New Delhi: Yes! Yes! It's time to panic! Why? Because we celebrated our success for too long to see what the future holds for us. Because we chose to ignore that nothing and nobody remains forever. Because we have no roadmap and we have no replacements for the warriors, who have fought for long and are now heading towards the sunset. Because in the last six months, we have looked clueless and without any motivation. Where are we heading? Was winning the World Cup the last testament of our abilities?
If we still don't realise the damage we are in for, it might just be too late to stage a recovery.
Like any other Indian cricket fan, I wanted them to beat Australia, but trust me, I am more concerned about our chances of a win in the years to come, when perhaps there will be no Dravid, Laxman or Tendulkar. Not that they helped India's cause Down Under in any which way.
But after two years, the much-famed Indian batting will be a fragile one with hardly any experience if we don't bring in the youngsters now.
India's disastrous outing in Australia had everyone asking for axing of seniors like VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. On a practical note, they cannot be shunned just like that. They will have to be phased out slowly. Bringing in the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina is the need of the hour, of course on merit. We better prepare them well for Test cricket under the guidance of the experienced stalwarts.
That's about the change of guards. But what about the change in attitude and approach? In England, we blamed our 0-4 loss to injuries to key players. Though it hurt, it was somewhat accepted. But what happened in Australia, where we fielded our best available players?
It was said to be India's best chance to win a series in Australia? Did we underestimate our opposition and become overconfident? Perhaps!
Of all the oppositions, Australia is one team one should never take lightly. They ruled world cricket and then were in a trance when most of their seniors retired at once. But they know how to groom talents. And the team that's now in a process to settle down has the potential to get back on top of cricket.
Are we even planning for our future, forget implementing? Just look at the way Cricket Australia prepares its players for bigger roles. They don't hesitate in taking tough decisions. May be because they don't have to deal with 'over the top' media coverage and cricket fan'atic's. They dropped T20 skipper Cameron White from the squad and appointed an uncapped George Bailey as the skipper. Can we ever do it?
After India's loss in Perth there were calls of releasing MS Dhoni from captaincy duties, but we all knew that is not possible. Not only because he has done well for India, but also because he's the best man available and there's no alternative. No, not even Virender Sehwag, because had he been a better choice, Dhoni, who was a newbie in comparison to the Indian opener in 2007, wouldn't have been given the reins of the team.
No matter what the critics say, I still believe that Dhoni has a lot to offer to the team, both as a player and captain. But let's not burden him to death. He has been playing all formats of the game and juggling between batting, captaincy and wicketkeeping, all these roles require full-time focus. Too much of everything is fatal. Perhaps it is time we started grooming Virat Kohli for the bigger role? He has all the qualities of a leader and all that's needed is to channelise his exuberance and aggression.
Give him the captaincy of the T20 side and gradually pass over the reins of the formats. This is the best time for him to learn with so much experience available in the dressing room, where there are three India captains present (Sachin, Dravid and Dhoni). Also, Dhoni has made it clear that he might retire from Tests after a couple of years. Do we want to be at crossroads with a new captain with no experience when the situation arises?
So it's time the team management, selectors and the cricket board started looking at the future and take right measures. Till then, fingers crossed!