Empty thoughts and mutterings

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stop this retirement madness

After a really bad series like the one we are in, it is critical not to over react. Don't get me wrong - I am saying that we need clear and sure corrective actions but dropping the
wrong player or expediting the wrong player's retirement will also hurt India's recovery process. As Indian cricket fans we are all hurt by how badly we lost this series. Some Ex-players
call for axing of basically all the senior players - without realizing how irresponsible their comments are.

Cricket fans (Indian fans particularly) have the tendency to confuse bad form/technical flaws with aging. Several fans called for Sachin's head when he was going through a rough patch in 2007. Looking back at the past few years - would that have been good for India? - Absolutely not!

I also believe in the Australian way of retirements (for our board in the future). We don't need to squeeze every ounce of cricket from our legends. I think Steve waugh, Mark Taylor, Allan Border etc were good for a few more hundreds when they retired. The board should discuss retirement plans with the player well ahead of time and these plans have to be executed (with all reasonable concessions made). This would also allow the younger cricketers to be groomed in time. All it takes is reasonable long term planning which will prevent us from staring at 3 debuts (or close to it) and 3 retirements in a few months time frame. This medium to long term approach seems to be severely lacking with the committees appointed by BCCI.

The decision to drop legends should be made based on objective comparisons. The fact that a player didn't do well in a series shouldn't automatically lead to a decision to drop him.
For eg: Sachin had a very poor series by his standards - but make no mistake about the fact that he's still the best batsman we have for his position in India.

As for aging criteria - I think it is best judged by how the player moves on the field and his reflexes. Laxman still has signs of his lazy elegance and will still be able to get a few big scores here and there - but he's clearly slowed down on the field (not that he was fast before - but he was at the very least a safe slip fielder). Dravid's reflexes have also started to fail him. Our slip cordon once extremely reliable, is a shadow of what it was.

Dravid's failure this tour in my opinion was due to a new-born technical flaw. In the lifetime of a first class cricketer (even the technically superior ones), you see some technical flaws and bad habits creep in before getting subsequently sorted out. The gap between the bat and pad that Hilfenhaus used to his advantage, was the cause for his bad run. This should not be confused with aging.

Will talk about Dhoni the captain and Dhoni the WK in a separate post.


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