Team India may have won the 2nd Test against England at Visakhapatnam but certain issues still persist, the most alarming being their batting. While they did well to post 396 in the first innings, India’s batting in the second dig left a lot to be desired. At one stage, they looked primed to set England a target of at least 450, but once again a batting collapse limited it to 399. These implosions are becoming way too common and repetitive for everyone’s liking – including team’s – and was even addressed by captain Rohit Sharma, who expects ‘more from his batters’.
To tackle this problem, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar has suggested a big change in Indian cricket’s approach. The former India captain wants the youngsters to spend more time playing First-Class cricket – be it for India A or Ranji Trophy. Some of the players headed straight into the Test series without playing any form of domestic cricket and that approach is what Gavaskar wants tweaked.
“What the batters’ failure to get big runs also shows how important it is before a Test match series for both batters and bowlers to play some first-class games and get themselves in the right frame of mind for the longer format of the game. The Ranji Trophy had started and it would have been perfect timing for the batters to get into the groove for the Test series by playing a couple of games,” he wrote in his column for The Mid-Day.
Give youngsters more exposure, says Gavaskar
As unpopular an opinion as it may be, the Ranji Trophy, which for years, remained the benchmark for player performance and their ticket to the Indian team, has been replaced by the IPL. And this has put India’s historic tournament at risk. Veterans who have slogged for years such as Jalaj Saxena, Paras Dogra and performed consistently, never earned their India caps and probably never will. In order to curb this, Gavaskar wants state associations to take some drastic changes to ensure emerging youngsters get equal and deserving opportunities
“Some of the performances in the Ranji Trophy, especially after the Lodha panel reforms made it mandatory to give first-class status to some states who were not part of the Ranji Trophy circuit, have been mind boggling. While the thinking behind it may have been to spread the game to all parts of the country, what it did not take into consideration was that all those states were simply not ready to play at that level,” Gavaskar stated.
“Yes, these states can employ three players from other states, especially some players who are good but not good enough to play for their established state teams but most of the other players won’t even find a place in the ‘C team’ of most elite teams. So to read some old batting and bowling records being obliterated because some of these players playing in the plate division are scoring triple hundreds and century after century and bowlers picking seven-plus wicket hauls makes one feel sorry for those who held the records when the competition was really stiff.”