Indian Test cricket is believed to have reached its lowest ebb. In little over a year, we've lost almost everything away from home and barely managed to win the home series. We are no longer the team that was rated the best. Ironically, the people who took the team to the pinnacle are believed to be the very reason for its decline. Losses, especially a series of losses in a humiliating manner, call for rolling a few heads, and hence this sudden spike in demanding group resignations doesn't come as a surprise. Experts have already announced a few obituaries and the time to witness the final rites seems to be nearing.
The Big Question
Alarming events often demand stern measures as long as they are not imprudent and hasty. Knee-jerk reactions following dismal showings may silence the critics and placate the fans for the time being, but wouldn't it be better to have an in-depth review of what needs to be done. The call for sacking senior pros, to me, seems nothing more than a reckless impulse. I have, at the same time, no qualms in admitting that the pillars of Indian batting are becoming wobbly. The big question is, can we afford to dislodge the existing structure, field a new team and expect it to do well? Since we have lost the last eight away Test matches, will it be okay to lose a few more at home? Lastly, when everyone in the batting order (barring Dravid and Tendulkar) is averaging under-30 runs per innings overseas, why single out only a couple of them? Shouldn't we have the same yardstick for everyone?
The Road Ahead
The time to sit the seniors down to work out the blueprint for India's future has come — these are men of brilliance; think-tanks of Indian cricket. Precious time has already been wasted in taking some crucial decisions — like, the option of grooming and testing youngsters against Bangladesh a year ago and during the West Indies tour at home. We should have taken the seniors into confidence and asked them to play only two of the three Test matches, therefore allowing a couple of youngsters a longer run in the days' format. Even though we missed the trick earlier, we can exercise the option the next time we play Test cricket.
Seniors aren't liabilities but are the much needed cushions for youngsters. It's imperative to have a few experienced men around who can soak in the pressure and give youngsters the allowance to fail. Also, before we start trying out youngsters randomly, it won't be a bad idea to identify talent and also test them in hostile conditions on away India-A tours. It's blasphemous to send T20 specialists on these important tours.
The former India opener plays domestic cricket for Rajasthan