It is sad to see the old ones go, but perhaps time has to take a toll on everything

We have basked in the World Cup glory of 2011 enough and can no longer cling to it to feel proud. The next World Cup is already round the corner and accordingly, preparations have begun.

The selectors, probably in consultation with Dhoni and Fletcher, seem to have considered the permutation and combination for the next World Cup. The list of 30 probables for the Champions Trophy clearly indicates that the selectors are thinking far ahead of this particular series.

The exclusion of Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Pragyan Ojha shows the selectors’ keenness on giving opportunities to inexperienced and potential players. All of a sudden a huge golden gate has opened for many youngsters.

It is sad to see the old ones go, but perhaps time has to take a toll on everything. Fitness has dragged Sehwag out of the Champions Trophy and he has less chances of making a comeback. He is a player heavily reliant on hand-eye coordination and for such a player eyesight has to be perfect. He made an effort to play against Australia with glasses but didn’t look comfortable.

Moreover, by the time the next World Cup will be played, Sehwag will be 35 and perhaps a liability in the field. It is here that the selectors have chosen the perfect replacement in Delhi’s Unmukt Chand who is a natural stroke player as well.

The other senior player fading away is Harbhajan Singh. The great bowler that he is, he didn’t bowl effectively against England and Australia. Perhaps the emergence of Ravichandran Ashwin’s great adaptability in all the formats of the game has put pressure on Harbhajan Singh.

Some omissions

Till the South Africa tour in November, Harbhajan will not get any opportunity to show his form. The other omission in the spin department is Ojha.

With Ravindra Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh showing all-round ability, Ojha couldn’t have been of much use. Another all-rounder Parveez Rasool from Jammu and Kashmir has shown the potential to excel. Encouragement is all he needs.

The player whose loss is the most grieved perhaps is Zaheer. In a crucial Ranji Trophy match that he played, he aggravated a leg injury. He is yet to recover and one can only hope for the best.

Siddharth Kaul is a pace bowler with uncomplicated action and smooth run-up and has learnt to adjust himself in all the three formats. A little more experience and he will have developed into a good bowler.

The Indian team is in a state of flux, and it is a healthy one, for we seem to have appropriate and interesting replacements. One existing player, whose tag of talent has been stretched too far is Rohit Sharma. Amazingly talented perhaps, but he has to apply himself to be more consistent.

Kedar Jadhav of Maharashtra and Manpreet Juneja of Gujarat look like batsmen for the future.

Though Jadhav is in the list of probables, Juneja is not. It will be wise to pick both for the India ‘A’ tour to South Africa. Strict measures have been taken and a lot of baggage has been cleared.

Sandeep Patil and his colleagues have shown both courage and vision. All we can hope for is that this stress on performance remains consistent over time. Dropping big names is a bold step and we have to make the move worthy by appropriately training replacements

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