India’s rise to the no 1 status, despite the best efforts of the BCCI, has been a result of the outstanding middle order batsmanship of Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman & Ganguly with fire power at the top by Sehwag. Zaheer, Kumble, Harbhajan and Ishanth have also done their bit in crucial matches to give us reason to feel happy. In the coming years things are going to change very rapidly. The middle order cannot go on forever. Over the last 5 years e have seen the following players being brought into the Indian middle order, sometimes due to injury and later after Ganguly’s retirement. Here is an analysis of what they have done and whether they can serve India’s interests in the years to come.
1. Yuvraj Singh
He was identified as India’s future (much like Virat Kohli is today) and every Indian fan loved the way he smashed Allan Donald and Glenn McGrath in Nairobi or that wonderful win at the Natwest trophy. Even then we forgot that it was ODIs and not Test matches. The trend has continued over the last decade or so and Yuvraj keeps getting picked everytime he stars in ODIs. Has he done enough in Test matches at all.
This is his Test record – 35 tests 1709 runs 35.6 ave 3 hundreds & 10 fifties
35 tests is too many for just 3 hundreds. Flops in Australia & New Zealand and hudreds at home are not exactly helping the cause.
Can Yuvraj turn it around this time atleast. A comfortable home series against a none too threatening WI team is ideal. Have a look at his first class record
97 games 6114 runs 44.62 ave 18 hundreds & 30 fifties
Good, but not good enough to inspire confidence that Yuvraj can be a dependable Test batsman.
2. Suresh Raina
The next big guy to break into Test matches on the basis of ODI success in the last 5/6 years. Just have a look at his first class record
67 games 4497 runs 42.02 ave 8 hundreds & 31 fifties
There is nothing there that says Raina is a test cricketer! Look at his Test record to date
15 tests 710 runs 29.58 ave 1 hundred & 6 fifties
How did he get so many chances in the first place????? 15 tests???
3. Virat Kohli
He is the new Yuvraj. Again his ODI successes are forcing selectors to pick him. Have a look at his Test & FC records
3 tests 76 runs 15.2 ave
33 games 2207 runs 52.5 ave 7 hundreds & 8 fifties
Would it not be better if he played one more season of domestic cricket, scored 3/4 hundreds and make his way into the test team??? What is the hurry?
4. Cheteshwar Pujara
A dream debut! A quiet series in SA. Now injured and recovering. Inspiring domestic record and definite Test material that needs to be nurtured.
3 tests 107 runs 21.4 ave 1 fifty
56 games 4130 runs 55.81 ave 14 hundreds & 15 fifties
5. S Badrinath
The unlucky guy in Indian cricket. Been around for years. Never got the breaks he deserved. Has played just 2 Tests. Probably because he is not as flamboyant as Yuvraj or Raina! His Test trials are ODI matches where usually Yuvraj/Raina perform and so he loses out to them in the end. Fantastic domestic record! Maybe, just maybe he might get in after the big guns retire on the score of experience.
2 tests 63 runs 21.0 ave 1 fifty
97 games 7478 runs 62.31 ave 27 hundreds & 32 fifties
6. Rohit Sharma
Talented performer, very very good domestic record, unlucky to have not yet played a test match, more because of injury and one for the future on whom I would bet more than Kohli.
43 games 3409 runs 60.87 ave 10 hundreds & 15 fifties
The glamor and attention of ODIs and the IPL have resulted in the selection committee not selecting a proper test team.