Sachin Tendulker.On paper India boasts one of the most formidable batting line-ups ever seen in Test cricket, but reality suggests age is starting to overpower the benefits of their experience.
Nanjing Night Net

Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are approaching 39, VVS Laxman is 37 and India’s recent whitewash against England and 2-0 deficit against Australia indicates something is significantly wrong.

Writing off champion players is always fraught with danger, and India’s big three, as well as Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni, have shown patches of their prowess over recent months.

But India became the No. 1 team in Test cricket because its stars had a knack of firing together and combining for huge partnerships to bat teams out of matches.

That isn’t happening at the moment, and the question is whether its ageing heroes are in a position to see them back to the top of the world rankings.

Rohit Sharma is expected to come into the middle order for Virat Kohli in Perth, but captain Dhoni didn’t believe fazing out his war horses for young blood is the way to go. “With age comes plenty of experience and I think they are the best we have got as of now,” he said.

“They may be feeling the pressure that they really want to perform well over here, but what’s important is to enjoy the game, stick to the present and hopefully they’ll get better and we’ll score more runs in the coming Test matches.”

Laxman is under the most pressure. He might have made a hard-fought 66 on a flat deck in the second innings in Sydney, but he still struggled early and looks a shadow of his former self.

Dravid looks shaky, but has hundreds behind him from the England tour in August.

Tendulkar looks classy and in control, but he’s clearly having trouble converting 50s into centuries – something which had always been his bread and butter.

Sehwag, 33, and Gautam Gambhir, 30, are very dangerous on their day, but away from the subcontinent they don’t inspire the same confidence that they can get India off to a good enough start before the veterans have to come in and face the music.

Australian captain Michael Clarke believed India’s batsmen are nervous, but denied they’ve lost their aura.

“Not at all, I think India’s batting line-up is as strong as I’ve ever played against,” he said.

“They have some of the greats of the game and have a lot of Test runs and Test hundreds between them.

“I would never write off great players, so my focus is to make sure we are at our best come Perth because we know how good they are.”

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