Is Indian Cricket on the right track?
People might say that we won the Champions Trophy, we are world champions, we defeated Australia… But most of these wins are predominantly at home. Leave alone the Champions Trophy, India have lost 9 of their last 10 away Tests. We lost to England at Home after 20 odd years. Australia won a couple of matches here. We aren’t invincible at home not are we supreme in bouncy and pacy conditions.
In the past few years Indian Cricket has witnessed quite a few legend retire. Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and above all Sachin Tendulkar. While Kumble helped us win matches by his bowling, the ‘Fab Four’ have treated many an Indian Cricket fan to innings he might never witness ever again.
Their retirements have certainly created voids which are not easy to fill. But there are a few young guns who have a tad of experience. Other than Kohli, MS Dhoni and Cheteshwar Pujara, we don’t have any player who can play the rising ball well.
The rise of Pujara has come at the perfect time for Indian Cricket. He’s one player who can play both faces of the game. Be it attack or defence, he can do it. Kohli on the other hand is more suited to an attacking form of the game.
Although we have seen only a little of Pujara outside home, it has certainly given us an insight into his game. His iron like defence signifies the Rahul Dravid in him. His hands down the wicket show the shades of Tendulkar in him. His ability to slog sweep the spinners show the Laxman in him. And his ability to get runs at a steady pace and the ability to dissect the off side field more often than not shows the shades of Sourav Ganguly in him.
He hasn’t been tried out in the ODI format yet. But I guess he would be India’s best bet along with Kohli in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Virat Kohli, India’s next gen superstar has had rocking start to his cricket career. Australia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, you name it. He has more often than not delivered. That’s Virat Kohli for you.
People might say he has attitude and stuff but if you want to have a player who can win the game for you, it should be Virat Kohli. His demolition of Malinga in Australia can never be forgotten.
He is one person in the Indian team who does what he wants to. The problem with Kohli now is that he is used to attack all the time that during the crucial situations in Tests he goes for the kill. He may be the perfect player in ODI’s but still has to have a bit of experience in tests.
Yesterday, we all saw the start of another young gun’s career in cricket. Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane played like a fearless bull. He didn’t worry about losing his wicket nor did he want the century, he wanted to just keep playing.
He is one of the most consistent performers in the domestic circuits averaging a staggering 62+ in every innings. He, like his team mate Rohit Sharma can play any position. He’s another utility player that India can use for the World Cup.
See, now we need to set our sights into the World Cup if want to retain it. Players like Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Gautam Gambhir who just can not play the short ball should be given the green signal.
Well, if you want Jadeja for the sole purpose of his bowling, we could rather pick someone else. People like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli should be given a long run even if they are not successful.
The biggest problem India has is its bowling. We do not have even one quality fast bowler, not even one good spinner nowadays. Spinners are meant to turn the balls. For e.g. Greame Swann. Instead, we have a Ravindra Jadeja who bowls at 90+ kmph most of the time. Ashwin? No consistency. Indian Selectors should be brave. They should take risky decisions.
Put Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Shami Ahmed and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. We would have a four pronged bowling attack. It may be unheard of an Indian team to have 4 fast bowlers but what’s the problem in trying it out? If we could play four spinners in 1967, then why can’t we play 4 seamers in 2014 where few teams play 5 seamers?
If we want to retain the World Cup, we have to take bold decisions. We have to take risky decisions. We have to make proper decisions. For now, we played a treat series in South Africa. Let’s just wait and watch how we play against the kiwis.