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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pujaras, Rahanes and Pandeys can wait, India needs Dravid


I really don’t know whether we will get players as focused, dedicated and disciplined as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. No wonder they all have played more than 15 years of international cricket and achieved great feats.

Their performances on all kinds of wickets and in different conditions have been exemplary to say the least.

Though Anil has retired and Sachin at present is batting as if he is in his early 20s, critics on the other hand want Rahul Dravid to quit and make way for a younger batsman. As Vijay Merchant used to say, call it quits when people ask why, rather than why not.

I once asked a former great player what’s the best time to retire and he said it should be when you lose the motivation for the game and when it becomes difficult to put away bad balls to the boundary. Mind you, when in form, one does score runs off the good deliveries as well.

Well, I feel Rahul has a lot of cricket still left in him. Just because he failed in one series and is in his late 30s does not mean he should hang up his boots.

He is fitter than most, works hard at his game and still has the motivation to get out in the middle and grind the opposition.

However, being out of reckoning for the one-dayers, it must be difficult for him to wait for the Test series to begin. As it is there are less number of Test matches these days, it’s all the more tough for him. Under the circumstances, the batsman gets into the match with a lot of pressure to perform. I feel it’s important for a batsman to keep playing in all formats of the game at the international level.

VVS Laxman’s case at present is somewhat similar to that of Dravid, for one failure and the knives are out to get them. To his credit, Laxman has always performed whenever he’s gone out to bat and he’s been doing so for a long time now.

It’s tougher for him as he’s not being considered for One-day Internationals for the last five years or so. It calls for tremendous temperament and will to succeed. And, both Rahul and Laxman have it in plenty.

After being sidelined for the ODIs recently, Rahul, to his credit, has never missed an opportunity to turn up for his state team Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy. He did score heavily and the young Karnataka players like Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa must have learnt a thing or two while forging partnerships with him.

I always believe that it’s the duty of every cricketer to contribute to his state or his club team by playing alongside young players and guiding them in their formative years. With so many international matches scheduled these days that’s a rarity.

With Australia scheduled to play Test series come October, the Pujaras, Rahanes and Pandeys can wait. India need Rahul Dravid’s solidity at No 3.


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