June 20, 2011

The fact that Rahul Dravid is completing 15 years of Test cricket at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica only strengthens the belief that the fittest survive in this amazing game. Men like Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman are true legends. They have lasted because of their discipline and of course, their eagerness to perform at every available stage.

India may have won the ODI series 3-2 against a new-look West Indian side, but I don’t think the selectors will be happy with the performance of some of the fringe players who made the ODI squad because a clutch of seniors were unavailable.

I believe players like Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel and Manoj Tiwari made the ODI squad on the strength of their domestic performance and of course, the IPL. But I doubt they have been able to grab the opportunities they got in the Caribbean.

Indian cricket is full of talented players and an opportunity wasted means you may never wear the national cap again. At the same time, any international assignment is a test of your ability. The West Indies team may not have looked great on paper but they did well to reduce the victory margin.

I had always believed in Rohit Sharma. He has loads of talent and this time he proved himself in the West Indies. By becoming the Man of the Series, Rohit has only improved his chances to become a regular member of the national team. Now, he should focus on playing Test cricket and if Rohit has to compete with the likes of Kohli and Raina, consistent performance is the only way forward.

Raina’s captaincy was promising. It’s not easy to lead a team against any opposition but he would have learnt from the mistakes made during the ODI series. The Indian selectors must be appreciated because they are grooming a youngster to lead India in the future.

MS Dhoni will have his first-choice team for the Test matches. The Indians must make the most of the three Tests. West Indies doesn’t produce those deadly tracks any more and India must bat long on these slow turning wickets. I am sure Dravid and Laxman will score a few big hundreds in what will surely be their last tour of the Caribbean.

It may not be the best of preparations, the Test matches against the West Indies will be good warm up to the series against England. Although the conditions in England will be hugely different, India must play the Caribbean bowlers, especially the quickies, well.

England’s true ability at their backyard is there to see. The Lankans have struggled and even their best batsmen have failed to come good in seaming and swinging conditions. Dhoni and Team must watch out!
– Wasim Akram

Courtesy: ESPN Star

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