After the debacle of Champions Trophy final against arch rivals Pakistan and resignation of Team India’s coach Anil Kumble the legendary leg spinner, it was about time to give opportunities to young rookies against a number 9 ranked side. Going into the Champions trophy 2017, India was considered to be one of the favorites along with England and was expected retain its title. The only worry for team India and its management was the middle order batting where old horses like Yuvraj Singh and ever dependable MS Dhoni were backed to do the job.
India’s middle order was not tested much in the Tournament before the grand finale. India hit the ground running by defeating arch rivals Pakistan convincingly in the opening encounter. Yuvraj Singh coming back into the team for prime ICC Tournament scored a fifty in the first match after a solid start by top 3. Keep in mind that, he was dropped by energetic Hassan Ali on 8 in that match and only other opportunity he got to bat before finale was against Sri Lanka where he failed miserably scoring 7 on 18. On the other hand, MS Dhoni by far the most dependable batsman in terms of finishing games in the last ten years along with captaincy has started to lose his zeal and zest. He is not able to finish games as frequently as he was used to because of slowing down of reflexes due to increasing age. The only opportunity MS Dhoni got to show his worth before finale was against Sri Lanka where he scored a 50 ball 60 after an exceptional start from top 3.
Chasing a mammoth 338 against a quality bowling attack, India’s top order crumbled under pressure. The honest of rebuilding and facing a steep challenge was on old horses and most experience players, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. But they could not pull off the rabbit from their hat in the most important battle and got out cheaply as expected. A lot of eye brows were raised on their ability to accumulate and take the team home from a difficult situation in an age of almost 36. Questions aroused that whether they will be able to play at the age of 38 and 39 in 2019 World cup or they should be replaced by young blood.
India tour to West Indies is regarded as an opportunity to try out young batsman in the middle order along with spinners. But against all odds they have decided to persist with old horses and give them another opportunity to prove their metal. Talented Ajinkya Rahane being extremely unfortunate to be in and out of team is also given an opportunity in place of inform opening batsman Rohit Sharma. Flamboyant left handed wicket keeper batsman Rishab Pant and seasoned inform wicket keeper batsman Dinesh Kartik are in the squad but not given the opportunity in the first two ODI’S. Only time will tell that the decision of sticking with old horses will haunt them in future or not.
by Muhammad Qasim Ashraf