I think the time has come to ask some serious questions about India’s famed middle order. Since the Tour of Pakistan in 2004 this middle order, perhaps with exception of Rahul Dravid, has repeatedly failed. However only Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have faced the wrath of the selectors. The bigger Question is..What about SR Tendulkar?
I had written on my blog earlier that for all purposes Sachin Tendulkar (SRT) the Batsmen is over. I have over the years been a great admirer of SRT. A few days after the blog was published Sachin scored a sublime hundred in 70 deliveries against the West Indies in a one day international. Some my friends wrote back telling me to take back my words. However inspite of that and some other performances in non-significant one-day internationals, I still stand by what I said- Sachin Tendulkar should gracefully retire. Otherwise all we shall remember are his failures against quality seam bowling in the latter half of his career.
Apart from one hundred against Sri Lanka on a flat Feroz Shah Kotla track, Sachin has hardly done anything of note in Test Match cricket in the last three years. In the same time period Sourav Ganguly has also hit a low trough. VVS Laxman has also been very inconsistent and hence the pressure invariable has been on Rahul Dravid to perform. The captain has had two very difficult series in South Africa and England and hence the batting has crumbled.
The time I believe has come to take hard decisions. Show the door to Ganguly, Tendulkar and Laxman. They have provided us with some terrific moments on the cricket field…moments, which we shall always cherish and remember. However if Indian cricket has to progress then we need to transform our middle order. Ask Yuvraj Singh to bat at 5 and Mohammad Kaif at 6. Rahul Dravid deserves to retain his place at number 3. And what about number 4? The number 4 slot should be occupied by the most talented middle order batsmen in the country- Virender Sehwag.