After India suffered another humiliating defeat at Perth — this time in seven sessions flat — the talk centred on infusing new players into the team — and I completely agree with that.
It’s important that a steady influx of fresh talent is maintained and, here, the selectors will have to change their policies. They will have to take a tough stand on a lot of issues. Many a time, the selectors have pushed aside soft targets — players whose omissions didn't create much of a flutter — and by doing that, they not only saved their backs but also kept people happy. But now the time has come to take tough decisions.
The biggest test for the selectors now is to be fair to the country. There is talk about VVS Laxman being dropped straightaway, even for the final Test at Adelaide. If that's the case, the same rule should be applied to lot of other players.
VVS has been a terrific player, but in sports it’s inevitable that your time will come at some stage. However, whoever has to be left out, young or old, equality has to be maintained, and a strong message sent out that we give priority to performance.
There are instances in sports where one gets a bit more time than the other, but that should not be the case this time around. So many losses — and more importantly such drubbings — are the result of too many non-performers in the team.
The selection committee, headed by Kris Srikkanth, will be the focus of attention, and if it doesn't stand up to expectations, people in India and elsewhere will start losing faith in Team Indian and that will be very harmful for the sport in the country.
I cannot remember an Indian team going through such a run overseas for such a long time. To see them surrender so meekly again in the second innings was not shocking any more. It was an acceptance that this team cannot win anymore, or, for that matter, fight hard Down Under in the weeks to come. Having played so many matches together with a lot of these players, it really hurt to sit in the box and watch their misery.
There has been criticism galore in the last few weeks, and very rightly so. When teams play in this manner over an extended period of time, fans, media and administrators lose patience.
The time has come for the team to accept it. It's important that everyone associated with the sport — selectors, players and administrators — start taking strong and honest decisions.
The One-day series starts soon, and this is one area India have had no problems. Hopefully, they will perform a lot better, as this format demands a completely different skill-set.
India won't play Test cricket for a few months now. But, I will be keenly watching whether the Indian selectors sweep the issue under the carpet or stand up to the challenge. The entire country will be watching you Srikkanth and Co, and they will demand honesty and fairness.
(The former india captain is the head of BCCI’s technical committee)
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