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Former India opener; author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season

Who can step into Dravid's giant shoes?

Three young batsmen stand out from the pack, but they need time and guidance before they can become the backbone of India's middle order

Aakash Chopra

June 25, 2012

Comments: 107 | Text size: A | A

Virat Kohli defends the ball, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day, January 13, 2012
Virat Kohli has improved at a fair rate since his Test debut, so it's likely he can fix any shortcomings that bother him in the future © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid's retirement from international cricket has posed India a serious question: have they figured out which players are most likely to fill the void?

The decision to end your career may be a personal one, but the impact is felt by the entire set-up, especially when the player is of Dravid's stature. India could have prepared for life after Dravid during last year's home Tests against West Indies by accommodating Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli at Nos. 3 and 6 through the series. It would have given us insights into Kohli's technique to counter the new ball when the pitch and bowlers are fresh, and into Rohit's temperament to play the waiting game.

Sadly, in India we seem to act only when inaction ceases to be an option. Now we are compelled to identify talent and give them a long-enough rope.

Dravid's retirement raised a question about the role of senior players in the Test team. Since he had been India's most successful Test batsman over the 12 months before he retired, he could well have continued for a few more home series before calling it quits. But in his retirement speech he said that since he didn't expect to tour South Africa in 2013-14, it was only fair to allow youngsters an extended run on home soil before they were tested abroad.

The selectors must now sit VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag down to draw a blueprint for India's future. Will Laxman and Tendulkar commit to be on that tour to South Africa and beyond? If not, what should the course of action be? Will Sehwag consider batting in the middle order?

While there was a lot of emphasis on India's openers performing poorly away from home in the last 18 months, the middle order (barring Tendulkar and Dravid, who averaged in the mid-40s) performed below par too. Hence, as important as it is to find Dravid's replacement, it is equally important to identify players in the middle order who can take Indian cricket forward after the Tendulkar and Laxman eras.

Who are the available options?

Virat Kohli
Since he bats at No. 3 in ODIs, Kohli is the most logical replacement for Dravid. He has the appetite for scoring big hundreds, a fact borne out by his one-day and first-class statistics.

To fill Dravid's shoes, especially outside the subcontinent, the new No. 3 should have the technique and temperament of an opener, because he'll often walk in to bat with very few runs on the board. Kohli's temperament passed the test in Australia - where he got his maiden Test hundred - but his technique didn't. His short-and-very-across front-foot movement makes him a candidate for leg-before decisions if there's lateral movement in the air or off the pitch, especially to fuller length deliveries. He makes up for it by allowing the ball to come to him and playing it late, but while that works when the ball is older, it's much harder to do when it's new. Kohli doesn't have this problem in ODIs because bowlers rarely try to swing or pitch it up in the shorter formats.

Still, there's enough going for him. He has been the most-improved Indian batsman of recent times. He had a problem against the short ball in his first few Test matches but he overcame it, so it's fair to assume he will be able to remedy his footwork too.

Cheteshwar Pujara
The Saurashtra batsman seems stuck in a different era from his peers. While several of them play an aggressive and uninhibited brand of cricket, Pujara is the quintessential Test match player, who works at making his technique water-tight and who, in times of trouble, will choose to grind the opposition down over hitting to get out of jail. While he possesses a wide array of strokes, innovative shots like the reverse sweep and switch hit aren't for him.

If the yardstick to judge a Test batsman is how he handles bouncers and plays off the back foot, Pujara passes with flying colours. Along with a sound technique, he has the patience to spend time at the crease and score big hundreds. But as I can tell from personal experience, succeeding at the highest level isn't only about technique and patience. Pujara is a good investment, but we'll only know in time whether he will be a successful Test player.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit, like Yuvraj Singh, is a prime example of the fact that talent can take you only so far, beyond which it's strength of character that determines the duration and the direction of your journey. I've seen Rohit play two nearly identical innings in first-class cricket in which he hit breathtaking shots but also displayed a tendency of getting too far ahead of himself. Even after nicking a delivery through slips while playing the swinging ball on the up, he didn't think twice before attempting the same shot off the following ball. The standard of cricket in India's domestic set-up allows him to get away with it but the chances of surviving with the same approach in Test cricket are negligible. His talent will ensure the selectors keep him in the scheme of things but he must make radical changes to the way he constructs his innings to warrant a place in the Test side.

I would have included S Badrinath too, for he could be a short-tem option, but he seems to have fallen off the selectors' radar since he isn't in the India A squad touring West Indies currently.

It will take a herculean effort for Yuvraj to make it back to competitive cricket, so to expect him to work at turning over a new leaf in Test cricket is a bit too ambitious.

Cheteshwar Pujara plays the ball towards square leg, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 5th day, October 13, 2010
Cheteshwar Pujara: has technique and patience © AFP

Suresh Raina is fighting to fix his technical shortcomings - like knowing where his off stump is - and to get over the mental block which compels him to believe that every ball bowled by a fast bowler is a bouncer. Like Yuvraj, it will take a miraculous effort for him to pull his Test career together. But he is a hard-working cricketer so we can hope he will.

Manoj Tiwary is not in the same league yet but can be kept in mind for the future provided he continues churning out big runs in domestic and A level cricket.

For the next 16 months India will play all their Tests in the subcontinent. They may face tough choices with regard to priorities - should they focus on becoming the No. 1 Test side in the world, which is realistic considering India's engagements in this period, or should they try to identify cricketers who are most likely to succeed overseas and give those players enough opportunities to cement their places in the side?

I would go with the latter. India may lose a few games in the bargain but that is a small price to pay for avoiding a 0-8 result in future.

We shall discuss the spin resources in the next column.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (June 28, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

I don't think there's any player in India who can step into Dravid's giant shoes. So, let's not add pressure on the in-coming youngster. Having said that, I think Pujara is definitely cut for bigger things in our senior team. Nohit errrmm...Rohit Sharma has flattered to deceive. Hope Rahane is not getting too engrossed with his IPL exploits and comparisons with Dravid and the subsequent pressure. We have more than a few fine youngsters - Pujara>Rahane>Kohli>Nohit errrmmm..Rohit....

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

Well said Akash.. I feel one can't written off these young cricketers. until they have given enough chance...Off course Dravid ,Sachin, laxman, Ganguly great batsman remember they also came as these cricketers... for ex. Laxman made his debut in 1996 but he is only came to reckoning when we scored 281 against Aussis. even after he was dropped many times from the playing eleven and he wasn't batted at 3 in consistent basis, so Virat, Pujar,Rohit, Rahane etc may fail in couple of innings if you persist with him they defiantly turn it on ... Look at dravid in 99-00 Australian series, 1996-97 tour of SA where first two test matches he did nothing. Give chance and don't expect them to turn the things in one or two test matches

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Nice article, in my view its time we give a fair chance to someone like Pujara because he seems to have the technique& temprament of a no.3 batsman, Virat is the brightest of the current lot, lets not forget Badrinath because he has tons of experience in domestic cricket& is a very hard working cricketer. It is high time to reward Rohit with a test cap& likes of Raina, Rahane should be kept an eye on. We must not forget onething that apart from looking for batsmen we need to look for 2-3 good fast bowlers & some spinners, then only India will be a force to reckon with when we travel overseas.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

Add Mandeep and Ashok Meneria with the list...They may overtake the above mentioned players one day!

Posted by aravabalaji on (June 28, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Why people are always asking Laxman to quit and not talk about the man who is 2 years older than him. These legends should be allowed to take their own decisions and it is expected they would take it sooner.

Posted by aravabalaji on (June 28, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

Rahane is much better batsman than Rohit to be tried in Tests. Let us not carried away by the popularity. Rohit, at best is an exciting ODI/T20 kind of player and at times better than Kohli. It is time Sachin hangs his boot to pave way for the next generation. This will enhance his legendary image.

Posted by SudhirBang on (June 27, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

The roadmap leading to 2015 shld be involving the pool of Shewag+Gauti as regular openers with Ajinkya , SRT/Virat, Laxman/Pujara & Rohit/Manoj as d top 6 followed by Dhoni ,Irfan pathan, Ashwin/Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ishant/Sreeshant....Gudluk India...

Posted by   on (June 27, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Fully agreed with Anand Palwankar. Now there is no point in wasting NZ tour for send off function for VVS. At 39 like Dravid, he himself should announce retirement to make way for Rohit & Pujara. Cse now we have no time left in our hand to keep Rohit / Pujara out of playing 11. If Laxman remains in team, Rohit or Pujara has to sit as 12th man. Really no point. Laxman is not going to play onwards any overseas tour here on. So lets try Rohit & Pujara at right time.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

The mighty WI found themselves nowhere after Lloyed, Richards, Holding, Marshal & co. Till today they are suffering. So BCCI has to make way for Rohit & Pujara immediately. We can say Virat is settled. Sachin is already there. Viru, Gautam, Pujara, Virat, Rohit, MS & 5 bowlers, should be the test team for coming NZ tour. Just follow the example of Allen Border. He took brave decisions and built a fresh world class Aussie team after Lilly, Thompson, Marsh, Chappel & co. Laxman has to make way for Rohit and Pujara. No point in keeping these players out of playing 11 again. Rohit suffered lot in Aussie as in the beggining he was among the runs in 2 practice matches. But after waiting 45 days without a match he lost his form. Let Pujara & Rohit play in funal 11. I am sure India will get nice fruitful result out of it. Laxman played enough cricket. Nothing is wrong for him too to say Good Bye for test cricket. We always salute him for his contribution for Indian Cricket.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

Nice article and nice subject to discuss. First lets talk about Badrinath. It is simply case of bad luck that Badri took birth in the ear of Sachin, Saurabh, Dravid & Laxman. In last dacade no Indian batsmen could make entry in Indian team cse of these 4 mighty batsmen. But you cant blame anybody. There are so many such cases. Badrinath, Amol Muzumdar, Mohd Kaif etc etc. Even Rohit Sharma is somehow on the same path. He started his cr at the age of 20 and now he is 25. He should have his test debue much before but unless the spot gets empty. Now the time has come to take some take nessessory decisions for BCCI. Make way for both Rohit & Pujara immediately. Prepare Pujara for no 3 and Rohit / Virat anywhere in middle. Coming NZ tour will be the perfect platform for these player to settle themseves before big SA tour later. Laxman has to retire as he is 39. No way to waste this NZ tour making send off for Laxman. Otherwise we may suffer in future like WI..... Cont......

Posted by   on (June 27, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Why this talk about batsmen only??? We'll always produce batsmen. Its the bowlers who we have dearth of. Need fast bowlers who can take > 4 wickets per match @ avg. of < 25 runs /wicket. Also need spinners who can flight the ball and bowl out sides on day 4 and 5 of test match. Batting will take care of itself.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 21:01 GMT)

This means we will start 2 miss Rahul after16 months? Good. Akash a well written article,though.

Posted by Nampally on (June 26, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

Aakash, Your article assumes that there will be wholesale change in the Indian team selection for the test matches NOW. But the Indian Selectors have vested interests in the old timers & it will be tough to have such a change overnight. India will have Gambhir, Sehwag, VVS Laxman & Tendulkar still at the top 4 positions. Dhoni & ZAK will be at the 2 botom half. The other 5 spots are only half open. In these spots there are 2 spots for batsmen & 3 for bowlers. The 2 batting spots will be taken up by Kohli & Pujara. The 3 bowling spots will be for 2 seamers + 1 spinner. So that is extent of flexibility that exists. Dravids' replacement will be in form of Kohli & Pujara who are also possible replacement of VVS & Sachin, when they retire. When their retirement occurs, there will be 2 more spots to fill. That is when Rohit Sharma, Tiwary,Rahane, Raina & other batsmen will get their chances.That is my gut feeling. So I think that your article may be "thoughts" 2 years head of the event!

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (June 26, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

"Sadly, in India we seem to act only when inaction ceases to be an option. Now we are compelled to identify talent and give them a long-enough rope"....been there...seen that....nothing ever changes, nothing will change, once in a while we will have a super talent that will shine...not because of the system...but despite it...however, hope springs eternal...:)

Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

any of the three can play in subcontinent. problem comes when we play away from home. i think pujara has temperament and technique for overseas also. And stepping in dravid's shoes is impossible, they can be alternative.

Posted by Pradeeps_Speed on (June 26, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

What about Ajinkya Rahane? A very good talent. Nurture well and you'll have a legend in the making. Rahane is definitely better than most in Tests.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (June 26, 2012, 11:40 GMT)


Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

The only logical people that come into mind are the three mentioned; Virat, Rohit and Pujara. I don't think anyone else is even close to these 3.

Posted by test_cricket_is_real_cricket on (June 26, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

nice analysis... dravid's shoes are indeed too big to fill... pujara seems the best of the current lot...quality player, his playing style resembles dravid in many ways... one of the very few who puts a heavy price on his wicket... with no foreign tours in the near future, a few runs in friendly conditions will definitely boost his confidence... kohli is better off at 5-6 for the time being, allowing him to get well-set before the 2nd new ball... no place for raina in the test team atleast for now... rohit can be tried, but that would have to be at the expense of vvs... and those boots too, are too huge to fill

Posted by Vnott on (June 26, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Virat, Pujara and Badri are the only real options for the test squad. Rohit and Raina shd be left alone. Manoj Tiwary is not ready either. Rahane shd come in for 1-day and t-20 and graduate to tests

Posted by Jack_Tka on (June 26, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

For almost ONE YEAR, India will be playing TEST at homegrounds. I believe during this period, Sehwag & Gambhir would be opening for India. This period could be best utilized for finding no.3 and no.5/6. My concern here is by the time this period ends, Tendulkar & Laxman might retire. So at the end of this period, after more than one year, again a dent would be there to be filled. And if any overseas tour starts after that period, India would be facing a dearth of no.4 and 5 position batsmen. New players must be roped in for atleast 1 match per series for these positions as well.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

another fine article from aakash... amongst those players i thing pujara is far more accomplished as a test batsman..i would have certainly gone for virat since i am a die-hard fan of his game but only for his mentioned style of going too much across while trying to flick or drive through onside makes him susceptible for LBWs...likes of raina,yuraj,rohit seriously dont have the required technique to survive nor they can play waiting game for too long ...another player that comes to mind is rahane who can fill on those big shoes...far more comfortable against short pitch deliveries, has the right technique while playing on the backfoot, rahane makes a good pacakge for test game, manoj tiwari hasn't been tested much, so he needs to be given some chances as well...and really feel sorry for badrinath..have been listening his name for quite a while now but the man has not been tested or trusted in international arena

Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Agree with ProdigyB. V V S is very very finished. Rohit should have debuted at Adelaide. Rohit's offspin is improving so he could come at 6 with Kohli at 5. Really, Pujara is the ONLY choice for no 3 right now. If Kohli is moved from 6 to 3 and starts to fail, it will shake his confidence again just when it is well set. Rahane who averages 64 at no 3 in first-class cricket should have got a mention in this article but he failed 6 times in a row with India A and also failed as an opener in Australia in the other first-class games.

Posted by RISHI2016 on (June 26, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

where was rahane ? to my understanding f a bit of cricket and since all of us are selctors i would go wid following team Rahane, Gambhir, Sachin, Laxman, Sehwag, Kohli , Dhoni, Harrbhajan, Mishra/ojha zaheer and umesh

Posted by ListenToMe on (June 26, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

Even though Rahane is not a middle order bastman, he can be definitely considered at the one down position. As in many occasions, a No: 3 batsman will have to bat as an opener.

Posted by Jack_Tka on (June 26, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

Until and unless the young generation supposedly for TEST cricket is not given an exposure to foreign pitches, this is going to be a difficult task. Virat Kohli has shown the mental strength to blossom in batting lower down the order(no. 5 or 6). Add to that, his strength in playing the old ball and weakness against the new ball, IT would be an UNWISE move to shift him up the order to no. 3. Somebody else, may be Rahane must be groomed for this position, as he's opened the innings and played at no.3 in Ranji also.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

@mensan Matter of sour grapes or pure unadulterated jealousy? Whatever the state of test cricket in India has been in the last 6 months plus, the fact remains that IPL has been successful every edition. Players from all countries with the exception of England revolt against their boards to get a chance to play in the IPL.

Posted by moncho on (June 26, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

india has unlimited number of batting talent at their disposal, but the likes of virat and company need time, but the problem is the moment virat or someone scores a few runs the indian media starts to call them as the new god or new dravid or sachin,come on man what has virat done so far, scoring runs in placid subcontinent pitches is not the yardstick to measure a great batsman, virat is good he has great hunger for big runs but let the guy have some time then hail him as the next GOD

Posted by mensan on (June 26, 2012, 3:51 GMT)

forget tests. just concentrate in IPL.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

keep rotating the prospects, they dont need to play every match, give everyone same amount of time. Puajara should take n0.3 spot. Rohit the 6th. Give manoj tiwary as many chances possible. Raina shouldn't even mentioned for tests. yuvi is done. Should start of thinking Laxman, hope he gets injured otherwise he wont go

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (June 26, 2012, 1:48 GMT)

Question: Who can step into Dravid's giant shoes?

Answer: Nobody.

Posted by nyc_missile on (June 25, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

Excellent analysis;also plz dont forget Rahane;My XI for the home season: Gambhir,Rahane,Gambhir,Kohli,Pujara,Rohit,Sehwag,Saha,Ashwin,Ojha,Yadav, Aaron We need to dump Dhoni from test squad.Gambhir as captain, because his willingness for the job and passion overall,will offset his technical weakness and recent failures overseas (mind you barring Eng & Aus,he did very well in NZ and SA).Saha is more than a capable replacement for Dhoni,the WK.Time not to be greedy and opt for Dhoni's batting at home,which will predictably be better than Saha's.Sehwag's case is marginal as he's been consistently failing for the last 3 yrs overseas AND in all formats even at home.But as 1 last chance given he's younger than Sachin n Laxman,must be rehabbed in the middle order where he might perform better; also can shield & guide the younger talents.The rest of batting Rahane,Kohli,Pujara,Rohit and later-Tiwari over the years will be the core.As for Sachin,time to prep his speeches for RS :)

Posted by avmd on (June 25, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

A delightful article from a man who knows it all, how it feels facing world;s best fast bowlers on non-Indians wickets. Enjoyed, it

Posted by ProdigyA on (June 25, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

I have said this long enough and keep saying it again. VVS is done. Just give him ONE and only one test to bid goodbye. Time to invest in future, while they can bat around Sachin for the next 1-2 years, when i think he will also have to hang up his boots. Raina should also be excluded from Tests, he has been given enough chances.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

how about rahane?? he`s only 24 and averages nearly 64 in 1st class cricket! and showed in this years IPL that he is a class act

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (June 25, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

Akash has posed a rhetorical question -- the only correct answer to that question is nobody. Great players are never replaced. Other great players may come along later, but ones that are deemed great stay just that -- irreplaceable (if such a word exists)

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

I would put: Laxman at no. 3. Sehwag at no. 5 Pujara at no. 6 Rahane to open the batting with Gambhir.

Once Laxman/Tendulkar retire,

1. Gambhir 2. Rahane 3. Pujara 4. Sehwag 5. Kohli 6. Sharma

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

Agreed that S Badrinath is an old horse, but surely he could bring some "technique" to the table while other youngsters to the game learn from him, how to grind it out in the middle. Surely, with the service and talent he has shown in First class cricket, he deserves a chance to showcase what he has at the international level.

Posted by jay_vkjay on (June 25, 2012, 17:13 GMT)


Posted by aravabalaji on (June 25, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

After the forgetable tour to SA, Pujara was in the news in IPL 2011 only for the injury he sustained. After coming out from injury, he did not come up with any noteworthy performance in the Ranji season and he is seen only on the benches in IPL 2012. One fine day, he signed a contract with PMG. And that's it, he was made captain of India A team to WI. Of course, he is a guy with lot of potential and definitely deserve to be in the Indian Test team. But there is a pattern to everything and who controls what is a million dollar question. And who cares for Badrinath, who may go on to score 15000 runs in FC with 50 odd centuries. He is 'untouchable' as far as selection to Indian team. At best, he can be given encomiums such as 'Unsung hero','Fire fighter','Silent hero', etc., from the captain cool. Look there!, David Hussey's test prospects are getting brighter!

Posted by svenkat02 on (June 25, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

@rahulcricket007: We are talking about test cricket here. Yuvraj Singh is a major flop in test cricket, and doesnt have the temperament (and probably technique too) to survive in the tough conditions of test cricket. He is a top LOI player, but as far as tests go, he has been a BIG FLOP!

Posted by left_arm_spin on (June 25, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

why didn't you mentioned the name of robin bist and vinit saxena? both of them are very good batsman and have the temperament to flourish in test cricket .

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

@Ebenesh_RDravid: I guess you have not read last week's column by the same author. Aakash feels, Ajinkya is suited to opening the batting rather than coming one down. Requirements of No 3 batsmen are taking attack to the bowlers in batting friendly conditions and seeing the new ball off without losing wicket in seaming/spinning conditions until the pitch evens out. CP is the best bet for that position and I would not like to promote VK up the order in any case.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

Until india allows their players in county cricket, they can throw anyone in at no3 only to have them fail miserably. They need to learn day in, day out cricket and professionalism. Australia and England have their players in county cricket and they are sitting at the top. There is no way Suresh Raina would have this problem against the short ball or every indian player have a problem against the moving ball if they were playing county.

Posted by theswami on (June 25, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

The Indian team should be Openers: Gambhir, Sehwag Reserve: Abhinav Mukund. Please don't write him off as a failure for one bad tour of WI, he has had plenty successes Middle Order: 3.VVS Laxman 4.Sachin Tendulkar 5. S.Badrinath 6. C.Pujara Reserves: V.Kohli, R.Sharma, M.Tiwari WK M.S.Dhoni Reserve: W.Saha Spin: R.Ashwin Reserve: A.Mishra Pace: Z.Khan U.Yadav P.Kumar Reserves: L.Balaji, V.Aaron,

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (June 25, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

I think Ajinkya Rahane deserves a mention here. Although he failed in the recent India A matches, he does have a very good technique and a temperament to score big hundreds. In my opinion, Cheteshwar Pujara is the best replacement for Dravid at No. 3. Kohli should keep playing at No. 5 or No. 6 for the time being.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 25, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

Mr. Akash if you try to find someone who can replaye the Great Wall then I am afraid you will not find any one. Rohit Sharma has been under the score for way too long ans he has failed outside of India. I don't know if it is worth taking a looka t him again. Instead send the likes of Rahane, Pujara, Tiwary and also Kolhi and Raina to the english counties and let them get the experience that Dravid got playing in England. That will do them a world of good.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

I think Badri should be given an opportunity...he has been a standout performer for TN for many seasons now!!I find no fault in selecting him and giving him an opportunity in the intl arena.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

Dhoni for no 3, no more boring defensive game..... attacking batsman.....Saha for keeper,

Posted by Percy_Fender on (June 25, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

I am disappointed that Akash has not mentioned other names.Mandeep is technically sound and has the taste for big scores.He has a good defence technique and all the strokes as well.He should do well in England.He is a good hooker and puller as well and that should make him comfortable on visits to Australia and South Africa.He is a brilliant fielder.From the looks of it he is not short on guts.The other player who has Sehwag's temperament with a good technique to boot is Suriya Yadav of Mumbai.It may be recalled that when Sehwag played against Australia in the ODI in Bangalore in 2001 or 2002, he batted at no 6 and bowled a lot.But the way he batted is what brought him to notice. Soon after he opened in Sri Lanka and the rest is history.Yadav could be identical because he has the nerveless courage that Viru has and an instinct for counter-attack.It is a pity that they have not brought him in for the 20/20s and the ODI games yet.He is a match winner and will be a good investment.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (June 25, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

From what I have seen, Pujara looks to have a solid technique, and gives the impression that he could succeed at Test level. Kohli has plenty of talent, and whilst Akash has already pointed out the minor technical defects he has, I think he can work through this. None of the other names mentioned in the article (or the comments section) will ever consistently score Test runs outside the Subcontinent, I'm afraid, and this is something that India will have to get used to. India have been spoilt by having a group of spectacular talents playing over a prolonged period, and, like Australia, have let these players go on far too long with no thought of succession planning. The result of this is that the next players in line have been happy to gorge themselves on popgun attacks in domestic cricket, or receive wheelbarrows of cash for scoring 25 off 12 in a 2020 game, meaning that when they do actually get the call to face Morkel and Steyn at the Wanderers, failure will be near inevitable.

Posted by ani6 on (June 25, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

well selectors are boased towards youngsters and tiwary,rohit sharma,rahane have all failed abroad..yet badri is off rador!height of bias!he is the best test player we have and we should definetly give him one chance..dunno wat he done wrong..badrinath is the best person for no.3,pujara for no.4,kohli for no.5,rahane/m.tiwary at no.6..selectors plz think of badri..he is from india..not an alien!!

Posted by kh1902 on (June 25, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

To win test matches, India need fast bowlers, which they've never ever had. The Indian focus on batsmen (in particular one notable one) obscures the biggest problem, being the bowling attack. Alot of teams underperform with the bat - they get bundled out for totals less than 200 but they have the fast bowlers to get them back into the game. India's batting line-up isn't much below international standard but the bowling attack is well below. An objective assessment needs to be made of the entire team, from number 1 through to 11, particularly since the inception of the IPL. I suspect there are some players who perform well in the IPL, but don't have the same interest when playing for India, eg Gambhir, Dhoni, Sehwag. The most alarming result over the last 18 months, was the Indian struggle to beat the West Indies at home - that really shows the problem with attitude within the team, even more than the overseas defeats.

Posted by Nampally on (June 25, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

Aakash, You have identified 3 possible middle order players & 2 others as "May be". But we still do not have named openers because you ruled out Gambhir & Sehwag as openers outside India. So first we need 2 openers if they are not Gambhir & Sehwag. Secondly, Your present question is who will replace Dravid @#3? If VVS Laxman & Tendulkar will continue to play, then VVS bats#3, as he did before Dravid took#3 - having sound technique.Tendulkar will continue at #4. #5 & #6 should go to Pujara & Kohli. This leaves an obvious question what happens to Gambhir & Sehwag if they don't open? My guess is these 2 will still open the innings. So we have the top 4 - still the old guard. Rahane will have to wait for his turn.The last 5 places will be Dhoni + an all rounder + 3 bowlers.That will be the team playing against England this year in Test series in India.Indian selectors will not replace the top 4 overnight. Dravid's role will be taken over by Pujara - only technically perfect youngster!

Posted by Asbah on (June 25, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

I guess there are just two players fit to fill in (partially) Dravid's shoes: 1. C Pujara 2. A Rahane

The other names mentioned in the list are not even fit to qualify for this debate. Kohli lacks technique, Sharma lacks the temperament, Raina and Tiwari lets not waste our time on them (why are they even mentioned here)...

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

Dravid's Giant Shoes? haha - Closelly look at his performance in the last 5-6 years, other than one good series in England (that india lost 4-0) and a few easy ones at home againts nz, he has averaged 25-30 which is not very high. In Australia he was bowled 8 times and south africa he could not cross 50. ANY ONE is good enough to fill up his shoes and I am sure India is going to win more games once all these old greats leave the game. Also, Replace Laxman with Yuvraj, the guy deserves another chance after his heroics in the WC and unfortunate health problems.

Posted by RockcityGuy on (June 25, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

i think ppl like suryakumar yadav and maybe even abhinav mukund should be considered for no. 3...they're really classy batsmen..

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

Success in IPL shouldn't be considered as disinterest for test cricket. Rahane has proved himself at domestic level just like Pujara, though on sub-continent pitches, and should be seen as better prospect than likes of Raina and Badrinath. Virat is already a sure shot starter in playing 11, so if you are discussing who comes into team next, it will be either Pujara or Rohit or Rahane.

Posted by Ebenesh_RDravid on (June 25, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Ajinkya Rahane should be looked. Wonder why none are discussing his name for no.3??!!!

Posted by AbhijeetC on (June 25, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

Where is Ajinkya Rahane?.....of all people, I think the most suitable person to fill Dravid's position is Rahane and Pujara......I am bit sad if you write off Yuvraj....we should not loose a player like him..he is ideal for number 6.....

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (June 25, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

you all need to remember one thing: just becos a player bats defensively he does not become a test prospect

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

since 3rd position very important i would rather have gambhir to bat at no 3 and by this we can groom youngsters since gambhir has shown his maturity he can hold the innings and play something like whr dravid done in past

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (June 25, 2012, 12:38 GMT)


Posted by arup_g on (June 25, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

My choice would be Pujara without any shadow of doubt. Kohli is certainly the best batsman in that list, however I feel he would be suited to more of a number 5-6 role as he possesses the right sort of aggression, and will be able to bat alongside the tailenders in troubled times. Kohli is also the best of the lot against spin bowlers. Just because he bats at 3 in ODIs does not mean he should be there for tests. Take Ganguly for example, 1-3 in ODIs, 5-6 in tests. Laxman sometimes 3 in ODIs but 5-6 in tests. Pujara has the best technique, and is the most Dravid-esq of the 3. Another option is Ajinkya Rahane. Rohit Sharma for me is the future number 4. My top 6 would be Gambhir (c), Rahane, Pujara, Sharma, Kohli and Raina (once he is able to play shorter bowling).

Posted by Ashwintej on (June 25, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

How can we forget Ambati Rayudu frnds.... Unlike some other players who get a chance...he deserves to play... Infact Aakash you have played with Rayudu... so you know him better. Off course stats of Rayudu doesnot sparkle....But he has the technique to play late and adjust to the swing and bounce... Others in the line are Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Pujara and even Badrinath to an extent. Looks like Raina and Manoj Tiwary doesnot have the right techinque to combat in the longer format. Eagerly looking for ur reply Aakash!!!

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

I'm surprised that Ajinkya Rahane's name hasn't popped up here. He and Cheteshwar Pujara are the only ones with even half the technical skills that Dravid had. Kohli / Rohit Sharma etc are replacements for VVS / Sachin, because both of Kohli and Rohit clearly lack the technique. While Kohli has proven he's test temprament, Rohit hasn't proven he's got even ODI temprament.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

Ajinkya Rahane????? technique, patience, age, credentials....... come on lets give these players a chance. Badrinath is also an excellent option..

Posted by guppys_classmate on (June 25, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

Badrinath cannot be ignored.. His stats are more than enough to merit him a place. But the selectors keep ignoring him and if at all they give him a chance, it's like a couple of test here and there...

Posted by A.Ak on (June 25, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

NO ONE. Badrinath could be the best choice, considering his technique and experience.

Posted by dariuscorny on (June 25, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

no one,but still feel Pujara can do the job,if not ignored

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Why such a debate for this position. It is already understood that the best talent available for the vacant spot No.3 is none other than Cheteshwar Pujara. No.4 should be as usual Virat Kohli as he already proved his worth in the team line up. Rohit Sharma has to wait till Laxman announce his retirement from Tests. Since Yuvraj is recuperating after that life threatening disease, he should not forced into the test team, he is best suited in T20's initially and later into ODI's. Some promising other players are also in scene in form Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane. India is playing 10 Tests this season on home ground so this is the best opportunity to try all these youngsters, if they get a chance in playing line up due to some injuries or non availability of senior players. Do not ignore Pujara, he is the best bet for that No.3 position.

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (June 25, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Badrinath is the best person to take on the mantle. Whats the point of Aakash listing out the names of the players that the selectors are already favoring - this article is pointless. Badri is mature, seasoned and experienced and capable.

Posted by indianpunter on (June 25, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Dravid overstayed his welcome, but at least called it quits when he knew that he was not going to make another international run ( 6 bowled dismissals in 4 tests !). I dont understand what VVS is waiting for. Sachin too shoud take one long hard look at himself. If he does not retire from ODIs straight away, he should be summarily dropped. What on earth is he trying to achieve by playing ODI anymore? VVS should not be picked for the home series against NZ so as to let him make some cheap runs against no hopers. We should take the opportunity to blood Pujara and Rohit ( instead of RD and VVS). Tendulkar should retire within 6 months.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (June 25, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

@aryan-is-dravid-fan just becos u lost two test series, it doesnt mean u shud drop every player. Dhoni is one of the best players of the short ball in the world and has plenty of common sense and the safest wk in india.The only thing is sometimes he pokes outside off stump , but he is a genuine fighter and india needs fighters at this stage. Just becos he is unorthodox , it does not mean he is bad. Saha might be good, but msd is excellent. Dhoni is that sort of player whose contributions are not always apparent, but if you take that sort of a player out from the xi, it leaves a big hole and 2 years ago anyways we saw in the test against sa at nagpur how saha struggled against steyn and morkel

Posted by BellCurve on (June 25, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

Since 1990 only five batsmen played Test cricket after turning 40 - Gooch, Stewart, Dave Houghton, Jimmy Cook and Greenidge. Only one Test century was scored by these five players - i.e. Gooch's 210 against NZ at Trentbridge. SRT is currently 39yrs2m old. He is not going to tour South Africa in 2013-14. He will retire in around November 2013 when he is 40yrs7m old. That means an inexperienced batsmen will have to go down to South Africa to face Steyn, Morkel and Philander.

Posted by Naresh28 on (June 25, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

@satishchander - agree but Aakash is advancing in age. He could still play for a few years though. Would be great if he was approached as a coach to train openers. That to me would be the best. BCCI should invest in special services.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

Naresh 28 - height a pre-requisite for facing fast bowlers? you are doing a disservice to Gavaskar, Sachin, GRV mate :)

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (June 25, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

Pujara has to be the one for no.3 position , Kohli can replace sachin when (if) he retires at no.4 , also i would say badarinath should replace laxman who is way past his peak

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (June 25, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

who ever bats at number 3 has to be very much different than Dravid. Or else comparison will come up after every innings and it will be too tough a task to cope-up with.

Dravid was a special player and who ever achieves half of that will be called as Great player

Posted by moBlue on (June 25, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

to all those IND fans huffing-and-puffing when IND was losing tests down under that "rohit should have replaced vvs", i'll let aakash chopra fight the good fight i fought with y'all those days... "The standard of cricket in India's domestic set-up allows him [rohit sharma] to get away with it but the chances of surviving with the same approach in Test cricket are negligible. His talent will ensure the selectors keep him in the scheme of things but he must make radical changes to the way he constructs his innings to warrant a place in the Test side.'' hear, hear! "radical changes", indeed! the dude may be "talented" but boycott's famous grandma would be a better test batsman than rohit sharma with his " [lack of] temperament"... replace VVS?!? especially against AUS?!? what sacrilege!!! even ian chappell fell for the dude's so-called "talent" and harped on how he should have been included... just because a dude looks pretty when he hits a boundary does not make him a good test player...

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

If somebody has to fill in Dravid's shoes, he must be integrity driven, put team before self, challenge before surrender.He alongwith Kumble and Kapil Dev showcased the fact that cricket is a team game. Go back to 1990, when India needed 24 runs to avoid follow on and Kapil hit 4 sixes in a row and exulted not because he could connect 4 shots and the jubiliation was for India avoiding the follow on and Hirwani the last Indian batsmen got out the very next ball. India might produce another Sachin but not likely Rahul Dravid. Giant eddifices are built on strong foundations. There might be scores of batsmen who are more talented than Dravid but put the atributes together and then we will appreciate that India has lost an irreplacable treasure

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

This article just reflects the mindset of selectors and commentators who are hell bent on rohit, raina, kohli and pujara, it is so suprising and shocking to see Badrinath not finding a mention, in a way aakash is undermining himself by not speaking about badri who is a batsman of the aakash school of batsmanshio, is there anyone with better conversion and better average than badri in FC cricket, he was in the team for 5 years but did not get chances, in his debut innings he scored a fine 56 vs steyn , morekel and co, yet was dropped, was taken for the WI tour after a phenomenol year in FC but was not given a chance despite kohli failing in the first two tests, it is so obvious and clear that somebody is stopping his progress, rather than finding the reason and highlighting it aakash has also chosen to ignore him and join the fashionable corus of promoting the cause of rohit, raina, yuvraj, despite innumerable chances and failures, dissapointing to think that this comes from Aakash

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

pujara at no. 3 and virat at no.4 after sachin retirement looks to be best combination

Posted by satish619chandar on (June 25, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

As far Dravid's role, it should be you Mr.Chopra.. As a perfect statesman, team guy and a guy with technique and temperament, i would always prefer you as test captain and at no.3.. Let us keep the replacement for the no.6 slot and soon to be vacated VVS slot.. Please don't ignore my comment..

Posted by Dashgar on (June 25, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Kohli should move to number 3 but I would include Pujara and Sharma at 5 and 6. Laxman's time is up, the team need to move on and give these up and comers a chance to play test matches.

Posted by aryan-is-dravid-fan on (June 25, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

Next article - spin bowling? As good and thought provoking your articles are Aakash, i will be bitterly disappointed if you skip the wicket-keeping position during your discussions. I would have assumed the next logical position to be discussed would be the keeping, going down the batting order. Dhoni by no means has done enough to not consider other options. Will he make it to South Africa is another question. Saha is making a good push with his batting and is a sound wicket keeper. D Karthik should be in the discussion while Partiv Patel should not be. But it would be interesting to see who else may be capable as a keeper coming through.

Posted by 30-30-150 on (June 25, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

Maybe Laxman will bat at No.3 and Pujara, Kohli & Sharma will be in a three-way fight for the 5th and 6th slots. IMO Pujara is better suited for No.3 than Laxman. Lets not forget Yuvraj as well. He's coming back and since we don't have any lefties in the middle-order, he too will have a good chance. His bowling makes him a handy all-rounder. Yeah, as many people have mentioned already, Rahane is also a frontline candidate for the No.3 position. Wonder why Chopra thinks Rahane can only open the innings and not bat at three in Tests. And people, please stop asking Sehwag to bat in the middle-order. We have many young prospects for the middle-order but not enough for the opening slots.

Posted by Naresh28 on (June 25, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

PUJARA - fits the bill to replace Dravid. He is tall and that is a prerequisite with facing pace bowling.He is perfect No3. Kohli could play at no4. Concern is for the openers and pace bowlers. These are hampering India regaining No1. Would say openers expose India very early and thus we always seem to look for a good No3. The likeness of Yuvraj and Rohit Sharma is close - except left/right. I wish both could be in team.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

To all those folks asking about Rahane, please understand this is a 4-part article series, and Akash mentioned in the first article last week that Rahane is an opening option!

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

Badrinath would be the best choice to replace Dravid...He made a very very impressive test debut 2 yrs back against the best bowling attack in the world, Steyn & Co... I simply can't understand why he isn't being given more chances... If he takes Dravid's place, he can provide the much needed solidity to the team which Kohli certainly cant... He can be a readymade player for India and can definitely play for 7 or 8 years...As it is rightly mentioned by Aakash Chopra in this article, Kohli is simply unable to play deliveries with lateral movement... He always tries to play across the line and gets LBW... Hence, he can wait for some more time, improve his defects and come back later... As for Rohit Sharma, his talent is gr8 but consistency is poor... He too can play a few more domestic matches before entering the Test Team...

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (June 25, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

Laxman should be droppd. Sehwag should not bat in the middle order. If he wants to mplay, he should continue as an opener or go home.Cant go to bat in the mniddle order just becauyse your technique is horrible. And without doubt , Rohit Sharma is the only suitable candidate at no.3. Recent wi tour by Ateam has shown how overrated Rahane and Mukund are.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

I find this column to be quite well-balanced and not held back. In India, most former cricketers are scared to talk about the god of cricket - Sachin Tendulkar. I think it's time to let go of Sachin and VVS, if they don't retire they should be dropped, pro-sport is ruthless n India needs to take the bull by it's horns and selectors need to take tough decisions. I like the fact that Aakash has mentioned the short comings of Rohit Sharma, like Yuvraj Singh he will play some great knocks that will awe the audience but most often than not he has been inconsistent at best. It's time for a new middle order for India minus Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar. I think Pujara, Kohli, Rahane and Raina should be tried out.I believe Raina inspite of his technique has got the right temperament for test cricket, he is one player in the Indian set-up who can take the fight to the opposition, selectors should invest in Raina ahead of Rohit Sharma. Remember the 80 odd he made in the test series in England.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

The retirement of Rahul Dravid has indeed left a big hole in that Indian batting line-up. However, whether or not somebody can replace him, its important we find somebody to take up that position ASAP. Virat Kohli is the first person that comes to my mind right now. People say he is too young for the test match arena as of now. But pressumptions can always be misleading and there is completely no harm in testing him out. Pujara could also be a fine prospect and so can Manoj Tiwary. I say the BCCI should test these players ASAP without wasting another second. We may never get another Dravid, but we might as well try our best to match that quality.

Posted by rahulcricindia on (June 25, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

Well done Aakash chopra for this deep and thoughtful insight of our young batman looking to play test cricket. But you missed a very important name there, Ajikya Rahane, who is has a sound technique and better temperament then many our young batsman. As far as Kohli is concerned, even after his successful test series in AUS I still doubt his technique at no.3 and the reason is same as given by you. He is better-of at the same no. that he is right now i.e. 6 as a bit old ball allows him to play steadily and in-accordance to his technique. Pujara is better choice or rather experiment at no.3 for up-coming tests..exciting times ahead!!!

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 7:14 GMT)

Very well written and i think that's the only reason why Dravid retired cz he knew these lads need to get some time before they play outside country and as we know for coming two years or so we'll play Test Cricket in our country only ..so, again Dravid showed why there will be no1 like him..he retired for the Country ..!! Kohli undoubtly is the most promising of them all and i hope he'll do justice to the Dravid decision of retirement but he needs to work with his temperament as you cannot abuse every time you score a ton..have seen GOD scoring 100 tons and Dravid scoring over 50 tons but they never abused anyone like Kohli ..so just a little work with temperament and he'll be new star of Cricket Star..!!

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

why not try VVS Laxman for a few months at No. 3 while the next gen is getting ready...Dravid followed the path and Laxman is a also a genuine No. 3 player

Posted by aashishcalla on (June 25, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

Now since Rahul Dravid isn't there, it does make a lot of sense to have Sehwag bat in the middle order to provide some experience and power. In fact, I'd read somewhere long back that Sehwag has also expressed his desire to bat in the middle order now to prolong his test career. So, probably Gambhir and Rahane must be seen as India's next opening pair, with Pujara at 3, Sachin at 4, Sehwag at 5 and Kohli at 6 (That's assuming Laxman retires in a few matches from now). As for Rohit, I feel he still needs to prove he is temperamentally strong enough to be a part of the starting 11, just playing a few gorgeous strokes and then getting out won't work in test matches. Rahane and Pujara are better bets as of now.

Posted by Pacelikefire_Samrat on (June 25, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

Aakash,with all due respect I dont quite understand as to why Rohit Sharma gets included time and again in the list of most promising youngsters.Consistent Rohit is an oxymoron.Aakash till next year India is not gonna play any test abroad,so even if all 3 of them perform(I expect them to score big runs),it should not be a yardstick to judge them.Kohli is good,so is Pujara,but Rohit even after getting so many opportunities has spurned them all.He plays across his front pad all the time,in the sub continent that might work,but on seaming tracks he would be suscpectible to the incoming delivery and the outswinger would open him up.He also has a problem with his temperment.His hook shot sucks,but time and again he plays it and gets out caught at short mid on.He is a big time player in the IPL and on flat pitches but abroad he is not the replacement to our big 3.I feel Rahane should be tried,he can grind it out and also use the long handle when needed.Rohit is a big no-no.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (June 25, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

First of all this is not the question a writer should ask viewers, it's the duty of selectors to select who is going to replace Dravid. India has lots of time at home to do experiment and find a player. You cannot replace Dravid at all. He was legend and legend don't born every week in any country, it takes centuries for a legend to born in a country. India was lucky to have too many batsmen at one time. It's time to accept the reality and move on that you have to deal with good batsmen not legends and build new team.

Posted by its.rachit on (June 25, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

what about rahane ??? if kohli can bat at 3 so can rahane ...

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

last year against West Indies - Yadav was rested to have look at Varun Aaron then why wasnt a Dravid or Laxman rested for Rahane or Rohit in the final test in mumbai.

Posted by TheOrestes on (June 25, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

Though am no expert, I would prefer Ajinkya Rahane ahead of Rohit Sharma, just for the sake of Temperament & types of strokes he plays :)

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

Akash good take once again... I prefer Pujara should come at No.03, Kohli should play at No.04, Sehwag at No.05 & Rohit at No.06. Rahane should open with Gambhir. Two of top three can play the waiting game, get the shine off and grind opposition before the stroke players. Gambhir should be made captain. I agree Badrinath is way off the radar and if initial investment with Pujara fail, Badrinath should be entrusted till Pujara find his place. One year later,i would prefer ideally to have Y.Pathan, Jadeja, I. Pathan at No.07 spot with Manoj, Raina, Rohit fighting for No.05 spot with Sehwag. Saha c I believe India's lack of 5th bowler is causing continuous breakdown of fast bowlers and their ability to take 10 wickets within 100 overs. Pathan brothers or Jadeja will provide 20 to 25 overs each innings. Irfan has technique & temperament, Yusuf & Jadeia if he can hold off temptations can be far more value against spinners. Saha/ Dhoni can play No.06.

Posted by Maverickism on (June 25, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Somehow Ajinkya Rahane is missing in this List.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Aakash Chopra's advise is sane and well placed . While there is no problem in putting forward his ideas and plans, it is the general trend that there are too many advisors and very few willing to take the plunge of being part of the team that tries to resolve and execute things.It is quite possible that it is difficult to break in to the inner coterie of BCCI. So may be you don't have any other option other than making an impact by coming out with suggestions. There is no point in pointing an accusing finger at senior players. The juniors have been around long enough to get inputs from the. Yuvraj has been around from 2001. Sharme from 2008 , the time he played ODI serios in Australia.They have been given chances and time. May be there is something beyond these to be done

Mohinder Amarnath had a certain take on the selectors when he was a player, now he himself is a selector. It is not as of the selectors have been the subject of all praise from critics and cricket writers.

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (June 25, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Aakash, Good list and good summary of the options available. For the Test series against NZ, I would have the selectors sit down with Sachin and VVS and decide that only 1 of them will be picked (for playing at no. 5). Ideally, if Rahane does well in the next India "A" tour, he could open with Gambhir with Kohli and Pujara at 3 and 4, Sachin or VVS at 5, Sehwag at 6, Dhoni at 7 with 4 bowlers following. I do expect Sehwag to take the position vacated by Sachin when Sachin does retire. I do not expect Sachin to make it to the next overseas Test tour to SA. I think VVS has a chance to make it (depends on his fitness and desire). If Rahane does not do well to justify selection, then Sehwag continues as opener and maybe Rohit Sharma gets his chance. If both Sachin and VVS are available for the home test series against England (and then Australia), we will have to see how well the others (Rahane, Pujara, Rohit Sharma) have done before deciding the squad.

Posted by dhoni_sachin_fan on (June 25, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

how is rahane missing from your list?

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Aakash ChopraClose
Aakash Chopra Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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