Source - indiatimes.com
They may have been a flop in the Indian Premier League but Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly cannot be called a spent force as the veteran trio still has 2-3 years of international cricket left in them, say former Indian Test greats.
Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians), Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders) and Dravid (Royal Challangers Bangalore) are the captains and icon players of their teams.
After their failure to lead their teams to the semi-finals questions are being raised about their utility at a time when younsters like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Yousuf Pathan have strongly made their case by performing in the IPL.
Former selector Anshuman Gaekwad believes that the future of this trio depends on their fitness.
"Form follows if players are fit enough. Class is permanent while form is temporary and you cannot question their class. They can play international cricket for next two-three years," said the former captain.
Former Test player Karsan Ghavari opined that Ganguly, Tendulkar and Dravid must improve their fielding to match the younger lot of Indian cricket.
Former selector Kirti Azad also felt that fitness and form and not age should be the criteria to select a team.
Ganguly scored 349 runs in his 13 IPL innings. He was adjudged man of the match twice. He is also one of the most economical bowlers of the tournament at a rate of 6.40 and has six wickets in his kitty.
Tendulkar could play only six matches due to his fitness problems. The right-hander scored 148 runs and could smash only one six during the tournament.
Dravid, on the other hand, made 360 runs from 13 innings. Gaekwad felt the trio performance, though average, could not be dismissed either and was no criteria to judge them for ODI and Test cricket.
"Sourav has done well. Sachin and (VVS) Laxman were injured. Although Dravid has disappointed. Still I believe that you cannot call them off on the basis of their performance in Twenty20 cricket," said Gaekwad.
Ghavari echoed his views. "They have not failed although they are not amongst the runs. You cannot ignore their background and the class they are showing for the past 10 to 12 years," said the former player.
"But then they have to admit that growing age has affected their fielding which is an important aspect of international cricket. They must work hard in this area to prolong their international career and to match the young bridge,"
Ghavri and Azad opined that the performance in Twenty20 cricket should not be taken too seriously as the shortest format of the game was more about entertainment.
"You don't have time to show your class in this shortest version of cricket. It is about hitting only. Real test is 50-50 over game and Test cricket. Sachin, Sourav and Dravid are a proven force in that.
"Age should not be the criterion for selection. Sanath (Jayasuriya), (Shaun) Pollock, (Glenn) Mcgrath and Sourav have performed well in IPL despite their growing age. Form and fitness matters," said the former selector.