As the nightmarish Australian series draws to a conclusion, the clamor among supporters and ex-players for radical changes in the Indian cricket team is growing every day. They watched with utter dismay their beloved team surrender again and again without a semblance of a fight. The mighty Indian cricket team was brought to its knees by an inexperienced Australian side – a side which was considered to be the weakest that Australia has fielded in recent history. So consequently a shambolic performance has made the general public back in India baying for blood. The supporters are demanding change and the beleaguered selectors have no other option but to comply.

As every love story requires a tragic finale to become an epic, for many the Australian series marked a tragic finale for Indian cricket’s “Fab Three” – Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman . All of them had a disastrous series, barring Sachin who was brilliant only in patches. They were supposed to bow out in style with all guns blazing, but the perfect swansong did not happen. Instead the Indian batting lineup is on the verge of being plunged into a bottomless chasm that may shroud it in nothing but grief and disappointment.

Indian cricket has always produced batting stalwarts, who has carved out formidable niches for themselves in the game’s pantheon. However, it is only after the emergence of the holy trinity along with Sourav Ganguly in mid 1990s that India started to exercise its might on a regular basis on the field. Rahul Dravid became the “Wall” lending a much needed solidity to the batting lineup. He found able support in Sourav Ganguly , displaying sublime touch and finesse. And in Sachin, India found a genius who was able to rise up to any challenge and carry the hopes of a nation for two decades.

As the millennium drew to a close, VVS Laxman wrote the the next golden chapter of Indian cricket with his bat. His monumental 281 run knock at Eden Gardens against Australia, overnight elevated him to a demi god status. Soon to join the ranks was the maverick Virendra Sehwag who soon transformed himself into a game changing opener. With the likes of Javagal Sreenath , Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in the bowling department , India soon became a formidable team that was able to mount a formidable challenge on foreign shores also , be it Australia or England. Even after Sourav Ganguly’s retirement, the holy trinity was able to carry the mantle forward under the able stewardship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The England series in the summer of 2011 really brought the cracks that have already begun to appear, to the fore. Against the incisive English swing bowling the battle weary bodies of the Big Three were laid bare. The scenario alarmingly was the same in Australia also. The heart is still there but their bodies are refusing to comply. The Australian bowling created a big crack in “The Wall” Rahul Dravid’s defence, which was breached again and again. Sachin’s 100th ton is proving to be a gorilla on his back which he seemingly cannot get off and Laxman’s magical wand suddenly vanished into thin air. It seems that a twist of fate has rendered them mute spectators unable to do anything as the edifice created by them crushes and the golden era fades away.

It may not be the last chapter for all three of them, but for Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, the game will never be the same again. It is therefore the right time for them to pass the mantle on to the next generation, to the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The transition will not be seamless but is needed to revive Indian cricket once again.

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