Mid-Tour Crisis Report: Say No to Long-Term Thinking

by Devanshu Mehta

India is 2-0 down against Australia, and the Indian punditry has suggested every possible cut and change except for the blasphemous.

Sharma for Kolhi. Sharma for VVS. Ojha for Ashwin. Ashwin to open. Drop Dravid. Drop Sehwag. Drop Sehwag down the order. And so on.

So many unfortunate conundrums.

Replacing Ashwin makes sense for the bowling attack, but makes the tail even longer. It’s the unfortunate side-effect of having an underperforming bowler who bats better than your batsmen. Pushing Sehwag down the order might be genius on the order of pushing Tendulkar up the order in ODIs, but then who opens?

The three 38-year old elephants in the room– Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar– are implicit in every story about the series. In theory, India had a transition plan, but the kids have not lived up to expectations. Kohli is 74 ODIs old, Raina 135, Rohit 72. This has not translated to Test success. But Raina, Kohli, Sharma, Rahane (Pujara, Mukund) are the next generation, with proven class in the shorter form and first class. They just haven’t translated it to the longer and overseas games. This doesn’t mean India didn’t have a plan. It means the plan hasn’t worked. Yet.

The punditry calls for long-term thinking over short-term fixes. Screw long-term sense. There’s a time to build, but it’s not half-way through an overseas tour against a resurgent Australia. That’s called throwing in the towel.

Now is the time to fight with your best men, or go down fighting.

I was going to post most of this in response to Ducking Beamers’ post on (not) Dropping VVS, but figured I’d blog it instead.