Sachin Tendulkar is not the best batsman in India anymore. Virat Kohli has taken over that position. Whether he keeps it remains to be seen.
In any event, batsmen rarely win you Test matches, you can’t win without taking 20 wickets and India has struggled to do that for decades now.
India’s No.1 Test ranking a few years ago had a lot to do with the declining standards in Test cricket, worldwide.
Consider the bowling talent that retired in the last decade, Wasim Akram, Courtney Walsh, Waqar Younis, Curtley Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Murali, Shane Warne, Alan Donald and Anil Kumble… to name a few.
From the current crop only Dale Steyn and maybe Saeed Ajmal would make that list.
It is tough to judge the standards of current Test batsmen because of the lack of world-class bowlers, add to that flatter pitches and laws to ensure reverse swing is limited and you get a lot of flattering batting averages.
This is not to take away anything from one of the finest middle orders the game has seen, in Dravid, Sachin, Laxman and Ganguly.
Throw in Sehwag at the top of the order and you have a line- p that can compensate for its mediocre bowling and win you the odd Test outside the sub-continent.
It is not realistic to expect the new Indian batting line up to do the same.
What is troubling for Indian Test cricket fans, is even with the decline in international bowling , Indian batsmen still struggle abroad, winning is beyond the team because of its bowlers, but even a fighting draw seems out of reach.
It would be silly to ignore the influence of T20s on batsmen’s approach to the game, switching between the two will be tough, as though Test cricket was not tough enough as it is.
The survival of Test cricket, as in any sport, depends on seats sold.
Those of us who bemoan the advent of T20s and miss the glory days of Test cricket can do our part by buying tickets for Test matches and sitting in the open for 5 days while scoring rates hover around 3 an over.
It’s not so easy to do that anymore.
The 3-hour action-packed spectacle that is T20 still uses all the skills that Test cricket required (except patience), but has taken it a step further adding speed, athleticism and creativity to the job requirement.
Cricketers are faster, fitter and more athletic than they have ever been, T20 has done that. That can’t be a bad thing. Bring on the World Cup.
John is the founder, editor and all-rounder at Dubai-based cricketinc.com which features the Fantasy T20 World Cup Game.