India has to phase out its stars and blood new talent soon

2012-02-04 15:26

For India, the drop down to earth after the euphoria of lifting the World Cup at home has been of seismic proportions, and they have lost eight consecutive Test matches away from home.

Gary Kirsten timed his departure perfectly for he would have had to carry the can if the team was under his watch.

What makes the losses more baffling is that they have lost with their batting triumvirate of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman still in the team.

Teams that win the World Cup usually go from strength to strength, often being dominant in all formats. While India’s ODI bench strength looks solid, testing times await in the long term.

If it was a young team that was beaten as badly as the current Indian team was in Australia, they could have hidden behind the veil of building for the future, but history has shown that Australia is no country for old men and Dad’s armies

Teams that were long in the tooth like England’s touring parties of 1958/59 and 1994/95 were picked apart by rising Australian teams while inexperienced battlers like the 1975/76 West Indian tourists were beaten by an Australian team in the ascendancy.

Having been whitewashed 4-0 by England, you would have thought that India learnt from the pasting, much as the West Indies did after the chastening 5-1 series loss in 1975/76 after they won the World Cup earlier in the year.

The cracks appeared and widened in England, where only Dravid (461 runs at 76), stood firm, with poor contributions from Laxman (182 at 22) and Tendulkar (273 at 34), who is still searching for the elusive 100th century.

In Australia, the figures made for worse reading, with the trio managing only 636 runs in 24 innings at an average of 26 between them in easier batting conditions.

The question now arises: how does India go about phasing out their stars? They should look no further than their hosts, who shed a handful of stars not so long ago.

One thing India has is quantity, but quality is not in abundance.

With a bloated first-class structure coupled with the Indian Premier League, the focus has shifted to breeding players for the shorter versions of the game.

As the senior players who will remain after the departure of the trio, Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will now have to pick up the cudgels, but their stomach for a fight away from home has also been in question.

In Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhinav Mukund and Rohit Sharma India have capable players, but the over-extended stay of the trio has robbed India of a glorious opportunity to blood their youngsters in the Test cauldron.

Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar have served their country with distinction, but it is time they let the caravan move on.

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