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A peek at Team India's Generation Next

With World Cup 2007 just about a year away, emergence of Gen Next could not have been better timed.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 11:17 IST

With approximately a year-and-a-half to go before the 2007 World Cup, the emergence of Team India's young brigade could not have been better timed.

One can bet that most of the players who are being backed by the coach and selectors will be boarding the flight to the Caribbeans to help the team's prospects.

The rotation policy advocated by Greg Chappell and his think tank during the Sri Lankan and South African series has reaped rich dividends with the youngsters chipping in with some superb performances when given an opportunity.

Almost every game has thrown up new heroes for India and the players of the future have lived up to the expectation and if they played to their potential, then India's dream of winning the World Cup will turn into a reality.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Leather hunter

India have produced some of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball in recent times and Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be among the top.

The Jharkhand lad came in the limelight with some outstanding performances in the tournament in Kenya and became an overnight hero with his historic knock of 183 not out against Sri Lanka in the one-dayers, bettering his 148 in the process.

The most striking quality of his game is his lighting quick footwork, shot selection and the brute force with which he belts the leather.

Adding a feather to his cap was the comment made by the Indian skipper Rahul Dravid who said Dhoni's 183 not out "was pretty close to the hundred Sachin made against Australia in Sharjah."

Rudra Pratap Singh: Lanky seamer

An outstanding performance at the under-19 World Cup and domestic season in 2004 saw Uttar Pradesh's Rudra Pratap Singh make it to the highest level.

The lanky left-arm seamer, with a four-wicket haul, earned the man-of-the-match award in his third one-day international.

He showed that to succeed at the highest level it is the movement off the pitch that gets wickets and not raw pace. Extracting bounce from the dry surface, he foxed the Lankan batsmen with his lateral movement.

His speed is not express but he hits the deck and can be a very useful bowler in seaming conditions and can be deadly, bowling at the death, which was evident in the Ranji one-dayers.

Lauding his superb bowling effort, Sehwag said, " RP is a very talented bowler and his specialty is that he can bring the ball into the right-handers and swing it both ways."

Sreesanth: The right attitude

With left-handed seamers ruling the bowling department, Sreesanth is among a very few right arm bowlers on sight in Team India.

The 22-year-old Sreesanth began to play cricket when he was just 13 and got his first break when he was selected to attend the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai under the guidance of Dennis Lillee and TA Sekhar.

He was rewarded a place in the Indian side for his notable performance in the 2005 Challenger Trophy.

In due course of time, the talented fast bowler from Kerala could well turn out to be India's next Javagal Srinath.

Teaming with Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth can revive the right-left combination, which can prove to be deadly in international cricket.

Representing a weak side in domestic cricket, the talented paceman has the ability to move the ball both ways. He has a lethal bouncer and a well disguised yorker in his armoury.

Praising the rookie, Indian coach Greg Chappell said, "I liked his attitude and the desire to do well. These are the qualities necessary to perform well regularly."

By Harsha Saparia

First Published: Dec 27, 2005 18:17 IST