Time is ripe to build a vibrant new side


One  always feels nostalgic visiting a city where one was born, and it was no different for me in my hometown Rajkot, the venue for the first One- Day International between India and England.

I schooled through the famous Rajkumar College and we were brought up on tales of the famous cricketers, Ranjitsingh and Duleepsingh.

Their performances were highlighted on a beautifully carved wooden board in the pavilion. These historical achievements were what one wanted to emulate.

Established players now looking stale

Similarly, the stories of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan, Ganguly, Laxman and Dravid and their extraordinary feats must be the stuff of folklore among the present Indian youngsters. The achievements of the preceding greats would be the standard that each one of them would be aspiring to beat, in order to etch their names in the annals of Indian cricket history.

The time is ripe for a change.

India now need to focus on building a vibrant new side that will do us proud in the World Cup in 2015.

Tours to South Africa and New Zealand later this year could be a great testing ground for the young aspirants, and these upcoming series should be utilised solely to give them the opportunity to showcase their talents.

We have found a very good bowler in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who I feel will be a handful overseas. He definitely isn’t a death bowler, though, and using him for that would just make him lose confidence.

The biggest area of concern is a backup or replacement for MS Dhoni as a wicket- keeper.

India have to identify two more options for this place, so they are not caught napping if the need arises.

I am a believer in giving a captain the confidence of a long tenure with a target, so he can formulate his strategy. Dhoni seems to have the captaincy issue settled and so, should be given the responsibility to decide when he wants a rest.

I feel we are flogging our established players and they seem to be looking stale. A short period of rest for Yuvraj, Gambhir and Ishant Sharma would not be a bad move, if our focus is to give the less established players an opportunity.

The trio is a tried- and- tested commodity whom India can always call back when needed.

India’s fielding in the last match in Rajkot was very good and there seemed great vigour in their approach. This is an area that will be very crucial in the future. The team did a good drill before the match and one felt good that they were not warming up by playing football and trying to imitate the likes of Messi or Ronaldo.

Matches

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