Former Indian skipper and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar stirred a hot debate on Sunday when the 64-year-old World Cup winner suggested that BCCI should send former defensive batting pioneer Rahul Dravid to Australia Down Under at the earliest after Indian's appalling batting display in Adelaide Test.
Watching their entire star-studded team getting bundled out for 3 was a petrifying sight for the cricket-mad nation and was certainly a stark contrast to yesteryear India's tour of Australia when Sourav Ganguly and side took the game to the then mighty Australians, who were unbeatable away, let alone at home.
Back in 2004, when India held Australia for 1-1 draw in the Border Gavaskar Trophy, the mainstay of that memorable series was Indian batting and Dravid was certainly the standout performer in the series. He averaged 123.8 including three fifties and a huge 233 in an unforgettable Adelaide Test win while finishing the series with 619 runs to his name.
Here's a glimpse of how cleverly Dravid score runs in the series while wearing down the bowling greats of Australia with his defensive class and exploiting the freebies that came his way.
A look at his overall performance Down Under in the longest format, Dravid scored 1,116 runs while averaging 41.64.
So when a certain Vengsarkar says Dravid should be out first flight to Australia, it does makes a lot of sense especially after what happened last week.
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were the only ones who used their defensive batting to near perfection to grind out runs and take India to 244 on a surface that was never going to help batsmen. This was also acknowledged by Australian legend Adam Gilchrist.
"Looking back at the first innings, I would think that the seemingly slow batting from Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli was, in fact, superb defensive batting. That was what India failed to replicate in the second innings," Gilchrist wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
But remaining of the Indian batsmen left a lot to be desired as far as blocking or leaving the ball is concerned with opener Prithvi Shaw facing the burnt of it for his faulty technique of playing the ball away from the body. Kohli and Pujara to came a cropper in the second innings when the Oz pacers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins decided to change the attacking line, leaving the team perplexed in that nightmare of an afternoon.
This only points at the adage of batsmen forgetting how to bat defensively in the era of fast cricket and sending Dravid Down Under to be the guide of Indian batsmen, especially in absence of skipper Virat Kohli for the remainder of the series, on how to work on their mindset while approaching the Oz bowlers at their own den.
Of course, one may argue that it's a knee-jerk reaction and might be of little help at the eleventh hour or also that Dravid won't be able to join the team for 14 days upon reaching Australia due to COVID-19 protocols. Not to forget that India already has a batting coach in Vikram Rathore and that Dravid is duty-bound as director of the National Cricket Academy. However, there are plenty of examples in the past when teams have signed specialised players for a series. South Africa roped in Amol Mazumdar during their India series last year while Ricky Ponting and Greg Chappell have travelled with Australian teams in past given their rich experiences of playing abroad.
And let's not forget Dravid's exploits as a coach when he managed Indian budding cricketers with India Under-19 and India A team. There have been enough instances when young batsmen, including struggling Prithvi Shaw, have admitted that they always go to Dravid for advice and that just shows how approachable the 47-year-old icon has been despite carrying a big name.
It might not be a masterstroke to solve Indian batting fallacies but again there's no harm in trying with the alarming situation in which Indians are Down Under.