The Indian Test team is currently in their transitions phase, and there is no denying it. The BCCI selectors have started this transitions period by axing two senior players in Cheteshwar Pujara and Umesh Yadav for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, where India will play 2 white dress matches to kick-start their WTC 2023/25 cycle.
This was one of India’s golden generation of longest format. They remained unbeaten in series at home and also recorded some famous overseas wins, including two historic series triumphs in Australia.
Now, though, the team is aging; there are plenty of players who are on the wrong side of their 30s. It perhaps would be even better if a couple of more senior players bid adieu to the team to expedite the transition period and give youngsters more chances at the start of this new WTC cycle.
The retirement of these two big-name players could help the Indian Test team in their transition period:
At 36 years of age, Rohit Sharma is the second oldest member of the white side. And his being retained as the captain for the start of the new WTC cycle came as a bit of a surprise to the fans.
Even considering India reaches the WTC Final in 2025 – which would be their third straight WTC Final is they manage it – Rohit Sharma will be 38 by that time.
Rohit Sharma has had injury issues regularly in his career. His workload of all three formats plus the IPL has always been under scrutiny. So it’s difficult to see how he will manage to keep himself fit and available for all the matches going forward at the age, with a body that is already very fragile and injury-prone.
A retirement from Test cricket for Rohit Sharma would allow him to continue his well-established legacy in white-ball cricket and also allow the BCCI to try out young openers like Jaiswan, Gaikwad, and even Panchal, who’s been constantly overlooked in the shadow of some big name IPL players.
Senior India batsman Ajinkya Rahane was dropped from the side last year. He made his comeback in the WTC Final 2023 and was India’s best batsman in the match against Australia. Initially it was believed that Rahane was called up only for that one-off Test in the absence of Iyer and KL Rahul. However, then, surprisingly, he was not only retained in the side, but also renamed the vice-captain of the whites.
Rahane is 35 years old, and the reason for his axing in the first place last year was his inconsistency. Now, while he performed well in the WTC final, it remains an uphill task for Rahane to show that he’s more consistent than he was before getting dropped. That could be challenging because India has tough tours of West Indies and South Africa lined up. But where will India blood in younger talentes in the middle-order to keep the side ready for the WTC Final 2025 and beyond if not against teams like West Indies or in home white dress matches.
Rahane has always been a team man. But could he retire for the sake of the Test team that would allow someone like Sarfaraz Khan to get his deserved opportunity in the Test side.