New Delhi:Its both a boon and a curse to be the three most famous cricketers in this country. While the 'Big Three' have had their share of glory, now they must face being on trial every time Indian cricket goes through a slump.
With every defeat come questions on Sachin, Sourav and Dravid's role in the loss. And now with them having been left out of the Challenger trophy, alongside no less than 8 of the current ODI squad, the retirement debate has resurfaced once again.
"Challenger is one tournament where the top players of the country participate. Every moment is wonderful as you're either looking at your own practice, or at the youngsters who're knocking at the door of making it to the side," said Sachin Tendulkar.
It was always a tournament where the top players of the country used to participate but certainly not this time. Not just Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, considered the 'Big Three' of Indian cricket, but also 8 other members of the present ODI squad have been left out of the tournament.
"I think for a change the board has taken a fantastic decision by not choosing these players. These guys have been playing throughout the year, and you want your players to play their best cricket. There is so much cricket coming up. The guys who are not on trial do not need to play tournaments like these," said Ajay Jadeja.
The trio are not playing the challenger but they are on trial, their break during the 20-20 world Cup raised questions over the trios future in Limited overs cricket.
And its taken just one defeat against Australia and the challenger omission for the retirement rhetoric to restart.
"There will be a day when the big three will not play for India. Bit Sachin, Sourav and Rahul have played a lot of cricket and they are responsible enough to decide when to quit, more than some people who think they are a lot responsible for Indian cricket," said Jadeja.
So, even as the seniors take some much-needed rest, it is time for the youngsters to make most of the opportunity they get in the Challenger Trophy. After all, this was the tournament, which brought the likes of Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla to the limelight in the past.
Mohammed Kaif will lead India Red. Gautam Gambhir is one of India's ODI squad members who will play alongside him.
Parthiv Patel will be at the helm of India Green. Both Parthiv and Manoj Tiwary are coming off a good showing for the Rest of India team in the Irani trophy and are looking to force their way into the national side.
The third team, India Blue, is being captained by Virender Sehwag and includes Dinesh Karthik from the current ODI squad. Expectedly, those who've signed up with the rebel Indian Cricket League have been left out. The Challenger Trophy will be played across 4 days starting October 25th.