Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A New Journey Begins...

A New Journey begins for India after their favorite son chose to end his journey. And the voyage commence with one of the most anticipated series of the year. Yeah it is sad the series is limited to just two Tests. But then what can stand up to Political Play & Tendulkar Retirement. Well, it would not have been a bad idea if India played split series, with 3 tests now and touring again later for the ODI and T20 leg. Never mind, let us move on.
It was my dream for some time that India should start a young side in the Test Arena (especially after the 8-0 drowning in the hands of England and Australia). Well, it took few retirements (some may have been forceful too), a new selection committee that also addressed the dressing room dissents, before India zeroed down to a young side. I’m sure this not the best youth brigade of India, but it is sure a good start by the selectors. In the near future we will know who will survive the long run. But, Zaheer Khan joining the bandwagon is the most heartening site. After shedding all those unwanted fat and probably (may have) lost the injury specialist tag with it, could be another compelling comeback story. When Zaheer Khan was not issued the contract, it was very obvious that it was only an effort to pacify Sehwag when the latter was not issued a contract too. In reality everybody knew Zak will return to Test fold for the South Africa series, especially after his Tour to France followed by his performance in domestic circuit. Though I’m very positive of Zak’s performance, it is still wait to be watched. Between, I personally did not count on Zaheer Khan returning to Test Fold after he was shown doors during the England series in India.
Now, Sehwag can take a leaf out of Zaheer’s book and consider Tour the France, may be a Corrective Vision Surgery too and importantly a Team Building exercise with Dhoni to make another compelling comeback story. After all, there is still a lot of room left for Sehwag’s comeback and he would be my personal interim pick to replace the legend at No.4 till India (and I) gets over the No.4 phobia. And Sehwag still has few more left to contribute for India.
Coming back to the series preview, many may consider the ODI’s were a prelude to the Test Series. It is very evident that B Kumar and Mohit Sharma are simply not ready for the big battles and quickly made to sit the remaining 2 ODI’s. From what we infer from the performances of Shami Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Ishanth Sharma, B Kumar and Mohit Sharma in the ODI’s, India are better off starting with Zaheer, Shami and Ishanth for the first Test and Ashwin should be the lone support spinner. I’m sure Dhoni will have no place to show his love for Jadeja by calling him an all-rounder wanting to be included in the playing XI. His place will be duly taken over by a specialist batsman.
More than the bowlers, the performance of the batsman in the ODI’s disappointed everyone. Most of the batsman tried to display the attitude that they are ready to take on the likes of Steyn & Party (in other words not perturbed by the reputation of bowlers) and started playing their shots when they were simply not ready for it. Guess they learnt their lessons now. Possibly a dressing down by the Coach & Captain should help them find their feet before the Test Series. Pujara could have been a good addition to the ODI side, especially in the overseas condition. He is more on the Dravid mold, playing to himself, giving it to the bowlers when they demanded respect, could have curtailed flurry of wickets in the ODI series and possibly helped the other batsman to put a better show. Anyways, no point in brooding over the past, after all this is only learning curve and most of these players are still young in their careers. But showing signs of maturity at an early age can turn these young batsmen from good to great.
Over all, I’m not counting on India to win this series. If India loses this series 1-0, then I would say it is a huge win for Indian Cricket.
India is expected to field
Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Sharma, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, I Sharma, Zaheer Khan and Shami Ahmed

It is true Tendulkar retirement left India in a huge void. His departure left the entire nation sobbing (And I still continue to sob. I personally find it extremely difficult to digest, even though I begged for his retirement).  He made his fans so proud for choosing him his hero. Now, he has set a new yardstick for the next generation (cricketers) as to what a Hero should be. Let us see if anyone from this youth brigade can go on to become the next big thing in cricket. From now on, it will be our journey to witness if we ever witness another Tendulkar in our life time.  
Cricket Lover

PS: I'm commencing my journey too, after a long hibernation

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