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Looking ahead, the future's so bright I gotta wear shades

by Homer

Post the England tour, the FTP looks like this

5 ODIs vs England at home
3 Tests 5 ODIs versus West Indies at home.
4 Tests and 8-11 ODIs versus Australia away
3 Tests and 5 ODIs versus Pakistan at home.
3 Tests versus Sri lanka away.
3 Tests versus New Zealand at home.
T20 WC at Sri Lanka
4 Tests versus England at home
7 ODIs and 1 T20 versus England at home.
4 Tests versus Australia at home.
This is the lead up to the Test playoff/Championship in England.
Following this
3 ODIs versus Zimbabwe away
7 ODIs and 1 T20 versus Australia at home.

Doing the sums, between September 2011 though November 2013, India play 24 Tests, 38 ODIs and 2 T20s, most of them at home.. This does not include the games played in the ICC Test Championship, the T20 WC, IPL and Champions League games.

Working with the numbers above, India play 140 days of cricket over a period of 2 years. Which brings up the question of workload, rotation and rest.

Right now, including all of the injured players, India can safely boast of a roster that is 47 deep.

Virender Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir
Murali Vijay
Abhinav Mukund
Ajinkya Rahane

Middle Order:
Rahul Dravid
Sachin Tendulkar
VVS Laxman
Yuvraj Singh
Cheteshwar Pujara
Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli
Ambati Rayadu
Suresh Raina
Manoj Tiwary
Manish Pandey

MS Dhoni
W. Saha
P. Patel
N. Ojha
D. Karthik

Slow Left arm spin:
Pragyan Ojha
Ravinder Jadeja

Off Spin:
Harbhajan Singh

Leg spin:
Amit Mishra

Right Arm Fast:
Ishant Sharma
Praveen Kumar
Munaf Patel
Abhimanyu Mithun
Umesh Yadav
Varun Aaron

Left Arm Fast:
Zaheer Khan
RP Singh
Jaidev Unadkat

ODI/T20 specialists:
Yusuf Pathan
Siddharth Trivedi
R. Ashwin
Piyush Chawla
Rahul Sharma
Bhargav Bhatt
Iqbal Abdulla
Irfan Pathan
Sudeep Tyagi
Dhawal Kulkarni
R. Vinay Kumar
Saurabh Tiwary
Ashok Menaria

Now, the above categorization is not a strict one ie: players classified as ODI/T20 specialists can pretty easily be moved up into any of the other classifications and vice versa. And it also does not consider some players like Badrinath, who can be slotted into the above list if so desired.

Now, working on the presumption that we need our best XV for overseas tourneys and that the kids need atleast 10 tests before they can find their feet, does this current itinerary allow us to do so?

Does the current itinerary allow us a rotation policy, given that 17 of the 24 tests are going to be at home, as will 24 of the 38 ODIs?

Does this schedule give us the bandwidth to ensure that the emergent kids can take the next step up?

Does the schedule allows us the cushion of managing the retirements of the big 3, and in all probability Zak?

I believe the answer to all the above questions is yes.

The only problem , if it may be called that is, do we have the stomach to absorb a  few defeats along the way? And I qualify that argument by stating that despite the best batting lineup in a generation, we have never been more than  good fighting, attritional side, never a dominant one.

And are we, as a people, ready to go easy on the insta gratification/insta punditry that seems to be our leitmotif when things begin to go even slightly wrong? Are we willing to give ourselves a long enough rope and not go knee jerk every time a kid does not come good?

Because if we are, we not only have the tools and the resources, but also time on our hands. Given the ages of the kids under consideration, a little patience now will go a long way in ensuring our competitiveness for an extended period of time.

And just to make things that much easier, the number of home games mean that the ride will be smoother than we expect.

The future is now in our hands.


Gaurav said...

LOL. Hence the name "Homer".

Aditya said...

You can see the outrage on the internet when we have one bad series, all of a sudden the IPL is to blame, I do not think our fans have the stomach to take a few defeats along the wayIMO!

I seriously doubt whether Cheeka has the brains to think on such a long term manner of things, he should be replaced by someone sensible enough to phase out the Big 4 (Zak incl.) and nurture the talent, but given the stubborn nature of the Big 3 who have never missed a test series (Eg. SRT skipping WI tour was the only instance, we played full squad vs BDesh also) We need someone strong enough and daring enough who can talk to them and tell them to rest or give them a retirement date or ask for one so that transition can be planned.

Ironically our batting failed ( SRT,VVS,GG,VS and even RD to an extent) and most of them were 'rested' and had no IPL fatigue to blame and people are pointing fingers towards the IPL and blaming it and CLT20 left right and centre.

When will our fans grow up to stomach the defeats, I wish I live to see that day :)

Golandaaz said...

i hope they don't use the Test Championships to test our stomachs for defeat. Perhaps this basic intelligence is expected from them? or will it be the Pataudi trophy repeated...

a look at other leading teams before wearing shades would work...

MouseMan said...

They ve got to plan with the test championship in mind. India are No.3 in Odi s but no one gives a damn because of the WC win. The same thing is about to happen in test matches too. The ranking will lose their importance when the test championship starts.

Homer said...

@Gaurav :)

Homer said...


"a look at other leading teams before wearing shades would work.." point being?


Homer said...


Let the "Test Championship" get off the ground first. Between England's contractual obligations and the ICC's TV rights, it will be interesting how things pan out.


Golandaaz said...

Point being you suggest that the future is bright for India in isolation. How does it compare with the other teams? England in particular.

Pranav Bhandarkar said...

Hey this is a good piece. 2 points though - One reason we have not been a dominant force inspite of having the best batting lineup that most teams can only wish for is because we havent consistently had a bowling unit that even half matches up. The second point is that the outrage on the internet is more at the manner of defeat than the defeat itself.

Homer said...


So lets talk England then. Their schedule breaks down as

5 ODIs vs India away
2 T20s versus WI home
3 tests, 4 ODIs and 3 T20 vs Pakistan away
2 Tests vs Sri Lanka away
3 Tests versus WI home
5 ODIs vs Australia home
3 Tests, 5 ODIs 3 T20s versus SA home
4 Test versus India away
7 ODis and 1 T20 versus India away
3 Tests, 5 ODIs 1 T20 vs NZ away
2 Tests versus NZ at home
5 Tests, 5 ODIs 2 T20 vs Oz at home
5 ODIs vs NZ home

Now look at the roster depth. In addition to the 18 who played the India series, I can think of Keiswetter, Panesar, Patel, Dernbach, Taylor and Hildreth.

India has a transition to take care of, England has a dearth of spinning options.. I look at our schedule and our roster and come up with certain inference.. How does England compare?

So I ask you again, you point is?


Homer said...


We have good roster depth in our bowling resources and also all surface bowlers.. Are we lacking consistency or nous? We are a different bowling unit when Zak is on the field than when he is not.

Also, we have age on our side.. The challenge for us is to develop that bowling nous, and , if possible add a couple of yards to the pace.

As regards the noise on the internet, everyone is wiser after the fact.


Golandaaz said...

my point is that you can't suggest that the future is bright for India without looking at their peers

My view is that India will not handle the transition in a managed fashion. I would love to be wrong but we will regress to the 90s way of life. At least I am preparing for that as a fan. Of course there will be a few bright spots even in away series but not consistency

India's recent successes have largely been due to many things falling in place and people in leadership roles (in the BCCI, in the IPL, coaching and players) being smart at the right time.

I tend not to trust them to come through in difficult situations. They will usually take the easy way out.

A sample of that was on display in the England series. Some hard decisions had to be taken to allow the team to compete in the English series. What we saw instead was that India mortgaged their #1 ranking (hoping to reclaim it in the future) and invested their World Cup Championship capital in salvaging the faltering TV ratings of the IPL.

Hence collectively (Board, Players, etc) decided to exhaust our resources for marked for national duty in the IPL. They allowed players to treat the WI tour as a voluntary extra-curricular activity. Sort of like the "Diwali homework" in my time

As a fan I wrote off the WI and England series then and there. Fatigue was round the corner.

I would have loved for someone to make the hard decisions and protect India's chances on the Test tours of England and West Indies.

The future is debatable, in my view. We need a Lalit Modi who is as passionate about Test cricket. I don't like the priorities the board has set or not set

The board is the custodian of the game in India. I read it as India's national team. The IPL is a masterstroke but has become all consuming. In administration bandwidth, money generation and player focus.

The current team is good enough for the next few months; may be a year. Then its debatable really

Homer said...


Fair points.. And if we botch it up from here, the onus will be ours alone.. but if we botch up, it wont be because of a punishing schedule or a lack of talent. More because of a lack of leadership and vision.


Bhaskar Khaund said...

"Stay competitive for an extended period of time"...yeah , not something 120 other countries can say. Oh wait , they don't play the game. :) Oh Homer,Homer,Homer...! How do you manage this ? where do you get it from ? Tell me , i really need it, in all aspects of my life ... :) Cheers mate !