'India can't afford to lose Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman in one go'
Former New Zealand cricket great Richard Hadlee believes India should persist with the veteran trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman for some more time.
"You can't be talking about Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid's retirement. You can't afford to lose all these players in one go. You need to see the young players go through," said Hadlee.
The veteran cricketer, however, added that the final decision rests with the Indian selectors and they need to take a call on the issue.
Hadlee said Tendulkar has still got some time, but pointed out that the champion batsman is under pressure to get the historical 100th international hundred.
"When you are in search of a major milestone, like I was trying to beat Ian Botham's world record of maximum Test wickets, it creates a lot of pressure. I am sure Tendulkar might be feeling the same way," he said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid
Tendulkar has looked in good knick
The New Zealander, who quit after taking 431 Test wickets, said if Tendulkar gets that elusive century he will probably get two or three more tons in quick succession.
"As far as the Indian team is concerned, all they want is he gets to that hundred and they can all relax and get on with the game.
"I remember people talking about Tendulkar's retirement during the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, but he went on to amass runs for the next five years.
"It may be a year since Tendulkar hasn't scored a hundred, but he has still batted pretty well and scored some good sixties, seventies and eighties and held the Indian innings together," Hadlee said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
'Indians need to make bouncier pitches'
Asked about the reason behind India's miserable run in England and Australia, the Kiwi all-rounder felt the Indian batters failed to negotiate the swing and bounce there.
Hadlee insisted that India needs to prepare bouncier pitches, which will help its batsmen perform well on foreign soil.
"The Indian batsmen traditionally perform well in home conditions, but struggle to cope with bouncing and swinging balls on foreign soils," Hadlee said.
"Technically they have been exposed and that is the common denominator. English and Australian conditions may differ, but there were similarities with the way the ball moved and bounced around," he added.
Image: MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid
'Consistency comes in Test matches only'
Asked whether the IPL is one of the reasons behind the Indian batsman's poor technique against the swinging ball, Hadlee said the shorter format, in general, is a threat to Test cricket.
"I won't say IPL, but T20 cricket, in general, has destroyed Test cricket. Test cricket for me is the ultimate challenge.
"You can't have consistency in one-day cricket; consistency comes in the longer version of the game when you are tested," he said.
He added that cricket's administrators around the world, particularly the ICC, should not saturate the game with too much of T20.
"It is alright to get spectators, generate revenue for players and cricket bodies... but there should be a balance.
"There is a big job ahead for administrators around the world, particularly the ICC to get that right," he said.
Image: Zaheer Khan and David Warner
The former fast bowler said frequent burn-outs is one of the reasons why the game is getting bereft of fast-bowling all-rounders, like Botham, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan.
"Current players are playing in all forms of cricket, so they burn-out quickly. An all-rounder's role is the hardest role in the game because you have to bat, bowl and field to a set standard.
"If you need fast bowling all-rounders, you need to have bowling conditions that suits their style of bowling," he concluded.
Image: Ishant Sharma