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

You need the Kumbles and Dravids, not just the Tendulkars

How do we assess talent? And why do we persevere with players who we believe have special skills even when they don't display them consistently enough?

Aakash Chopra

February 20, 2013

Comments: 167 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar inspects his bat during training, Champions League T20, Cape Town, October 17, 2012
Tendulkar had plenty of talent to start with, but he worked hard at eradicating his weaknesses © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Rahul Dravid | Anil Kumble | Sachin Tendulkar
Teams: India

In a country of over a billion people, talent ought to be as common as table salt. Why fuss over it? Especially talent in cricket - synonymous with sport in India, and hence intensely followed and widely played.

Clearly, though, that isn't the case, for had talent been so common, India would have been churning out prodigies all the time, sitting secure as Test No. 1, and ruling the other ICC rankings tables for decades together. Perhaps that's why talented cricketers are so revered - and rightly so. Rohit Sharma finds himself in this hallowed club, protected and persisted with to fortify his "god-gifted talent", as MS Dhoni puts it.

In a sense, Rohit's talent has even superseded the intangible yet highly consequential yardstick of form, the lack of which is often responsible for a player being dropped from a team.

But isn't talent as intangible and indefinable as form? Talent means a special natural ability or aptitude, but who is to judge if that ability is special or everyday? Wouldn't the answer be highly subjective? Our judgement of talent is often based on preconceived notions of what constitutes it, and thus of who is "talented".

For instance, Sachin Tendulkar has been widely recognised as talented, but in comparison, but not many would say the same for Anil Kumble - at least they wouldn't say that he was talented in the same measure as Tendulkar. Does that make him less talented?

From the beginning Tendulkar displayed special skills to successfully deal with all kinds of challenges thrown at him. He could do things others couldn't. He always seemed to have enough time to play the fastest bowlers on the fastest pitches. He had more than one stroke for every delivery. His timing and balance were superior to those of his peers, and above all, he had the ability to keep the good balls out and punish the bad balls consistently.

He had more time because he could pick the ball a fraction earlier, which allowed him to get into the right positions before the ball arrived. He had more strokes because he had supreme control over his bat's movements, and the extra time he had made that possible. His timing was also a gift, for he always knew precisely when to bring the bat down at the desired speed and angles. His ability to keep the good balls out, though, was not natural but nurtured.

On the other hand, Kumble, who made his debut a year after Tendulkar, was first considered the antithesis of what a talented player should be. Unlike Tendulkar, who was marked as a "special talent", Kumble fought a constant battle to prove people wrong, for legspinners of his type were not supposed to succeed beyond a point. The preconceived notions about talented legspinners were to do with their natural ability to get loop, drift in the air and vicious turn off the surface. Kumble ticked none of these boxes, for his height and high-arm action didn't allow him to create loop, nor did he spin the ball off the surface. He relied on unbelievable accuracy and subtle variations to create deception.

In Kumble's or Dravid's case, not only did we fail to assess their talent fairly but we were also as quick to discredit it. What they possessed didn't match our understanding of talent

The jury could be divided on whether Kumble qualified as talented or whether his success was the result of sheer hard work. Even Rahul Dravid was rarely considered talented in his early days, for our notions about talented batsmen often have to do with flair and panache. The dogged approach to blunting an attack for sessions on end isn't what talent is all about - or so we are made to believe.

This is not about whether Rohit is talented or not. That, again, is a personal perception. The point I am making is simple - whether someone is permitted to or prohibited from making the cut shouldn't solely depend on our understanding of his talent, for our judgement of it could be skewed.

Tendulkar, the most gifted of cricketers, also became one of the most successful through hard work, not talent alone. An abundance of talent cannot automatically discipline the mind to be selective, which is a crucial quality.

While greatness can have a touch of predictability and boredom to it, because it can't be achieved without a little bit of self-denial, talent is seldom boring, because it allows you to do things others can't fathom.

Not only that, Tendulkar, with all his talent, needed to keep evolving as a batsman to remain one step ahead of the opposition. He wasn't the most technically correct player when he started out. He used to lean on his bat in his stance, which resulted in his head falling over and made him play across the line. He knew that to complement his talent and make the most of it, he needed to keep working on those little chinks in his game.

Over a period of time, the most talented batsman also became the most technically correct batsman. Talent put Tendulkar on the right path and his discipline took him to his destination.

The popular judgement of talent, in Tendulkar's case, was accurate, and fortunately he proved us right too. But in Kumble's or Dravid's case, not only did we fail to assess their talent fairly, we were also quick to discredit it. What they possessed didn't match our understanding of talent. They didn't have the flair (though they had the ability to concentrate for long hours). They didn't have two shots for the same ball, or a delivery that turned a lot, but they had the ability to be consistent in their approach. That is talent too.

I grew up with many cricketers who were considered far more talented than I was, but most of them didn't even get to first-class level, let alone don the India colours. You might be justified in giving more opportunities to players at the junior level who are perceived to be talented, but we must acknowledge that talent doesn't always translate into success and that our understanding of talent can be slightly warped at times.

One may be tempted to give talented players a longer rope, but there's no guarantee that they'll turn out to be successes. Vinod Kambli, at one time, was considered more talented than Tendulkar.

It's imperative to ensure, especially in a team sport, that players who are considered less talented aren't given a rough deal in order to promote a talented player. It's tempting to find another Tendulkar, but that shouldn't mean that the Dravids and Kumbles aren't given a fair run.

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

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Posted by noboundaries on (February 22, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

Good analysis Akash. Talent & discipline of mind are the two things which makes players in any sport to stand out & become consistent. Rohit Sharma may have talent but no mind discipline in my assessment and that goes for the likes of Kambli, Gower and few others. Flair alone does not make them special but we as a spectator heavily influenced by sports writers who generally follow a safe path. So we tend to jump on the bandwagon of hero worship on say Tendulkar ( in his case he deserved it for up to a point) who had flair as well as other qualities & fail to recognise the likes of as you put it Dravid & Kumble who may not have had flair. Indian cricket has a lot of talented cricketers but by the nature of selection, poilitics & influence, not all of them get noticed.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

Labelling Dravid and Kumble lesser talented, and thus lesser hailed, is typical of Indian Psyche. Just consider the respect of Kumble and Dravid overseas, particularly in Australia, England and South Africa, One will come to know that they were at least equally respected vis a vis Tendulkar. These two players have been more match winner and saver than Tendulkar. As for Rohit Sharma, He will remain an enigma for ordinary people like us. In the name of talent he has played more than 90 one day matches and we have been waiting for glimpse of talent in terms of results. To me, his talent is more a hype than substance.

Posted by alarky on (February 22, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

Yes, Tendulkar is a very talented cricketer but as Dhoni said, Rohit is among the 'gifted'. The difference between the talented and the gifted is that the talented has to still work hard to maintain success. But the gifted with or without practice, usually does what the talented does with equal success and often supersedes the ability of the talented. Example, the talented Sachin Tendulkar usually has to go through a daily net routine to hit 300 balls within an hour, or a 1000 balls a day to prepare for his next match - that's how feels confident; but, Gary Sobers hardly practised but out performed everybody when it was his turn at the wicket. Brian Lara is also from the same mold - he would come straight from a Bacardy and Rum party over night and without effort, score 300 runs the next day. Viv Richards often broke curfews and went out to enjoy himself over night, but destroyed any attack next day. The Don, enough said. Rohit is like Carl Hooper; they are gifted but not committed

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

Anil Kumble was certainly the best spinner and most consistent match winner for India . he could run through tail enders with his variations . India had started winning outside India when he was at his peak and later stages of his career . at this point of time India lacks a quality spinner like him ,, even Ojha is way too average compared to him and Ashwin , Harbhajan dont even count.

Posted by rick333 on (February 21, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

The below lines is the most candid analytical view that we have had in some time now.. "In Kumble's or Dravid's case, not only did we fail to assess their talent fairly but we were also as quick to discredit it. What they possessed didn't match our understanding of talent "

But i felt Aakash had to ramble a lot about Tendulkar work ethics and talent, before hitting the bulls eye with the above point, in order to appease crazy Tendulkar fans, the ones of who do not understand the analysis and roll their sleeves and are ever ready to pick up a fight if some one they think is discrediting the master.

Posted by bvnathan on (February 21, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Akash, as you have playing the Ranji leagues, may I request you to spell out the names of about 15-20 players that you want to identify as Hard Working, Dedicated, Judicious, even though they may have some hidden TALENT (whatever it means) and willing to work on it. If 50% of the players that you identify are going to define TEAM INDIA in the next 2-3 years, that will be a major morale BOOSTER to the identified players ... GO FOR IT and HOPE YOUR PREDICTIONS COME TRUE ...

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

Akash..you stuck the right chord....when can you become selector.... Staying persistently consistent precedes any talent. My view - saying someone talented is insulting his hardwork which he did pursuing his dream .

Posted by mk49_van on (February 21, 2013, 14:57 GMT)

A very odd post from an otherwise insightful writer. By what stretch of the imagination would you not call Dravid and Kumble 'talented'. Not flamboyant (ala Sehwag) perhaps, or outrageously charismatic and brilliant (ala Sachin) but surely India's greatest ever match winner (Kumble) and it's one of its two greatest players of fast bowling (Dravid) surely qualify as talented?

Perhaps what Aakash means is that in the current era of T20 madness Indian selectors should not base their decisions on the ability of players to pull in the crowds, and they should calmly assess the ability to deliver, and not just the manner in which the delivery is made.

Posted by TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on (February 21, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

I clearly remember one Hard working Specialist Opener who was successful when given chances was AXED just for INCLUDING a SPECIAL GIFTED player who is neither opener or good middle order player. Akash Chopra the Vitcim and Yuvraj the Gifted one. After that Akash never had a chance to.play for India again!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

YOU are SPOT ON AKASH: Your last paragraph just synonymous to what is happenning currently in INDIAN team: Dhoni was time and again giving opportunities to ROHIT who seems to be the BEST TALENT but giving RAW deal to hard working players like TIWARI's, RAHANE's etc....what a mindless moves, ROHIT kept on failing match after match but still finds himself in playing XI and TIWARI inspite of smallest opportunity this guy is performing but still sits in the stands carrying drinks series after series, COMPLETELY UNFFAIR of DHONI & MANAGEMENT

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

One of the best articles on cricket that i have read. The comment by Akash Chopra "In Kumble's or Dravid's case, not only did we fail to assess their talent fairly but we were also as quick to discredit it. What they possessed didn't match our understanding of talent" is aptly true for India. Tendulkar is undisputedly a talented cricketer. Similarly, Dravid and Kumble are also equally talented in their respective skills sets, this is evident in their cricketing career. we must agree with Akash Chopra on this "Rohit Sharma finds himself in this hallowed club, protected and persisted with to fortify his "god-gifted talent", as MS Dhoni puts it. Needless to favour one player in the team when he is consistently inconsistent in his form. We do not understand, what is this "god-gifted talent". There is plenty of talent available in India. The right kind of policy approach and will is needed to support and nurture "true talent" but not "god-gifted talent".

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

Once again Aakash Chopra produces a gem of an article. If I have to choose between the Gifted and the Hard-worker to be my role model, it would be obvious and sensible for me to choose the Hard-worker. It is they who give hope and can-do belief to those who want to emulate them. They are the role-model-materials. Gifted can inspire but one cannot model their life based on them. Appreciate the wise words from Aakash Chopra - "While greatness can have a touch of predictability and boredom to it, because it can't be achieved without a little bit of self-denial, talent is seldom boring, because it allows you to do things others can't fathom."

Posted by bumpu on (February 21, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

What a wonderfully written article. However, as has always been the case, an understated individual like VVS Laxman has been given the miss. Where would our innumerable successes in the Test arena be but for that Very Very Special person.The same can be said of Mohinder Amarnath.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

Nice article, we are country obsessed with flamboyance and child prodigy, that is the reason why players like Wasim Jaffer or Amol Mujumdar do not get picked up for Indian squad even if they have amassed tons on runs in domestic season.

Posted by Sameer11_2 on (February 21, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

Fantastic article Akash, perception based favouritism continues to be one of India's great follies and it is not just limited to the field of sports alone. Talent is indeed a very subjective term and you can see that in the case of Rohit Sharma this has clearly gone overboard. It is fine to back someone you feel is talented but there's a limit to which you can back consistent failure, especially at the cost of ruining some genuine performers. Will guys like Manoj Tiwari get the number of opportunities that Rohit has got, who's responsible for stalling their career and that too at the national team's cost. One can clearly see that all this talk about being a special talent has gone to Rohit's head and he doesn't work hard enough to build on his multiple failiures. Unfortunately no one in Indian cricket including the selectors are strong enough to take a call against Dhoni's whims and fancies.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (February 21, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

Pramathanath Shastry, Thank you for your correction. The teat match I was referring to was the last test of the 1979/80 series between India and Australia played at the then city of Bombay. Mahender Amarnath had been playing Tests for 3 years at that point of time but was still not a convincing player of the hook shot. That shortcoming was highlighted most when he started using a Sola toupee as protection. Hogg bounced one and Amarnath deflected onto his stumps and out of test cricket. He came back as the finest player of fast bowling in the world as per Imran Khan and Malcolm Marshall.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

If anybody follows Bangladesh cricket, then the biggest evidence in favor of this article is Mohammad Ashraful! What an unfortunate waste of talent due to lack of discipline!

Posted by arun_39 on (February 21, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

Akash continues to dazzle us with his thoughtful topics and analysis. Talent is one dimension for selection. I would rather go with Potential and Performance. Talent then becomes one aspect of Potential. The others being temperament and ofcourse hardwork. This is where Kumble & Dravid scored over everyone else. They converted their total potential to performance time and again. I remember Dravid being dropped from the ODI team in the late 90s after scoring 37 in 51 balls or something like that. Reason - he was too slow! A similar perception existed about Dravid's capatincy. This was based on his body-language characterized as "timid". The great Imran Khan - a fantastic leader himself - stated on TV that he thought Dravid was a very intelligent captain.

The point is - when do you back "Talent" and how far with cliches like "Form is temporary, Class is permanent"? In the current scenario for the Indian test team slots I'll back "form" as available "talent" is equally good or bad.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (February 21, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

Sachin is the best talented player world has seen in modern cricket..He is also very had working batsman..and reason for his sucess..Each and every batsman has high and down time. I mean flop time and not flop time. Sachin's consistency also the best in current cricket..He played almost 200 tests and still he averages above 50..

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 2:44 GMT)

Good thinking... Its always goes the other way. No Laxman either. Why dont somebody in selection panel think in same way

Posted by Maha_Fan on (February 21, 2013, 2:06 GMT)

Brilliant article. Very well written. I am constantly amazed by Akash's ability to delve into new areas and his command of English language. I am sure this ability to decipher nuances of fast bowling made him a wonderful opener ... probably the best partner to Sehwag. I guess he was also the victim of being the Kumble-Dravid type cricket otherwise why would someone throw Akash out of the team only a couple of tests after the excellent opening partnerships in 2003-2004.

Posted by njr1330 on (February 21, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

You are right that 'talent' is not necessarily strokeplay; blunting an attack is just as important. As Geoffrey Boycott famously said: 'You can't get runs if you're in the pavilion' !!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 1:32 GMT)

Alright Akash: Very well written, but nothing put straight forward. If you could please!

Posted by Johnners50m on (February 21, 2013, 0:45 GMT)

For me, Rahul Dravid is one of my favourite cricketers: there is flair and style in his batting, and substance too.

With articles like this, you really have to define "talent". I would contend that is just raw hand-eye coordination. But you could also argue that having the temperament to harness that raw ability to a particular discipline is a talent also. I'd say that talent is not flair. At a professional standard of sport, everybody is talented with respect to the general populace.

And really, to say that Kumble and Dravid are in some way not talented at cricket is bizarre. In the grand scheme of things we are comparing them with the millions of people who have tried in some way to attain their level of playing ability and failed. Sachin is a bit ahead, and those other millions are nowhere.

As a former international yourself, Aakash, you probably can't see that gulf.

Posted by xylo on (February 20, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

By this logic, shouldn't Badrinath, who is very much in the mould of Dravid, be replacing him in the Test XI?

Posted by HassanSyed on (February 20, 2013, 22:26 GMT)

Tendulkar have the time to play on Fastest of pitches... But not fastest of bowlers...

Remember the surprise Shoaib Akhtar gave him on various occasions when he was on song...BANG...stumps all over the place...

Tendulkar was good to ordinary bowlers..not to the legends like Wasim or Waqar...

Dravid had a better batting technique comparatively...still uncredited !

Even if my 5 years old nephew is allowed to play international cricket for 20+ continuously..he will play the same way Tendulkar do..

Posted by RAMKI2404 on (February 20, 2013, 21:32 GMT)

"In Kumble's or Dravid's case, not only did we fail to assess their talent fairly but we were also as quick to discredit it. What they possessed didn't match our understanding of talent " is Best lines I read in the recent times. This explains the greatness of Kumble and Dravid.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 20, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

For me sachin did not have early success , Vinod Kambli did have great success. It got into his brain and made him lazy. Sachin is a workhorse. For me to get into indian team is not easy unless someone pushing your name often. Sachin had godfather and also he did start to produce results slowly and steadily. Some times early success may be downfall as the case of kambli. You need all stars has to be aligned to be great player not just talent. Lots of people helped sachin on his way and none helped kambli. Someone time you have better chance if you are good listener when you are young. Early success stopped kambli listening to anyone other than himself.

Rohit sharma has natural talent and i think he is lazy and mentally weak. India have truck load of average players but there are only few players that are good.

The problem with BCCI selection is there is no roadmap for youngster to get into indian team unless they know some big guys in bcci through relatives.

Posted by soumyas on (February 20, 2013, 21:09 GMT)

@Sir.Ivor, probably tendulkar is thinking too much trying to answer every one who is talking abt him. thats how he has lost his instincts. he has to bat naturally, shud stay away from media and ppl who disturb him by asking unwanted questions. also he shud just play on the merit of ball forgetting all the pressure. basically he shud bat like he did in perth as a teenager. it will be a treat to watch.

Posted by suman2 on (February 20, 2013, 21:07 GMT)

Rohit Sharma v. Manoj Tiwary!

Posted by uvasStraightDrive on (February 20, 2013, 20:44 GMT)

Rohit, he is only few of the players that could actually play short ball besides

Dhoni in Indian Team, you have to factor the next world cup, giving him chances; well i guess too many chances by now is not good for people on the bench but do we have people who can play short balls. We have seen over and again (even raina, gambhir ) best of the players give up against short stuff.

If Dhoni is going to defend the world cup in AUS & NZ he is going to need players who can play hook or pull or at least don't just give away wickets when ball is pitched in other half.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

If you read the indian press about young 'talented' batsmen, you hear words like the new tendulkar, the new gavaskar bandied about. MJ Clarke was always touted to be the leader of Australia but he was made to work harder and harder every year, then dropped before he got where he was. No one was inflating his ego. Australia and South Africa don't care about talent, they care about work ethic. Sachin has by all reports the best work ethic of any indian player ever which is why he succeeded. It was just a bonus he was supremely talented.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

Wonderful Article. Everyone wants to be a Tendulkar. Its not easy. And they dont understand the fact that it was his hard work that made him what he is. Work hard and you will know that at least you gave it your all. :)

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Well No doubt that Kumble and Dravid were excellent players but when we divide Cricket into few categories the things will get more clear as on why Tendulkar reached the heights where others two fell just a little short.

When all three were playing we had 2 formats: Test & ODI. A player plays in 2 different conditions: Home & Away.

Tendulkar showed his class in all 4 (Test, ODI, Home, Away) throughout his career. Kumble failed most of times while playing away in both Test n ODIs (his bowling avg away is 35 & 45 respectively) Dravid was a brilliant Test player but he was not that amazing in ODI format for most part of his career. He was still better than rest but on International circuit you would want someone to have a better strike rate than 71.

Posted by malharsire on (February 20, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

Tendulkar worked on his weaknesses? He should have worked on how to lead and how to inspire people. For all his exploits, Dravid has propped up India when needed most and Laxman (in tests) and Dhoni (in one-dayers) have won more tests for India.

One Krishna does not a Mahabharat make.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (February 20, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

I am a Rohit Sharma fan. Although I agree with most of the points Akash made, I think he is being a bit unfair to Rohit Sharma. As it is wrong to give a leeway in selection to the so-called talented players, it is also wrong to assume that most of the talented guys are not hard-working, which is what Akash seems to insinuate. Although, Rohit seemed to have lost his way in-between (he had put on a lot of weight at that time) I think he has been working hard on his fitness etc. You can see that he looks much fitter now. It is a perception thing really. The same 'lazy elegance' when playing a good shot can look 'plain lazy' when you get out. Rohit has 'lazy elegance' but it doesn't mean he is lazy. I had read one interview by a Mumbai player about how the World Cup non-selection had hurt Rohit and how hard he has been working on his game since then. Don't judge Rohit by his ODI performances. He is a "made-for-Test-cricket" player, but hasn't been given a chance in Tests.

Posted by Nampally on (February 20, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

Contd: Gavaskar had the best defence of any modern batsman & that combined with his patience & talent made his a "great".Your assessment of Kumble & Dravid is correct. Their dedication, craftiness & hard work made them shine. If you want a talented Indian leg spinner, Subash Gupte was the finest one. He could make the ball talk with prodigious spin & control on any wkt. That is raw talent. He was born in wrong era to get the occolades of present Cricketers. As for Rohit Sharma, his lack of sound defence,discipline & patience lets him down every time. He needs to work on all to utilize his "God gifted Talent", as per MSD. Rohit will fail till he addresses his limitations. Amongst the present Indian batsmen, Pujara looks most talented. He has the patience, disciopline, sound defence to be consistently good like Gavaskar or Dravid. In my opinion he has been badly ignored for so long & needs to be given first preference in the Indian batting.Talent is grossly misused term these days!.

Posted by cricket-india on (February 20, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

the kumble-dravid types are the distant reality we should be aiming to unearth and nurture; SRT (there was, is and will be only one SRT; the phrase SRT types is meaningless) is a dream that's good as long as it lasts and should be shaken off once we're awake.

Posted by Nampally on (February 20, 2013, 19:20 GMT)

Talent is synaonymous to intelligence. A brilliant student with very little effort can beat an above average guy because he is far more intelligent. However if the intelligence is tempered with discipline,dedicated hard work & focus, it transforms into a Genius. That is what Einstiens are made of. By the same token thats what Sir Don Bradman was in Cricket. A batsman has to be technically sound & all strokes should flow from his bat as though he has been born with them. If he combines this with discipline, patience & control, it transforms into success. I would call Gary Sobers as the most talented Cricketer ever in batting, bowling or fielding. It all came naturally to him.On his day he could butcher any attack in the World.Tendulkar was talented even when he was about 16 when I saw his brilliant strokeplay with effortless ease & superb timing. But of late his batting failed because of lack of discipline & patience. His defence is also a?. Gavaskar combined his talent with defence.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

Nice Article Akash. You choosed the right people to give example of Talent, Hardwork & Discipline. You don't get better examples than these 3 awesome cricketers who indeed awesome individuals who never let their foot go off the ground. We can also add Lakshman to this list. We are already missing Dravid, Kumble & Lakshman on the ground. Shortly we will miss Tendulkar also. Hope youngsters who watched these greats & waiting to replace them will follow the legacy of these greats.

Posted by shouvs on (February 20, 2013, 18:06 GMT)

Recent era: Viv: Tremendous talent, good discipline; Gavaskar: Great talent, tremendous discipline; Lara: Tremendous talent, good discipline; Imran Khan: Good talent, tremendous discipline; Tendulkar: Tremendous talent, great discipline; Dravid: good talent, tremendous discipline; Border/Steve Waugh/Mark Taylor: Good talent, tremendous discipline; Sehwag: great talent, avg discipline; Ricky Ponting: Great talent, great discipline; Greg Chappell: Great talent, great discipline; Kallis: Good talent, tremendous discipline; one can go on;but one gets the essence: success/longevity will need a good mix of talent and discipline-so try to nurture the Rohits (like let him play tests) and help them with better discipline and allow the Tiwarys and Rahanes if their discipline allows them to be dominant in world cricket.00's Aus team had few geniuses (like Warne) but they were all great in both departments (talent & discipline). WI from 70s had more geniuses. BOTH SUCCEEDED LONG TERM...

Posted by Swingit on (February 20, 2013, 17:59 GMT)

Hmm what Chopra is making sense but when two players are almost equally "talented" and likely work as hard at ensuring they keep their wicket (evidenced by numerous centuries, or massive scores) then the difference becomes flair and flamboyance. The one with more flair and flamboyance will always win out that is why Lara will always be better than Tendulkar, it's not called a SPECTATOR sport to no reason. Lara is more talented that SRT, ask Dravid Gravitas, case closed!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

@Sir Ivor: Mohinder played the Madras Test in Dec 1969. There was no Hogg in the team. It was the last Test of the series. The next he played was 1976. Some six years later, not two years later. I agree with the gist of what you wrote though.

Posted by shouvs on (February 20, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

Akash- always good to read your articles. I do think that there is more of word play here. Talent is a reality and talent is not sufficient for success. This is all well known. I think I first head Gavaskar mention the 3 Ts decades ago - Talent, technique and temperament...of course no one has control over the 4th dimension of luck. If someone is more talented like a Lara, Viv, Tendulkar or Rohit (big league to put his name with - and accept all daggers for that) that is a fact. They would not have succeeded at the highest level without the other Ts. This is something everyone accepts. However, we all know that such phenomenal players happen only once in a while (2-3 per era) and all teams have to fill up 20 other spots in the team. Dravid would come in a very similar league - good talent, excellent discipline (technique & temperament). So the only question that we should ask of ourselves is how the cricket bodies like BCCI can harness talent and help build the other Ts.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

well said sir, in the name of talent our selectors finished so many hard working players career eg., kaif, p amre, badri, s banger, A Chopra, to name a few

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 17:18 GMT)

Nice point there " Talent does not always lead to success" I think people should stop persuading the selectors , to make them select their favourites.Whenever i see a cricket website, people criticise the selection methods,on not taking good performers, it is not understood by them, how much analysation takes place! If a bowler can take a five-for or a six-for against a domestic team, we cannot confirm that he can do it against an international team. The atmosphere is different, the pressure on the bowler is more, there is no guarantee that he can perform decently. There might be talent, but is the player ready to rectify his mistakes?? That's what is needed when you are gonna play in the international arena. Talent is just a gift, developing it is in the players hands.

Posted by dharsanti on (February 20, 2013, 17:00 GMT)

Talent, hard work and luck all matters. Gambhir is most talented and hard working but unfortunate and not in form. Raina, though not much talented, but is hardworking and strong mind. Raina should be next captain and definitely included in test given his consistancy

Posted by soumyas on (February 20, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

But we MISS Dravids and Kumbles more than Tendulkars even though they were considered as less gifted. i remember in my childhood Dravid's cover drives and on drives were so stylish and so famous that we used to get OUT trying to imitate him. when we hit boundaries we cudn't embed the style into the SHOT and when the SHOT was played with STYLE we cudn't time the ball. So playing the SHOT with awesome STYLE and succeeding is a gift and dravid had that talent in him. his glorious square cut on backfoot was an eye candy.

Posted by jjtanwar on (February 20, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

Another thought provoking article, excellent. I love the quote in a comment - "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration", which holds true for Sachin Tendulkar. One thing that probably set these greats aside is the way they make a comeback, whether it is coming back to form after a lull or from a bad injury, which invariably puts a lot of stress on mind and body and forces things to change (e.g. batting style, grip for Tendulkar 2006, bowling action for Kumble 2004). Its always the mind first and body after and they proved just that time and again. Hard work more than talent on the field will help in terms of longevity. Also, our notion of talent in cricket is very restrictive or bookish to spot talent, which again is a perspective and individualistic. People like Chanderpaul, Ijaz Ahmed, Kumble braek that mould to an extent. I guess runs, wickets and fitness should always be the first criteria for selection, all else should be secondary.

Posted by ProdigyA on (February 20, 2013, 16:22 GMT)

glad that you mentioned Vinod Kambli. When you saw both Kambli and Sachin when they were young, you'd think Kambli was far ahead of Sachin but alas he could only go so far and Sachin still rules. Is that discipline or what. Amazing.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (February 20, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

Johnny_Rook.I have seen Sachin Tendulkar play when he had just started at the international level. At that time he looked far more assured frankly speaking because he seemed to be playing on instinct.When he played a shot, his movement of either foot to meet the ball in its flight and bringing the bat to meet it at the very point when it needed to be struck was sheer instinct.You could see his 100 at Perth against Mcdermott,Whitney, Rieffel and Hughes when India was losing. Perth was then truly fast and no-one who was not used to it could succeed.Sachin just hammered the aforementioned Australian legends of their time in a manner that caused many of their team to come and shake Tendulkar's hand when he got out.It was not just a one off.He had scored 148 in Sydney in the same series. It went on and on after that. But he is not as instinctive as in those early years Probably time has taken its toll but he has adjusted.That came from the charecter of a man whose father was a Professor.

Posted by KishoreSharma on (February 20, 2013, 15:51 GMT)

Decent article, but misses an important point. For talent to be effectively harnessed it needs to be both correctly identified and also given adequate and proper opportunities. India may well have an excess in terms of batting talent. However, this creates problems by itself since it means that players are not given adequate opportunities at the highest level - since there is always other players in contention. These problems with selection combined with the tendency of Indians to mix-up eprformences in ODIs and tests have meant that someone like Rohit Sharma has not had the chance to play a single test match. On what basis then can we say that he has been persisted with for too long? Given the surfeit of players in India, I think we need to have another level of screening - perhaps national selectors should only focus on players at the zonal level, which will in turn allow them to pay attention to a smaller number of players and make selection more consistent.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

really good article ( as always ). makes a good point without boring us. have to agree with every word.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 20, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

I go by people production unless they are 18-22. After that production rule apply. There is no sense in saying he is talented when he is 26 and have not produced fifty or century. Rohit sharma is lucky in this case there is a god father in BCCI is pushing his name again and again.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

"Talent" should decide which players need to be developed; performance should decide which players should be picked and even given a longer rope. As Aakash points out, the point is not about whether what pleases the eye is talent. Watching Rohit bat is a sheer joy - i.e. until he gets his mandatory brain-freeze. Also, after Pujara, Rohit might be India's best young batsman of the short ball. But when there is a match to be won, purposeful batting counts a lot more than having all the strokes in the book. Raina, Dhoni & Yuvraj all can't play the short ball. But if they get in, they hang in till the winning runs are scored. They make whatever they are blessed with, count. And even if they fail a few games, they deserve their place ahead of Rohit.

So our selectors now find it their duty to get the "talented" Rohit a back-door entry in the Top 3 in ODIs! Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Tiwary, Rahane & Vijay - good luck! And thank selectors for at least ignoring Rohit for Tests.

Posted by KUL on (February 20, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

1-Steve Waugh(The Best reader of the Game-All-time Great and Bats as per Situation of game, a true match winner when Team needs him most).A true Leader 2-Miachael Bevan- Great Finisher of the Game-All-time Great and always rescue team from Difficult Situation 3-Lance Klusener-Great All-rounder.-Less Talented but successful cricketer 4-Adam Gillchrist-All time great Wicketkeeper Batsmen who can dictate terms to opposition in any game on any surface in any format(Unlike MSD who is miserable in Test) 5-Sanath Jaysurya-Less Talented but more skills-can change any game as Opener.Remmember he was bowler for half of his career. Great Learner of the Game for winning purpose. No Indian Players I am afraid but all Indian Players are talented only not great match winners except Mohinder Amarnath. I can think of few more names but these are my top-5 since I started watching cricket(1991)

Posted by Anirjgd on (February 20, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

Extremely good thoughts Akash.. No wonder all of us should wonder what real talent is.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

What you have said is absolutely true Akash. Talent can take you up to a certain level but then to become great like Sachin, Kumble, Dravid and a lot of others like them before hardwork and discipline is paramount. Theyoung players of today are talented but not preared enough to work hard. During the tour of Australia in 1980-81 Sunny Gavaskar and Sadip Patil were playing in a tour match. Jeff Thompson was bowling and Gavaskar hit him over his head. Thoomo pitched the next one short and asked Sunny to hit it. Sunny said pitch it in my half and i will do it. The next half hour was a real battle between Sunny and Thommo. Sandip Patil did not take singles to face Thommo. When he asked Sunny about the reason Sunny replied that Thommo was bowling medium pace and he needed real pace to practise as Lillee and company would not be bowling medium pace. That is prepartion which was a hall mark of all greats.

Posted by rosh280 on (February 20, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

you were the solid and compact player with records at first class matches. you have equal skills of rahul, ganguly and v v s but you did nt get enough opportunity to play more international skils. i used to sit to watch your batting. similarly robin siingh, ajay jadeja, azhar play shots. they had given hundred percent in the ground. it is really imperative as you told to find enough talent at the right time. nowadays murali vijay and cheteswar pujara are the great talented players i have seen with rohit sharma. dhoni is the other player with yuvraj, suresh, ravindra jadeja. still people prefer virat and ajinkya, gambir i dont know why then manish pandey, mayank agarwal, mandeep, ashok menaria, amitoze,abhinav mukund, c m gowtham.

Posted by rosh280 on (February 20, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Akash it is really a mind capturing article. you mentioned talent all players in this category has talent and attitude. tendulkar, rahul,kumble, v v s all have equal talent and gave india lot of winning streaks. tendulkar is really a sort of player who have set the mark in the international cricket. he is really a cricket god he has records and more records. he is in the category of vishwanathan anand, saina nehwal, leander paes, kapil dev. all other players mentioned can not come to their level. tendulkar is really an excellent player all others are great players. that makes the difference. we have lots of talents like manish pandey, mayank agarwal, unmukt chand, baba aparajith, c m gowtham, amitoze singh, p razool, jalaj saxena, sarul kanwar, robin bist, i d singh, mandeep singh, ashok menaria but they could nt come to the first place. murali vijay even after scoring more runs in every matches. i really wonder why he is not selected after seeing his statistics 4 and 6 scored.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

Rightly said! All true. But, we all seem to forget the evil called IPL, which is spinning the entire cricketing scenario in India. With all the hoopla and loads of money thrown in, is there a place for true talent, hard work and dedication? The fans and spectators of these days are more interested in the instant entertainment and excitement rather than the long lasting impression of talent and hard work. They would rather remember a mediocre player that scores 3 sixes in an over than the talented and hardworking batsmen that held the innings together from the go. Now in the Indian cricketing world everything is money. What matters is that whether you are a money spinner or crowd puller, not whether you are talented, hard working and long lasting.

Posted by nair_ottappalam on (February 20, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

Good article, Akash. First of all no comparison between Tendulkar and Kumble since the former excelled in batting while the latter in bowling. Dravid was probably one of the best in his playing days and always remained an unsung hero. He was India's wall and given the amount of cricket he played at International level, his success really matched with Sachin. It is a fact that Sachin came to international level at a much younger age (7 years earlier than Dravid). This allowed him to play more cricket and amass more runs. I think Dravid was much more technically sound than Sachin. As rightly pointed out by Akash, he could wear the bowlers by holding them at bay. No one can ignore that he has hit 5 double centuries when India needed it much dearly. His ability to bat longer really made him the player to dismiss for the opposition. Kudos to Rahul Dravid.

Posted by bvnathan on (February 20, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

Contd... Let us all look forward to the following TALENTS, HOW FAR THEY WILL GO... who have shown immense potential with their consistent performance in the Indian Cricket League ... R Dhawan, Parvez Rasool, Jiwanjot Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Sandeep Kaul, Sandeep Warrier, Dhawal Kulkarni, SK Patel, AG Pradeep, Abu Nechim, Rayudu, Waghmore, Tiwary, U Chand, Sangwan, Akshar Patel, Ravi Teja, Ashish Reddy, S Tiwary, Gautam, Sanju Samson, Iswar Pandey, Jalaj Saxena, Khadiwale, Rahane, I Abdulla, N Behera, A Menaria, Unadkat, B Aparajith, A Mukund, B Kumar, Tanmay Srivastava, May be we have a STRONG TEAM INDIA PLAYERS IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS ...

Posted by SamRoy on (February 20, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

@Ahmad Uetian You are absolutely correct. In India there is a perception that talent= most attractive stroke play. That's why Yuvraj Singh is thought to be uber-talented, even though he has no footwork. He can neither play quality spin bowling, nor quality seam bowling nor quality swing bowling. In ODIs he succeeds because the ball stops swinging after a few overs and when he comes in to bat the ball moves gun barrel straight. There is something else in talent as well. The ability to survive difficult periods. But Indian Selectors never consider that as talent. That's why India doesn't produce Steve Waugh. It produces Yuvraj Singh.

Posted by jimbond on (February 20, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

Not quite Akash. I remember after a couple of innings at first class level by Dravid, there was a comment by G R Viswanath that it was the best batting that he had ever seen.

Posted by UltraMagnus on (February 20, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

Not only are your observations spot on, but they're also backed up by fair amount of data. Numerous models(including professional sport) studied by Malcom Gladwell have shown that "raw talent" is actually considerably less important than hard work. One sensitive issue which cannot be ignored in this context is culture. We come from a culture that has always glorified all forms of congenital advantages in all arenas of life. It is our worship of the "god gifted" vs our indifference toward the untalented that has helped us maintain a perpetually mediocre team that's oriented around a couple of hyped up "naturally talented" demi Gods. Unless the populace of modern India changes some of these misplaced core beliefs the entire country (including its cricket team) will remain an artifact of hype without substance.

Posted by bvnathan on (February 20, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

AC, a very good article. As rightly you indicated, India with a population of 1 B+ should be abundant in TALENT not only in CRICKET but in other sports as well. The question is how you nurture that TALENT to transform to higher levels of performance thru DISCIPLINE, DEDICATION and true GRIT. For e.g. Chetan Chauhan with limited stroke making capabilities, was an ideal opening partner to Sunn. We had many talented players than who were quoted in the article, but notable exceptions that come to my mind are Kambli, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Hirwani, Brijesh Patel, Sandeep Patil, TN Ranji opener Sivaramakrishnan, Prabhakar, etc. In addition we also had many talented players like Rajinder Goel, Shivalkar, V.V. Kumar, who had abundant talent and showcased them consistently, but never got extended chance to don India colors, for reasons BEST KNOWN... In short, TALENT coupled with ATTITUDE, TENACITY, DISCIPLINE, CONSISTENCY & HARD WORK is sure to propel any player to the next level

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

Aakash, your insight on player assessment is practical and founded, as S_Biswas said "On the money once again.." Simply another great article :)

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Talent means he looks good when he bats. And we automatically assume that if he has talent, he has to could score runs. This doesn't have to be true as we see it again and again.

So look for people who score runs than people who look good when t hey bat!

Posted by cricanm on (February 20, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Dravid is best test indian batsman. And kumble is best indian bowler.

Posted by iamgroot on (February 20, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

Excellent Article by Akash Chopra.. defining the word "talent" in cricket in a very articulate manner possible. Sachin tendulkar was dedicated so was Kumble and Rahul dravid. Practice, Dedication and Devotion to the game. Sheer talent alone is nothing without discipline and hard work. In this regard, Rohit Sharma fails miserably just like his batting scores. He neither has the will to put that extra effort and fix his batting woes nor he is hard working. He keeps getting out in same fashion something has become a boring and irritating sight. He has got numerous chances compared to many other cricketers but they are left out for this guy's "talent". Rohit sharma occupying one slot in indian team is causing lot of imbalance. Remember Indian team WITHOUT Rohit sharma won the world cup. Thats because 1-7 slots were filled with specialists and team was balanced. It was a powerpacked team. Gambhir, Veeru, Kohli, Tendulkar, Yuvi, Dhoni , Raina and bowlers put together a superb team to win.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (February 20, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

One shining example from West Indies comes to my mind: Carl Hooper, one of the most outlandishly talented cricketers (Millions will disagree but in my humble opinion, he was more talented than Tendulkar) didn't make it big because may be like Akash said he had two or sometimes three possible shots to every ball while a much less gifted (dare I say ugly) player with regards to grace and range of strokes-Shivnarine Chanderpaul- turned out to be one of the most successful ever batsmen for West Indies in the modern era.

Posted by sparth on (February 20, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

This is such a stupid article. Saying that Dravid isn't as talented as Sachin is just wrong.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 20, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

In simple terms hard working cricketers like Rayidu, Tiwary or Rahane should not suffer just because more people think Rohit is the most talented youngster in India. I would prefer hard work over talent any day. Same thing goes for Ishant Sharma - he was talented 5 years ago, but he's a flop show now. It's also time to get rid of once super talented, now super flop, Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

No doubt Rohit has tremendous tallent. He need to be tested in Tests. He is a long format player. No poin in testing him in T20s. Unfortunately he was about to make debue and got injured just before 15 minutes of test match. He has first class average over 60. He scored century against Aussies, playing for India A in their last India visit. Again 3days back he scored 77 against top Aussi attack. Today everybody has their own icons like Tiwary, Badrinath etc etc. Thaswhy people starts talking immediately after few failures. When Virat fails against Eng immediately people forgot his last years performance. Before England series people also talked about Raina also. Even Pujara faced critics when he failed totally against SA in SA. By this way nobody can built class team. I think we should back Rohit for his test selection. Remember Dravid has his average only 20s in his beggining. Sachin scored frst century in 76th ODI appearence and Lara had 4 ducks in his first 6 innings. ATB Rohit.

Posted by sarangsrk on (February 20, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

The key word here is "Discipline". Following a discipline in pre-match preparations no matter what stage of career you are at. Then, following a discipline in the match to ensure you are doing things the way you had planned for. Prime examples of both cases are Dravid and Tendulkar for both cases. They are known for strong work ethics during pre-match preparation and then you would hardly see them playing a rash shot. This is what we are seeing now with Kohli.Kambli lost it with misplaced priorities and not enough discipline once he got settled in the team. We all have seen Rohit Sharma playing some rash shots in matches. Likes of Rohit Sharma need to learn these 2 traits as soon as possible.

Posted by ooper_cut on (February 20, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

The great Brian Lara said that if someone had to bat for his life, that would be Rahul Dravid, that was not to belittle Sachin, it was a clear indication of how much hard strides Dravid had to make to get there that he would never give his wicket away easily whereas Sachin is an adventurer, he always made the opposition to think that there is a chance around the corner. Kumble had to define his role in the team through sheer determination. One should not forget the selectors and the captain at those times for selecting and persisting with these great toilers.

Posted by agarkarno1 on (February 20, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

This article should be read by Dhoni as i could see it is written for him. He needs to give more chances to less talented but hardworking players like Manoj Tiwari, Rahane, Pujara (in ODIs), instead of backing so called talents like Rohit Sharma.

Posted by A.Ak on (February 20, 2013, 11:30 GMT)

Great Article, one of the best ever. A great example now, RSharma and Badrinath. Badri don't have the flair, but maintained 60+ average for a long time. Warmed up the national team bench for few years and dropped in the end, given age as the reason. RSharma, given few years run, failed badly, but people still hoping he will succeed one day. May be he will, but many talents has been wasted.

Posted by moBlue on (February 20, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

i don't know that i agree with aakaash's implicit definition of "talent"...

to me, success in cricket (at the highest level) is predictable by one factor: hunger to win or hatred of losing... this one factor elevates "god-given talent" at whatever level into the stratosphere... as some players fight so hard not to lose even - or especially! - when faced with impossible odds!!!

you want examples? sachin, dravid, jumbo, lax, sehwag, dada, sunny, mcGrath, kaps... i see that kohli has that spirit... bhajji used to, way back when...

Posted by analyseabhishek on (February 20, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

I find it almost tragic that Kumble does not get the respect he deserves. He was common factor behind the successes of Azhar, Ganguly and Dravid. Anyone who has taken 619 test wickets has got to have pure, raw talent in some degrees. In his case, it was the ability to be unerringly accurate and bowl top spinners and flippers at 100 kmh. But as Akash points out, the ability to persist is often missing from the commonly held yardstick of talent!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

Is it not obvious? Tendulkar is from the fashionable part of India, Mumbai! Bollywood, glamour etc. That is why he is more famous. Would anyone pay as much attention if he were from Madras? Everyone wants to piggy back of Mumbai. I went to school with a lot of Gujaratis and they kept saying they were from Mumbai, trying desperately to align with themselves with the city.

Posted by KUL on (February 20, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

Well Said Akash Chopra.I thing this article is more inspiring not only for cricket lovers but for anyone who wants to do best in his career.There are lot of Talented People around in India but you need right attitute to become successfull in your career.Talent is needed but only right attitute will make it happen at high level.You need to be hardworking and always willing to take that responsibility to succeed at top level.I always admired Tendulkar for his attitude & appetite for the Game rather than his shot making ability.However he nurtured that in due course.We all know how talented Vinod kabli was but only Sachin could make it to top level not because of only Talent it needs deciplice,Sacrificies,consistency and sheer hard work to be at top always.Great article for inspiration in life not just sport.Kudos to Akash.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (February 20, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

So Kumble & Dravid weren't given a fair run?

Posted by BragBoy on (February 20, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Another poor article from Aakash chopra. No one undermined ever Kumble or dravid.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Who is this person?! Has he achieved atleast 1% of what Sachin has done? Easy to talk with so catchy words but you yourself got the chance to get into that 22 yards but you did nothing!

Posted by king_julien on (February 20, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

Hearing people calling Nohit talented, it reminds me of judges from an episode in Flop Show......When Jaspal Bhatti makes a Tragedy but the judges reward it for being the best Comedy.....

But then again Nohit is not in the team for being a batsman...he's there for comic relief...no one can say BCCI doesn't have a sense of humor

Posted by py0alb on (February 20, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

Ultimately what you are saying is, most people's understanding of what makes an effective cricketer is seriously inaccurate. The entire notion of "talent" is nebulous and ill-defined when describing such a large and wide-ranging discipline such as batting or legspin, and shouldn't really be a word used in seriouscricket coaching and assessment methodologies.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 20, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

@Sir.Ivor: spot on! Talent is not a stand-alone feature; it has to be allied with character. P Sheahan, if the hype of the time was to be believed, had buckets of talent, but his Test record is modest indeed (31 Tests, av.34) & he's but one of many. There are boy-wonders to be found in all countries, but if the character is suspect or lacking... Unless selectors look at the whole man (talent + character) they'll continue to make mistakes, blinded by press-generated hype. This vital component is not a given (whereas talent is) & it takes hard work & a steadiness of nerve to step onto the stage & perform at your peak & rigid self-discipline. I have just been watching Joe Root. UK commentators are not merely speaking of his talent, but his level-headedness, his temperament. He appears to have both in equal measure, just like his captain. It's very rare & when you find a great player, but there you'll find both. Choose yr list of all time-greats: they all had character AS MUCH AS talent.

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 20, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

L Siva, Sadanad Vishwanath, Kambil..talented but did not have the work ethic..Rohit seems to be following that line up...with BMWs, twitter, IPL and brash talking..he is soon forgetting his main skills. Tiwari is knocking the door but Rohit will always have the upper hand with Dhoni supporting him all the way!!..Gosh i hope Rohit is not going to open in England duirng CT13..just coz he is 'god-gifted' talent..Id rather see Dhawans and Rahanes or even Vijay if Viru or Gatui are going to miss it.

Posted by Amit_13 on (February 20, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

Another interesting viewpoint, Aakash. Talent has always been on a sliding scale. Everyone is measured relative to the best at the time. If the best raise the bar, the rest fall further behind. It possibly explains why its difficult to asses players of different eras. Tendulkar's real talent has always been to stay a step ahead of himself, if that makes sense. Besides the technical talent of batting, he has an amazing perspective on 'the game' and not just the match. He always has been prepared for how he anticipated his game to change with age and injury, ability to be affected and how to 'catch' it. Hardwork was his tool to stay ahead. Similarly, all others mentioned did the same to a lesser extent. e.g. Dravid knew he had to bat twice as long as SRT or Lara to get a century. Tendulkar showed the most basic of human ability - Adaptability.

Posted by Naikan on (February 20, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

I sense that you had more to say but stopped short of expressing it. Talent spotting is truly indefinable. In some ways it may be that the same areas of the brain that support faith may be involved in talent spotting or the appreciation of art. It also seems to be infectious in nature which robs us of the will to be logical. For example take up Tendulkar's test figures from the same day that Dravid entered the test team and compare the numbers. One will find that Dravid is far ahead in number of runs scored for the same period and that when he did so it made a difference. However no one ever looks at it or even acknowledges it, for we are all immersed in the hero worship of Tendulkar. May be a few years of continuous defeats may allow some of us to realize the difference that people like Dravid and Kumble made.

Posted by aqs123456 on (February 20, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Every individual is blessed with talent of some or the other kind and the common perception is that some seem to be more blessed than others since their talent is easily perceived/identified, such as Tendulkar as explained by Aakash. But I consider persisitence and hard work are also 'talents'. And Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble are blessed with them more than others. Since persistence and hardwork are behind the scenes(so to speak, as in hours of practice or gym training) they are not easily recognised.

The common talents among all successful professionals in any field of human endeavour are "Persistence and Hardwork". All other talents are secondary. In fact these 2 talents distinguish the Great from the Good.

Some other examples are the difference in the Grand slams won by a John Mcnroe and Roger Federer/Pere Sampras.

Posted by Game_Gazer on (February 20, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

Good article, but seems has gone slightly wrong with the definition of talent as it tries to treat hardwork, concentration, skill, determination to succeed etc., as talent. per me, talent is a. a spontaneous blast of imagination or creativity forgetting the situation b. a brave rather than a memorised, learned or sensible response to situations c. that which attracts attention d. that which takes the audience's breath away e. that which thrills the audience f. that which inspires an audience to believe they can perform the same act that the performer did, but also makes them realize they can't

But, agreed, talent alone is not a guarantee to success and thus cannot be royally treated.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (February 20, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

As a Sri Lankan, I used to hate Dravid instead Sachin, because Sachin is someone who will fire at times, but when it comes to Dravid, you can hardly get rid of him. I hated him the most, because he not only defends well, but he also plays very aggressively at time. He was a match winner for India. But, outside the contest, I like him the most, from that Indian squad. A very humble, great person. Should have such great gentlemen more and more. Needless to say Sachin too is a great person.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

rohit sharma is one of the most overrated player therfore inspite of having so much chances he is not able to perform therefore he should not be compared to tendulkar or kumble

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

I agree with this post. Dravid and Kumble was always considered as less talented indian cricketers while sachin is considered as the great. The stats alone will tell you how great was the wall, and how kumble made the batsmen confused. Always the combination of these players will make a good team not a lone one can.

Posted by creekeetman on (February 20, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

no doubt sachin is a world class batsman in his generation, but he has done very, very little for his country... at least in tests. all the centuries don't really count for much, because only a handful either saved or won a test for india.... i would much rather have a vvs or dravid in my team any day before sachin.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

Great article! The simmering thought many of us had everytime we see Rohit Sharma in the playing 11!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

A good article emphasizing that discipline & hard work are the carriers which take "Great talents" to "Legendary" heights. We've seen a lot of good examples of how being lesser disciplined would play spoilsport to your career - Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Chetan Sharma, Vinod Kambli. These folks were praised by all greats as people who possessed great talent. Hope we don't waste the talents of the Rahanes, Jiwanjots, Dhawans...

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

Great analysis by Aakash Chopra! Something which would've been simmering in our mind everytime we see Rohit Sharma in the 11!

Posted by Rahulbose on (February 20, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Getting picked without performing is what Rohit Sharma is talented at. On article itself, in India there is a bias towards certain type of players. So a Yuvraj gets more chances than a Kaif. This is not so much for the bowlers, only exception being one Ishant Sharma. Maybe it has something to do with the Sharmas.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (February 20, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

I am not sure if Tendulkar is so talented as we think he is. I am not saying he is not, merely saying we don't know. We merely see the end-product and then try to judge if it is pure talent which can't be replicated or it is regular hard work and tough mindedness which can be replicated.

I believe only a person who saw Tendulkar batting when he was young and unpolished can tell whether he was just super talented or not. Ramakant Acherakar always used to say that Kambli was more talented than Sachin. I remember reading an article in which he said the same thing about Brian Lara. Even Dravid has said that it is astonishing how Sachin has reduced his bat speed to counter advancing age and he still gets such power on his shots. This is not something which you can do by talent alone. It require loads of hardwork and motivation to compete which is truely difficult to sustain over such long career.

Posted by ravikb on (February 20, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

This guy talks as though he achieved everything in cricket. Even Mangrekar.

Posted by Ranta on (February 20, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

What astonishes me is even after Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Narendra Hirwani, Vinod Kambli & few others we are still to learn how good talent needs to be nurtured and helped in delivering what they ought to. then to just talk about what could have been. We are good at working out what we can see. Talented cricketer can be seen so we give him chance, technical faults can be seen so we work that out. But Indian cricket and sports at large is still to learn to See mental talent & faults. Long as we work on these things we will have many names to add to the list. I hope some one some where is working on these things. Or else we are set to have many other what could have been's.

Posted by Ranta on (February 20, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

Point is if you see so much in a player why do you wait for him to go waste. Why not have system where players irrespective of natural talent, if seen as potential long term player should be put in process that he comes out mature and delivers what he promises. The case of Rohit sharma tells us that we still are to learn how to manage a talented player. We haven't learn from the loss of Vinod Kambli, we only talk about what he had, but see what he could have delivered. 17 tests at avg of 55. He indeed was special. India lost out on him. There are few who learn themselves, there are few who need to be pushed & we should not shun away from pushing them. Push them get out what is promised. If you can give them so many chances why can't we do this. When someone has a technical issue don't we help him workout that. We have team & training centers to help them. But when some one is mentally not so correct what do we do ? Write articles on what was promised. Talent needs to be manged.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (February 20, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

Great article. I personally define talent as a particular set of aspects which are inborn or atleast cultivated very earlr. For example, If a person has greater peripheral vision than average, he would have a natual advantage in basketball. Somebody has a better hand-eye co-ordination which makes him better at baseball. Some one may have vocal chords which make him a better singer for the same amount of practice. If someone has a double jointed elbow or wrist, he has an innate advantage in bowling.

This gives the person a head start in that particular activity but there are many other aspects which can derail this head start. Ability to defer gratification, interest & motivation are equally important.

Posted by Raghvendrayadav on (February 20, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Akash, Nice Article, but I disagree with the term Talent. It is just pure hardwork. Those (Sachin and Ponting) who had put in huge amount of hardwork at a younger age, donning skills and enhancing temprament, when surfaced on international stage were said to have talent. Others were still working on the skills when they were playing International cricket (Typically bowlers follow this trend). Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj, Mohd Ashraful , Afridi, Gayle ,Ricky Ponting, Virendra Sehwag, Sangakaara, Kevin Peterson, Imran Nazir to name a few are all immensely talented and all have an arrogant stance at the crease, yet you can pick names easily out of them. It is a special talent to block ball over balls with out getting distracted, It is a special talent bowling over after over consistently with out experimenting too much, not getting a touch of a ball for long, yet picking up a brilliant catch. Sugar and Jaggery both tast sweet, its just the appearance which makes up for the price diff.

Posted by Ranta on (February 20, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

It is highly unfair to suggest that Rohit Sharma gets chances just becuase he is talented. He has domestic performance on his side to back him. But then If a player is getting chances is it his fault. Its because he has mix of both potential to play for long and be a match winner & even domestic performance to back him. Will we be giving him or any other player as many chances if he would be non performer at domestic level also. Take case of Rayudu was considered next big thing of Indian cricket. I remember reading Sachin told him to cut down on no of shots he plays. Because he had huge range of shots.That was 2004, he was castrol young player of India. lot was expected. Rohit was not even talked about. But then those domestic performances eluded him. And so eluded Indian cap so far. Finally he is coming in his own.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

Another good article from Akash. Talent well described and what it is.

Posted by dork29 on (February 20, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

Akash has ended his piece beautifullly. That said, talent is a rare commodity - so it has to be persisted with. I do not necessarily agree with Akash's statement that the perception of talent is subjective. Rohit is incredibly talented - even a lay man like me can make that out. The balance, the shot execution, the effortlessness and the poise are breathtaking. It is as if he is batting on another turf. everyone is unanimous in acknowledging his skill as TALENT. The stodgy warriors of attrition do deserve a chance, but for them the only parameter is performance. Dravid and Kumble have performed consistently well at the highest level, which is why they were persisted with. So the mantra is clear - for the talented, performance is a matter of time. For the less gifted, it is either performance or wilderness. That is the way it goes - wheteher we like it or not.

Posted by Dashku on (February 20, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

Rightly said. I always find your articles are neatly written. Talent is not only about doing extra than others, Talent is that thing which lets u know unless u do hard work it is of no use...

Posted by iNSync on (February 20, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

Aakash, your clarity of thought and lucidity of expression is to be revered. That said, you bring out a very good point. I have followed world cricket closely over the last 3 decades and having watched the masters of the 80's era, I feel Kumble is the greatest Indian cricketer of the last 4 decades after Kapil, Sunny and Sachin. The rest including Dravid come a rung lower. What as a nation we realized late was how good a leader Kumble could be. His elevation to be the captain of India came a bit too late, and ideally he should have replaced Ganguly late 2004 or early 2005. But as close followers would have noticed, his importance to the team during the Ganguly era was a bit underappreciated for no fault of his. What you hinted but did not clearly state was the madness about Rohit does grave injustice to the Tiwarys, Rayudus, Dhawans, Badris, Jaffers of the world. Its high time we ended our obsession with our perception of talent. - Love talent but not over fairness.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

Its the perspective Akash, just like how obsessive we are with the batsman more than the bowler, one brilliant innings from the so called talented player will over shadow consistent display by the other hard worker. and that innings (runs or wickets) will fetch them more opportunities.

Posted by tenfan on (February 20, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

Very good article from Akash as always. While we give more opportunities to Rohit in ODI and the likes of Yuvraj and Raina in Test, others liek Tiwari, Raidu, Rahane are denied of that opportunity whereas probability of them being successful is same if not more. Also we are not leveraging individual strength which are best suitable for a given format. Rahane and Rohit are more suitable for Test, whereas we keep testing them in limited overs and keep trying Yuvraj, Raina and others in longer format time and again.

Posted by Kashi0127 on (February 20, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

I would say you definitely need Kumbles and Dravids, even if you do not have Tendulkars. At least the Tendulkar I know does not win games, only builds records

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

Rohit doesn't qualify on criteria of talent at all as he cannot keep out stump aimed deliveries he just closes the bat face...............Only genuinely talented players have been Sir. Bradman, Sir. Tendulkar, Sir. Viv Richards DeSilva & Jayasuria......................................Jayasuria didn't proper to the heights bcz he was impulsive stroke player & he didn't strategize his strokes when oppositions would set negative fields. Tendulkar faced same proposition in early 2000's but he evolved & strategized his strokes since then. Desilva's problem was his limited physical strength hence he would get caught at boundary to slow bowlers who would provide no pace to work with.

Posted by Ash31 on (February 20, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

Aakash knows what he is talking about and Indian cricket would be better off involving people like him in the running of the game. Its no secret how this doughty opener was sacrificed to make way for a 'talented' player in the Indian team.

Posted by Unniambady on (February 20, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

Another Excellent article from Akash ...

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

well thought artile. -" It's imperative to ensure, especially in a team sport, that players who are considered less talented aren't given a rough deal in order to promote a talented player"- definitely true in the case of Indian selection now. espeially rohit sarma.

Posted by imraanmohammad on (February 20, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

A very good article highlighting the fallacies of Indian Cricketing fans and selectors. Raina, Rohit and in some instances Yuvraj all belong in this talented but hardly disciplined players and yet they are given kudos in tests before players like badrinath and co who work hard. One failure and they r out but the the above "Talented" bunch as Sunil Gavaskar keeps stressing

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Bravo! Well said, and well written.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Amazing piece of work from Akash bhai, it is a preconcieved notion that talent is all about inborn ability but it has to be directed properly. Look at the case of Vinod Kambli and Rohit Sharma, although Rohit is not done yet he has to sort something in his game or in mind to become what he promised to be. Hope India finds many good players and they all will keep on working to stay ahead of their opponents just like Akash bhai mentioned above.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

Exactly..Applies in every steam to succeed.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

Another case for a spot for waseem jaffer in the place of rahane/murali vijay. I hope selectors read good articles like this.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Fair enough from a teams perspective but it is always talent which excites people and gets them to watch,even go miles to do so

Posted by lsnitin on (February 20, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

another very thoughtful article by aakash. you put into words something that i felt for a long time. cricketers with less flair perhaps dont get the same recognition even though they may be more effective. i guess kallis is a good example.. his nae isnt taken in t same breath as a sachin, lara or ponting.. but look at his numbers!

Posted by nahakprabhakar on (February 20, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

Aakash sir , I have read a number of articles of yours, you indeed have a tremendous insight in every department of cricket.. I know you are silently suggesting a lot of things but It would be better if other people too feel the same way you do..(By other people I'm suggesting the selection committee and cricket Pundits) .

Posted by vinodkumarmv on (February 20, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

Hey Akash,

Good read., Thanks for the rare and unique analysis. I see a lot of sense in all of your recent articles that I have read. Keep the good work going.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

in simple words the summary: Chuck rohit out, Give the tiwaris and raydus a chance ......point well made akash.......

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

Yes in Tests definitely but in ODI's no..........In ODI India only began winning big tournaments once they got rid of slow one dimensional Dravid as Ind won VB series 2008 & WC ..........& who can forget dravid's 70 of 100 in must win situation in ICC knockout 2007 last match that led India to only less loss margin ...............Dravid's knocks have onlt decreased loss margins in most ODI's............................Further in tests u need aggressive wicket taking bowlers like Stein, Saeed Ajmal, Waqar, Waseem, Akhtar not just line length Indian bowlers who wait & let the batsman get set.

Posted by Un_Citoyen_Indien on (February 20, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

In my opinion, Gavaskar and Dravid were better test match batsmen than Tendulkar. The world can keep it's notions of what constitutes being talented to itself.

Also, horses for courses: Tendulkar may have been the best ODI player that India produced. Only Kohli and Dhoni come close to Tendulkar in terms of his ODI effectiveness and Kohli still has some way to go.

There are plenty of examples of players supposedly not as talented as some others that almost missed out: S. Katich, M. Hussey, M. Hayden, D. Martyn, J. Langer from Australia. M. Slater, M. Elliott and G. Blewett were considered highly talented but didn't eventually do all that well.....

Another famous example is that of G. Hick and D. Cork from England who were often described by the media as the next W.G. Grace and the next I.T. Botham respectively but their careers fizzled out prematurely.

In India, Praveen Amre was often eclipsed in terms of effectiveness by the dour Sanjay Manjrekar.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

We have an incorrect and imbalanced obsession with talent. It comes from what Carol Dweck calls a fixed mindset.

It is not important what you begin with, it is important what you do with it. If Tendulkar had not practiced and worked hard, his initial ability would wane. That's what happened to Kambli or Sivaramakrishnan. And that's what'll happen to Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa and countless other youngsters.

Talent is not what you start with. Talent is an outcome of persistence and hard work. If we can teach this to our youngsters and avoid our obsession with prodigies, we'll do well as a nation

Posted by FahadMalik on (February 20, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

great article, just a comment on your defination of TALENT, as someone who follows cricket i belive TALENT = Performance with the Bat and Ball in INternationals and not just Nets and Side Matches, like Rohit, in Pakistan another case of TALENT is Umar Akaml who has it all but has never been consistent, keep up the good work you seem to be in line to join the Espn Commentators team :) good luck with your season.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

Good article Aakash! Totally agree with you!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

Oh! But in India we revere talent. Hard work and persistence of the Dravid and Kumble mould are not what Gods are made of! Hmph. But when the chips are down (the situation that we invariably find with India nowadays), it is these "unglamorous" players whom we turn up to to rescue us.

Posted by sumitbadarkhe on (February 20, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

Nice article. I believe rather than searching for the one talented guy, we need players who can contribute enough to win a match. India always had few dynamic players, but these players can only win you few matches. To be a consistent team like SOUTH AFRICA now, is to have a bunch of players most of who contribute to win a game, doesn't matter if their contribution is miniscule, as long as you win matches.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:46 GMT)

awesome article, most of the youngsters are not ready to work hard, IPL is the shortcut for them. Indian Test cricket wont see another Tendulkar,dravid or kumble because of the mentality of indian players nowdays.

Posted by sony_sr on (February 20, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

In simple terms rayidu, tiwary or rahane should not suffer just coz more people think rohit is the most talented youngster in india.

Posted by ygkd on (February 20, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

I remember one "talented", big-hitting, quickish-bowling, good-fielding eleven-year old. Five years later he doesn't play the game (he's focussing on other sports). That's fine, but here in Australia there seems to be too much concern about such "talented" ones that are lost to cricket. I would argue that this loss, right at the time when youngsters find they have to work a lot harder at their game than they've ever dreamt of before, shouldn't over-shadow less-obvious talent which has always been working harder and will, therefore, be much more likely to continue to do so. In short, Chopra is right to say that we tend to define talent too narrowly. Self-discipline, realistic self-appraisal and the ability to put the team first, to understand game situations and to be able to lead are also talents of sorts. These are what the Dravids and the Kumbles of the world brought to the international game and they should not be down-played because they don't look as flash. Good article.

Posted by gv1357 on (February 20, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

Good article. hope Akash will have look into it. Can't we produce pacers who can bowl 25 overs around 140k's with an average of 3 or 4 wickets in first 20 overs consistently?? Are you able to see any such moves from BCCI or other cricket centers? as far as i know BCCI is busy in making grounds!! I guess this is the only way we can enjoy the cricket and so as rankings.

Posted by AKhand on (February 20, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

Akash...well written... The dictionary meaning of 'talent' is 'natural aptitude or skill'. It is difficult to assess that skills of 'concentration' or 'accuracy' came naturally to dravid and kumble. Their childhood coaches should be able to throw light on this. I believe 'bowling fast' or 'hitting sixes' are much more easier traits to assess 'natural skills' of a cricketer. As far as Rohit Sharma is concerned, well he has definitely not lived upto the expectations...don't know what 'natural skills' he has on which such expectations have been raised. Players like Shoaib akhtar, Afridi, Irfan Pathan, Steyn come to mind when speaking of 'talent' or 'natural skills'. There's no doubt that talent alone is useless unless complemented with hard work and discipline.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

you hit the button with that last line, one hopes other "not so talented" players, who have been performing also get their fair share of run..

Posted by satishchandar on (February 20, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

Well.. A very good article from a man who is one of the hardest trier and very good team man whose deserved place in the team went to "more talented" Yuvraj Singh which was a failed try at the top of the order. We can add MSD to guys with less talent and more ambition.

Posted by crystosis on (February 20, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

Or did all of them have the talent of hardwork ?

Posted by yogi.s on (February 20, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

So in short what aakash is saying is ' Dear selectors and cricket pundits don't keep on harping about how Rohit sharma is "easy on the eye" and " has loads of time" to play fast bowlers and in doing so do injustice to more consistent players like rahane and manoj tiwary.'

Posted by crkt4evr on (February 20, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

superb and spot on by chopra! people in power should understand this.......

Posted by AdityaUpadhyay on (February 20, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

Its quite similar to the good personality vs good nature debate. That we tend to get attracted to people having magnetic personality but most of the time don't consider good nature is also an asset. Similarly talent vs attitude debate continues for ever. I remember harsha bhogle gave a wonderful seminar on talent vs attitude at IIM Ahmedabad.

Posted by vish2020 on (February 20, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Great article. Sachin is one for the..ages?...centuries?...well, ever! we don't have to go find Tendulkar again because he won't ever come again after this. However, we need Dravids and Kumbles to come all the time if we want to be No. 1 in the ICC rankings as well as Money rankings. Great article Aakash

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (February 20, 2013, 6:20 GMT)

I had gone to see the India- Pakistan U 19 match in the late 80s at the Kotla to see Vinod kambli and the other emerging talents of the arch-rivals.I saw a tall well built young man bowling fastish cutters. I was at once reminded of Chandrsekhar and excited naturally. Since both of them were from Karnataka, I thought this young man, Kumble and not Kambli as I had gone to see, was one for the future.He did not get many wickets but scored a century laying quite well by all standards. I was even more excited now and followed his career right through to when he stepped down mid series against Australia.Anil was a brilliant mind and a hard-working man. He was also well educated. That is what explains why he got tight to the top.Sachin was different. He was blessed as some people like Imran Khan are.So when Gavaskar spoke of this little boy wonder one started waiting. And so the Ranji debut 100 came and the rest of his exploits. Which is what amuses me when people rate Rohit Sharma so high..

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Well said Aakash. We Indians always had an extra bit of admiration for the flamboyance of the likes of Sachin and Sourav. That's probably due to the fact that we are more of a entertainment loving cricket audiences,not a "cricket loving" one.If we'd been one,we would have equally respected all the forms of cricket.We love to relish the sheer genius of the batsmen sending the ball off to the ropes with ease.But only few care to admire the hard work and determination which goes into each stroke played by Rahul,with sweat dripping around his helmet,or Kumble's run up to the crease with his whole hearted effort in each delivery.In a nutshell,its all about one's own perception of the game of cricket.The fact still remains that,one gets to play his natural way only because the other's talent is being unleashed on the opposite end,however offensive or defensive it might be.And what makes it "unleash" at the right point of time is hard work,and thus becomes a mantra to achieve greatness.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Wonderful piece!! Congratulations Aakash for such an insight in talent and success. A couple of decades back, we saw S Viswanath and L Sivaramkrishnan fading away though with huge talent.

Posted by Akshay_mehta1 on (February 20, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

Good article, make a lot of sense but unfortunately leave a big question as well, what about "Kapil's, srinath's, zaheer's". Is Indian cricket on a stage where an experience cricket player and writer have given-up on an genuine Indian pacer who can bowl long spell with 140KM bowls (at-least few in an over)... yes any of "Kapil's, srinath's, zaheer's" not come in fast bowler categorise but they have done a lot for Indian cricket and must have made an impact on some kid to be what it takes to be a fast bowler.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (February 20, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

Brilliant article Aakash. One of the best coming from you recently. I guess the word you are looking for is TEMPERAMENT. The special kids with loads of god given talent and gift of timing needs to have a patience and temperament in abundance too. That is what differentiate the swans from the goose. As you have mentioned Rohit in this article, he is a classic case of someone who needs to work on his temperament. For a Rohit there is always a Manoj Tiwari on the other end of the spectrum who arguably is not as talented or pretty as Rohit but has done much better in whatever limited opportunities that have came in his way. Great Imran khan was of a firm believer in throwing the talented young kids directly in the India Pak game to test his temperament at the highest level. He carved the diamonds like Waqar and Inzamam by throwing them in the deep end of the water if these guys were lacking in the confidence of nerves they would have never made it.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

Absolutely right. This is what even Rahul Dravid has mentioned post his retirement that we all judge talent wrong. Talent is not only the way you can hit a ball or that flair, flamboyance or that elegance but also how mentally tough you are, the way you assess the situation. It involves many things.

Posted by UnwedUnfed on (February 20, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

Rohit Sharma's so-called talent has become a running joke. He is the equivalent of Mohammad Ashraful in Bangladesh - coming good once every blue moon and being persisted with because of the ability to play some pretty shots. The most important aspect for sustained success is mental fortitude and discipline. Kumble and Dravid had it in spades. Tendulkar has a single-minded dedication to maximize his talent. I just don't see it in many of the new breed.

Posted by JoydeepGupta on (February 20, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

Why only Kumbles and Dravids? we do need Gangulys as well....rather that's even more important for future of Indian cricket !!

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (February 20, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

I hope Akash, u will be in Indian Team think tank one day. People like Shrinvias and Dhoni are ruining the cricket in India with their nonsense thoughts and actions

Posted by cricketpurist on (February 20, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

Very very complicated article too many points raised making it complicated to understand!! YES AGREED JAMMY,JUMBO,GOD all are talented but it is their DISCIPLINE, COMMITTMENT,INTEGRITY which makes them better Role models cutting across generations. Hoping against Hope Pujara will one day join the club of the best.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

What a simple & sensible analysis. Good article.

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

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