Port of Spain: There must be a big balloon of gloom descending on the television companies broadcasting India's tour of West Indies. How do you hype a series featuring an Indian team lacking its big stars and an opposition adamant about not including its star player(s)? The TV pundits always find an answer. This is being billed as a sign of the future. And this time, in the context of at least the Indian players, they may even be right.
There has been no recent Indian team with so many players so desperate to prove a point and stake a claim as this one. Until this series, the recent India story was about the ambitious march of a team to the top of the ladder: a Test series win in New Zealand, a series-levelling effort in South Africa, a World Cup triumph. This series against West Indies is about the young and the restless India. It's about assessing the hunger and the talent in these men. There are quite a few players an almost vital crossroads in their career.
Leading them is a man who encompasses so much about this brave new talented India, but Suresh Raina comes with qualifications: "There is talent but …" When the triumvirate of Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid eventually go, can the Rainas of India fill that gaping hole?