Where are the Test Players?
India as a cricket nation has done WELL in the years gone by. Ask yourself the honest question. "Would you rather India have won this England series but not the World Cup?" You can't have everything..
The knives are out. Every Indian fan is shunning the team. Well,
cut them some slack! We won the World Cup.
The question to be asked is whether or not, in the last
three decades, we sought to play our cricket so the game's biggest financial power ever known, a country of 1 billion
who'd divorce their spouses to watch the best game of cricket, win the elusive World Cup title. Now, that's 50-over cricket. We styled our cricket on young bloodhounds, hungry for attack. Our TRDW (Talent
Research Development Wing) of the BCCI scouted for such players. And got them.
Picture this, one of the talent scouts back in 2003 spotted a
young player in the Eastern part of the country and described him to chairmen
of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar as a "hard hitting match winner."
Vengsarkar gave his approval and the long haired boy from Jharkhand was blooded
in as a wicket-keeper batsman.
The stocky 'boy' first justified his selection fully when under him
India won the 2007 T20World Cup. Well, this is just one of the stories of
aggressive players bred for India. Now, suddenly an England tour, notably
against a top opposition, castles them.
Hey, how about a change of player-breeding pattern for particular
formats? After all, we have such a vast pool. Well, the expression 'horses for
courses' is now cliched though very true and was first famously muttered by an
England manager. It meant playing players on particular turfs, like for
instance, a spinner on a turning track, or for that matter adding an extra
batsman when it was felt necessary. We need to apply this for various formats
of the game perhaps.
While, all teams field supposedly separate sides for Tests, ODIs
and T20s, the five or six who play two or all formats for India are enormously
taxed in schedule. Money spinning India just can't afford to have a rest period
for its audiences. Just imagine the mental strain a Dhoni or a Tendulkar goes
A revolutionary idea, though it is, maybe we can rest several
players, by rotation, on different Test tours. Against England in England and
with this English team, we should have had our best guys on. Whereas poor old
Zak is injured, Nehra just not ready, Harbhajan back at the NCA in Bengaluru or
in Punjab listening to old folk songs. Did we as an audience fail them? We keep
asking for them to be seen on our TV sets. So do the advertisement and
Maybe a complete segregation of India cricket teams of various
formats is needed not just for the rest for key players but also to breed
another lot that only plays Test cricket and allows them time to develop.
With a 0-4 drubbing, do we have the resolve to allow for more time
and more failures? Maybe it's worth thinking about. I know that the moment I
write this, the comments are going to come thick and fast against this theory,
along with opinions of so and so player "should have been picked"
considering "so and so". :)
Agreed, everybody may have their valid points, but my question is
"Are we missing the larger picture." Can we have a grand plan that
helps generations of our cricketers succeed? Maybe it takes too much pain to
see Dhoni, Tendulkar, Raina rested in a single series? No pain, no gain?