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The Fabulous Quartets


Marshal, Roberts, Holding and Garner were the corner stones on which the West Indian team of the 70's was build. They formed the pace quartet which battered rest of the globe for 15 years. If Marshall had the outswinger at brisk pace, Roberts played with batsman's mind and could move the ball both ways of the track, Holding was the whispering death, silently knocking the batsman down. Garner the meanest of the lot in terms on runs given, delivered yorkers at will from the sky. 

Bedi, Prasanna, Venkat and Chandra formed the spin quartet of 60's and 70' which became the most destructive force and a deadly combinations in world cricket, especially on the dusty subcontinental pitches. Though they only played 1 test match together, these men contributed towards INDIA's memorable victories. Bedi was the spinner with pacer's aggression, Prasanna was an illusionist who could fool the batsman with his flight, Call it GOD's gift for his inability to rotate his shoulder smoothy Chandra's pacy leg spinners were tuff to handle from around with wicket and men around the bat. Venkat had variations that was needed for an offspineer to succeed. 

Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly formed the first batsman quartet of the 20th century under whom INDIA won many matches than they lost overseas. Tendulkar milked the runs by attacking at will and it was pretty amazing that that most bowlers only sledged once and never after, Dravid bored the opposition out with his patience, Laxman made bowler re-think where his offstump was, it didn't matter which direction the ball was moving the direction of ball leaving his bat was unpredictable. Ganguly relied much on his gutsy instincts and timing, the fact that he could thread the ball past 3 fielder b/w cover point scared the hell out of the bowlers.

Steyn, Morkel, Kallis and Philander definitely are touted to be the Big 4 of our generation. On seaming and bouncy tracks of South Africa they have ripped through the thick batting line up. Their real test is when they start bowling on the National Highways in INDIA and the flat track bullies start butchering them. Steyn and Morkel have proved what pace can do even in the slow subcontinent pitches during the IPL, Kallis always thrived with his change of pace. The real test would be whether Vernon Philander would spit out his Venom when he arrives to the subcontinent. Add a bit of humidity and stickiness in the wicket and you land in Sri Lanka.   

Right after Ganguly was asked to retire from Test Cricket back in 2008 INDIAN team was in the hunt for the next fab 4. Yuvraj was the obvious choice for Ganguly's replacement but couldn't cement his place despite some useful knocks at crucial times. His technique and temperament rather lack of it yielded under spin, seam and swing. Raina is a proper mathematical union of Ganguly's problems and Yuvraj's problem, one only wished he had intersection of their class. Make no mistake he is a good ODI and CSK batsman and that is far he can go.

Four years ago if they said Virat would play test cricket it would have been a joke but he turned that joke into reality and could be one of the future fab 4 INDIA is looking for. His temperament and technique was no doubt amongst the best but his inability to play the shot ball was exposed in the Caribbean. But his gutsy maiden ton in the down-under series have raised a few hopes. He is among few cricketers who has re-earned his test cap in such a short time span.

As humans we all like to do the what-if-analysis, and Rohit is a perfect candidate for this. It's the out-of-nowhere innings that Rohit plays gives us the picture of what he could achieve. And fortunately for Rohit things are going in the right direction; good IPL and if followed with good INDIA A series he might earn a test cap. And if things fall in place he could be the second of fab 4.

It took just 2 innings in IPL5 for Rahane to show the world what his firstclass-avg-68-avg couldn't; that he was a talent worth investing. He along with Dravid showed that T20 cricket could be played with straight bat and a high elbow. He has the right technique to play the moving ball but his temperament is yet to be tested in the longer format. With the glimpse of what we have seen in England and IPL it wouldn't be wrong in projecting Rahane as the 3rd of fab 4.
  
Pujara is one of those where-is-he-from cricketer whose projection is based on the 72 that was scored in the 2nd innings against AUS. Nobody really knows what his best shot is nor does any know his weakness. But should he could earn the test cap with the shear runs at domestic is debatable. His gutsy 96 n.o against West Indies A team might eliminate any doubt and could be our last of the fab 4.


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