Is it time India made wholesale changes to its batting? CNN-IBN's Chief Cricket Correspondent Sanjeeb Mukherjea joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. Does the whole problem with the Indian cricket today is due to lack of succession planning. Every one knew that Dravid, Laxman, and Sachin would retire and so would Kumble. There seemed to success plans. Even in series with New Zealand etc, instead of blooding youngsters these players were pitched. If we look at the Aussies, we would realise that they struggled for while post the retirement of McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden etc, but are back on track, very quickly. For blooding youngsters and making some changes in the team, it is a now or never chance. Eg.Rahane must open. Sehwag has to bat in the middle order, his reflexes have reduced but would be very very effective. What is your take pls. Asked by: Narayan
A. Hi Narayan, thanks for writing in. I do share your sentiment that there seems to be lack of planning with regard to building the team for the future. Not only Rahane, but its time for the selectors to look at Cheteshwar Pujara too. ODI cricket isn't just about slam-bang stuff anymore, specially with the new power play rules.
Q. Don't you think Sehwag and Gambhir should be in the team. But Rohit Sharma, Jadeja should out of the team. Asked by: Amlan
A. Hi Amlan, guess that would be a bit unfair. Rohit is yet to justify his 'talent', but Jadeja has shown he can be more than just a handy slow bowling option.
Q. You can give a chance to Pujara? Asked by: maimozhi
A. Hi Maimozhi, precisely what we have been discussing. Its time for the selectors to look at Pujara too...ODI cricket with the new power play rules isn't just about slam-bang stuff only.
Q. For 'openers' on this topic, why not replace our current openers? Asked by: DRP
A. Sehwag has less than 250 runs in the last year with an average less than 25 in ODIs in the past 1 year, Gambhir far better averaging around 40. Surely, Sehwag can't be sure of holding on to his place.
Q. I think it is wrong to say that by making wholesale changes to India's batting would ensure that we would be formidable again everywhere in the world. Sure there might be some short term gains as it might give justice to the likes of Badrinath, Amol Mazumdar, Hemang Badani, Robin Bisht etc.. who have made tons of runs in the Ranji, will get a fair chance in getting into Team India. But the bigger problem is, do we really have the setup to challenge the likes of South Africa and Australia, who are true sporting nations? For starters, we do not have a bowling line up that can qualify to the second rung teams of the above nations. We do not have quality batsmen who have the will to survive in test matches against quality bowling in testing conditions.. In Australia, they have Perth, which is one of the fastest pitches in the world, They have Sydney, MCG where it assists the Spin, and Adelaide is a batting paradise... There is variety in the pitches.. In India, all the pitches are pretty much the same. Either they start turning from day 1 or they don't at all.. How can good bowlers come up in such conditions? How can we get quality batsmen? Why do our national players not play in the Ranjis? I think BCCI, in its greed, has screwed up Cricket for good in India. Asked by: Karthik
A. You do make a number of genuinely fair points Karthik. And yes, its the BCCI that needs to sit up and take notice of the goings-on. A coach/captain can be changed, but that doesn't do any long-term good. BCCI must put all heads together to plan for the roadmap to a better placed India.
Q. Why blame the Indian team or Dhoni....isn't the board to blame..is there any concentrated effort to groom new talent...Where are the A tours...Why despite having Kumble and co your spinners have dried up...Where are the spinners in domestic cricket. Asked by: Samant
A. I agree Samant.
Q. Dear Sanjeeb, Don't you think that a Captain should be the one who can bring the best out of his players. Rather than pointing fingers at X,Y,Z and saying they should have done well. Dhoni for me should be given a break as the captain. He doesn't motivate players anymore atleast from my view.. To my next point As the next World Cup will be held in Australia & N.Z we need to have solidity in our batting. I don't see the likes of Raina playing the 2015 World Cup. After 71 ListA matches Pujara Averages in the mid fifties, he has got some 8 Centuries better than Rahane, Tiwary ans Co. He should be given a go. I am finding it that the selectors are getting it terribly wrong, the best First Class player in India Gets to play T20's for India & hasn't been given a chance in the longer versions. Asked by: Jithin.C, Software Engineer, Trivandrum.
A. Fair point Jithin. Infact, sometimes its difficult to understand as to what exactly is given weightage to with regard to selections.
Q. Your best inform batsman play shud play for the country. Senior cricketers(sehwag, gambhir) are unduely given a fair run just because of their experience at the international level. They are play ranji trophy matches to regain form, just like how Dada or Harbhajan did. Other international teams, don't fix positions for players. Joe Root or Faf du plessis play in middle order or open the innings. India need to get Pujara and Rahane in the top 3. Asked by: Binod
A. You are spot on Binod.
Q. I you think that the flat pitches and the poor Ranji bowling are adversely affecting the abilities of our batsmen. Also they do no seem to adapt to overseas conditions. The transition from Ranji to international cricket is not smooth and is another area of concern. What are your views on this. Asked by: Srikanth
A. Indian batsmen are simply unable to play good fast bowling. And a lot of that blame needs to be put on the lifeless pitches used in the domestic circuit. But at the same time, its established international players in the Indian team, who come a cropper, unable to face good fast bowling. Here, the coach needs to be asked about the situation, and what exactly is being done to prevent this decline. Indian batsmen are also succumbing to spin bowling here in their own backyard, and that's a big shocker. Also, one wonders what the bowling coach is imparting to our pace bowlers who seem to be dropping off so regularly with injuries.
Q. I am of the view that its the mindset that we need to change - the team succumbs very easily. To a large extent I feel that the infrastructure is to blame. The Indian pitches are dull, Ranji trophy matches are played on flat tracks and the players are not put through a competitive set-up as in Australia. What are your views on this? Asked by: Srikanth
A. You are right on this one. But even as the blame is put on the domestic cricket structure, what about the established batsmen in the Indian team set-up, who seem clueless when it comes to handling pace bowling.
Q. Losing a series doesn't matter, if vision 2015 of retaining the worldcup is prepared. For that to happen rest players like Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Zaheer, and include youngsters like Vijay, Rahane, Mukund, Unmukt Chand, Aparajit etc. We will definitely loss a few series if we include these youngsters, but few years later on we will be able to build a strong side like SA. Asked by: Venkatesh, Chennai
A. To rebuild a team, you need to back your young talent, and give them some sort of a long rope. However, the practice is not the same in Indian cricket where more often than not, a youngster is consigned to the benches after one failure.
Q. Good topic for the day...India still riding on the past glory..the big challenge is no bench strength in bowling in all forms (first class to school level)..this gives even an average batsman to plunder huge run pile and get default status in selection list..Dhoni should step down and contribute at #4..Pujara - Rahane (recent good finds) should have enough opportunities..IPL should not include national team members..this will up the spirits of young guns for a competitive spirit and provide glimpse of talent pool available..we are Down but not out. Asked by: Paresh UAE
A. Hi Paresh, thanks for writing in. Appreciate your sentiment - yes indeed, we are down, but not out :) It surely will take more than just a while for Indian cricket to rebuild itself. Losing a clutch of very very good players in the last 4 years has made it even more challenging. However, its the BCCI that needs to perhaps take note of the fact that its not the defeats India is suffering, that is causing so much heartburn among cricket fans, but the manner in which our team is capitulating.
Q. Time to move from Gambhir & Sehwag to Rahane & Pujara? Kohli as Captain and Ashwin as Vice Captain? Asked by: Aniruddha
A. You will make a brave selector Aniruddha :)
Q. The body language given is that the openers are under performing with a vengeance. Why not give long rest to Sehwag & Gambhir & groom some youngsters. Even if we lose so what? We are losing with these stars also. Asked by: Benkat
A. Youngsters must be groomed for the future. But Benkat, your 'performing with a vengeance' smells of a conspiracy theory :)
Q. Why are we persisting with the useless coach. He is too alien and old for Indian cricket! We need to have Kumble or Ganguly as the coach. Even Tendulkar can be made the coach as he will retire from Tests also this year for sure!! Asked by: SBH
A. Yes, we do need a change in the coaching staff, but I don't see any immediate change. It's likely Fletcher will see through his contract till April 2013.
Q. MSD is playing just to maintain his average . . . if he is playing for India Dhoni is playing for maintaining his avg... if not, then he would have hit some big shots lot earlier. Can you remember the match India vs SA. When India struggling at 77/8 . . . Yusuf played some big shots and scored a century ... Why Dhoni is so selfish for captaincy & his CSK owner Srinivasan Favouring his Captain ... full of politics? Do you agree Asked by: Goutham Kumar, Andaman & Nicobar!
A. Hi Goutham, To be fair to MSD, he too is under tremendous pressure. While the batting hasn't clicked many a time, Dhoni has batted really well on most occasions. But yes, he does seem to enjoy the confidence of the board supremos at this point of time.