will be called 'Newcomers' and youngsters like Rahane and Yadav will remain fringe players! Its sad but true..........

  • IndianInnerEdge on April 20, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    " batsman like a Rahane or a Kohli has many sources of knowledge, for India is, at heart, a batting country. But a fast-bowling country India isn't. " - Well, your article justifies your comment, just a few scattered lines about Yadav. I feel he might be the first out&out quickie we have in decades,he attacks the stumps& general attitude is getting a batsman out thru sheer pace in the air as opposed to getting him caught slogging to the midwicket boundary which is what most indian quickies are nowadays bowling in hope of!. If he could learn to pitch up just a bit more, with his pace&some reverse swing, he could progress a lot better. But our mindset is a batting midset& when it comes to bowling-spin based, if we have to evolve as a fast bowling nation, this is one resource that has to be properly nurtured, guided to bear fruitation.....Frankly, cant see that happening as over exposure to IPL, our pathetic pitches, and cricket 365 days will burn this guy out...hope am proven wrong!

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  • IndianInnerEdge on April 20, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    " batsman like a Rahane or a Kohli has many sources of knowledge, for India is, at heart, a batting country. But a fast-bowling country India isn't. " - Well, your article justifies your comment, just a few scattered lines about Yadav. I feel he might be the first out&out quickie we have in decades,he attacks the stumps& general attitude is getting a batsman out thru sheer pace in the air as opposed to getting him caught slogging to the midwicket boundary which is what most indian quickies are nowadays bowling in hope of!. If he could learn to pitch up just a bit more, with his pace&some reverse swing, he could progress a lot better. But our mindset is a batting midset& when it comes to bowling-spin based, if we have to evolve as a fast bowling nation, this is one resource that has to be properly nurtured, guided to bear fruitation.....Frankly, cant see that happening as over exposure to IPL, our pathetic pitches, and cricket 365 days will burn this guy out...hope am proven wrong!

  • chilled_avenger on April 20, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    On a personal note,I would rather like to see Ajinkya Rahane & Umesh Yadav given chances instead of Rohit Sharma & Ishant Sharma! Both Rohit and Ishant have gotten umpteen chances at the International stage and except for a flash or two of brilliance,they never looked like they belonged in the Indian team. And yet Rohit and Ishant were referred to as the most talented of the youngsters by the 'Experts' of Indian cricket. What good is such talent if they can't even show a sign of improvement after 30-40 International games! Ishant Sharma has taken 12 wickets in his last 9 Test matches at an average of 87 while Rohit remains a failure against better opponents as he scored 49 runs in 5 ODIs in SA last year and then scored 79 runs in 5 ODIs in the CB series. And yet I am sure they will keep getting chances and will be called 'Newcomers' and youngsters like Rahane and Yadav will remain fringe players! Its sad but true..........

  • chilled_avenger on April 20, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Last year in the Home Series against West Indies,Yadav took 7 wickets in the 2nd Test but was dropped for the 3rd Test to give a chance to another Newcomer Varun Aaron but Ishant Sharma was allowed to play the whole Series even though he managed to get only 5 wickets in the 3 Tests! Why couldn't have they dropped Ishant for Aaron and let the in-form Umesh play the full Series! Even in the recent Australia Series,Umesh easily outperformed Ishant even though Ishant had the experience of bowling in Australia! Ajinkya Rahane scored 61 in his 1st T20 and then scored a Duck in his 2nd T20 and so he was dropped,but Rohit Sharma wasn't dropped after scoring a Duck in the T20 against Australia and played the next T20 matches for India! Why are some players(Ex.- Badrinath) judged too harshly by the Selectors and are dropped afer 1-2 players but players like Rohit and Ishant get chances despite repeated failures in 10-15 matches?

  • rocker3487 on April 20, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    I think rohit also deserve a mention here. Umesh is good bowler and become better with experience

  • rgolwalkar on April 20, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Harsha, Once again a spot on article. There is tendency to call out 'next big thing' as soon a good performance comes across - but like you pointed out lets wait until Rahane does something on ODI level and then celebrate the same. One thing about Umesh Yadav is that he did well in tests - and the desire to bowl fast is visible and if he can get and implement tips from a legend like Waseem Akram that will only make him better. I wait for your articles because they are spot on - always a pleasure reading your analysis.Thanks for the good writing once again.

  • karunak on April 20, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    As Harsha said Umesh is really a rare species in Indian cricket.

  • S.Jagernath on April 20, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    I love how these cricket writers suddenly back Ajinkya Rahane & are writing articles about future plans for him.A few months ago,nobody bothered about that unbelievable first class statistics.Harsha Bhogle is just another media representative using this oppurtunity to get on the bandwagon.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on April 20, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    Rahane was piling up runs in first class games all these times and no one took any interest , now that he scored a few quick runs in IPL , there is suddenly the talk of him being the NEXT BIG THING , and umesh yadav is young and have decent pace but i doubt he will progress much playing on our batting paradises , idea of a gr8 cricket match for an average Indian is an ODI where sachin scores a 100 and the rainas and dhoni blasting a few quick sixes and then India winning after scoring 350

  • Percy_Fender on April 20, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    I am glad that Harsha has started this nice debate on the future of Indian cricket. I would like to add a few names which crop up in my mind in the muted and objective sense that the above article conveys. I saw Shahbaz Nadeem bowl in I think the Vijay Hazare tournament and thought he was very impressive in flight and the drift. Later he got hit in some match and he probably lost it for a while. But in the company of Sehwag, Pietersen and Jaywardanevery good Test not to mention Taylor in the Delhi IPL team, I am happy that he seems to have got his skills and confidence back. He will make a fine bowler in all formats of the game. Then there are Suriya Yadav and Mandip Singh. Tey definitely seem destined for good things as well.The former in all formats but the latter in the 50 over ODIs and Tests. Of course For me the temperamen tand courage are crucial for a cricketer.Like Rahane's. I am not for anyone playing the game who wails when one gest hit.It is not a sign of strength.

  • DEV_ME on April 20, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Rahane needs support - from peers, from audience, from family and freinds. The ideal thing would be to have a calm Rahane open along with the agrresive Gambhir. As it is Sehwag has been saying for quite some time now, that he wants to be in th middle order. The combo of Rahane / Gambhir has to be given an extensive run in Test and ODI's. Even if it means that the so called next sachin, Rohit Sharma, has to go back to Mumbai and develop consistency, attitude, temparament. Rahane, Virat, and maybe Pujara, might be the way forward. As of now in domestic and IPL, Rahane is on a song and is the most fortunate to be paired up with Dravid in RR; lots to learn .... make the most of it ..