To experiment or not to experiment?

Arjuna Ranatunga has criticised India’s strategy of experimenting with the batting order as having “pressed the panic button”. I completely disagree. In fact, I feel India is not experimenting enough, especially on the bowling front. To start with, India should have selected a new look team. An insignificant tournament with a third rate team like WI participating — can there be a better place to experiment?

India is a cricket crazy country with over a billion people. Unlike other fields of endeavor, cricket is an area where India has no shortage of funds. The BCCI has boat loads of money and sponsors from all over the world throw money at events and at the cricketers. Yet, India is third from the bottom in its ODI rankings. Clearly, there is something wrong.

The age old strategy of sticking to heroes of the yester years while young talent ages and withers away without ever landing on the international arena has gone on for too long. The only way that this can be can prevented from happening and ensuring that India becomes the best team in the world is by experimenting and unearthing talent. The only way we are going to be successful is by giving new-comers a shot at the international level.

I wish India had experimented more on Bangladesh tour. What is the point of sending an injured Tendulkar to Bangladesh to score a double hundred while the Srirams, Badanis, and Joginder Sharmas of the country languish on the bench? It doesn’t prove anything and doesn’t help prolong the career of the world #1 batsman? What is Kumble doing in a worthless tournament like this when he is barely assured of a place in the playing eleven! Why bother with VVS Laxman when we know his fielding sucks, he can’t bowl and his batting form has been pathetic.
Personally, I think the days when one can play at the international level of over 10 years are gone. Most players must consider themselves lucky to survive at the top for more than 5 years. For example, barring Michael Clarke most Aussie batsman and all rounders get a break at the international level only in their late 20s or early thirties.

Cricket has become too commercial a sport and the stakes are way too high for India to compromise on unearthing new talent. The only way to do that is by experimenting.

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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