Glimpses of the future…

The current Team India at the Twenty20 World Cup offers a glimpse of a possible future for Indian cricket sans the Fab Five — Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, V. V. S. Laxman and Anil Kumble.

In the T20 World Cup, India has bowled well, fielded exceptionally well and played with self-belief and aggression. There are pointers to a potentially bright future. These are early days still, but I believe that this team is a good step in the right direction. This direction commenced with Rahul Dravid’s announcement that he, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly would make themselves unavailable for T20 selection.

This then commenced a shift in thinking at the top with the leadership reigns being handed over to M. S. Dhoni. As a leader, I think he is a good investment for the future. Gauging from his conduct on the field, he appears to have the backing of his young players. He is not a formula-captain. He reacts and changes somewhat instinctively. His decision to swap Harbhajan Singh’s end in the game against South Africa would have left him with no option but to bowl Harbhajan Singh in the last over. This could have had potentially disastrous effects. But he followed his instincts and went with it. After a costly 1st over, Harbhajan Singh proceeded to bowl 3 tight overs on the trot! Dhoni appears to have a level head on his shoulders and gauging from the post-match interviews, he is handling his appointment with aplomb… but these are still honeymoon-days!

It is quite an exciting future, in my view, particularly if we add to the mix players like S. Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Yo Mahesh, Praveen Kumar, Pankaj Singh, et al.

At 29 years and 247 days, Ajit Agarkar is the oldest player in Team India for the T20 World Cup.

Name | Age (years — rounded to nearest integer)
Ajit Agarkar | 30
Virender Sehwag | 29
Harbhajan Singh | 27
M. S. Dhoni | 26
Yuvraj Singh | 26
Gautam Gambhir | 26
Yusuf Pathan | 25
S. Sreesanth | 24
Joginder Sharma | 24
Irfan Pathan | 23
Robin Uthappa | 22
Dinesh Karthik | 22
R. P. Singh | 22
Rohit Sharma | 20
Piyush Chawla | 19

The average age of this side — even with Ajit Agarkar in it — is 24.33y, which is not a bad average at all!

Firstly, this team has shaved 3 years off the average age of Team India’s World Cup squad!

But more importantly, the drop in average age reflects on the fielding. With Irfan Pathan’s improvement as a fielder, there is really no one in this team that needs to be “hidden” on the field. With a proper long-term fielding-coach and a focus on fitness and intensity, the standards can only improve from here on in. All of this points to a potentially exciting future of Indian cricket. It has been most gratifying to see the self-belief in youngsters like Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Sreesanth and R. P. Singh.

— Mohan


6 responses to “Glimpses of the future…

  1. Perhaps this will mark the start of a new era of Indian cricket, where we rely on everyone in the team rather than having to depend only on a couple of superstars. In the past, the majority of players have been lost in the umbra of the prima donnas, and have often had to make way for the “seniors” even if the “seniors” have not always delivered. I say this with no malice towards the “seniors”; indeed, we owe many of our cricketing successes over the last 10-15 years to these very “seniors”.

    Ganguly and Dravid often talked (in post-match conversations) about “intensity” on the field; in yesterday’s match against the Proteas, this quality was palpable- but it was not explicitly mentioned. Yuvraj’s absence must have undoubtedly been a worry at the start of the innings- but Rohit’s brave and unbeaten knock of 50 proved that this team would not let that interfere with its objectives.

    It is of course VERY early days yet but I think what we have seen in the last two games bodes well for Indian cricket.
    To borrow from Rabindranath Tagore, may Indian cricket awake to a heaven “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”.

  2. Very true Mohan.
    Its time to fill up the boots of the living legends in Indian Cricket.
    Its time to build future TEAM INDIA’s winning 11 and in 2 years from now we will see how your prediction comes to alive.

  3. Question for you guys.
    Who amongst Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Sehwag, Gambhir and Uthappa, do you think will be the first to break into the Test lower middle order, the one that played England at the Oval. And at whose expense?

  4. right now their seems to be no possiblity of any of these getting a place in test side
    yes, in the opening slot, sehwag may be considered.

    but as long as ganguly cotinues to play his best cricket of his career, their is no chance. after ganguly its yuvraj who wil take his place. thats for sure.

  5. John,

    I think it is time we stop thinking of Sehwag as an opener. In my view he is best used as an attacking middle-order bat.

    The four to replace V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid (in that order, in my view) should be Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, S. Badrinath and Rohit Sharma (with Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammed Kaif and Suresh Raina as alternatives to have in the back pocket).

    This, in my view, should happen over the next 2-4 years commencing with the Test tour of India by Pakistan, when V. V. S. Laxman should be phased out of the team.

    If the BCCI were Cricket Australia, a blueprint for a phase-out would have been developed and this would have been discussed with the players concerned. Alas! If wishes were horses, then pigs would fly!

    — Mohan

  6. Hmm…I would have thought that Tiwary would be higher on the list (perhaps in place of Rohit Sharma). What about Uthappa? He has been prolific in domestic cricket. We’ve always made an opener out of a middle order batsman. Why not the reverse for a change 🙂 ?

    Of course all this depends on the form these players display in the next couple of years, but it would be safe to say that the future looks promising…

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