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SportCricketIs Indian team in transition phase?

Is Indian team in transition phase?

Published: 30th Nov 2021 9:52 am | Updated: 1st Dec 2021 1:15 am

Hyderabad: It is time for another transition in the Indian team. In due course, it could be the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma making their way out from the Indian team. The recent graphs of the trio have shown a steady decline of their form and the Chetan Sharma-led National selection committee needs to take a brave call on their continuation in the Indian team. Their biggest test will be when they pick the team for the tough South African tour.

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Former chief national selector MSK Prasad was all praise for this trio. “I think so but we can’t say exactly as a transition phase but this team was built around these stalwarts. They contributed hugely Indian team’s victories in the last few years. It will be a tough call for the selectors to decide on the future of these cricketers. Going forward we should look to new players and those new guys will serve the country for another six to seven years,” said Prasad.

Of late, Pujara has not been the same old batsman who could take the opposition with this gritty batting display. He was always hailed as a successor to the present Indian team coach Rahul Dravid, who was solid like a Wall. To be all fairness, Pujara stood tall with some amazing batting performances. The best was reserved against the Australians down under. He literally stonewalled the Australian attack of Pat Cummins, Jose Hazelwood, Mitchell Starc and off spinner Nathan Lyon. The reflexes may have come down and so his performances. It will be a tough call for the selection to make the decision on Pujara.

Prasad said once Rahul Dravid quit the scenario, it was Pujara who took that spot admirably as the Indian team needed stability at the top order. “We can’t compare with Rahul Dravid but he definitely stepped in his shoes and performed his duties faithfully. Unfortunately, he is not scoring runs but the selectors have to make a hard decision,” said Prasad.

Rahane, too, has been one of the consistent performers for the Indian team, particularly in tough conditions like Australia, England and New Zealand. He has a tight technique, he often came up with outstanding knocks and the famous one was the century in each innings against South Africa. Apart from his batting, he nicely eased into the captaincy role whenever he was asked to lead the team. A man with cool nature, Rahane was a shrewder of the game, His toughest tour as captain was last year particularly when Virat Kohli took a maternity break and at a time when the Indian team’s confidence was very low after the Brisbane disaster when it was bundled out for 36. But Rahane was impeccable in reviving the team’s fortunes. It is regarded as one of the greatest series win in Australia by an Indian team.

Rahane was a big performer whenever the team went abroad, according to Prasad. “We could bank on him as he was solid. Unfortunately, his record at home is not high as outside one. It is really surprising. As a captain he was marvelous with the job. He was a calm and but his best moment came in the Australian tour where he did exceedingly well. He is a good reader of the game and ability to lead the side.”

Ishant has been one of the best pace bowlers after Javagal Srinath. Making a big mark as a 19-year-old tour when he toured Australia in 2007-08, his best spell was against Ricky Pointing at the Perth Test. The Australian captain was all at sea against the young pace bowler. He never looked back and his best was also at Lord’s where he returned with best figures. Even with injuries, Ishant still continued for a long period of time and of late he is not able to produce the same his old wicket-taking spells.

Prasad felt that bowling for one decade is not easy and Ishant has done it splendidly. “He started as a second fiddle and later on he became leader of the pace bowling group. With age, there will be wear and tear. But most importantly, in the last couple of years, he worked on his fitness and became a strong bowler. He revelled in that role with his incisive bowling.”

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