Sachin, Sourav, Dravid, VVS down but not out

Published: Friday, May 30, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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New Delhi: They may have been a flop in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman cannot be called a spent force as the famed quartet of Indian cricket still has 2-3 years of international cricket left in them, say former Indian Test legends.

Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians), Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders), Dravid (Royal Challangers, Bangalore) and VVS Laxman (Deccan Chargers, Hyderabad) are the captains and icon players of their teams.

After their failure to lead their teams to the semifinals questions are being raised about their utility in the shorter forms of the sport while a hoard of younsters like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Asnodkar, Dhawan et al have strongly made their case by performing in the IPL.

Former India opener and selector Anshuman Gaekwad believes that the future of this quartet depends on their fitness.

"Form follows if players are fit enough. Class is permanent while form is temporary and you cannot question their class. They can play international cricket for next two-three years," said the veteran Baroda cricketer.

Former Test player Karsan Ghavari opined that the much-vaunted veterans must improve their fielding to match the younger lot of Indian cricket.

Former selector Kirti Azad also felt that fitness and form and not age should be the criteria to select a team.

Ganguly scored 349 runs in his 13 IPL innings. He was adjudged man of the match twice. He is also one of the most economical bowlers of the tournament at a rate of 6.40 and has six wickets in his kitty.

Tendulkar could play only six matches due to his fitness problems. The right-hander scored 148 runs and could smash only one six during the tournament.

Dravid, on the other hand, made 360 runs from 13 innings. Compared to this, Sri Lankan veteran Sanath Jayasuriya has scored 460 runs at an average of over 40, while Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has aggregated 523 at an average of 43.

Gaekwad felt that the star veterans performance, though average, could not be dismissed either and was no criteria to judge them for ODI and Test cricket.

"Sourav has done well. Sachin and Laxman were injured. Although Dravid has disappointed. Still I believe that you cannot call them off on the basis of their performance in Twenty20 cricket," said Gaekwad.

"They have not failed although they are not amongst the runs. You cannot ignore their background and the class they are showing for the past 10 to 12 years," he Ghavari.

"But then they have to admit that growing age has affected their fielding which is an important aspect of international cricket. They must work hard in this area to prolong their international career."

Ghavri and Azad opined that the performance in Twenty20 cricket should not be taken too seriously as the shortest format of the game was more about entertainment.

"You don't have time to show your class in this shortest version of cricket. It is about hitting only. Real test is 50-over-game and

Test cricket. Sachin, Sourav and Dravid are a proven force in that.

"Age should not be the criterion for selection. Sanath, Pollock, Mcgrath and Sourav have performed well in IPL despite their growing age. Form and fitness matters," said the former selector.


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