Monday, March 19, 2012

Is he the next Tendulkar??? Is he the new No.3???

The buzz around Rahul Dravid retirement is slowly subsiding. Thanks to the milestone ton and some sensational cricket exhibited by Virat Kohli in the recent days. However, intense debates are cropping everywhere on two important subjects.

Who is India’s next No.3? Is Virat Kohli the next Tendulkar in making?
Before we find an answer to these questions, let us see what is happening around. There are few more retirements in pipeline and it will be interesting phase of Indian Cricket. After all, the last time any serious soul searching done was more than 15 years go before the quartet of Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman sealed the middle order for themselves. We may be proud of our champions but it is hard not to ignore that somebody kept cursing at self for born in the era of the greats. I’m sure a Sarath, Badani, Kanitkar, Rayudu, Mazumdar, Bharadwaj, Yuvraj Singh and even Badrinath to name the few have stories in common for not getting the due to represent the nation despite the talent.

So, the talent was/is always abundant. But, this time the job of recruitment will not be any easy considering the selectors were used to the hard labor of displaying no vacancy sign for many years. Since, few generations of cricketers already lost the dream of representing India, rekindling the desire should be the primary of all tasks. Then the next generation of Tendulkars, Dravids, Kumbles, Laxmans will automatically follow suit. For now, the apprentices to don India whites are Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Robin Bist, VA Saxena, Abinav Mukund etc. Of all these names, we know Virat Kohli has taken a head start. Be it the 133* he scored against Sri Lanka in the epic chase of 320 inside 37 overs or the 183 he piled in the pursuit of 330 over Pakistan – his efforts are staggering. And now some of us are already terming him the next Tendulkar of India.

Is he really the next Tendulkar?
I don’t know that yet. But I’m sure he will make an identity for himself in Indian Cricket. He has the age to do the long run. He has the talent to conquer continents. He has the temperament to succeed. With more cricket, he is only bound to improve his technique. The additional responsibilities given should only help him to mature rapid. However, carrying the hopes of millions is no joke. Tendulkar had done that successfully for more than 20 years. Tendulkar made people watch cricket, inspired kids and youngsters to play cricket, redefined the art of batting, took work ethics to a different notch, single handedly change the economics of nation, importantly divided the game of cricket before and after him. At this time, I can only say, Kohli has the potential to become the next superstar of India. But becoming next Tendulkar…

Who should be the next No.3?
Few months ago, when I was rooting for the youngsters to replace Dravid and Laxman in Test matches, many mocked at me. Now the same mouths utter that they have resolved the next Tendulkar riddle. Though I’m surprised at their quick change of minds, I’m happy people are eagerly looking forward to seeing new faces and also interested in investing time on them. However, to answer the question, the best batsman should play more number of deliveries (except opening – because it is a specialist position) and the positions 3 and 4 provides it ample. Kohli is the best at this point and so he claims the No.3 spot without debate.

Again, each position in the side plays a crucial role for the success of the team. So it is important to identify candidates for each position and not just fill players at numbers. Now that the transition is on it is an opportunity to reconsider the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ambati Rayudu and even Badrinath( if he is not out of the radar already). If India can get few seasons out of these players, it is still good for Indian Cricket.

But going forward, India’s chances of winning Test Matches will be largely dominated by bowlers. Lucky we have two express pace men (Aaron & Yadav), Ishanth Sharma and two world class spinners in the form of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha. Time India treasure these resources and field them only in Test Matches, important ICC events, critical limited over games on the tours of England, South Africa and Australia and not abuse them by playing meaningless cricket matches.

Bottom line: Return of youth days for Indian Cricket.

Cricket Lover

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