Bengaluru, July 25: Expert commentator Harsha Bhogle came up with an interesting observation recently. He said he doesn't find players like Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly, who were handy with their bowling despite being premier batsmen, coming through the ranks these days.
Bhogle also felt that the bowlers do not have a second string either.
According to him, the future belongs to players who have more than one quality, he tweeted.
It is worrisome that there isn't any young batsman coming through the ranks who can offer a bowling option like Sehwag, Ganguly and Tendulkar did. And it is fair to say that there are no bowlers with a second string either. The future is with people who offer more than one skill— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 24, 2019
Bhogle is perhaps concerned with a talent pool overcrowded by 'one-dimensional' cricketers. Not many batsmen from India's top order can bowl - be it Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul or Virat Kohli (even though he had dismissed Kane Williamson in his younger days) - while people like Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami or Jasprit Bumrah can hardly contribute with the bat. That was not the case with the earlier generations that included people like Anil Kumble, Ajit Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh who even had Test hundreds.
There is an element of truth in Bhogle's observation. Players like Tendulkar, Sehwag and Ganguly had over 460 international wickets between them and could play a handy role with the ball whenever the team required. Ganguly had even opened bowling for India in Tests in the 1998 series versus Australia.
But one would say India still are in a better position in terms of two- or three-dimensional cricketers compared to what they had in the 1990s. When greats like Kapil Dev and handy all-rounders like Manoj Prabhakar slowed down, India didn't have any readymade all-round players to replace them. The all-rounder-starved side then tried to overdo with Irfan Pathan in the early 2000s only to see the talent going down the drain. Today, there are still players like Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Vijay Shankar and Bhunveshwar Kumar who can excel with the bat when chips are down. So it's not that India do not have players with all-round abilities. However, to be like teams like England who bat deep into their order, India's tail-enders need to bat so that the management doesn't have to burn the midnight oil in finding a perfect batting-bowling combination as flexible cricketers make it that much easier.
Bhogle's observation also sparked off the debate between specialised players and bits-and-pieces players once again. He though said that he is not in favour of players who can do a bit of this and that but not enough of either.