Are We Prepared For Change Of Guard?

With the last set of Legends of Indian Cricket’s golden generation fast approaching the fag end of their career, here is an article on the fan’s perspective of what their retirement means to us.

Legends of Indian Cricket - Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman

Legends of Indian Cricket – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman

The set of fans especially those in their third and fourth decade of life in India grew up watching some of the best ever batsmen ever to be produced in this land. Never ever in Test history has a batting lineup been as star studded as India was in 2000s. No matter how much effective they had been collectively every one of them made substantial inning to take their name to posteriority.

The lineage of these great batsmen began precisely in advent of a Phenomenon in 1989. Acclaimed as best ever batsmen after Sir Don and got the accreditation from Sir Don himself, Tendulkar changed the outlook of Indian fans and now after 21 and half years of extreme consistency, he stands today with almost every batting record one can dream. With him rose the hopes of Indian fan. He made us addicted to cricket. He made us capitulated to watching this great game and inspired a whole generation of batsmen. He was a symbol of Neo India – One that does not bow to the opponents. The nations’ cricketing stocks rose along with his stature simultaneously. He engraved his name in prospective greats around 1996-97 when BCCI’s TV boom and cricket stocks in the nation raised.

He was followed by one of India’s greatest fighters. Saurav Ganguly came from Kolkata bringing the unbridled Bengali passion with him. He had so many technical problems yet he ended his career as a Legend with 7000 plus Test runs and 11000 odd ODI runs which is no mean a joke. His captaincy defined India as a growing test power and the present team owes it to him for most of its core players. That apart he was a batsman who made more use of limited powers and held the no 5 position in Tests with authority for a decade.

Along with Ganguly came India’s most accomplished No. 3 and one of the Best No. 3s in cricket in Rahul Dravid. Dravid held the spot unquestioned and was instrumental in India’s most away wins. He was a complete package as a player. As a batsman he was India’s go to go man in crisis. So many greatest saves and wins have a substantial part of Dravid in them. Along with Tendulkar, he formed one of the greatest partnerships in history of cricket. The fact that he and his teammate are No. 2 and No. 1 in list of Test run getters is something every Indian can pride upon. Despite being not listed as best choice for limited overs, he ended his career in ODIs with 10000 plus runs. Even today he is India’s best batsmen in bouncy conditions and testing situations.

Finally Laxman arrived as a makeshift middle order or opener and established himself as a long term prospect with few legendary innings. He took over from Dravid as India’s man of crisis in recent years. He carries the style quotient of Hyderabad from his predecessor Azaruddhin and is still the best shepherd to battle with tail in cricket now.

India’s perennial opening problem was solved by Sehwag. A Tendulkar clone in his earlier years, Sehwag changed the outlook of test batting by long way. Though a middle order player in domestic scene, he became a makeshift opener for team in absence of his Idol – Tendulkar in ODIs. Unlike his master, this disciple was a successful Test opener too. Many a win of India has been attributed to him. He gives the best choice for India to go for wins with his attacking stroke play.

However this list has been stagnated in past few years except for Gambhir. The class of these players meant there is no spot for Yuvraj Singh, a ODI giant with 8000 plus ODI runs in Test spot and today he finds himself fighting for a test spot with his juniors. Gambhir is the only other batsman to have established himself in Indian batting lineup in last decade.

The gray area here is the age. Ganguly has retired before 3 years and yet his spot has not been cemented. To add, he was India’s weakest link in this middle order. Dravid and Tendulkar are into their 38th year and Laxman is just a year and half junior. Even Sehwag with his fragile body is into his 32nd year and not likely to last for more than 4 years or so. As for the other three, lesser said is better.

Here is the issue pestering us. Let Team India prepare itself for the change of guard. Are we fans, ready to accept it? Team India plays with biggest pressure among the cricket teams due to the most passionate and demanding fan base. Though Dravids, Tendulkars and Laxmans can’t be replaced in terms of quality, will we embrace the newer guys easily? The greatest issue lingering the next set of potential test aspirants like Kohli, Rohith Sharma, Raina and Pujara is the unwanted comparison the fans are likely to make with their legendary predecessors.

Having been used to see our famed middle order play with such an authority and grace, surely fans are likely to be disappointed with the newer guys in their budding stage of career. These legends developed themselves over a period of initial lull before they became feared upon around the globe. The incumbents likely need a longer incubation period than the classy Legends in verge of retiring. It is here that fans need to develop patience.

The earlier generations of 40 plus age group of fans are used to seeing India surrendering meekly to bigger opponents and can take the losses if they come, in much better manner. The young adolescent fans are likely to taste their initial failures and need a guiding light. We in our 3rd 4th decade of life, are the fans who have seen this generation of Legends to develop and mature. So if we are not going to lower our expectations on these incumbents and allow them the grace period to settle, pressure on them are going to mount and affect their performance negatively. So let us make it a point to support our Team steadfast no matter we win or lose, for we have seen a team to develop from losses to wins.

I may be pessimistic but if am proved wrong, I would be much happier. Let us hope the replacements in waiting can continue the legacy of our Legends!

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Dr.Arvind Subramanian is a Dental Surgeon from Chennai, India. A native of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu he, like most other youngsters of India, he is a fanatic fan of Tendulkar and a hardcore Cricket buff. He has a great interest for Writing and writes on various subjects from Medicine to Arts and Culture to Cricket. He is also a good classical dancer and performs on various Sabhas and Art Centres often and is also an orator He is about to pursue his higher studies in his field. You can find him in Facebook here:


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