Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman: Legends nearing their Dusk?
Date: 2/26/2012 7:42:10 AM
For the past couple of months what has happened down under in Australia has certainly raised this question amongst all the cricket experts, ex-cricketers, and to some extent amongst most of the Indians as well now. However this question has not just been hovering for Sachin, it has been even more gruelling on Dravid and Laxman two more legends of Indian cricket.
Two regretful overseas series in the past 6-7 months, in England in July last year and the one in Australia this January has certainly raised many questions in the big 3. Well certainly the 3 are the fag ends of their careers, but surely I feel they aren’t over as yet. Yes the age is against them, and that’s why probably with every batting failure the question gets bigger and bigger. I believe that players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Suresh Raina are the ones that are adding that extra pressure on these big 3, since they proved their worth in the ODI format and now are ready to play regularly at the Test level. Something that is not really possible till these big 3 fade away.
But if we see at their performances in the past matches I really do not feel that they played that badly. In England, Dravid was exceptional scoring runs at will and in a situation when the other batsmen were getting out cheaply. In Australia, Sachin started with a bang and only faded out towards the end of the test series. Well honestly this is not the first time they questions have been raised. Dravid was really under pressure in 2009-10, when even the likes Pujara were included into the side citing him as a replacement for Dravid in future. But, Dravid has survived backed up with decent performances, and some of them at such a level that he had to be recalled to the T-20 and ODI sides in England after a gap of almost 3 years. Then how can really be a bad series thereafter (that too, when all the innings were not failures) ask him to think of retirement.
Sachin too was under tremendous pressure in 2007 when he was struggling to score rums, to an extent a century getting out in the 90s on numerous occasions. I guess a similar situation has returned when the wait for his 100th century has extended over 10 months. But he came back from that slump with a bang and 2009 and 2010 were exceptional years for him, making him touch the heights nobody would have believed 4 years ago. So to write him out after a just one series is not a good idea I believe. Maybe the pressure of the 100th century is building on him and once that is of his back, he might just start scoring big runs at will again. But honestly this is for the first time I have seen Sachin being dropped/rested from the team when he is fit and available for selection, that maybe under the rotation policy but that certainly is a message.
Now talking about Laxman, yes he has had two bad overseas series but then he has always been the disaster management man for the past many years, bailing the team out of treacherous situations on numerous occasions. He has not had too many big scores in the past few matches, but he surely has been consistent. And he already out of limited over cricket, his survival in test matches would be critical for him, and in similar situation is Dravid as well.
Now with Ponting having announced his retirement from ODI cricket the pressure will be on Sachin to take a similar step and maybe Laxman and Dravid also think of hanging their boots. Now with Indian cricket team not playing any test matches in the coming 6-7 months would mean that would give enough time for Dravid and Laxman to think. But what that would also mean that they would be away from international cricket for that long. Also, with no overseas cricket for almost two years now means that Sachin would hardly play the ODI format, especially since he has been very selective in which ODI tournament he plays for the past couple of years. This surely looks like that there will be very chances of seeing him in the coloured clothing for the Indian team. And, with this giving ample opportunities for Raina, Kolhi, Sharma to cement their places in the team.
But still the question remains, whether the big 3 should retire. Definitely I believe it is always great to announce your retirement while playing then to dropped and then announce it from the sidelines. But then has that time come? Well only time will tell that I think.
The big 3: VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid