India prepares for Generation Next
With the last of the ‘Fab Four’ finally hanging his boots, Indian cricket begins a new phase of ‘Life after Tendulkar’ in Test cricket. The Gen Next is here and looks ready to carry the mantle in the years to come.
While the legacy of Tendulkar is irreplaceable, one batsman has certainly earned comparisons with the master as far as batting is concerned. Virat Kohli, who started his Test career at the No.5 position, will most likely take up the coveted spot that belonged to Sachin for so long. Kohli’s supreme form in ODIs reminds us of Sachin in the late 90’s – technically perfect cricketing shots, complete domination of bowlers and the consistency with which it was done. It may still be very early to call Kohli the next Tendulkar, but he surely seems to be following the footsteps of India’s most beloved cricketer.
It’s not just Virat who looks ready for the challenges that lie ahead. The quartet isn’t complete without mentioning the other three pillars. Cheteshwar Pujara was the earliest to get there, replacing Rahul Dravid at No.3, and has essayed his role beautifully since then. The composure that he displays at the crease is phenomenal to watch. He looks at ease while batting, which makes it even tougher for the bowlers.
Both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have blossomed in their respective Test debuts. The southpaw has been unstoppable ever since he recorded the highest individual Test score on debut, while Rohit became the 2nd Indian after Sourav Ganguly to score consecutive Test hundreds in two innings. India has found the perfect opener in Dhawan and the 27-year old’s aggressive batting makes him an ideal replacement for Ganguly. Sharma is into the early stages of his Test career, and appears to be a promising prospect for Indian cricket.
However, the true test of these four youngsters lies in the upcoming tour of South Africa. There won’t be a Tendulkar to deceive the South African pacers, a Dravid when the team is in trouble, a Ganguly to attack, or a Laxman at rescue. It will be an all-new batting order preparing to face their litmus test outside familiar conditions. Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan – the next generation of cricketers that will hopefully take Indian cricket to greater heights!
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