Why can't Kohli, Rohit and other Indian cricketers be intellectually honest? Stoinis' comments compel fans to think | Crickit
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Why can't Kohli, Rohit and other Indian cricketers be intellectually honest? Stoinis' comments compel fans to think

Apr 24, 2024 03:33 PM IST

Unlike Australia, the art of letting go is not Indian cricket's strength.

What Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis said after taking the lead in a massive run chase on Tuesday night has made a much deeper impact than the century itself he scored for Lucknow Super Giants (124 not out off 63 balls) against Chennai Super Kings. Which compelled many of us to think: why Indian players are not the same?

Ask yourself: Do Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli really need to play the T20 World Cup? (Twitter)
Ask yourself: Do Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli really need to play the T20 World Cup? (Twitter)

The following was his reply when he was asked by Harsha Bhogle if his innings was some kind of message to Cricket Australia which had removed him from its contract list last month: "I've got a great relationship with the [Australia] coach [Andrew McDonald]. Me not getting a contract, I knew that a while ago. I think it is great to give younger kids a crack and let them take my spot. I'm absolutely fine with that on the contract list."

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You will never hear such a thing from Indian cricketers. No matter how badly out of form they are, how terribly out of shape they are, how much of advanced age they are, they will never admit it. They will never admit that the new crop of players is good enough to replace them. They just want to play on and on till they can't sight the ball anymore or in the case of bowlers, till they can't see the stumps.

It's our culture the culprit. In other professions too – be it Bollywood or politics – people find it hard to let go when they can't deliver the way they did before. They will go on and on till they are dispatched with disdain. We have always been an individualistic society where hero worship is extreme. It's a good thing to have heroes but neither we know when to stop worshipping them nor they know when to stop being heroes and quit.

Players should be groomed. At the height of their powers, they should be taught – by who else but the BCCI – that nothing lasts forever and they should not hesitate even for a moment when it's time to call it quits. Indian cricketers nowadays are so financially secure that they can't be defended in any way for not being intellectually honest.

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja are classic examples. They should not play T20Is for India anymore because they have not been able to adapt to the new requirements in the format to the desired degree. But no matter how many important matches in important tournaments India may lose, none of them will ever put up their hand and say "hey, time to move on and let the young players pick up the baton".

From 2007 to 2013, India had a great time in international cricket. During this period, they won the 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. If you start thinking it was all because MS Dhoni was new and so was his thinking. And he went for a lot of new players. And old players who could still contribute to the team’s cause in some way... only they were stuck with.

But after Dhoni became established, he also took much longer to go. It may be noted he left Test cricket at the right time but dragged his career on in white-ball cricket. Rohit, Kohli and Jadeja are pretty much following the same trajectory. Ravichandran Ashwin and Dinesh Karthik were not giving up either before their own performances upon their return did for them.

Rohit, Kohli and Jadeja are representing Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Chennai Super Kings respectively and it's not a coincidence that these three teams are struggling in the ongoing Indian Premier League. It's high time we moved on from this dreadful hero worship. The BCCI will have to make these calls. Players on their own won't go. They all have been together for years and have formed a coterie. They have each other's back. Unless the Indian cricket governing body does it, we will be forever underachievers.

For a country, that runs cricket almost single-handedly in the world, no big trophies since 2013 is a big worry. Unless we learn to say goodbye to our once-heroes-but-now-liabilities, we will keep talking about how Kapil Dev led the team bravely to the 1983 World Cup trophy, how Dhoni hit a six to seal the 2011 World Cup, and other similar legends. There will be no new additions.

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