Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Future Names of India's Test Batting

The saying 'nothing lasts forever' is so in keeping with sport with the hysterical Indian fans facing that very reality with the end being nigh for their legendary batsmen. Impossible for them to fathom and accept, but the truth of the matter is no one is irreplaceable in Life.

As the legends leave the new faces will come in to try to fill their huge shoes with an abundance of names feeling worthy of a Test Cap for Team India.

Virat Kohli

I must admit in watching this batsmen in the early parts of his Test career that has been so lauded by cricketing pundits for his precocious batting. I thought of one thing in resembling him to being a Yuvraj Singh clone in being an ODI specialist and a flat track bully in Tests. His early figures away from home supported this with 119 runs at an average of 13.22.

Worse still was his ill advised choice to get baited into a war of words with Dave Warner during the Sydney Test showing a distinct lack of mental strength and maturity that is so needed for Tests

Come Perth, quite by magic, he found some real back bone and showed the skill, and more crucially resoluteness to make us believe he really belonged. Rather than cowering and hiding like his batting mates, he took a step forward to face up to the fire and eye ball it.

After that you know he will be a long term and very accomplished batsmen for India

Future Prospects:

You can see him being a 10 year option for the team at number 4, and a batsman that will have a very successful career

Cheteshwar Pujara

Sometimes you see a new player enter the Test arena, and you just know he has it. That was my thought on this stylish top order batsman, who just exuded an aura of belonging.

Sadly for an unabashed fan like me, I did not get to see him live in Australia because of him being injured.

Though, I saw all i needed to see of him in one of his early Tests against Australia at Bangalore to know he has a potential to be great. In the 2nd innings with India chasing a tricky total of 207, and Virender Sehwag dismissed with the total on 17 the pressure was on with the Aussies sniffing victory in a huge manner.

Everyone expected Rahul Dravid to walk in at three to extinguish the pressure cooker situation, but it was instead Pujara who was sent in in his place. It would be reasonably to expect a young player in only his 2nd Test to be overwhelmed by the situation, but instead Pujara was the ice man. Choosing instead to play a delightful counter attack to kill off Aussie hopes.

Heroes are found in crisis, and India found a sincere one in Cheteshwar Pujara!

Future Prospects

As soon as he is fit, he should replace Rahul Dravid at 3. That will provide the Team with a multi dimensional batsmen that is equally adept in defence or attack that will have a long and successful career.

Rohit Sharma

Can anyone explain to me why this very accomplished batsman has not made his Test debut as yet or even more bizarrely in this series where India's batting has been destroyed?

This subject becomes quite funny when you watch the coverage of the current series with noted commentator and ex Australian Captain Ian Chappell banging on about how Sharma should be in the Team.

In his constant spiels, he point to the dexterity of Sharma's back foot play with him stating that he 'is a batsman that will score 10000 Test runs'

It is hard not to buy into the talent and real calibre of this young batsman, but the bane in his career has been his lack of consistency and adherence to the necessary disciplines in the game.

This has been rectified of late with the embrace of new found maturity making it merely a case of not 'if' he will debut for India, but indeed 'when'.

Future Prospects:

Hard to doubt his talents, and though I am not as willing to prop him up as far as Chappell has, I still think he will become a very accomplished number 5 batsman.

Ajinkya Rahane

This Mumbaiite seems to have assumed the role that Subramaniam Badrinath has had for near on a decade in regards to being India's unluckiest player. 

He dominates in First Class Cricket and has replicated this on A Tours. Most pertinently in Australia where he has averaged 68, but never has been chosen for India in Tests.

The fact that he can be a player that can open or bat anywhere in the top 6 adds to his appeal. Then the cherry on top of his sweet cake is his very adept back foot play that makes you have real confidence in him being a factor away from India.

He has a real fight about him too that completes his package beautifully

Future Prospects:

He could be an ideal number 4 or an equally adept opener, and on getting his chance, I have little doubt he will do very well

Abhinav Mukund

In his 5 Tests, he struggled mightily with only passing 50 once.

Though context for these early struggles is found when you take into account all of them were away from home, and on unfamiliar and worse for the Tamil Nadu lad- challenging pitches 

Since being dropped from the Team, he has dominated in the Ranji this year with 872 runs at an  average of 72.66. Though his duel failures in the Final against Rajasthan took the gloss off his excellent season.

He is an interesting player, and though he has opened in Tests a more suited position might be at 5 or 6 for him. Where he is spared of the new ball and is allowed the benefit of playing more freely

Future Prospects:

There are definitely a fair few ahead of him to get into the Team making it hard to see him getting a chance. Then if he did, there are still doubts about his Test pedigree

Manish Pandey

A complete player that is rarely mentioned, but my word has this lad got talent as embodied in this quote

A solid defence and resolute temperament underpin his flashy stroke-making

He has that bastion of respect in his play in regards to being seen as his teams Mr Fixit, and a player who will stand against the tide of adversity. As seen by a raft of innings with his 194 against Uttar Pradesh in 2009 being his stand out knock. Even before injury excluded him from the rest of the Ranji this season his parting innings was a breath taking unbeaten double century against Mumbai.

There are indeed a fair few name ahead of him for a middle order position, but do not be surprised if he is the ace up the sleeve that dazzles more than any other.

Future Prospects:

If given a chance you know he is destined to be a fine Test player

Manoj Tiwary

A player that has been consistently excellent in First Class Cricket for a long time now.

Sadly fortune has not been kind to him in respect to getting a major injury when selected for the National Team.

Testimony to the lad is how well he has fought back with him piling on mountains of runs, and scoring a century in an ODI against the West Indies for India.

He is a dominating style of batsman that might be more preferred for the shorter forms of the game, but his calibre suggests that he could be equally adept in the Test arena.

Like many, the main difficulty is being given a chance.

Future Prospects

You can see him being a regular in ODI/T20 for India, but might struggle to get an opportunity for the Test Team

Names For the Future:

Robin Bisht: 

He is in ripe form...being the highest scorer this year...he is technically good and has a unflappable temperament...he rarely lofts the balls and is as good on the backfoot as on the front...he has a hunger for runs and has scored, even if not big centuries, at least small ones on difficult pitches

Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas

This TN batsman is not as celebrated as, say, a Mukund or Vijay, but for those who know their game, is easily more talented and reminds one of a David Gower at the crease...he always seems to have more time to play than the elegant and good...just doesn't have the mountainous stats of the rest....but if you watch him , you see one interesting thing...he gets these 40s and 50s on flat tracks and then throws it away, but always gets bigger scores on spiteful pitches with seam and turn...if I was a selector, I'd take a punt and throw him in, and I believe he'd be at home on a larger stage....again a batsman who loves to hook and pull but otherwise rarely lofts the ball, sees the ball early and plays very late...and is an astonishingly agile fielder. Plus he's a handy leggie to boot.

My sincere thanks to Arjun Ashok and Rajesh Ramaswamy in the research and writing of this article


  1. Well written article but I feel what goes for Murali Vijay also goes for Rohit Sharma. I'm not sure if their aggressive style of play would suit test cricket. Besides, I feel Rohit Sharma is an effective player and his technique has never actually impressed me, like in the case of Murali Vijay. So, I think he can be a fringe player in tests, main in ODI and T20.

    1. once a player has come thus far, it is a matter of getting a break to play in a few matches and gain self confidence/impress the selectors. you also need an element of luck to survive within the set up. the uniqueness of the character of the player also will be a deciding factor to be an effective cog in the wheel.a player needs to be positive all the time.