Youngsters For The Future

Posted: January 10, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India Cricket, Opinion

Prasad Moyarath

Bangalore

10 January 2011
The recent popularity of Test matches has put the one-day and Twenty20 cricket enthusiasts who predicted the death of Test cricket after the advent of Twenty20 cricket in a conundrum. They are forced to agree to the mantra of Test cricket aficionados, “Test cricket is the actual cricket and it tests the technique and patience of a cricketer and separates the strong hearted from the rest”. Tendulkar’s batting against Pakistan in Chennai with acute back pain, Kumble’s spell in West Indies with a bandaged broken jaw, Graeme Smith going out to bat with a broken hand and the recent Kallis’s innings against India fighting acute pain due to side strain are some of the instances of bravery shown in a cricket field in Test matches.

The Australian strategy of fielding separate set of players for one-day and Test cricket was seen with suspicion by many, but the failure of some of the best one-day players like Michael Beaven, Shahid Afridi and Yuvaraj Singh in Test arena has forced them to accept that there is indeed some difference between Test cricketers and the rest.

Indian Test team had the best four batsmen – Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman – in the middle-order and it was almost impossible for any new youngster to get into the middle-order unless any of these four were injured. Indian selectors never nurtured any new batsmen to take over from them and the fact that Ganguly’s replacement has still not cemented his place in the team is a testimony for that.

With Sachin, Dravid and Laxman in the late thirties, Indian middle order will need replacement for these players soon. Indian selectors have already identified Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara and it is their duty to persist with them. I would suggest two more names to fill the void that is going to be created when these greats decide to hang their boots.

Parthiv Patel, the 25 year old Gujarat captain is a Test discard for many. He came in as a 17 year old wicket-keeper with very little first-class cricket experience and played 20 Test matches out of which the majority was outside India. Not many knew that he was the under 19 Indian cricket team captain at that time and that he had got the Border-Gavaskar scholarship for the best talented youngster in the country. Parthiv’s batting ability was never doubted and his compact technique against Brett Lee in Australia, Shoaib Akthar in Pakistan and Harmison in England was applauded even by his critics. Inexperience in keeping wickets in different surfaces against Kumble led to his downfall. Much water has flown under the bridge and Parthiv is an experienced player with a lot of centuries in first class cricket. He has improved his keeping and is the captain of Gujarat.

Dhoni will have to give up wicket keeping soon and concentrate more on batting and the presence of Parthiv in the team will make his work easy. Parthiv can play as an opener, middle order batsman or a wicket-keeper batsman. A batsman coming back after being discarded by selectors is nothing new for Indian cricket considering the history of Siddhu and Ganguly. I will stick my neck out and say that if properly nurtured, Parthiv Patel will be an asset for the Indian Test team.

Virat Kohli is the new find for the Indian One day team for many. For some, he is the former captain of the Indian under-19 team that won the World Cup. But for me, he is the hero of a story which appeared on the newspapers in December 2006. Delhi was playing against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match. An 18 year-old Delhi batsman hit a chanceless 90 and saved Delhi from a certain follow-on. When he fell in a dubious manner, instead of celebrating, the Karnataka players applauded his effort. You may wonder what is so special in that innings. Kohli lost his beloved father that morning but decided to continue batting from his overnight 40 and took Delhi to safety. He left for his father’s funeral after his innings.

It is no wonder that Kohli who showed maturity beyond age at such a young age is scoring in tons in Indian first-class cricket and in one-day internationals. More than his runs, it is his attitude towards batting that makes him different. Selectors should spare no time in inducting this youngster to the Indian Test team.

With India touring England, Australia and West Indies after the World Cup, the Indian selectors have got a golden opportunity to test these future stars of Indian cricket. I have no doubt that Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli have it in them to pass this litmus test.

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Comments
  1. goutham says:

    Very nice post. Just to add on to the discussion. Rarely has an Indian youngster – outside of Pujara – has staked a claim by scoring heaving on the domestic scene. Most get picked on their one-day and T20 exploits. When the likes of Laxman and Dravid made the side, they made it by the sheer weight of their runs. They knew the art of batting long and also score consistently. Raina is one case who has made it to the Test squad with not such a good first-class record.

    Would like to know who you bowling picks are.

  2. Prasad Moyarath says:

    You are right Goutham. Our first class cricket never presented the right statistics. Runs in our first class cricket matches never guarentee success in international arena.That is why we need to look at the attitude and technique more than runs. Once identified we need to persist with them. Don’t forget Tendulkar took time to score in Tests. Marvan Attappattu is a perfect example for persisting with talent.He scored 5 ducks and 1 in the first 6 innings. In the bowling front also we cannot go by wickets. For pacers we need to have a pool of pacers with speed and should encourage them to bowl flat out.For spinners I feel that we can go by wickets taken in the longer version.But the pity is that our selectors don’t have the guts to stand up and defend their players when they fail.

  3. Chandra says:

    I agree with you Goutham. And along parallel lines, when you look at the Australian setup, Khawaja and Hughes came into the international scene with a fairly good domestic record – and at a young age, which is an uncommon sign among Australians. It is too early to comment with respect to their expected progress, more so in the case of Khawaja, as Hughes weaknesses thus far have been documented and exploited.

    Prasath is right – we should back the likes of Vijay and Pujara, at the same time not forget the likes of Rahane who’re pushing for a berth into the XI. Patel could also come in handy sometime in the near future. Kohli has already been earmarked as a star to come, and I’ll stand by that.

    On a wider perspective, my top 3 youngsters to watch out for from world cricket (apart from the obvious – let me experiment) for the next few years to come:

    (a) Batsmen –

    (i) Dinesh Chandimal (SL) – I liked the little that I saw of him
    (ii) Lendl Simmons (WI) – Same as above, I like the way he plays from the very little that I’ve seen of him.
    (iii) Craig Kieswetter (ENG) – Definitely another SAFian Pom Star 🙂

    (b) Bowlers:
    (i) Suraj Randiv (SL) – needs explanation?
    (ii) Mitchell Starc (AUS) – he looks good for his age.
    (iii) Kemar Roach (WI) – he’s been around for a while, but I see him scaling greater heights.

    (c) Captain: Interesting section here, and I’d like all of your views on this. A future captain in the making – Hashim Amla.

  4. Prasad Moyarath says:

    Australian first class cricket is as competative as international cricket and their board don’t make any compromise on the quality of it like BCCI.They trust the preformances there.The same cannot be said about out Ranji Trophy and even county cricket.We saw how Graeme Hick turned out to be a flop in international cricket.What we are seeing nowadays is all 20-20 performances and there is no guarentee that they will do well in Tests.A spinner should be able to bowl consistently through out the day and a fast bowler should have the stamina to bowl flat out in the final hours of a day.Many 20-20 super stars fail to do that.

  5. goutham says:

    Chandra,

    Interesting picks. I haven’t seen much of Chandimal, but, of what I’ve seen of Simmons it’s mostly in the T20 version. So, don’t know. My judgement on him is that he seems to have strokes, but is slightly restricted with feet movement and haven’t seen him much against spin. I’m sorta okay with the other picks, but none I see will crack the top barring Roach.

    Prasad,

    Australian cricket is tough, but the influence of AFL has restricted the usual talent that comes into their structure. Largely, outside of Sydney, most of the local interest is now with AFL. Gradually, the interest in cricket and therefore the quality is on the wane. It is time that Australia used their Asian population that is generally cricket mad and utilized them for their benefit. England has succeeded largely on that from – in cricket and other sports.

  6. Chandra says:

    Graeme Hick had severe psychological issues. He’s a strange case, like many who’ve done remarkably well at domestic level but failed to replicate the same at the highest level.

    Australian domestic cricket isn’t as it once was, and this reflects Ricky Ponting’s very recent comments on the need to restructure their domestic cricketing setup to up its standard.

    The sad part about our domestic scenario is the poor quality of the wickets. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  7. Chandra says:

    Goutham,

    Lets see how my pundit-ism works this time around, no point stating the obvious 🙂

    I’d love to hear your top 3 picks for the years to come, barring Roach.

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Prasad Moyarath, Goutham Chakravarthi. Goutham Chakravarthi said: CouchExpert: Youngsters For The Future http://t.co/aUWY12J […]

  9. goutham says:

    My picks

    a) Rahul from Bangalore (batsman)
    b) I like Mitchell Starc (bowler). Somehow, I don’t rate Hughes, Smith on their batsmen and bowling front.
    c) Warner. Would like to see him in Tests. Think he has it in him to be successful.
    d) R Ashwin as a Test bowler. I like his temperament and attitude. Will stick my neck out and call him our next spinning match-winner
    e) Colin Ingram of SA. I like what I’ve seen of him. He could be the x-factor that their batting order needs
    f) Matthew Wade from Australia. I think he can be explosive in ODI and T20 cricket. Haven’t seen much of him in the longer versions to comment.
    g) Agree with Chandra on Achinkya Rahane. He seems to have something about him. I’d like to see him on the tour to England later this year – even as a spare batsman.
    h) Milne from NZ showed a lot of pace. There is something about that guy. I think NZ’s revival rests on his shoulders. He’s impressive for a 18 yr old.
    i) Am tempted to back Darren Bravo. But more inclined towards Adrian Barath
    j) Taylor from Zimbabwe has been around for a little bit. He is a strong character and a silent achiever. I expect him to lead Zim and also be its leading batsman in the future.
    k) Saurabh Tiwari. He seems to have a good head. Skipper of Jharkand today. I expect him to be an integral part of our one-day cricket post this world cup. A Test spot is not beyond him.
    l) Eoin Morgan will be crucial for England if they want to be the best. I still don’t think they will beat India in their summer. Atherton and others can open their eyes and ears a bit more.
    m) Angelo Matthews. He will be their best batsman and also their captain. I see a lot of Jayawardene in how he thinks and approaches batting. I don’t see him much as a bowler going forward.
    n) Kieran Powell. Probably a complete gut-feel on this one. I saw him in the u-19 world cup that India won in Malaysia 3 yrs ago. He resembles Gayle with his batting and is extremely talented. He might be the best WI batsman in the years to come.

  10. goutham says:

    Chadra, you should perhaps do a post on your picks. I’ll do one as well. It’ll be a good reference point some time from now to see our hits and misses!

  11. Prasad Moyarath says:

    Good to see your knowledge about the new international cricketers. I have a difference of opinion with IPL and had not been watching it much so far. Will try to publish that soon.I agree Ashwin is our next bet and he may extract some bounce too with his height like Nilesh Kulkarni. We have a handful of spinners who did well this time and have to be observed over several years to make a final comment. Also a note to all readers…this article is not to say that we don’t have any other talented batsmen knocking on the doors but to say that these are the 2 men ready to take over in the immediate future.

  12. goutham says:

    Nilesh Kulkarni? Barring his first ball in Test cricket, his only other contribution was being a part of that 3rd Test in Chennai against Australia in 2001. If ever there was a 1 man attach, that series was it. Height and bounce comparable though.

  13. Prasad Moyarath says:

    I never said Nilesh was a great spinner. He was a tall spinner India produced and he could extract bounce from the pitch with his height.

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