Srinivasan says India can reclaim No. 1 Test slot, but ICC Test rankings tells a different story

BCCI chief N Srinivasan recently said that Indian team can regain the No.1 Test team slot under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership and said that team did well in the Asia Cup after defeat in England and Australia.

Srinivasan in an interview to The Times of India said that every team goes through this phase and Indian team has all the capabilities to be the number one team in the ICC Test rankings.

But going by ICC Test rankings things do not look that easy for India. Indian team has slipped to number fifth position in the Test rankings that is currently led by England. Srinivasan said that this was the team that took India to the top of the table, but the downward slip that Indian cricket is facing is quite steady and that reflects in the ranking.

The team was at the top last year and now is behind England, Australia, South Africa and Pakistan. It is notable that India toured South Africa and England still being the number one side, but lost their tag after their miserable outing in England.

Australia’s tour was also a disappointing one and with eight continuous losses India has slipped down to number fifth in the rankings. The latest Test rankings shows things will not be easy for India for India in coming future.

That is not all; India is the only team apart from Bangladesh to not have any player in the top 10 list of either bowlers or batsmen. Only Sachin Tendulkar (who is at number 12) is in the list of top-20 Test batsmen and that sends alarming signals for the Indian team. Indian batting has struggled in the recent times and that reflects in the rankings. Rahul Dravid who was the highest run-getter in the year 2011 has retired recently and there have been talks that Sachin should also call it a day from International cricket.

People will say that the ratings does not show the true picture because India has not played a Test match from past few months, but there are three South Africans in the top seven (AB de Villiers at number 3, Jacques Kallis at number 4 and Hashim Amla at number 6) who have also not played a Test match in the recent past. It is also a fact that apart from India and Bangladesh all the other Test Playing nations have at least one player in the top ten.

Sachin is the only Indian batsmen who is close to making it in top ten and he will not play for too long and the rest of the batsmen in the Indian team are no way near the top performers in the world and that proves how difficult it is going to be for India in the coming matches.

When it comes to bowling, India is lacking the edge here as well. Test matches are won by taking 20 wickets and it is a known fact that Indian bowlers have been struggling from the past few series. When it comes to Test rankings India have two bowlers in top 20, with Zaheer Khan at number 12 and Pragyan Ojha at number 20. But one should consider the fact that Zaheer always has injury issues and Ojha not picked in the playing eleven very often.

The next in the list is Harbhajan Singh at number 23, but he has been dropped from the team because of his performance and will struggle to make a comeback into the squad. It is true that rankings do not explain the complete picture, but it then does reflect the form of a team.

Indian team is going through a rebuilding phase and what they need is for the youngsters to start putting their hands up and sharing the responsibility, but even that looks a distant dream. India A team recently toured West Indies A and they failed miserably.

Rohit Sharma who has always been termed as the next big thing for Indian batting has flattered to deceive often. Only IPL has been his happy hunting ground and has witnessed most of his heroics and his internationals performance is pretty ordinary otherwise. After Dravid’s retirement, the number three position is for grabs and the Windies tour provided him perfect opportunity. However, he messed it up there. Sharma scored only 145 runs at an average of 24 against an ordinary West Indies A attack.

IPL-5 hero, Ajinkya Rahane was considered as the next big thing for Indian cricket, but he struggled against an ordinary West Indies A pace attack, he played far too loose for an opener and scored at a pathetic average of 10.

So, Srinivasan’s comments might sound pleasing on ears, but the reality is something different. India will play their next ten test matches on their home soil and going by the past records India is expected to do well. But, going by the attack that the English and the Aussies possess things will not be easy for them once they move out of the sub continent- their comfort zone. And then they will travel to the rainbow nation to take on the South African pace battery and that will be one hell of a test for the struggling Indian team.

By Gaurav Jha

Indian Sports News Network