Following the humiliation at home at the hands of England, a sense of panic seems to have gripped Indian cricket. Despite its customary disregard for such setbacks, even the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has acknowledged that these defeats are a matter for concern. Every team in a state of transition struggles for some time. However, the cause for concern in Indian cricket is the identification of a talent pool which has the potential to take the team forward. The selectors have been expressing their frustration at the lack of options and an example was seen in the team selection for the fourth Test. Ravindra Jadeja replaced Yuvraj Singh with his two triple hundreds in the Ranji Trophy, but the same player had earlier in the year lost his place in the one-day side for inconsistency. The same holds true for Piyush Chawla.
There is no denying that the Indian team is in urgent need of back-ups in all departments. But as of now this does not seem to be materialising. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been inconsistent. Their back-up in the team is Murali Vijay, who has been tried earlier and found seriously wanting. The talent pool is equally shallow in the middle-order, spin and pace departments. R Ashwin has proved a disappointment in the series. Harbhajan Singh, who has now been dropped, has had a bad run. Zaheer Khan has also gone and Ishant Sharma is only holding on to his place because there’s no competition. What we need is a drastic overhaul and much more talent scouting if India hopes to remain competitive. Even more glaring is the fact that captain MS Dhoni seems long past his sell-by-date. The Board has its own reasons for persis-ting with him but they have a genuine excuse too — where are the contenders for the crown? Sehwag and Gambhir are not certainties in the side and Virat Kohli is too young to hold the team together.
The sad but true reality is that they don’t make players like Cheteshwar Pujara anymore. He’s a product of the dedication and dream of a coach-father, who belonged to the old school of cricket where Test cricket was the ultimate game. The Indian cricket set-up has gone a sea-change in the last decade and it is showing in the thinking of GenNext. The Board has become more and more commercial and this is affecting the mentality of the upcoming players. The desire to play the longer form of the game has been replaced by Indian Premier League dreams.