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Cricket: Sorry, no change

Saturday, 5 January 2013 - 11:00am IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: dna

India’s ODI graph is spiralling downwards, yet the established stars have been given too long a run at the neglect of fresh blood such as Rahane.

Even in extreme difficulties, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a smile on his lips. It’s not the best time to be an Indian captain. The team is on a downhill more than a year now. One wonders how Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ever the captain cool, is coping up.

Let’s start with the batting stars. Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag may be wondering where their next big knock will come from.

Sehwag seems to have settled the issue temporarily with a Test century against England in Ahmedabad. Does that guarantee him a place for the next two seasons? One is not sure anymore. And you may have to go back in time to see the last time Gambhir got a big score.

Yet, the selectors have been persisting with them. In an ideal world, they should go back to domestic cricket, work on their technique and regain focus.

It’s all come down to a point where the selectors have no choice but make bold decisions. Radical changes must be made which includes dumping the non-performing seniors and giving opportunities to youngsters such as Ajinkya Rahane. One such appropriate call was dropping Rohit Sharma from the playing XI against Pakistan on Thursday. His replacement Ravindra Jadeja justified the move by picking up three wickets and assisting R Ashwin to restrict Pakistan to 250.

Asked how he was going to address the situation following India’s series defeat to their arch-rivals, Dhoni said, “We have to see (the situation) again. Especially after the game, I don’t think you should be expressing yourself too much because everybody is emotional at that point in time. That’s a tough time; these moments are not tackled when you are high emotionally. You have to be very calm and cool and look ahead at what needs to be done. There are lots of things that you can say but at the end of the day, people need to go and perform and that’s what the criterion is.”

With a batting line-up that boasts of players like Sehwag (251 ODIs), Gambhir (141), Yuvraj Singh (276) and Suresh Raina (153), it must be frustrating for Dhoni that they failed to chase a target as easy as 251 at the Eden Gardens.

And when asked what he expected of his players, who had such vast experience, Dhoni said: “When you are going through a transition period, you want your experienced cricketers to perform so that the youngsters can be groomed under them. But if the seniors aren’t performing, then the pressure is on the juniors. There are more chances that they feel the pressure more when they are batting lower down the order. I think it’s important that we do well as a batting unit.

“There will be games where the seniors may not score but till somebody is scoring, you don’t really mind that. There will come a period when all of us will score at the same time and that will be very crucial for us. I think it’s very important to take up the responsibility and also share it at the same time and tell the youngsters as to what needs to be done and what the game plan is.”

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