One failure is no measure of a cricketer's worth. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels repeated failures are not either.
In the wake of recent losses on the overseas tours to South Africa and New Zealand, Gavaskar feels Team India has made the blunder of giving non-performing players a needlessly extended run in the playing XI.
"Indian cricket history is littered with examples of teams in the past tending to become a bit of a club where outsiders are not welcome," he wrote in his column for a national daily.
"By sticking to those who have failed, the impression given is that there is no faith in reserve players," he added.
Gavaskar also feels that the tendency to not play reserve players makes regulars complacent. "The lack of faith in the reserve players also means that regulars know that despite their failures, they would get yet another chance," he wrote. "Playing and winning together does give a certain sense of comfort with each other, but like everything in life, there is need to regenerate and fine-tune to get better." (Openers ruined India in New Zealand: Gavaskar)
The Indian team suffered a 0-4 ODI drubbing against hosts New Zealand recently. Gavaskar had earlier urged skipper MS Dhoni to be more flexible while choosing his playing XI.
"The team will have to look at the combination if you want to save the series. We have to understand that India are playing overseas and the combination of five batsmen and five bowlers is not working," he had said after India had conceded the second ODI. A drawn match and two losses later, not much appeared to have changed. (Dhoni at a loss to explain defeat)
With an eye on the 2015 World Cup, Gavaskar is not the only one who is backing reserve players. Even former Test cricketer Rahul Dravid has said that the defeats in New Zealand were 'blessings in disguise' as the team management would get a fair idea of which players to play and to sideline. (Series loss 'blessing in disguise' for India: Dravid)
With several batsmen as well as pacers failing to impress, benched players in the touring party may finally get to unzip their 'rusty' cricketing kits. Or at least they surely ought to, feels Gavaskar. "The quicker it is done, the better for Indian cricket," he concluded in his column.