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'Some Indian batsmen just there for endorsement deals'

October 03, 2008 23:59 IST

In a scathing attack on India's senior batsmen, former England [Images] skipper Geoffrey Boycott said they are desperate to hold on to their places in the team not just for the love of cricket but also for endorsement deals that come with being in the side.

"The great Indian batsmen are long in the tooth and approaching the end of their careers. Some of them are desperate to prolong their international life spans, not just because they love the game but probably because of the endorsement deals available," Boycott wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

"But none of them are the force they once were," he added.

Boycott said the likes of Sachin Tendulkar [Images], Rahul Dravid [Images], VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly [Images], who once dominated international cricket, are no longer as effective and even a relatively weak side like England can also hope to beat the Indians in their own den in the December Test series.

"I believe it would be a mistake for England to go out there next month with the aim of scrapping their way to a draw. This Indian team are in flux. They can be beaten if you go hard at them. And this is as good a time as any to try," he said.

"Think of that period in the early part of this decade when Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly reached their peak together. Shane Warne [Images] went to India three times and averaged over 40. They just batted him out of the game."

Boycott said the turmoil in the Indian team is evident from the drama which surrounded Sourav Ganguly's selection for the home Test series against Australia [Images].

"There is much debate and soul-searching in India over who should play in the series against Australia, which starts next week. It is easy to say that the time has come for youth. But is anyone sure that the youngsters are good enough to take over? Or do the 'big four' have one last hurrah left in them?

"Tendulkar has so many miles on the clock that he picks up injuries all the time. Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman have been left out of the one-dayers for over a year now. It's the natural progression of life: one-day cricket is a young man's game," he said.

Boycott said once the 'fab four' retire, the Indians do not have the replacements to fill in the huge voids they will leave.

"If you look at the replacements, they're not that special. Gautam Gambhir [Images] and Wasim Jaffer [Images] are probably the best of the next generation. Yuvraj Singh [Images] has been tried so often and found wanting in Test cricket.

Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008

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