India look at young guns to take their legacy forward after WC heartbreak
No sentence Virat Kohli gave a quick handshake and hug to the same speechless person Gill Shubman before going to collect his medal in second place. It was the defining moment of Sunday night for the Indian cricket team.
Perhaps the most significant sign of the generational shift to come in Indian cricket was when the hosts failed to reach a third World Cup.
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Of course, veterans like Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami it may be around for a while longer, but now it’s up to a younger top to take the team forward and build a new legacy that is no different from past failures.
Hopefully Gill (24), Shreyas Iyer (28), Ishan Kishan (25), Ruturaj Gaikwad (26) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (21) will join the recovering Rishabh Pant (26) India they will hit the road to the 2024 T20 World Cup and beyond.
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These players are already very experienced at top level cricket and have shown their talent more than once, but living up to the legacy of titans like Kohli and Rohit is not a simple task.
These players have built a number of high-profile titles over the past decade and a half, symbolizing their skill, endurance and mental toughness in today’s high-pressure world of sport.
Because they had to deal with the additional burden of captaincy on their shoulders, they have achieved more. An empathetic leader with conviction is the driving force behind a team in any sport.
So who should India invest in as the leader of the future?
Former India batsman Robin Uthappa thought Shreyas could be the one to fit that role.
“Shreyas Iyer has shown remarkable dedication and confidence. He looks great, especially at the No. 4 position.
“If he keeps this level of performance up, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him leading the Indian team, especially in white-ball cricket,” Uthappa said on his YouTube channel.
However, that is only one part of the journey into the future. With the T20 World Cup in the USA and the West Indies fast approaching, it would be tempting to tunnel-vision with just that tournament in mind.
But that could be the biggest mistake the powers that be can make.
Apart from next year’s T20 World Cup, the current international cycle (2023-2027) will see India compete in three major white-ball global events, the 2025 Champions Trophy, co-hosting the 2026 T20 big bash with Sri Lanka and then i. 50-over World Cup in 2027.
Hence, India will need careful team building around players who can sustain themselves under pressure and last the race.
“That’s right. India they may not have had the services of the big players for a long time now. The authorities will have to plan well in advance for the next three to four years, give consistent chances to young players like Jaiswal and Gaikwad so that they are mentally ready when a big tournament takes place,” the former India selector told PTI.
“It is important to keep the communication clear with all the players, tell them in advance that we are going to stick with you for this long period and we will give you many chances regardless of your performance.
“It’s important to keep a player in the loop because uncertainty can affect a cricketer’s mind and consequently his performance. But again it all depends on how hungry they are for success,” he said.
That theory is applicable to finding successors to lead spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who are not in their youth at 37 and 34 respectively.
The strong re-emergence of Kuldeep Yadav could give the think-tank some consolation, but they will need to find a strong partner for the left-arm spinner.
Apart from Axar Patel, India haven’t really impressed any other spinner in recent years, and they may want to look at the likes of leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar early on to the line-up develop support. .
“Yes, there is a bit of a question. As I said, they need a consistent run, you know, to succeed or fail. Hopefully they will find it,” he noted.
Evolution is the most complex passage in sport and we could be in for an exciting time as Indian cricket is ready to embrace it.
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