Saturday, November 3, 2007

Time for "Talent Refresh" in Team India

Time for "Talent Refresh" in Team India

Team India has been on a high with a string of decent performances in the international arena. The victory in the inaugural edition of the T20 world cup bodes well for the success of the next-generation team under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Critics may regard the T20 victory as an aberration with defeat in the subsequent one-day series against Australia being seen as the reality picture. But, I see that as an education. India should take pride in making Australia stretch for their victories in couple of matches. It's simple logic, if one is not strong in a specific field and has the urge to learn, learn it from the leaders. Having said that, India has won its last two internationals against Australia (the last one-dayer and the T20 in Mumbai) and is all set to invite Pakistan for a good and enchanting cricket series.

Here comes an interesting twist in the plot, the on-going Challenges series at Ahmadabad. With India doing pretty decently in recent times, does this tournament really matter or is it just for academic interest. In my opinion, this tournament is very important as every international side needs a periodic "talent refresh". We have history supporting this claim. It took Australia some time to rebuild a side after Rod Marsh, Greg Chappell and Dennis Lillee all retired at almost the same time. West Indies has not completely recovered after the retirements of Richards, Lara, Ambrose and Walsh. Reasons, these teams didn't do a reality check and didn't adopt a "talent refresh" exercise, which is to mix team with fresh talent and experience so that the veterans can pass on their knowledge to the new comers.

Gambhir made his way back to the Indian side along with Sehwag, while Praveen Kumar got the nod for the bowling slot. I was a touch surprised that Munaf Patel was ignored considering that it was his fitness that cost him his place in the side, though his 1-81 against the India-Red was not impressive. I am sure that other performers will get their chances as well in due course of time. Rahul Dravid's omission was baffling for many and I am also hoping that he is too good a player to miss out and I go with Dilip's words the day Dravid will be back into the side will not be far.

The tournament so far has not been the best for the India Greens side, which has consistently leaked 300 or more runs and I do not blame them as Munaf and Piyush Chawla seem to be the only known face in the side and both going for plenty. Cricket is a funny game and a team's fortune at times rides on their opposition's misfortune. But this tournament is offering the much needed opportunity for all of us to take notice of some fresh talent and strong performances which will represent the future of Indian cricket and am enjoying every moment of it, as you all are. So, let's enjoy the current "talent refresh" phase of Indian cricket before the tournament against Pakistan begins.

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