Time to move on from Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara (PC-AFP, PTI)
New Delhi, There is a word in English-Transition, , you call it transition. If you want to understand in simple words, then you can also say change. This word is also used in the game of cricket. Especially when big changes are happening in a team simultaneously. Many veteran players are saying goodbye to the field at the same time. Every team in the world has seen this phase. But in the last 20 years, the two teams whose ‘transition’ has been discussed the most are – India and Australia. Australia saw a period of change between 2006-2009. Between 2012-2014 Team India saw a time of change.
We will talk about these changes in detail, but before that the question which has arisen in front of Indian cricket at this time. After the humiliating defeat at the hands of Australia in the 2023 World Test Championship, the big question is whether Team India is once again going through a phase of ‘transition’. Is it the right time to look beyond Rohit, Virat, Pujara?
Remember the time from 2012 to 2014
Do you remember the picture of the Indian Test team from about 10 years ago? Do you remember those players who used to field for Team India at that time? On this question, more than 90 percent people will answer ‘yes’. This was the period when legendary players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan used to play for the Indian team. Now answer another question, do you remember in which year these legendary players took retirement or when did they play their last test match?
Now the mind has to run more. Let us help you and give you the answer to this question. This period is from 2012 to 2014. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had retired in 2012. Virender Sehwag played the last test in 2013. Sachin Tendulkar had retired in 2013 itself. Zaheer Khan played the last test match in 2014. This was called the ‘transition face’ or transition period of Indian cricket.
The retirement of veterans was done in a gap of 2 years.
This was the period when there were many apprehensions in the minds of cricket fans. They felt that if Sachin is not there then who will be the face of Indian cricket? If not Sehwag, who will be the brand ambassador of Bekhauf Cricket? Who will lead the Indian team’s middle order after Dravid or Laxman’s departure? Who will form the backbone of Indian batting? Or who will handle the bowling unit after Zaheer Khan leaves? But all these apprehensions got answered. It seemed to be the thickest darkness just before the sunrise. But the sun rose. The shine of Indian cricket has not faded.
Players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara fulfilled their responsibility very well. He had stepped into international cricket in the era of big veteran players. When the giants left, these players set their feet more firmly. To a large extent, it would be correct to say that it did not seem that the departure of veterans, who were among the greatest players of Indian cricket, had made any big difference.
were then considered to be in a better position than Australia
Now let’s talk about Australia. Actually, the period that Indian cricket saw from 2012 to 2014 was compared to the 2006-2008 period in Australia. This is because the players on whose power Australia ruled the world cricket retired between 2006-2009. Remind you that in 2006, Jason Gillespie and Damian Martin played the last match. The next year in 2007, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne played the last match. Adam Gilchrist left in 2008 and Matthew Hayden in 2009.
In terms of dates, ‘retirement’ may have been ‘announced’ back and forth, but the last matches of these veterans remained between 2006 and 2009. Cricket critics believe that the Australian team took some time to deal with this situation. The team was not scattered under the leadership of Ricky Ponting but it took some time to recover. During 2012 to 2014, when the Indian team came in such a phase, its condition is considered better.
now back to the present
The Indian team had to face defeat by more than 200 runs in the World Test Championship at the Oval. Neither Rohit Sharma walks, nor Virat Kohli, nor Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammed Shami. Let’s talk about the form, fitness and age of these players. Rohit Sharma is 36 years old. Everyone knows about his fitness problems. Virat is 35 years old. Virat is fit, now he is scoring runs too, but now you cannot call him a match winner. Take the 2023 IPL as an example, where he scored 639 runs. Scored 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries. But his team could not even reach the playoffs. Because questions kept arising on his strike rate in terms of T20 format. Virat’s strike rate was around 140.
Pujara is also about 36 years old. Since 2019, only one century has come out of his bat, that too against Bangladesh. He is India’s test specialist batsman. He was playing county cricket in England long before the World Test Championship. He scored 14 runs in the first innings and 27 in the second. In the absence of Bumrah, Shami is the lifeblood of fast bowling. His age is 33 years. But his fitness also keeps troubling him. The demand of age says that all these players will say goodbye to cricket only after a short interval of time. That time is not too far now.
The next final of the World Test Championship is in 2025
About two years are left for the final of 2025. The first battle is to make a place in the finals of 2025. Assuming that even if you reach the finals, will you fight on the strength of these faces only? Don’t forget, about half a dozen players like Abhimanyu Ishwaran, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rituraj Gaikwad, Rinku Singh are ready. That is, it is time to move beyond the cry of old records and experience. If this time’s ‘transition’ has to be kept ‘smooth’ like 2012, then one has to understand the delicacy of time. One has to look beyond Virat, Rohit, Pujara. It has to be accepted that even though cricket is left in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, but now they are not the best of the best, yes they can definitely be the best of the rest. It may seem like a hasty thing to you right now, but believe me, later you will also call this haste as foresight.
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