It's time Indian batters ended their obsession with personal milestones

Sarfaraz Khan and Yashasvi Jaiswal
Sarfaraz Khan and Yashasvi Jaiswal's running between the wickets left a lot to desired in the Rajkot Test. File photo: AFP/Punit Paraanjpe

Australian legend Matthew Hayden had courted controversy in 2004 when he stated that subcontinental batsmen are selfish who are more worried about their personal landmarks than the teams' objective. A lot has changed since then. The inception of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) has made the players from across the globe more together. But one thing has remained almost the same - India batters' obsession with personal milestones.

The third Test featuring India and England at Rajkot was the latest to witness Indian batsmen going into a shell when nearing a landmark. Ravindra Jadeja, who batted with great resolve to save India from a precarious 33/3 in the opening hour, started playing with utmost care during the final hour of the day even as debutant Sarfaraz Khan was batting with great freedom at the other end. In the end with Jadeja on 99, a mix-up cut short Sarfaraz's blazing knock of 62. Indian captain Rohit Sharma was livid in the dressing room as he knew very well the importance of Sarfaraz's wicket. Soon Jadeja completed his ton with a rather subdued 'sword celebration'.

In the Indian second innings, Shubman Gill was run out in the nervous 90s after a misunderstanding with night watchman Kuldeep Yadav cost his wicket when on 91.

India's new batting sensation Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sarfaraz were involved in a cavalier fifth-wicket stand on the fourth day, with the home team eyeing a declaration. Jaiswal, who was batting with gay abandon, became circumspect as he approached a second successive double hundred. The left-hander turned down an easy second run to be on strike and Sarfaraz, who himself was nearing a second fifty on his debut, was not pleased one bit. Sarfaraz returned the compliment as he refused a second run when Jaiswal was keen to come back.

It all finished well as both the batters got to their respective milestones and soon Rohit declared the Indian innings.

Current India head coach Rahul Dravid was in the firing line after he declared the Indian innings with Sachin Tendulkar batting on 194 against Pakistan in the 2004 Multan Test. In fact, Dravid was standing in for an indisposed Sourav Ganguly. Tendulkar made his displeasure known in no uncertain ways.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar in action in the 2004 Multan Test. File photo: AFP/Jewel Samad

Cut to 2023. K L Rahul was a tad disappointed after guiding India to a six-wicket win over Australia in their opening match of the ICC World Cup as he was left stranded on 97! 

Former captain M S Dhoni and ex-Indian stars Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina are some of the players who did not slow down with a milestone in sight. Among the current crop Rohit and Hardik Pandya too adopt the same method. Cricket after all is a team game and hopefully the rest of the Indian batters will realise it soon.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.