October 26, 2012

India's selectors need to take the tough calls now

The team needs fast bowlers, and batsmen who can play fast bowling, and it needs them soon
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Like a rock n' roll festival coming to an end, T20 is winding down and it is time to begin to appreciate symphonies; bhangra will give way to the sitar, and we must learn to acknowledge the nuances of the alaap again, its gentle flow towards a rich end-experience. Eight Test matches between now and March will allow connoisseurs of five-day cricket the joy they believe is interrupted by the loud three-hour version.

And India have much thinking to do. The 0-8 may not have generated the kind of debate, and corrective action, we would have liked, but it cannot be brushed away. Established players are looking vulnerable, outstanding players are experiencing dusk, and the new generation will have graduated from the school of shorter cricket. There is much work to be done and the time has come for selectors, now well paid, to project their vision for the future of Indian cricket.

In an ideal world the new selection committee should sit down to pick two teams: one that will play the first two Tests against England, and another that will take the field in July 2014 in England, or even in November 2014 in Australia. For India to regain the No. 1 slot, both those have to be winning teams. And so if the latter teams have to be competitive, it must influence the way they pick the current team, because some investments made in players, like those made by banks in high-profile corporations, have begun to look poor. Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar are not being sighted any longer, Sreesanth and RP Singh have almost vanished, Amit Mishra and Rahul Sharma are not preferred anymore, No. 6 has been a revolving door, and Abhinav Mukund and M Vijay haven't exactly produced great returns either.

In recent times India have had problems at the top of the order. It would be an interesting exercise, while picking teams, to look at times when India have played well overseas and isolate factors that produced those results. I am fairly certain that such an exercise would throw up the quality of the opening partnership as the lead factor. And so, while India need to win in India, the selectors need to balance that need with getting the best pair ready for 2013 in South Africa and thereafter for New Zealand, England and Australia.

But by picking three openers for the warm-up game against England the selectors have made it clear that they have no pecking order in mind yet. I have never understood picking 14 or 15 players for a tour game. That is not a selection, it is a gathering. Anybody can send out invitations. Picking 12 with two openers is a selection. We don't yet know who the selectors rate after Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.

And yet we must, for while those two are quality players, they haven't been setting grounds on fire lately. Historically they have been India's best opening pair at home (avg 60 v 53 for Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan) and second-best away (42 v 53 again for Gavaskar and Chauhan). But in the last 20-odd months, while they average 52 at home they average 15 overseas (collectively India average 16 from 24 starts). By 2013 both will be a year older, and while you can see the need to play both in Indian conditions, throwing a rookie into the deep end overseas has hardly ever worked.

In an ideal world the new selection committee should sit down to pick two teams: one that will play the first two Tests against England, and another that will take the field in July 2014 in England

While we don't yet know what Sachin Tendulkar (1001 runs in his last 14 Tests at 40) and the selectors are planning for his future (and both must be involved), India need to plan now for life beyond him. If Virat Kohli moves up to No. 4, which seems a stable bet, it means there are two places in the middle order to be filled. Both Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina are very gifted batsmen but are they going to be the men for those positions? Records would suggest otherwise (since 2010, Yuvraj averages 25 in nine innings, Raina 28 from 27), and so if somebody else will be needed to fill those slots, they need to be got ready today.

Like with Tendulkar, India need to start getting prepared for life without Zaheer Khan. He has been magnificent for India but the role of the lead bowler now needs to belong to someone else. We already know that medium pace is as useful in Australia and South Africa as a sailor who cannot swim. And the fact that India are forced to persist with Ishant Sharma (133 wickets from 45 Tests at 37.87) tells you how grim the situation is. Even spin is throwing up skewed figures. Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin are magnificent at home (Ojha 63 wickets in 12 matches, Ashwin 40 in five!) but Ojha hasn't played outside the subcontinent and Ashwin has nine wickets at 62 overseas.

I think, too, that the selectors need to start looking at Mahendra Singh Dhoni's workload. Captaincy and wicketkeeping is a tough combination, which is why there have been so few players who have done both well in the history of the game. And to do it day in day out must be draining. And so, with the next World Twenty20 two years away, is this the time to rest Dhoni from international T20 cricket? I know it is only a couple of games here and there, but it will allow him to put his feet up.

If India have to become No. 1 again, they need to start looking at bowlers who can bowl fast and batsmen who are unafraid of bowlers who can bowl fast. The key people in that search are not so much the coach and the captain as the selectors, and the earlier they start taking hard decisions, the better off everyone will be.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 29, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    time to kick gambhir out from evry format...bcoz its not ipl

  • CricketMaan on October 29, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    So in short change the entire XI coz none are good enough or wont play long enough!! Gosh..

  • SachinM7 on October 29, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Sachin will score tons of runs against ENG and Australia.and he will silence all those critics who have nothing to do..i mean i dont get it.. its like questioning all those fans who hv cheered "Sachin Sachin" an year back when he smashed every bowler in the world cup and before that also...but since then everybody (i mean those who r eager to see him retire) are behind him....i mean i hate those people who even if Sachin scores a ton will say now he should retire..its totally nonsense.. we all should support him and we should keep faith in him.....i know nobody thinks about this while saying negative things about him but its gonna b hard to see team india playing without the batting maestro .. so in my opinion we all should support him and the team india in a positive way..

  • on October 29, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    I think Dhoni should be kept in the T-20 team but dropped from the test team. He is a decent wicket keeper, a very poor batsman when it comes to Test Cricket and is losing his touch as a captain. I think he is a still good enough for shorter formats but selectors need to look beyond him for Tests.

  • on October 29, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    keep rotating the openers. make them feel the heat to perform. Competition between players will get india the results. get rohit in test already

  • Ganes.V on October 29, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Good thoughts. Understood and taken as a reader. But is anyone in the bcci reading this article and thinking on similar lines? Apart from aaron varun and Umesh Yadav have we spotted any bowlers who can bowl fast in indian conditions? and what are they (bcci) going to do with the oldest warhorse? it is time to agree to the faact that he is getting very old and his reflexes are just a shadow of his past! nothing left in him and he should realise it himself abd just leave. we saw him in CLT20 as well ! Time to give Manoj Tiwari a long run in tests too. Rahane was good in his opening slot and Sehwag wants the no4 spot. try it out by opening with rahne and gambhir followed by pujara sehwag kohli tiwari dhoni ashwin ohja zaheer umesh and if this works persist with this or just change the bowlers if required and give the team a longer run to gel together.. Wishing the team all the best for the series

  • Cpt.Meanster on October 28, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    Harsha you are ordering fast bowlers as if ordering food in an Indian restaurant. We all know no matter how hard our fast bowlers try, their shelf lives are a maximum of 2 seasons. Even some of our young U21s and U19s cannot bowler faster than 130 Km/hr. What can we do about that ? The problem lies with our climate and pitch conditions. India is NOT made for fast bowlers. We need more spinners in our armoury. Sadly, even our spinners look mediocre. But there is hope. Our U19 team had 2 good spinners in Baba Aparajith and Harmeet Singh. So who knows ? But still our bowling resources look dry. We will continue to produce batsmen BUT that doesn't win you test matches.

  • on October 28, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Mukund looked like a tailender in England last year - he was an embarrassment as an opener and is clearly not test material.

  • on October 28, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    Rahane, Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Sehwag, Yuvaraj, Dhoni / Saha / Kartik, Irfan, Bhajji / Ashwin, Zaheer, Ojha / Rahul Sharma / M Kartik, Umesh / Varun / Ishant....Under Indian conditions. Irfan would be the 6th batsman who would bowl a few seam-up overs...the actual bowling would have to be between the other 4. Backup batsman - Manoj Tiwary. Sachin should be sent back to play for Sardashram Vidya Mandir....If they feel he has the batting ability to represent them any longer.

  • on October 28, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    This season, as Kohli's place is fixed, we all look forward to see Chateswar Pujara, to fix his place with .Its time to provide Rahane/Mukund few oppertunities.Gifted players lyike Rohit and Raina keep on throwing away their opportunities in test format.Munaf-umesh are the only choice in fast bowling department. UNLESS BCCI prepares good fast bowling wickets,in domestic cricket its hard to expect anything from existing fast bowlers. As this is Sachin's last season, dont disturb him.

  • on October 29, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    time to kick gambhir out from evry format...bcoz its not ipl

  • CricketMaan on October 29, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    So in short change the entire XI coz none are good enough or wont play long enough!! Gosh..

  • SachinM7 on October 29, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Sachin will score tons of runs against ENG and Australia.and he will silence all those critics who have nothing to do..i mean i dont get it.. its like questioning all those fans who hv cheered "Sachin Sachin" an year back when he smashed every bowler in the world cup and before that also...but since then everybody (i mean those who r eager to see him retire) are behind him....i mean i hate those people who even if Sachin scores a ton will say now he should retire..its totally nonsense.. we all should support him and we should keep faith in him.....i know nobody thinks about this while saying negative things about him but its gonna b hard to see team india playing without the batting maestro .. so in my opinion we all should support him and the team india in a positive way..

  • on October 29, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    I think Dhoni should be kept in the T-20 team but dropped from the test team. He is a decent wicket keeper, a very poor batsman when it comes to Test Cricket and is losing his touch as a captain. I think he is a still good enough for shorter formats but selectors need to look beyond him for Tests.

  • on October 29, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    keep rotating the openers. make them feel the heat to perform. Competition between players will get india the results. get rohit in test already

  • Ganes.V on October 29, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Good thoughts. Understood and taken as a reader. But is anyone in the bcci reading this article and thinking on similar lines? Apart from aaron varun and Umesh Yadav have we spotted any bowlers who can bowl fast in indian conditions? and what are they (bcci) going to do with the oldest warhorse? it is time to agree to the faact that he is getting very old and his reflexes are just a shadow of his past! nothing left in him and he should realise it himself abd just leave. we saw him in CLT20 as well ! Time to give Manoj Tiwari a long run in tests too. Rahane was good in his opening slot and Sehwag wants the no4 spot. try it out by opening with rahne and gambhir followed by pujara sehwag kohli tiwari dhoni ashwin ohja zaheer umesh and if this works persist with this or just change the bowlers if required and give the team a longer run to gel together.. Wishing the team all the best for the series

  • Cpt.Meanster on October 28, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    Harsha you are ordering fast bowlers as if ordering food in an Indian restaurant. We all know no matter how hard our fast bowlers try, their shelf lives are a maximum of 2 seasons. Even some of our young U21s and U19s cannot bowler faster than 130 Km/hr. What can we do about that ? The problem lies with our climate and pitch conditions. India is NOT made for fast bowlers. We need more spinners in our armoury. Sadly, even our spinners look mediocre. But there is hope. Our U19 team had 2 good spinners in Baba Aparajith and Harmeet Singh. So who knows ? But still our bowling resources look dry. We will continue to produce batsmen BUT that doesn't win you test matches.

  • on October 28, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Mukund looked like a tailender in England last year - he was an embarrassment as an opener and is clearly not test material.

  • on October 28, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    Rahane, Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Sehwag, Yuvaraj, Dhoni / Saha / Kartik, Irfan, Bhajji / Ashwin, Zaheer, Ojha / Rahul Sharma / M Kartik, Umesh / Varun / Ishant....Under Indian conditions. Irfan would be the 6th batsman who would bowl a few seam-up overs...the actual bowling would have to be between the other 4. Backup batsman - Manoj Tiwary. Sachin should be sent back to play for Sardashram Vidya Mandir....If they feel he has the batting ability to represent them any longer.

  • on October 28, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    This season, as Kohli's place is fixed, we all look forward to see Chateswar Pujara, to fix his place with .Its time to provide Rahane/Mukund few oppertunities.Gifted players lyike Rohit and Raina keep on throwing away their opportunities in test format.Munaf-umesh are the only choice in fast bowling department. UNLESS BCCI prepares good fast bowling wickets,in domestic cricket its hard to expect anything from existing fast bowlers. As this is Sachin's last season, dont disturb him.

  • JigneshB on October 28, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Hi Harsha, Yes its indeed time that the selectors take some tough decisions. But dont you think that Sehwag can be better utilized in the middle order. If Gambhir opens with Rahane then Sehwag can be very useful down the order as once the wicket gets flat he can be dangerous.

  • Al_Bundy1 on October 28, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Completely agree with @Cricketfan101 and @TRAM - Mukund, and to some extent Dhoni, were the only Indian batsmen, besides Dravid, who stood up to English bowlers last year. All other batsmen, including 10dulkar were too happy to return to the pavilion. Kohli did NOT get a chance to play in the test series. If I were a selector, I would drop both Gambhir and Sehwag, and give a chance to Rahane and Mukund. Kohli should bat at #4, instead of easily bowled 10dulkar. In bowling, we need to groom promising fast bowlers like Parvinder Awana and Shami Ahmed.

  • Al_Bundy1 on October 28, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    Sachin is the weakest link in Indian cricket these days. If selectors want to take India #1 team, they should drop Sachin and Viru NOW. That will send a strong message - perform or perish. Fans will notice a sudden improvement in player attitudes - Gambhir will stop poking outside off stump, Zaheer will regain his fitness, and Dhoni will become serious about test cricket!

  • warneneverchuck on October 28, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Sachin will score tons of runs against ENG and Australia. Nobody can write of the greatest batsman of all time

  • dork29 on October 28, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    I thiink the last sentence of Harsga's article is the key. Hard decisions need to be taken. Tendulkar needs to be dropped. He is not the future of Indian cricket - he is the past. Sehwag has to bat at number 4 and Kohli at number three. Gambhir can be persisted with, opening the batting with another opener.Number six is a problem, but Yuvraj should be given a chance.That completes the batting. Zaheer or Umesh, Pathan and probably three spinners for Indian conditions. The search has to be continued for a good fast bowler or even two, for overseas. Umesh needs top take on the mantle of the lead fast bowler in Australia and SA. He is fast, disciplined and most importantly, an excellent athlete. Varun Aaron holds promise. Pathan is the balancing factor. No reasonto panic, but the message has to be clear. Prove to the aspirants that we believe in meritocracy - not reputations.

  • cheguramana on October 28, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Harsha, is there one thing that you have said that has not been said before ? For INdian fans, it seems pretty obvious now that there has been poor succession planning for the Test team. Solutions are obvious, it all depends on the nervous system (brain, spine & nerve) of the selectors.

    Dhoni's case needs special attention. It shows very poor player management skills. BCCI it seems took the approach "flog the winning horse till it breaks down". Dhoni surely had the highest workload among International players in last 5 yrs. Tests, ODIs, T20s (WC,IPL,CL).....phew! No wonder he seems to be mentally exhausted. Hes a natural at the shorter formats, so he shud be relieved of Test Captaincy. His remarks when India were getting hammered in AUS were revealing : when his team was facing a crisis in the series, he was talking abt retiring from Tests by end-2013. It seemed to me, hes mentally given up on Test cricket. Its a gr8 time to rebuild the Test team with a new Captain.

  • jay57870 on October 28, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    Player development is critical to Indian cricket's future. DPD's primary role is to identify, evaluate & oversee the nation's best young players, to advance their development by providing guidance, education & support - from skills to fitness to nutrition to behaviour. This mentoring process continues until a prospect develops into a cricketer ready to play at the proper level - U19, A/B & above. By leveraging coaching/support staff at NCA & other academies, as also regional scouting personnel, DPD is the key person to keep the talent pipeline active & flowing. And prepared to deliver the right players match-ready at the right time at the right place (incl. overseas). Importantly, he acts as liaison with the selectors, team coach & captain. Who better suited to assume this vital DPD role than Sourav Ganguly? To find & develop the next Zaheer, Bhajji, Viru or Yuvi - the very players he groomed as Team India captain! His voice would be essential to making those "tough calls", Harsha!

  • jay57870 on October 28, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Harsha - Yes, India needs fast bowlers & batsmen at the top of the order. And much more. But no concrete solutions are offered. Here's a proposal to consider: Institute a Player Development Programme, as is prevalent in most professional sports (baseball, football, tennis, etc). Example: "The mission of the USTA Player Development Program is to develop world-class American (tennis) players through a clearly defined training structure and competitive pathway as well as through the implementation of a comprehensive coaching philosophy and structure". BCCI's operating structure doesn't spell out such a mission, not even NCA. Former NCA head Anil Kumble described NCA's primary focus is "to identify, groom and train support staff such as coaches, physiotherapists, trainers and analysts so that the player talent at competitive cricket is in good hands". Missing is the vital position of Director of Player Development (DPD). So vital, it needs to be separated from the coaching/support staff.

  • on October 28, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Mukund and Gambhir should open for India with Pujara,Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Raina to follow. Sehwag, Sachin should be straight a way dropped. Zaheer should only be picked up for Test. Umesh Yadav should be Zaheer's partner. If we are playing in India, we should have Ashwin + Ozha + Bhajji and drop Umesh Yadav for Irfan. If India will play overseas, then have drop Umesh Yadav for Irfan and bring Ishant sharma for Ojha.

  • on October 28, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    I see people writing there is not enough young talent in India for Test cricket and also can't find replacement for Sachin!!!

    So funny, I consider people making such comments doesn't know much about Cricket!!

    To know if young Indians got talent or not when did they get a chance at higher level to prove themselves??

    Please remember it's Pujara and Kohli who scored runs and won the games for us in last Test series against NZ, not Sachin, Sehwag or Gambhir!!

    Team selection should be based on current form not on the seniority level!!

    It's really shame Rahane didn't get a chance to play T20 WC at Sri Lanka who was one of the top scorer in IPL 2012.

    Based on seniority sehwag got a chance and you all know what he has done, more over pathan has to open the innings for India!!

  • x_lnc on October 28, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    I would pick Sehwag and Gambhir for only first test based on their performance they may or may not be picked for the second, in case of any replacement i would go with Rahane and Mukund/Vijay, for 1 and 2 positions, 3 Pujara, 4 Sachin 5 Kohli 6 Yuvraj/Raina/Badrinath 7 Dhoni 8 Ashwin 9 Zaheer 10 Umesh 11 Ojha.

  • on October 27, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    None of our fast bowlers have the stamina to bowl fast. All of them sport a small belly. I think we need a panwala at third man.

  • johnathonjosephs on October 27, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    India at Number 1 again? They may have the talent in batting but lack completely in the bowling department. Maybe if Zaheer and Harbhajan were in form, but they aren't and are too old

  • SachinM7 on October 27, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Preserve Sachin Tendulkar for South africa, England and Australia for 2013-2014..His presence would keep the team powerful ..He will surely start playing his part from the this England team..the changes has to be taken in the upper order and lower middle order.. but am sure that the same team would give India the no.1 title as they did 2 years back..we all should keep faith in the batting maestro .. and we shall give all the trust and support to him and the rest of the Team India.

  • BHARATLIFE on October 27, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    @bmike May be not the worst world cup team!!!! But certainly not the strongest!!!!Pakistan had luck in 1992 . India in 1983 had some luck that WI were complacent.Australia 1987, were not really the strongest teami heard !!!Regarding you comments about overseas, India played very well in SA vs SA just before the WC. They thumped NZ in NZ .Played well with WI, SL they made a second home. They did win a series in AUS. Actually the more appropriate argument would be that the other teams have gone weaker and IND also performed better. I should say CWC2011 only 4 teams deserved IND,AUS,SL,SA, SL - had a weak/meek middle order, SA- obvious with spin (+they were a bit lucky with IND and lost to ENG),Of course India had a lot of luck with PAK in 1/2 finals, but the toss up between IND vs SL on paper, you would root for IND SL sans Malinga, Bowling is weaker that IND sans Zaheer.I would say based on the finalist, India deserved it a bit more.

  • Cricketfan101 on October 27, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Mukund showed fighting sprit in England alright he wasn't finding it easy but he tried stick in their where as most others with the expection of Dravid just rolled over and gave away their wicket

  • on October 27, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    My 11 who can save India: amir khan, salman khan, siranjeevi, rajnikanth, Hrithik roshan, deepika padukone, vijay, Mohan lal, anil kapoor, katsina Kaif, and sunny leone. 12th: nagar junta. Coach: Govinda

  • on October 27, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    A good Opinion But They are Legend of the game and I believe they Will Sort out and Will be back in Form The Coming Indian home Series you will see flourish of Scores from all these Indian batsman and All these critics will be gone they are tigers in Indian Conditions

  • TRAM on October 27, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Mukund was the only Indian batsman who *stayed* at the crease for an hour or two almost in every innings in England that too facing new ball. ALL OTHER INDIAN BATSMEN FAILED TO STAY AT THE CREASE. And he is only 19 years old. I have lost whatever good opinion I had on Harsha because of this one bad assessment on the budding talented youngster Mukund. And Harsha conveniently never talks about the treatment meted out to Badri (sacked after just 3 Test innings with one 56 innings against Styn+Morkel). How can I expect any more fair statement from Harsha?

  • Al_Bundy1 on October 27, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    Drop 10dulkar and Sehwag NOW! That will send a clear message to others - perform or perish. You will see a sudden improvement in Gambhir, Zaheer, Dhoni, etc.

  • on October 27, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    y ppl keep blaming t20 for india's test match tragedies is beyond me.... and frankly, a bit irritating...

    'coz our players haven't been doing anything great in the shortest format either.... all indian ipl sides regularly get clobbered in the champions league. our record in the world cups has been abysmal.... even the ones shining within ipl rarely perform against top class internationals and basically feast on the remaining indian offerings in the rival ipl side.....

    the problem is basically a lack of mental strength in the players to play when dragged outside their comfort zone.... so batsmen need flat tracks to play while the bowlers need rank turners to deliver wickets....

    which means no matter what the format we struggle the moment the pitch has something in it for quicks....

    the only solution... kick the wusses out of the side and find some real men who are game for a genuine fight,....

  • on October 27, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    I think India's 15 for the home seriies against Eng should be something like this: 1.Gambhir 2.Rahane 3.Pujara 4.Tendulkar 5.Kohli 6.RG Sharma 7.MS Dhoni 8.R Ashwin 9.U Yadav 10.P Kumar 11.P Ojha 12.Badrinath 13.Harbhajan 14.V Aaron 15.Dhawan

  • on October 27, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Excellent observation sir..considering the present grim scenario, selectors should continue backing Virat as the vice-captain of the team (I was initially against this idea, but times have changed & the boy seems to have the right attitude & mentality to lead the team..I remember the pain in his face when India was losing against Australia in World T20, while other seniors were laughing it off!!). And it will really prove the calibre of this bunch of selectors while they plan the future of Indian cricket sans Sachin & Zaheer.

  • bMike on October 27, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Mr.Bhogle ,We appreciate your great work as a commentator. As all of us saw over last few years India is only good at home & home like Asian conditions. Whatever tough calls are taken results will remain same.The reality is all teams have ups and downs & it's really tough to beat teams anywhere when they are at their peak. Ex:- West Indians in 1975 ,1979, Sri Lanka in 1996 , Australia in 2003, 2007. Anyway 2011 world cup winning Indian team could be beatable anywhere outside India on the same day the final was played. In that sense this is the worst ever world cup winning team since they can only win at adapted home conditions (I guess 1983 world cup winning Indian team is much much better than current Indian team). So dear Bhogle, accept whatever the results you see without taking tough calls that would give you worse outcomes. At least some school level bowlers are scared to hear names of Sehwag and Tendulkar even though they bat as worse as school boys now. Take that as a positive

  • on October 27, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    where is harbhajan singh team india you people always forget legends make more strong team to pick bhajji he is still best spinner in current indian team

  • CanTHeeRava on October 27, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Timely from Harsha. I just want to make one point. Reading Harsha say "While we don't yet know...Sachin Tendulkar (1001 runs in his last 14 Tests at 40) and...his future", for a moment I thought Harsha was referring to Tendulkar's age. He will be 40 come April 2013. Then I checked the link and saw that his batting average off late has been 40. It is ironical how numbers show up in cricket. No other game has this character. All said and done, Tendulkar has to carry on until South Africa 2013 and then he (and only he) can take a call.

  • on October 27, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    @Aakkil, agree 100% with you about the author writing off Mukund and even Vijay. IMHO I am absolutely shocked at your opening line "..the most credible voice of Indian Cricket" after listening and watching the author for more than a decade and reading him for more than 2 decades.. for me he is only a popular cricket presenter/commentator..nothing more..one cannot call him a cricket expert..he's only a good 'general cricket presenter'..it's a total disrespect to all those great Indian cricket experts and voices when we call such people as voice of Indian cricket..

  • Leggie on October 27, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    True Vijay & Mukund didn't succeed in WI. But then it's not that they don't have the talent. When someone is trying to establish in the side, it could well be that they go through nerves and in the process may lose some confidence & form as well when they fail. I'm sure this is what happened to Vijay in WI and he *MUST* have been rested after the first 2 tests in WI. Somewhat similar was the case with Dravid/Laxman in Australia where they were failing and by no means looked liked getting runs in the last 2 tests. By allowing players to play the entire series despite their lack of form/confidence has truly hurt Indian cricket and this Dhoni/Fletcher combination is what the real culprit is. Sehwag/Gambhir need a break as well & it's no use that they boast of a 50+ average as openers. Sehwag can fit in the middle order and Gambhir has to give way to either Rahane or Mukund or Vijay. This team needs some management shake-up.

  • bipulkumar on October 27, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    People talk about openers as if they are a different breed. As soon as you send an opener in the middle order they will fail to hold the bat and a middle order batsman once promoted to open will suddenly become an amateur club cricketer. I have heard this absurdity life long and no clue what's the basis of it. The differences for openers are (1) He will face swing for at least 10 overs. (2) He will get many partners to bat with so he should be capable of playing long innings (3) He will set the tone for others so he must be a good player. If anyone satisfies above criteria he can open. Best person to open for India has been Sachin. He did it very successfully in ODI but to my great surprise he never did in Tests. Big absurdity. Now it's too late.

  • on October 27, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    I always like Harsha Bhogle's articles. But not this one. Too many questions and no answers. I think most of Indian knows what is required to succeed abroad. Fast bowlers and batsmen who can play fast bowlers. Nothing new here. But when old/new everyone has failed at this, how are we supposed to magically find people who won't fail in the future. Harsha: You have told us that who all are not going to work; but any ideas on who will ?

  • khankijaan on October 27, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    (from a Pakistani fan)..,to me,that indian bowling attack in their last tour of Aus was the best,with ishant and yadav bowling consistently over 140 kph and ZAK moving the ball both-ways...though india lost the test series 4-0 but it was more their batting failure than their bowling(apart from couple of innings ,where clark and punter smacked the bowlers all-around the park)....india should have continued with that pace attack ,,it was without any doubt their fastest ever pace-attack,,,i remember ishant and yadav clocked 150 kph couple of times in that series...with so much potential and still neglected in the later series(Wt20 ),it won't do any good to their future...both of them need some polishing..they can be right-up in the list of best pace-men of the current era..,and Sachin u r 1 of the best batsmen of all-times (in odi and tests)if not "THE best", plz dont put urself to the mercy of selectors..u deserve to retire on a high .....

  • Percy_Fender on October 27, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    and maybe a bit of practice there will make them more confident. But the most important thing for Unmukht,Rahane,Mukund and Dhawan to do is to practice hours and days to tighten their defending technique of either foor if they want to make a mark on foriegn trips.The selectors should give a high emphasis on mental toughness.Rohit Sharma for all his silkiness just does'nt qualify in my book.Suriyakumar Yadav,Mandeep Singh, Rayadu,Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Menaria from all accounts appear to be tough mentally. They need to hone their defensive skills under someone like Dravid who is more recent to playing conditions..That will take them far.In bowling, it seems to me that both Ishant and Umesh have come on a lot. Shami Ahmed, Bhuvaneshwar,Awana and Abu Nechim look good for the future. I hope Dawes is a good communicator. But Shaun Pollock is my choice for bowling coach. Zaheer should retire after the England and Australia tours. Sachin will retire even before England come I think.

  • Percy_Fender on October 27, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    A timely piece from Harsha indeed. With new selectors there are bound to be expectations. And in the two selections they have made, there is reason to believe that they will think in a way different to Srikanth and Co. In asking Pujara and Dhawan to play for Mumbai, they have broken time bound and often silly traditions. Then they have selected a little known leg spinner over so many others. I am sure Sandip Patil and co have not done it to placate Michael Vaughn. He could start sowing the seeds of doubt in the cocky Englishmen. The other thing is that Sehwag and Gambhir will in all probability succeed in India against both Australia and England. That will make certain that other options are not considered. With tours to South Africa and Australia/England coming up, as Harsh says, the openers have to be very very good. Rahane is a good hooker and puller just as Dhawan is.Then again these shots on Indian wickets may be different in execution than on Aussie and South African pitches.....

  • vpk23 on October 27, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Lets hope the selectors think alike...And most importantly get the JOB DONE!! That's it friends - Their Job Done...Rest left to the Coaches & Players to EXECUTE...

  • on October 27, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    * Read as 1 yr 11 months back instead of 11 months.....

  • on October 27, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    @ the_blue_android

    Almost 11 months back Viru Scored 173 in India. He averages nearly 64 in sub- continent regarding tests for the past 2 years ( 1 nov 2010- oct 2010 ). Agreed his performances in overseas for last 2 yrs not up to mark. Sensible Persons will say that Viru should open in Asian pitches and if required he should bat at 3 or 5 or 6 in Overseas conditions in future.

  • the_blue_android on October 27, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    When was the last time Sehwag played a decent innings? 3-4 years ago? It happens only in India! Gambhir will never be a decent test player till he stops trying those dabs to third man for singles in test matches. He will fail every time he goes out of India. Can't believe a smart man like him cannot resist playing those shots in swinging seaming conditions.

  • aakkil on October 27, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    it hurts when it comes from the most credible voice of indian cricket. He is writing off mukund and vijay, ok with vijay he got enough oppertunity to prove . Mukund got chances in WI and ENGLAND in toughest of all conditions, dravid himself admitted the pitches in wi last time was the toughest he played in wi. Plz let mukund to get his act together, remember gambir got his chances to cement his place in bangladesh. So let the youngster play some cricket bofore you write them off.

  • on October 27, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Change the captain first. Since the 2011 wc, India has been on a rapid downward spiral. They struggled in WI, lost to Eng and Aus. Lost ODIs too. Did not make it to the tri series final. Struggled to beat NZ in India. Lost in the wt20. AND no talent seems to be coming through. The body language of Dhoni, Gambir, Shewag, Rohit Sharma indicates lack of hunger. There is even arrogance in some of these. Kohli, Yuvraj, Irfan, Raina, Tiwary, Yadav alone seem to have pride. What the heck is Fletcher upto? Aswin and Ojha can't bowl well and why is Munaf, Uthappa, Rahane, Badrinath not given the right chances? People like Ishanth, dinesh karthik, Murali karthik are selected for wrong formats. Vijay, mukund, Saurabh Tiwary, Dinka, Vinay, Rahul Sharma, Ojha, misra, Dhawan, piyush all seem overated and don't belong at international level. Uthappa, Yusuf, rayuduor, bisla, nee chances in correct format. Jadeja can play book cricket.

  • BHARATLIFE on October 27, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    India become No.1 in test because of our No.1 and 2, see how the team faltered without them.... They are great batsmen. They should have who ever not performing consistantly kicked out of the team

  • rosh280 on October 27, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    It is really surprising to see some players are really neglected even after performing well in the foreign tour of india A in new zealand and westindies. We really have to appreciate the fact that few players performed well like mandeep singh, ashok menaria. ashok menaria got the nod what about mandeep singh similarly rahul sharma, vinay kumar, shami ahmed, jalaj saxena, b kumar bowled well and got wickets but rahul sharma, shami ahmed, jalaj saxena, b kumar are not into the frame. It really weakens the players shikhar dawan was really a failure overseas match. he got into India A. They have to give chances to players like rahul sharma, shami ahmed, jalaj saxena, b kumar. samad fallah bowled exceptionally well in ranji and some first class matches he is not getting any exposure. similarly makvana and deepak chahar are not into the side. any way anustup majumdar got into the side bz of his performance in newzealand and duleep. lets hope for better

  • Biggus on October 27, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    @Gizza-Our Australian pitches are not so soul destroying for spinners as yours are for quicks. Take for example the WACA, generally considered a graveyard for spinners. I've bowled on it as an offie at it's quickest in the late 1970s and I think it's a great place to bowl spin, despite it's reputation. You won't spin it square but you get heaps of bounce and if you can adapt to that you will be rewarded. It's even better for a leggie. You don't really need to be able to turn it square to succeed as a tweaker as long as you are somewhat of a master of flight, but if you struggle to get it above stump height as a quick without banging it in half way down the wicket then the writing is really on the wall and it's not really worth the effort. If it's not the wickets then what is it? I've seen plenty of Indians that would tower above Harold Larwood or Malcolm Marshall so it can't be lack of physique. I wouldn't bother trying to bowl quick if I had to spend much of my time on them.

  • on October 27, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    India with Dravid & Laxman had to fight hard to win a test series in India vs a much weakened West Indies team without their better batsmen & with Sammy in a 4 man attack. In fact they conceded 1st innings points twice in a 3 test series. Unless the curators accede to Dhoni's wishes & prepare very spin friendly pitches it is not far fetched that India will lose @ home. England has a much stronger bowling & batting unit than we had last year & Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar r out of form while Laxman & Dravid have retired. many of India's key players have been playing hit & giggle cricket for a prolonged period instead of resting & preparing for the real test to come as well as KP is @ his best for England when he has an ax to grind or a point to prove & I think he will do very well in this series.

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on October 27, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    The fundamental issue the selectors need to focus on is to create a different pool of players for the 3 formats. England, Australia, Srilanka and even Pakistan have adopted that policy. Why is India dawdling with MSD captaining all 3 formats and Zaheer Khan playing T20 for god's sake!! Appoint different captains and select different teams. Since the ICC is not going to do anything about managing the calendar more wisely, its going to be impossible for players (especially fast bowlers) to remain fit and healthy while playing all 3 formats. The Indian players seem to have the license to cherry pick the series and formats they want to play in..its backwards.

  • Roaring_Panther on October 27, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Why has there been no mention of an ideal Number-3 ? Great, Great shoes to be filled !!

  • on October 27, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    India's problems are not that our players can't cope to foreign conditions, but that they are not allowed to. Let's be honest, we cannot create pitches like those in SA, Australia and Endand, because we are somewhere else geographically and our climatic conditions are not anywhere near theirs. Just allow our players to play enough first class cricket in India and enough county cricket before they are ready for the international stage.Let's be honest with ourselves, Cricketers develop significantly till the age of 24-25, develop slowly till 28-29, peak at 28-32 and then decline. Boys today are thrown into the limelight at the age of 18 or 20. Most get so overwhelmed by the sheer charisma of the new found life that they are lost in the same sooner than later. Wait till they are old enough for the international game (you can't make Sachin Tendulkars by numbers) and see to it that they have enough first class experience in foreign conditions before the weight is placed on their shoulders..

  • on October 27, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    y shouldn't we try Baba Aparajith n Unmukh chand??....enough of gambhirs n sehwags ...they are just living in past glories which were evident from their recent articles ...

  • Raj12345 on October 27, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    On what basis this article rating Yuvi & Raina are great test material. They never be test material in future. Simply they are denying others opportunities like Badri, Tiwary & Rahane. How can you say Vijay, Mukund performance, they have not played not even 10 tests. Also, Dhawan not given chance at all. Just removing Shewag & Gambhir - we get chance to see other openers. Why not Chand given chance. Why do we need to think only Sachin deserved to play at 16.

  • Nathan_R_Patrick on October 27, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    frankly speaking our fast bowlers (if we have any), should only live and play overseas. Indian weather and wickets are not designed for them. Ishant is a great example of having a stellar season in australia and miserably failing right after that. Emerging players take the easier route to towards success. Because indian culture only values success in terms of money and fame. And no one wants to fail. Ishant and some of his fast-bowling counterparts must be completely reassessing their future now and sadly, have no other skills to contribute differently. That's what happens with fast bowler in india. It is a toughest job. Becoming a batsman is easy. You just have to have enough financial backing to buy a kit. To be a fast bowler, you need a strong frame (backbone, legs, arms, shoulder) which you have to be born with. Batsmen of all frames can be successful. Fast bowlers have to be huge and intimidating to be successful. Look at Agarkar. He was reasonably successful but no one feared him

  • Gizza on October 27, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    @Biggus, the pitches can't be the reason why fast bowlers aren't produced in India. Otherwise Pakistan should also have had little fast bowling talent but that's obviously not true. Also great spinners have emerged in countries where there was little in the pitch for them like Warne. Having said that having a variety of pitches in the first-class system would benefits most countries.

  • CricketChat on October 27, 2012, 0:12 GMT

    Harsha, You conveniently sit on the fence when it comes to discussing SRT's fate while writing impartial, performance based analysis on other cricketers whether they are from India or outside. At the minimum, Sachin, Shewag, Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbhajan should not be in Ind team based on their performance and impact in the last 2 yrs. Until Ind comes to terms with this reality and promotes new talent, nothing will change for Ind team's fortunes.

  • WC2011Champs on October 26, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    This is it. The 8 Tests will decide the future of test cricket in India. Sachin is definitely retiring during this period. If Gambhir and Sehwag do not perform it's over for India. These two have to reemerge and be determined to play out 53 overs (not mere avg 53 runs) against the same bowlers Anderson, Broad, Finn, Patterson, Cummins, Hilfy and Siddle. The results will be decided by Sehwag and Gambhir vs them. If Sehwag fails drop him to number 6 and bring in Rahane to open. If Sachin fails then let Pujara and Kohli be number 3 and 4 respectively. Rahane, Pujara, Kohli are the future of test team and must be treated like that. This is their time to dictate terms with bowlers above - a golden opportunity to set out new rivalry at home.

  • Nampally on October 26, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    @Capt.Meanster: Your logic of calling India as "Underdogs" is baseless. You are welcome to express your opinion but asking the Rest of the Indian Fans to accept it defies logic. Even England knows that it is not a child's play to beat India on the Indian soil. England were beaten 4-0, in the ODI series in India just after India were whitewashed in England. That is enough evidence to see what each team can do under the home conditions.India has good seamers in ZAK/Pathan,Yadev, Ishant and good spinners in Ashwin, Ojha, Yuvraj, M.Kartik/R.Sharma. Indian batting, even with out of form Sehwag, Gambhir & SRT in the XI, has sufficient strength in Kohli, Pujara, Dhoni, Yuvraj & Raina to match the England seamers. Remember Sehwag, Gambhir & SRT are awaiting the chance to reverse their performance from their last England Tour.I expect them to be charged up & challenge them to show up - & they Will.I expect Indian series victory by to 2-0. England even with KP & Bell will not cope spinners.

  • on October 26, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    I fear for India in Test cricket. There is very little new talent around.

  • Chris_P on October 26, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster. India underdogs at home against England? Surely that was a tongue in cheek comment. There wouldn't be a genuine English supporter who would think that, nor any true cricket follower. Could England win? Possibly, but to the eyes of most, it would be a huge upset. Same for Australia as well.

  • FRRR on October 26, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    India can win if they keep tendulkar, sehwag in the pavilion.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on October 26, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    Yes yes - India have no bowler it is very evident. Bhogle say so that make it official. They have no fielder either and on last count they only have one batsman (Kohli). England may have "weakness against quality spin" - but India have no quality spin, so there is nothing for England to fear in India this time except maybe the umpiring....

  • on October 26, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Selectors should look at U19 team that won the world cup recently, to find suitable replacements in the senior team. Unmukt Chand, Baba Aparajit and Sandeep Sharma showed excellent temperment in adverse conditions. India will be wise to invest in young talent like that. Fast bowlers were always hard to find in India, but not imposible. Please dont insult the avid followers of the game by giving away Indian caps to peole like Vinay Kumar & RP Singh. They never had it in them to make it in big league. What is happening at MRF pace academy? No new talent on the horizon?

  • Cpt.Meanster on October 26, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    We are the UNDERDOGS. This Indian test team is inexperienced and green. We need to accept the title of underdogs with grace and humility. England are the FAVOURITES here. We have a tall order to climb. India as a test team are underdogs. I have already come to terms with it. It's time all of India accepts the weakness of India in the oldest form of the game. Subcontinent or not, we are the underdogs. So I humbly ask every Indian fan to accept whatever result comes their way. England looking good and strong.

  • on October 26, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    please stop criticising ishant sharma india has over bowled him just compare finn and ishant both has age gap of 105 days but ishant played 45 tests and finn 16 tests.what zaheer has done in early days of his career after all. dont worry ishant will pick up soon as he is one of those who give every thing and talent bowler for india right now

  • PPD123 on October 26, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    Valid points Harsha especially around the need for fast bowlers. Even thought majority of the wkts in India are slow and low, we still have the Mohali/Chinnaswamy and Dharamshala wkts which have decent pace and carry.I said this earlier, the BCCI will need to invest in 12-15 youngster in the age group of 14-18 yrs and keep them in an academy, hire people like Akram/Waqar and let them train under their tetulage. They need to be sponsored for trips to Aus, NZ and Eng to learn and hone their skills there. The BCCI should also help enlist them in the County A div. to ensure they play a good level of cricket and then bring them into the national side when they are 21-22 yrs

  • afzalhyderabadi on October 26, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    I think the Indian team selectors should take a tough call and drop Dhoni from the test side with immediate effect and include the well deserving and enthusiastic wriddiman saha into the test team, he is far far better than dhoni with his batting in test and off course athletic wicket keeping. And hand over the test captaincy to a person who is more experienced than dhoni, may be ghambir or yuvi.

  • Unmesh_cric on October 26, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    Rohit Sharma should play in Tests. His first class record is very good (average of around 60), which means he has what it takes for the longer format. Selectors get confused between ODIs and Tests. Sharma is not very good in ODIs. He does not give himself time to settle down initially in ODIs and that's when he is most vulnerable. In Tests, he can take his own time to settle down.

  • NewYorkCricket on October 26, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    Will never happen Harsha, unless you are taking over the BCCI!!

  • Biggus on October 26, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    Expecting to have fast bowlers on Indian pitches is a bit like trying to grow flowers on a tar road. Even if you manage to germinate one it will wilt and die soon enough. Spending half their careers bowling on those dustbowls would destroy anyone. Why bother with the gruelling business of quick bowling when you can waddle in and chuck offies down for a mere fraction of the effort. You all know deep down it's the pitches that are to blame, and until they're remedied all of this fast bowler talk is pantomime.

  • luks on October 26, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Why don't the selectors simply ask Dhoni if he wants to play Tests? He himself has said that he does not want to play Tests beyond 2013. I think he only wants to play in the subcontinent and in limited overs, because he knows he does not have the batting or captaincy for tests outside India. Batting and captaincy in Tests at home is easy for him. But, he is not interested in overseas Test tours.

  • on October 26, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Inside Hedge: Have u ever been in Sachin Shoes to knwo what u r talking about or have the lisghtest experience. U can swing from the fence buddy..

  • StatisticsRocks on October 26, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Continuing my post: Eng has the best chance of wiining in India for the first time. If they are not able to win this series then I think ENG should take a hard look at their team and players. I expect KP, Cook, Bell, and Trott to make merry with the bat. I am sure ENG bowlers will go all out against the clueless Indian batsmen with a barrage of short pitched bowling. But we will still continue to watch as we are Indians.

  • StatisticsRocks on October 26, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    Even an ordinary fan like me understands the dire situation that India is in and it is time for a major shakeup. Unfortunately in our country, where we like to live in the glory of yester years and stardom, it's not going to happen. So ordinary fans like me will have to suffer in agony. The worst part is how arrogant some of the current Indian players are as if they have conquered Mt. Everest. No one in the selection committee has the guts to drop Sachin, Sehwag, and some of the other star players who have been miserable in the last 2 or 3 series. Don't get me wrong Sachin is the darling of India but his time has come and why is he adamant on continuing to play is beyond me. Look we need to start the rebuilding process now even if it means losing to ENG at home, which is looking like a great possibility for the reason Harsha has mentioned. I am not sure How v r going to take 20 wickets even at home. No good fast bowler, no quality spiinner and now no batsmen is in form except Kohli.

  • wolf777 on October 26, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    The position of 6th batsman should be eliminated and instead that spot should go to an allrounder like Irfan Pathan. Most of the time when top 5 batsmen fail, the 6th batsman does not score much either. On the other hand India has difficulties mopping up the tail after initial strikes. An allrounder like Irfan Pathan could help keep fast bowlers fresh to mop up the tail by sharing bowling duties and at the same time is well capable of taking few wickets. Suresh Raina is a good ODI batsman; however, in Test Match his short ball problem is a liability.

  • on October 26, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Indian will thrash England in the upcoming HOME series and then everyone will forget everything and there would be praises , praises and more praises :-)

  • Ali_Chaudhary on October 26, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    What should selectors do? India hasnt produced a fast bowler and likly wont produce in future. BCCI may try cloning with Ambros, McGrath to produce fast bowler. They might get a good news.

  • InsideHedge on October 26, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    I disagree with Harsha when he writes that Zaheer has been MAGNIFICENT. It shows the poor quality of our seamers that Zaheer, a man that has rarely performed on overseas tours, is labelled as one of our best. The same was said of Srinath, a ghastly and vastly overated "fast" bowler.

    Off the top of my head, I can count one Eng tour, TWO SA tours, ONE Oz tour and ONE SL tour where Zaheer has BROKEN DOWN. And when he has finally played a full overseas tour, like the last Oz tour, he's been dismal. Apart from the 2007 tour to England, he hasn't delivered outside India, Zaheer looks good but when you are comparing against Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar, who doesn't?

    The "quality" of our quick bowling stocks leaves me in shudders.

  • InsideHedge on October 26, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    SRT should bat at #6 or even OPEN if he is to remain in the Test team. He hasn't justified his #4 spot for many years now, at no time in his career has this man ever been willing to change his batting position to aid the team's balance. This kind of dictatorship needs to STOP immediately.

  • InsideHedge on October 26, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    Why can't Tendulkar be forced to bat at #6 in the upcoming England series? He does NOT have a God given right to the #4 spot UNTIL he decides to retire. And, frankly speaking, he does NOT have a right to decide when he should leave the Test team either.

  • RK.Chandru on October 26, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    "While we don't yet know what Sachin Tendulkar (1001 runs in his last 14 Tests at 40) and the selectors are planning for his future (and both must be involved), ..." heck! What nonsense!! Why treat him as if he's above all? What does the author mean by saying, "both must be involved". Do they selectors drop or pick any other player after consulting him? As much as Indian cricket has benefitted from him, he too was benefitted playing cricket for a cricket crazy nation. He's what he's today only because he played cricket for India and cricket would have still survived and would have found another hero. Let the media treat him like any other cricketer and not advise how selectors should treat him.

  • ProdigyA on October 26, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    Problems...Problems...Problems..We all know the issues Harsha. What we need is solutions. India is gifted with so much batting talent that other countries would chop their ears off for some of this. All we need to do take some bold decisions. No guts no glory.

  • jb633 on October 26, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    Agree with many comments on here criticising the article for not providing a solution. I agree with Naresh28 with regards to establishing an academy that is free from T20 cricket. As an English fan I think there should be more tours to India and Sri Lanka at a younger age, which will help our batsmen learn how to play spin. The IPL is really preventing India from improving. The huge wages many of the players are on means their is no incentive for them to go and play domestic cricket overseas. If you look at the decade of 2000-2010 just look at the Indian players in the F/C circuit.Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Zaheer, Murali Khartik, Kumble even Sachin played for Yorkshire in the 90's. The time overseas surely helped these players develop their abilities in alien conditions. With the IPL though I am sure players like Dhoni, Ghambir and Raina will not see the need to play abroad as the financial incentives will not compare to playing in the IPL. This is detrimental to Inida nationally.

  • on October 26, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    i think we have tried almost all the current players exept few like awana,and none of them shows any promising talent so better pick some 5 or odd players from the junoir under 19 who won it in AUSTRALIA if we get 2 out of that 5 we could say our gambling payed well in that process we might lose few tests but im sure its going to pay offf.

  • FoollyFedUp on October 26, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Harsha : Please spell out the names, instead of shadow boxing your way through. Show some courage of conviction, instead of diplomacy. We are fed up of general prescriptions.

  • banglafan on October 26, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    The frailty of the Indian batting line-up and toothlessness of the bowling has ben brutally exposed in the CLT20. Even Gavaskar was forced to hint that Sachin was past his prime, as he was getting out clean bowled repeatedly. Even a new Santa Banta Singh has started making the rounds, that IPL teams lost because they were allowed only 4 foreign players, while the other teams had 11 foreign players !

  • Sri.Smiles on October 26, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @farce folllower - Which world do you inhabit? are you an Indian or are you an english fan / neutral wanting to be conservative about England's chances? Even before the tests start you talk of doctored pitches, no UDRS favorable crowds. do you mean to say that all any team needs is for favorable crowds to turn up to win? If you are an english fan, if england does not win 2-0 against India now with only people not even worthy of T-20 playing for India according to you, you should be ashamed of England. If you are an indian, you should be happy if with such a team India draw or win the series or lose 1-0.

  • on October 26, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    If he can care little bit more in batting, Bhuvneshwar Kumar can do an all rounder role. He did well in New Zealand Tour and in IPL with bowl. But in batting little bit down and also not a fast bowler even though Baba Aparajith need to get chance in team as an all rounder.

  • on October 26, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Frankly speaking , this is the 1st Article in which Harsha sounded defensive and it's not a good state for Indian Cricket. As such, we don't want to say that Yuvraj, Raina are good to play only in India, Sachin can't be the same again, Murali Vijay who would have been otherwise an excellent openign Batsman in Test Cricket but for T20. Some how, like in all other aspects in our country--people seem to be much larger than their respective fields and Cricket is no exception. A player's 100 always gets more prominence than the team's show. Let us pray that we get another Dravid and VVS from this same old system and scheme of things

  • Sri.Smiles on October 26, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    I did not realize that Sachin, Rahul, Sunil, Yadav, Aaron, Dhoni etc were born in England/OZ and migrated to India after 18 years. :-) Why would quick pitches be essential to produce fast bowlers and batsmen unafraid of pace bowling.

    Quick pitches would be an additional help. The main thing needed is talent allied with mental strength and thats what India is short of in this period.

  • vakkaraju on October 26, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    One of the solutions has to look at faster pitches at home, so the players can get exposed to the kind of conditions that they will encounter abroad. This includes the home series. There is a tendency to prepare "Turners" to keep winning at home. This always has kept the history repeating itself. Let our fast bowlers get used to some pacy conditions and our batsmen face some chin music on a routine basis. Given support and encouragement the TEAM INDIA will come through.

  • rosh280 on October 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    If someone looks at ranji performances we have had great talents in stock. we have makvana, b mohanty, manish pandey, saurabh tiwary, ishant jaggi, samad fallah, jalaj saxena, bhuvanesh kumar, sunny singh all are performing well still they did nt get enough exposure in international cricket. Anustup majumdar can be really handy in oneday and 20-20 format if he shows his skills in bowling. one time it looked like salim malik bowling from one side he has the same actions and variations in his bowling. it is a great sign from any bowler. bowlers from under 19 like kamal passi, ravikant sinha, sandeep sharma are also great fastbowlers if they had been given international matches we could identify their skills. it is the tough decision from the board only will give great victories in future. we really have great openers in our side . my view is that we could use murali vijay and cheteswar pujara as the openers in matches at present juncture rather than trying any one for the timebeing.

  • Nampally on October 26, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Harsha, I think T 20 Bhangra should give way to Bharat Natyam !. India needs a disciplined team with individuals whose batting technique & defence is sound + immense patience. While you mentioned various names, you forgot one prime batsmen - C.Pujara. The nucleaus of the Indian batting will be built around Pujara & Kohli. India badly needs New opening batsmen from Rahane,Dhawan, Vijay & Mukund. Raina & Yuvraj are the right guys for #6 spot- of course depending upon Yuvraj's health. Tiwary, Chand & Rohit, Mandeep are others for consideration. Saha is a good WK/Batman.However the bowlers pose the biggest challenge.India needs U.Yadev & Aaron to lead along with Ishant Sharma & Agarkar. They need 3 other quality seamers. In spin Ashwin & Ojha are just average. Consistent benching of Rahul Sharma has deprived India developing of a leg spinner. Negi, Abdullah, Harmeet, Aparajith need development into Test class. Days of ZAK & Sachin are over! Also 3 captains for 3 formats urgently needed.

  • SoverBerry2 on October 26, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    Without Green pitches to play, how can anyone produce "bowlers who can bowl fast and batsmen who are unafraid of bowlers who can bowl fast". What happened to Harsha Bhogle?

  • FRRR on October 26, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    Tendulkar should retire, he is old and frail. Zaheer is the only bowler who can bowl medium pace and take a few wickets. Fast bowlers are not coming in Indian team, so stop dreaming about them. Kohli is the future, He should be number 3 in Tests too ... Dhoni is tired.

  • rosh280 on October 26, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    We have nt produced fast bowlers of wasim akram,kapil,imran khan, macgrath, gillespie and srinath like recently. We had now macgrath in mrf pace foundation why dont plan to send some of our young fast bowlers to him and get trained. we could send fast bowlers like rithuraj, pawan, deepak chahar, mohanty,mrutyuja vohra,bhuvanesh kumar, sudeep tyagi and pankaj singh. they can be moulded to be the great fast bowlers. they could also get the help from kapil and sreenath also. this way we could have great fast bowling side and we could use any of them at will.

  • rosh280 on October 26, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Harsha, you are right. It is to be understood that we had plenty of fast bowlers in our side. We have young and fast bowlers like rithuraj singh, pawan zuyal, sudeep tyagi,deepak chahar, ishant sharma,varuna aron, pankaj singh, basant mohanty, b kumar,vinay kumar and many all are wicket taking and fast bowlers. I was really impressed by the way anustup majumdar bowled in duleep trophy. he is really a great alrounder like jalaj saxena and bhuvanesh kumar. we really need to find few great alrounders and opening pairs in that murali vijay and ajinka rahane really give hope to selectors. we need to consider manvinder bisla, sarul kanwar, sunny singh,kaustubh pawar, i d singh, mrutuja vohra there are several options india have. we earlier had india blue, green, red like that. This format would be great to find out the real talents rather than duleep trophy. here we miss some great players from north who really perform. lets hope for great team.

  • on October 26, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Why do the selectors and Sachin have to sit together for his future? Is Indian Cricket owned by Sachin? Is he to Indian Cricket what Ratan tata is to Telco or Mukesh Ambani is to Reliance? If Sachin had played for Australia he would have been gone 5 years ago. This happens only in India and is absolutely ridiculous that a guy who is getting bowled by full tosses has to be even considered for selection.

  • Eclipse0990 on October 26, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    With all due respect Mr Bhogle, All you did wrote, in summary is "Oh my god! The damn ship is sinking. <Then details of the ship'e engine, cargo, crew>. Someone do something". These articles are good for readers. But they do not change anything. The hell with readers, we don't even know in detail about the performance of players out of playing 11. So instead of entertaining us, make the board members realize that the ship of Indian cricket is sinking fast.

    And for those against SRT, he is not a selfish man. Even when he is in twilight of his career, bowlers still focus on him the most. They still sit and make a strategy against him. So even if he isn't performing, he still takes the heat off others. And he is a valuable role model for others, say the mentor of youngsters. He is like the sea of experience.

  • Vnott on October 26, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    Good problem definition: Not many solutions offered. Openers: Sehwag and Gambhir: Sehwag badly out of touch and low on confidence. Gambhir combative but is in bad form. We need options: Rahane should be front runner. we shd possibly play Gambhir and Rahane. One drop: Pujara two drop: Sachin 3- drop: Virat Kohli. No: 6: Badri / Sehwag/ Raina/Yuvraj. Raina has not cemented his place but he has not done badly either.... May be a good Career move to have Sehwag at 6. But possibly it is in his best interest to drop Sehwag for the England series and allow him to come back to form. I would go with Badri. Yuvi will follow in due course No:7- Dhoni No: 8- Ashwin No: 9- Zaheer Khan/ Ishant Sharma/ Dinda No: 10- Ojha No: 11- Umesh Yadav In summary - Rahane, Gambhir, Pujara, Sachin, Virat, Badri, Dhoni, Ashwin, Zaheer, Ojha, Umesh as playing 11 and Raina, Ishant, Yuvraj, Dinda as backups... shd be the 15 member team....Wud like to see Virat being given captaincy. Good time to do so....

  • aarpee2 on October 26, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    The article does not provide any solutions except passing the buck to the selectors which is common tendency ie to be part of the problem. The new selection committee is the same old wine in the same old bottle with a new label.We will use home advantage to logical conclusions and pick a predictable side which any schoolboy can-at least 10 of the 11. The only guy with guts and gumption to think differently,Jimmy, has been ousted successfully. If we are serious about overseas performance in 2013 the selectors,Sandip Patel in particular have to build the nucleus now. Do a VVS with Sachin and Zaheer ,move Sehwag to the middle order and with Gauti at No.1 bring in the likes of Rahane,Pujara,Virat ,Yuvi with Dhoni at No7.Dinda,Umesh,Ashwin and Ojha should manage the attack.

  • mani86 on October 26, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    We need new bowlers?????? OMG Harsha you have solved it!!! We didn't know this until now!!!!! Please cricinfo, just persist with Aakash Chopra in the future.

  • Al_Bundy1 on October 26, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    It's time to get rid of non-performers, staring with 10dulkar. Get rid of Viru, Gauti, SRT, and Ishant. Give a chance to youngsters. We don't have a shortage of talent in India.

  • laxmanrules on October 26, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Much like the BCCI, Harsha has played this defensively. I had hoped that at some point you would risk naming a few players who should be dropped. Perhaps, take a leaf out of Ian Chapells conviction in his own opinions. Essentially, you have very politely suggested that Sehwag, Gambhir, Raina and Yuvraj should not feature in the test squad and who will replace them remains unclear.

    I am still hoping Rayudu gets a shot at the India team simply because he is particularly good on wickets that are hard to bat on (sorry no stat for that). Given the plan to make spinner-friendly tracks, I fear we might not be able to play Swann and Monty too well without the genius of Laxman and Tendulkar on the so-called dustbowls.

  • Farce-Follower on October 26, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    Anything less than a 2-0 victory would seem like a defeat for India. Doctored pitches, no UDRS, favourable crowds etc, should make it a feast for the Indians. But let us not count on this gang. Many of them are not even T20 worthies.

  • MunafAhmed811 on October 26, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    The only solution is to pick up whatever raw or old talent is there in terms of fast bowling or even spin bowling. Hire Mcgrath ,Pollock to train fast bowlers , Warne and Warne to train spinners. Make them go through 8 hr training sessions daily for a week every month till tours of Australia / England in 2014 or till 2015 . A good fast bowler or spinner will not appear by magic. We will have to polish whatever talent we have got and I believe we have got talent good enough to bowl out sides in any conditions ,its just our bowlers need proper guidance and training and assurance that their careers are secure. I feel once they break into team they slow down because they are afraid of getting injured or going for too many runs and not risking dropped from the team , so they just slow down to ensure their place in team is elongated

  • on October 26, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Sandeep Patil was able to speak a lot when he was outside....now that he holds the key let us see what he can do. I dont know if any Indian selectors will have the guts to approach a Sehwag or Gambhir tell them two more games and you are out or you are dropped due to poor performance. Till then people like Bogle can write and cricket fans can fill up message boards.....it is another day in paradise

  • Farce-Follower on October 26, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Why bother about Eng / Aus 2014. Given a chance, the selectors and fans will still retain SRT and gang. After all, form is temporary, but class is permanent.

  • on October 26, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Harsha Bhogle once again you have mentioned the problems which each and every cricket fan in India knows!!

    This is not what we want from you, we want the solution.

    I can understand you are not the selector but you are always around the cricket.

    So you should be knowing better than us about players performing well at lower levels.

    Indian selectors doesn't have enough guts to drop out of form senior players. The only way to find a new face in the test side is when seniors retire.

    It's time to replace sehwag with Sikar Dhawan or Rahane who scored lot of runs at domestic level but can selectors do that???

    we want answers for such questions from you Harsha

  • on October 26, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    @Pandez

    LOL kohli missing from ur team?

  • on October 26, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    BRAVE INDIA XI ALIAS THE FUTURE: 1. Rahane 2. Vijay 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Yuvraj 6. Tiwari 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Ishant 10. Yadav 11. Awana PHATTOO INDIA XI ALIAS DAD'S ARMY : 1. Sehwag 2. Gambhir 3. Pujara 4. Tendulkar 5. Kohli 6. Raina 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Zaheer 10. Ojha 11. Parveen If Australia had followed India's path Warne, MeGrath, Hayden, Langer, Martyn, Gillespie would still be playing.

  • on October 26, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    For someone like Harsha, who watches so much cricket, and is also involved heavily with the game as a journalist, this was a very disappointing article. The article only gloats on the problems which team India faces, and it does not require Harsha to tell us, the cricket fans, what the problems are. By writing this article, Harsha is pre-supposing that fans of the game are unaware of the issues. Poor assumption, if that is the case! Would have been much better if he had given suggestions on players to watch out for, or players who should have been on the radar of selectors. Focusing on solutions is always better than focusing on problems!

  • joseyesu on October 26, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    i don't think Ind will attain the no.1 tag for another 5 years. No more solid DRAVID, Dependable LAXMAN and with Careless SEHWAG aged SACHIN. It will take some years to build the team.

  • rahulcricket007 on October 26, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    IN LAST 2 YEARS SEHWAG & GAMBHIR HAVE AVERAGED ONLY 15 AT OVERSEAS . NOW I WILL SAY TO GAMBHIR " IF 15 IS NOT BAD THEN I DON'T NOW WHAT IS BAD "

  • Ayush_Chauhan on October 26, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    So basically we are back to where we started: We need openers, a no.6 and a quality fast bowler. History does have a way of repeating itself. I agree with MSD retiring from International T-20, would be a responsible and strategic move from the Selectors, and thus I don't think it will happen. Yuvraj while number state otherwise, has never got a free run in Test, and while it already maybe too late, I think he deserves another chance at it. As for fast bowlers, I have always believed debuting them overseas in friendly conditions is always better. eg Pathan and Ishant

  • Ashish_514 on October 26, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @Anand Bharadwaj- McGrath had the likes of Fleming, Gillespie and Brett Lee bowling alongside, while Philander has Steyn and Morkel. There needs to be an accurate fast bowler who keeps the pressure from one end. If India had someone like that, Zaheer would have been twice as successful as he has been. Even McGrath and Philander have speeds around 135kph. While we have a battery of bowlers between 125 to 135

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on October 26, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    my suggestion for a long term xi would be - gambhir(C) , rahane , pujara , kohli , rohit sharma , yuvi/badrninath , dhoni , ashwin , ishant , sreeshant , umesh yadav .. get sehwag out , make gambhir test captain , it looks a bit raw but there is potential in them to be developed

  • RKRAMAN on October 26, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Always a pleasure to read Harsha's articles. We have been struggling with just four bowlers. A genuine pace bowling all rounder is needed at No. 6, if we are to win overseas. Now that Irfan Pathan is back in form, perhaps we should manage his workload carefully and nurture him for the Tests. It is high time we give opportunities to the next. gen in batting and give a decent run to C. Pujara, M. Vijay, A. Mukund, A. Rahane, M. Tiwari, etc. Doesn't matter if we lose a few tests with gen. next, they are investments for the future. Look how V. Kohli has developed after the tough Australian tour. U. Yadav, Varun Aroun, plus a couple of U-19 bowlers should be encouraged. Don't give up on Zaheer and Ishant yet in Tests, a team needs a couple of senior pros to guide the younger set. I don't think we can hope to win consistently unless we play four regular bowlers plus one quality all pace bowling all rounder (as first change). We need to have different captains for different versions.

  • gamespiritfirst on October 26, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    well Harsha, you had told about the problem and you always do,but the solutions you suggest are always in broader perspectives, i mean not precisely. can you exactly tell or name like the after lives of sachin and zak, who should be them. like you had name a lot of bowlers in the article and all of them according to you are lost,means there is no solution,no names

  • pandez on October 26, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    My test X1 will be Gambhir, Sehwag, Pujara, Tendulkar, Raina, Dhoni [C], Irfan, Ashwin, Harbhajan,Ojha and Zaheer. Atleast in home condition we can play ds team.Thanx.

  • Vivekaks on October 26, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    Harsha,

    with due respect, you have written numerous such articles. trust me each time you write, we will have ppl like desiboy and varunarallapalli suggesting teams.

    i loved ur articles earlier, but now its like a beaten record. Its time you wrote something refreshing.

    for all those who are suggesting teams, how much do you know abt cricket and the different formats of the game. no format is easy. please refrain from commenting who should play and who shouldnt.

    -V

  • on October 26, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    This article states facts we already know, rather than analysing solutions. The factor analysis idea is interesting though.

    No mention of Yadav and Aaron and how there needs to be a plan to help them maintain their pace and fitness. No mention of Rahane and an unfair dismissal of Mukund - he hasn't been given a good run at the top.

  • on October 26, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    Again Harsha Has come up with great problem in Indian Cricket. we expect a man of his caliber to come out with short term and long term solutions.

  • CricketMaan on October 26, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    What a pathetic assessment of Vijay and Mukund. How many tests did they play and fail to write them off? Mukund didnt look bad in England, he didnt make BIG DADDY 100s, but who did? Gautam too failed and make a comeback. Harsha comments as its all over for Vijay and Mukund. Yes Rahane deserves a chance, but his form offlate has been poor and at times wanting. He palyed No.3 for Mumbai last season, while Vijay and Mukund opened and excelled in domestic cricket. You can be biased to Rahane or Rohit, but facts tell the truth.

  • Ashish4u on October 26, 2012, 7:55 GMT

    I so love the way you think Harsha ...!! You have so correctly pointed out the root of the problems the Indian Cricket is facing now and the dangers looming in the future. If India is to regain the No 1 test ranking again, they need to search for new talent.. especially at no 5 and no 6 slots...!! The entire onus for this is on the newly elected selection committee... ITS TIME THE SELECTORS PAID HEED TO THE LACK OF QUALITY BOWLERS IN INDIAN CRICKET!!

  • watsupguys on October 26, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    firstly, the test team...gambhirs out of form and so bring in rahane for him or try irfan as an opener cum all rounder, sehwag, pujara, sachin/kohli, manoj tiwari/unmukt,rayudu, dinesh karthik/dhoni, ashwin, bhajji/awana, yadav and ishant/varon aaroon/unadkat..this can b the test team.

    now for odi...irfan, sehwag/rahane, kohli,raina,yuv/unmukti,rayudu,manoj tiiwari,dhoni,ashwin,yadav, awana, varoon aaroon/dinda/bhajji.

    finally t20...unmukt, rahane/irfan, kohli, rohit/manoj tiwari, raina, yuvi,rayudu, dhoni, ashwin,bhajji/ojha/harmeet singh, yadav/aaroon, unadkat/awana

    its time to look byond gambhir, sehwag ,zaheer ,vinay kumar, srresanth, munaf,rp singh, sachin ....

    also v can look for pujara, dinesh karthik, kaif(tests only), aparajith, awana, shami ahmed, unadkat, harmeet singh, unmukt, robin bisht, deepak chahar, iqbal abdulla, amabati rayudu

  • on October 26, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    Sehwag should be dropped as 4th down and Rahne shud open as as operner ,I will prefer that munaf ,praveen and prgyan ojha ,irfan pathan should be a better option for bowling purpose

  • p.tyagi on October 26, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    shud open with rahane and gambhir.Play sehwag in the middle order.Pick parwinder awana as a third seamer.The guy bowls with a big heart.

  • Naresh28 on October 26, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    INDIA should open an ACADEMY which nurtures TEST players. These guys with correct technique and patience should be sent as a team on tours. Preferably youngsters who should not play the shorter format games. The same academy should nurture pace bowlers. BCCI should then pay these players and any exceptional talent can be filtered into test team with correct slot grooming.

  • sangam-cricmaniac on October 26, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    Well there are plenty of options available right now for India in batting department. guys like Robin Bist,Dheeraj Jadhav are going unnoticed. Sikhar Dhawan has been scoring tons in domestic circuit for a long time and not to forget Rahane,Badree and Rohit. but looking at the bowling department i am surprised that nobody is talking about Varun Aaron aur Parwinder Awana. they are amongst the quickest bowlers in India. also what about Irfan Pathan? i think for foreign tours after Zaheer's retirement Indian bowling attack should consist of Irfan,Umesh,Aaron and Ashwin. With Ishant and Ojha in reserves. this provides India with out and out pace along with left arm swing bowler. Aaron should pitch it up and Yadav should bowl back of a length.

  • on October 26, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Harsha I agree with you that Patil & Co should look at life after Sachin& Zak. However I still feel Ishant has the ability and talent to shoulder Indian Bowling;if you happen to see him bowl in Irani & Duleep trophy he was bowling with pace accuracy and making the batsman uncomfortable. Players Patil should invest are as batman Chand, Rahane, Mukund, keeper I would love to see Samit Patel our U-19 keeper;typical Indian keeper getting behind the swing and collecting. Very Impressive glovework. He should be made the Backup Keeper. Bowler i still feel Praveen Kumar, Ishant, Umesh Yadav, Dinda and Pathan have the ability to carry the pace department. Our serious worry is the spin.Which i Think will be extinct by 2013 end. We need to groom Baba Aparijith, and other young talents.

  • on October 26, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    Sehwag & Gambhir can't be dropped, they have served so greatly in last five years.Ajinkya Rahne must get a long haul.

  • on October 26, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Harsha!! Did u mean....there are no back up for openers, middle order, WK, spinners, and fast bowlers!!??

  • varunrallapalli on October 26, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    The best solutions for batting woes for India is to 1)Drop Virender Sehwag in the batting order and ask him to bat at 5th or 6th position, replacing him at the opening slot with Ajinkya Rahane who has a very good technique.2)Put a retirement proposal in front of MSDhoni from T20s, which in turn helps him to prolong his Oneday and Test career3)Appoint different captains for different formats and allow them to have a genuine say in the selection of the team and implement their ideas.4)Search for an able all-rounder who can play in all three formats of the game, so that depending on the pitch and weather conditions the team management can bring in an extra bowler or extra batsman.

  • on October 26, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    This obsession with fast bowlers needs to end. The best pace bowler in the world-McGrath- was not express and neither is Vernon Philander.

    We need pace bowlers who will take wickets, period. Bowling 145 kmph doesn't help if you can't bring home the bacon.

  • Nutcutlet on October 26, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Now I must correct myself! Ojha has played outside India (not England!) & his average for Surrey in 2011 was 12.95, not 21.95. That'll teach me not to check comments before submitting them! The rest of my comment holds good though!

  • GlobalCricketLover on October 26, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Asking Dhoni to rest from T20I's? Harsha, may be you overlooked Dhoni's performance in Tests both as a batsman and as a captain. He just doesnt have the attacking mindset needed to make Tests interesting, and is doing no favours to anyone by being in the Test XI. Selectors must boot him out of Test team for sure. Let him win ODIs and T20s on dustbowls of India by using the 'wait and deliver' type bowlers such as Ashwin and Raina while filling the team with 7-8 batsmen.

  • riverlime on October 26, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    I have watched Tendulkar's career from the very start, and i am sad to see how he has been allowed to fade in the spotlight. He should have been allowed to leave at the peak of his game, i.e. when India regained the World Cup, and left the punters crying his name, lamenting the loss of one so outrageously talented. Now the only question on everyone's lips is "will he quit or will he be dropped?"

  • ListenToMe on October 26, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    I don't think that the selection is difficult. We have Rahane, Pujara and Rohit Sharma. Rohit is not a choice for many, but we have to understand that even being a very good domestic test player, he was never given a chance in tests. He should be given a chance in tests so that he can prove his skills. The opening pair could be Gambhir/Sehwag or Gambhir/Rahane or Sehwag/Rahane. Now Virat Kohli, Pujara, Rohit, Yuvraj can be the middle order. Dhoni and the bowlers be the rest. For tests in India, include Sachin and remove Yuvraj or Rohit. The selection of bowlers is the only problem in my opinion. I think, Raina should never be there for the overseas matches.

  • on October 26, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    my view is, first get fast bowlers rather than expecting more from batsmen. If every time oppsite team scoring tons of runs they are not going to chase nither our bowlers going to depend our less scores.

  • Gurava on October 26, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    well said. However, the question always remained the same. "Who will bell the Cat ?". Training camps in overseas for both bowlers and batsmen could be a good idea to understand the conditions well in order to build what is required for that kind of conditions. Without much of exposure, go overseas with lot of pressure - they only fail. Which has been happening since long time.

    There is rarely a situation where young player performed in Aus or SA (for that matter England). Probably they need to rethink the strategy of exposing our batsmen and bowlers to the conditions to pick the best of the lot.

  • on October 26, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    Sehwag can drop to number 4 and Rahane shud get a proper go as an opener. I wuld still prefer Sreesanth over a Vinay Kumar, the guy at least gives it all, Unmukt and Harmeet should also get a taste of int'l cricket and so should Badrinath and Baba Aparajit.

  • on October 26, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    Really brainstorming and vital tip for our selectors.I feel sorry over legend of yester years M.Amarnath for the injustice he suffered.

  • Nutcutlet on October 26, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    Correction, Harsha: Pragyan Ojha has played fc cricket outside England; he played 4 matches for Surrey in 2011 at the end of the season (24 wks @ 21.95!). He was highly significant in Surrey gaining promotion & I am certain that without his input, Surrey would have remained in Division 2. As you'd suspect, he wasn't played with any comfort at all, at any stage during his stay: his economy rate was fractionally over 2 rpo! I think that he is likely to cause England's batsmen more problems than R Ashwin-- and I'd expect him to take KP's wicket more often than any other bowler. Mark my words, please.

  • on October 26, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Ajinkya rahane should be given change.........please harsha do some thing for rahane..otherwise history will not firgive these selectors and dhoni for not giving rahane proper chance....

  • cricwester on October 26, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Well written article!! It is what need to be done... India have really good time for developing the new comers, Pujara and Kohli using thier chance more than we expected... It is time to think about change... I also for two different teams for first two tests and last two tests.. My choice for 1st two tests 1. Sehwag 2. Gambhir 3. Pujara 4. Tendulkar 5. Kohli 6. Badrinath 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Zaheer 10. Ojha 11. Ishant Sharama (Stand byes Yuvaraj, Vijay, Harbajan, Praveen Kumar, Dinesh Kartik/Parthiv Patel) For Last two tests 1. Shikhar Dewan 2.Rahane 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Yuvaraj 6. (Chand/Rohit Sharma/Saurabh/Robin Bist) 7.Dhoni 8.Ashwin 9.Irfan Pathan 10. Harmeet Singh 11.Umesh Yadav (Stand byes : Mukund, (Chand/Rohit Sharma/Saurabh/Robin Bist),(Ojha/Pankaj Singh), Parwinder Awana, (Saha/Naman Ojha)

  • on October 26, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Well said. It's time to move beyond SRT and Zak. Sehwag needs to become fit and score runs. The Ranji season before the tests start will be a good indicator of how much Viru and Gauti can contribute. It is not time to throw the baby out with the bath water but the selectors need to now infuse fresh talent while some of the seniors are around. This will help the new talent to settle down knowing there is a 'experience cushion' that we can fall back on in case of an emergency. Sehwag and Gambhir need to become the elder statesmen in the team - the standard setters so to speak.

  • on October 26, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    Another master piece by Harsha: Spot On!! It's time to make firm decisions : 1. Keep ODI and Test nucleus same but then T20 is a different game altogether. 2. Dhoni must leave one format ( given recent performance it has to be T20) 3. Replace Shewag ( i am myself a fan of him but is high time for him to be shown the door) 4. Drop Gambhir from T20 team 5.This point could be debatable but then i believe we must give Rohit a go tests ( playing tests will make him learn about putting price on his wicket) 6.Give Yuvi assurance of No.6 slot like it was given to Raina ( still don't know why Raina was considered for tests) 7.Pool of fast bowlers - Yadav,Aaron to be mixed properly with good medium fast guys - Praveen,Ishant,Sreesanth,Awana to form a good pace attack ( i do not want it to be South african/Australian attack - fact is we can't have one so utilize what we have) 8. Try Rahane, Dhawan and D.Karthik(2nd WK too) as opener in test 9. Sachin should seriously access his future-it's time

  • on October 26, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Dhoni should either be promoted to no.3 in T20s or he should retire because not only will it keep him fresh for other formats but also strengthen India's T20 team. He is somebody who needs 8-10 balls to settle in and coming in at no.5/6 in T20s is no good for him.

  • Planetindia on October 26, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    Dhoni needs to retire from twenty 20 and he needs to hand the captaincy to kohli for the ODIs and he should only captain test. Tendulker needs to retire and free a one spot for the future same with the sehwag. Gambir is good enough right now. Zaheer should also retire and have yadav mithun and ishant be the bowler for the test. Ashwin is a bust as a spin bowler in overseas so it's about time we give some young kid a chance like negi or Iqbal abdulla

  • Paddle_Sweep on October 26, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Once again no punch in this article. You have not said anything new. It's like you have prepared a 6 course meal that lacks the taste. You have touched a variety of points without getting into details. You end with "If India have to become No. 1 again, they need to start looking at bowlers who can bowl fast and batsmen who are unafraid of bowlers who can bowl fast. The key people in that search are not so much the coach and the captain as the selectors, and the earlier they start taking hard decisions, the better off everyone will be." But whole of India knows this and there is nothing new about this. So, what is it you want to convey in this article? Can I know please?

  • AMAZINGFAN on October 26, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    SEHWAG AND GAMBHIR R IND'S ONLY PROBLEM ,THEY R NOT PLAYING WELL BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE DHONI AND OUR IND TEAM IS NOT UNITED AT THE MOMENT DUE TO SEHWAG AND GAMBHIR....PLS DROP THEM OTHERWISE IND WILL NEVER WIN OUTSIDE SUB-CONTINENT......

  • sudharshan3105 on October 26, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    The article is good, covering all aspects concisely. One flaw that I came across is the reference to Yuvraj's low average post-2010. Considering that he has been badly sick and out of the game for a long time, that is not a fair observation. Also, the selectors have been fickle minded with respect to the selection of medium pacers / fast bowlers by looking at too many of them and discarding them too quickly.

  • Pacelikefire_Samrat on October 26, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Nice article Harsha.For a change you havent suggested building a team around Rohit Sharma.India right now is going through a transition phase.Even Sehwag,judging by his recent returns doesnt seem too far away from calling it a day.India needs to search for a solid opener.Kohli and Pujara are doing well in the no 3 and no 4 slots.India needs to find 2 batsman to occupy the no 5 and no 7 slots considering Dhoni bats at 6 in tests.Yuvraj has been in and out of the team for so long,maybe he should be given a shot at no 5.If Irfan can live on the promise he is showing once again,he should play at no.7 hoping that he can get his pace up by 10km.Just like Aus have been building the pace attack on young guns Pattinson,Starc and Cummins,India needs to build it around Aaron,Umesh and an upcoming tearaway(if we do have 1).They need to do away with picking military medium guys like Vinay Kumar,Praveek Kumar & co.

  • on October 26, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    disappointing article.. i can write a lot better than this.. nothing new..

  • gustakhcricketer on October 26, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    there are so many blessed indian batsmen like sehwag, kohli and rohit..but they just lack the confidence to play pace at pacy wickets of australia, england, newzeland other than virat coz that is an exceptional talent..as far as dhoni is concerned..i think he should concentrate more on his batting and leave the gloves to someone else...that will prolong his career a lot and resting him in TTwenty is not a wise choice..let him play as an ordinary player at number 3 or 4 in TTwenty without pressure of captaincy and wicketkeeper..

  • praful_cric on October 26, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    Very good article by Harsha.... Spoken like a true cricket lover and not like a Twenty20 brat...

  • xylo on October 26, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    The Indian team is at crossroads now. While Sachin should be just asked to pack and leave, Sehwag and Gambhir might probably get a couple of chances. Kohli and Pujara have their places. If this series is not used to blood the likes of Rahane, Mukund and Badrinath, the BCCI might as well be run by Vijay Mallya. While it is clear that Dhoni the test captain is not quite what Dhoni the ODI captain is, sadly, there isn't anyone who can take that role. Gambhir was a very good candidate until recently, but you just have to look at cricinfo's homepage today to see why not. On the bowling front, the loss of Zak is going to be huge, but if this does not inspire Ishant, what will? While one of Yadav and Aaron is going to make the cut, and Ojha is a good test spin bowler, Ashwin needs to probably slug it out in the Ranji circuit for a year to do away with his habit of at least one short ball per over. Bhajji's days are sadly gone. Given this, I wouldn't be surprised if India lost to England.

  • sandeepgla on October 26, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    first time some one pointing a finger to Sachin Tendulkar. Good sign but will some one has guts to drop him. The answer is no and add to that he is not even retiring from oneday.

  • Dhanno on October 26, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    and the best line in above article : I have never understood picking 14 or 15 players for a tour game. That is not a selection, it is a gathering.

    Haha..Its invitation absolutely, just selectors not wanting to do their job and choosing 15 ppl.

  • sramesh_74 on October 26, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Will Piyush Chawla make it to the Test squad?? I wouldn't be surprised...Also prepare for a slew of West Zone cricketers making it to the national squad. South's quota is over !!!

  • Dhanno on October 26, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Harsha makes selectors job easy. Anyone can sleep for 6 months (through IPL and CL and so on) and then wake up, read this blog and see for themselves how the team should be selected. As you noted clearly, no one knows who the next opener in line is, who (and when) will replace Sachin, zero fast bowlers and zero bowlers when you travel. Selectors can atleast see all the problems if they read above article. They will have to watch/change some of the domestic cricket to find solutions!

  • prabhukt429 on October 26, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    I am a die hard fan of sachin recent times I lost all the respect. if he wants to continue in test cricket he should give 100% to test cricket no point in playing these funny t20 league.i cant understand why he is playing these rubbish cricket he all ready made enough money .he must concentrate test cricket now

  • desiboy454 on October 26, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    Harsha I can't agree with you more.. If viru and gambhir fail all 8 tests aganist Eng and Aus.. waht next.. Viru is not playing in ENG/AUS again..gautam is 50/50.. Sachin I hardly doubt will b around in 2014.. So trying to throw in 3 rookies overseas is a 4-0 waiting to happen.. I feel as if after 2 games of the england series if Viru and Gautam are out of form.. DROP THEM. Bring in Rahane and Abhinav Mukund or someone else.. Pujara needs to b kept at 3 kohli at 4.. Robin bist at 5 Ukmukt Chand/ yuvi. raina at 6.. I would prefer Chand as opener in tests as well. MSD should not play t20s anymore. and ODI should be given captaincy to Virat because MSD is a good ODI player, we need him.. This way he is given a break from thinking. BOWLERS.. Ashwin is key for spin, he needs time.. give him a break from some international matches at home and send him to maybe county, also send Yadav, Aaron, Awana, SreeSanth ( I still feel he is a good test bowler).. GOODLUCK TEAM INDIA!!!

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  • desiboy454 on October 26, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    Harsha I can't agree with you more.. If viru and gambhir fail all 8 tests aganist Eng and Aus.. waht next.. Viru is not playing in ENG/AUS again..gautam is 50/50.. Sachin I hardly doubt will b around in 2014.. So trying to throw in 3 rookies overseas is a 4-0 waiting to happen.. I feel as if after 2 games of the england series if Viru and Gautam are out of form.. DROP THEM. Bring in Rahane and Abhinav Mukund or someone else.. Pujara needs to b kept at 3 kohli at 4.. Robin bist at 5 Ukmukt Chand/ yuvi. raina at 6.. I would prefer Chand as opener in tests as well. MSD should not play t20s anymore. and ODI should be given captaincy to Virat because MSD is a good ODI player, we need him.. This way he is given a break from thinking. BOWLERS.. Ashwin is key for spin, he needs time.. give him a break from some international matches at home and send him to maybe county, also send Yadav, Aaron, Awana, SreeSanth ( I still feel he is a good test bowler).. GOODLUCK TEAM INDIA!!!

  • prabhukt429 on October 26, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    I am a die hard fan of sachin recent times I lost all the respect. if he wants to continue in test cricket he should give 100% to test cricket no point in playing these funny t20 league.i cant understand why he is playing these rubbish cricket he all ready made enough money .he must concentrate test cricket now

  • Dhanno on October 26, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Harsha makes selectors job easy. Anyone can sleep for 6 months (through IPL and CL and so on) and then wake up, read this blog and see for themselves how the team should be selected. As you noted clearly, no one knows who the next opener in line is, who (and when) will replace Sachin, zero fast bowlers and zero bowlers when you travel. Selectors can atleast see all the problems if they read above article. They will have to watch/change some of the domestic cricket to find solutions!

  • sramesh_74 on October 26, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Will Piyush Chawla make it to the Test squad?? I wouldn't be surprised...Also prepare for a slew of West Zone cricketers making it to the national squad. South's quota is over !!!

  • Dhanno on October 26, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    and the best line in above article : I have never understood picking 14 or 15 players for a tour game. That is not a selection, it is a gathering.

    Haha..Its invitation absolutely, just selectors not wanting to do their job and choosing 15 ppl.

  • sandeepgla on October 26, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    first time some one pointing a finger to Sachin Tendulkar. Good sign but will some one has guts to drop him. The answer is no and add to that he is not even retiring from oneday.

  • xylo on October 26, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    The Indian team is at crossroads now. While Sachin should be just asked to pack and leave, Sehwag and Gambhir might probably get a couple of chances. Kohli and Pujara have their places. If this series is not used to blood the likes of Rahane, Mukund and Badrinath, the BCCI might as well be run by Vijay Mallya. While it is clear that Dhoni the test captain is not quite what Dhoni the ODI captain is, sadly, there isn't anyone who can take that role. Gambhir was a very good candidate until recently, but you just have to look at cricinfo's homepage today to see why not. On the bowling front, the loss of Zak is going to be huge, but if this does not inspire Ishant, what will? While one of Yadav and Aaron is going to make the cut, and Ojha is a good test spin bowler, Ashwin needs to probably slug it out in the Ranji circuit for a year to do away with his habit of at least one short ball per over. Bhajji's days are sadly gone. Given this, I wouldn't be surprised if India lost to England.

  • praful_cric on October 26, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    Very good article by Harsha.... Spoken like a true cricket lover and not like a Twenty20 brat...

  • gustakhcricketer on October 26, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    there are so many blessed indian batsmen like sehwag, kohli and rohit..but they just lack the confidence to play pace at pacy wickets of australia, england, newzeland other than virat coz that is an exceptional talent..as far as dhoni is concerned..i think he should concentrate more on his batting and leave the gloves to someone else...that will prolong his career a lot and resting him in TTwenty is not a wise choice..let him play as an ordinary player at number 3 or 4 in TTwenty without pressure of captaincy and wicketkeeper..

  • on October 26, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    disappointing article.. i can write a lot better than this.. nothing new..