Things do not look good for Indian Test team as losing players like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman will only aggravate India’s woes, which came into light during the overseas series of England and Australia. The team that for more than a decade had one of the world’s best middle-order is losing players quicker than it is producing. The latest batting great to have announced his retirement is VVS Laxman. The decision came just before the start of the India-New Zealand Test series and it surprised everyone. There have been speculations that there is much more behind VVS’s retirement than the batsmen’s decision to hear his inner-voice.
The fact of the matter is that Indian team has lost one of their most reliable batsmen and it might cost them heavily. The last Test match that India played was against Australia and the team will be a lot different when they take on New Zealand in their next match due to start in a couple of days.
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have both retired and with them retired one of the most successful partnerships in Test cricket. Both these players have been great servant for India and it sad to let them leave in such a quick succession. What is more interesting is the fashion in which they have left because it does raise doubt on how the selectors treat these senior players.
Dravid, who was out of action in one-dayers was picked for the ODI series against England, and the Bangalore batsman straight away announced his retirement. He later decided to quit Test cricket as well, keeping in mind that he was the most successful batsman for India in the year 2011.
Laxman’s retirement was also surprising. After being named in the squad for the New Zealand series, everyone expected him to play at his home ground. But Laxman announcing his retirement just before the New Zealand did take everyone on back-foot.
But this problem is not new knowing the way cricket is handled in India. People have always been asking to axe these senior cricketers without thinking about the consequences of the step. Now with both Laxman and Dravid gone, Indian batting line-up looks very weak. Our openers Sehwag-Gambhir failed miserably in both England and Australia. Sachin too was not at his best and Kohli still needs to do a lot of work to prove himself in Test matches. Now the situation is such that India will have to find replacement for both Dravid and Laxman and that means India will field a team with three youngsters in the top six.
Now let’s have a look at the options that India has to replace these legendary batsmen:
Cheteshwar Pujara: He for long has been termed as a successor of Rahul Dravid which is totally unfair on this man. Pujara is talented but that does not ensure that a batsman will be successful in the most testing condition. The three matches that he has played for India, he has averaged 21.1. He has been out of action because of injury for a long time and is making a comeback.
S Badrinath: Badrinath was not in the initial team against New Zealand and has been drafted as a replacement for Laxman. Badrinath is 32 years old and it is a surprise to see him in the squad with a selection panel obsessed with age. He has played two matches and scored runs at an average of 21.
Suresh Raina: It is amazing to see Raina back in the Test squad. His inclusion does not make any sense. If seniors are forced to retire what has Raina done to make a comeback in the Test squad? His struggle in England was eminent to everyone. Commentators claimed that Raina is not made for this format and he will not be successful unless he works on his technique. Raina will score runs in India, but the way he plays in seaming conditions, he has always been his problem.
Ajinkya Rahane: Ajinkya Rahane had a wonderful IPL and people saw all the qualities in him to be successful at the Test arena. That was the reason for his inclusion in the Test team. But his performance for India A against West Indies A was pathetic. Rahane struggled in all the innings that he played and scored at a pathetic average of 10.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network