So we have lost so many matches in a row on foreign soil.
The alarm bells are really ringing.
The BCCI will have to act fast if it wants to stem the decline.
Here are some things that can be done to set the house in order:
1. Scatter the openers: With the Big 3 of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman fading into the sunset, you cannot let go of 33-year-old Virender Sehwag (8000+ Test runs) and 30-year-old Gautam Gambhir (3500+ Test runs).
Yet, their form is pretty worrying. One thing could be to change their batting positions.
Sehwag has always complained that he hates opening in both formats of the game and he could fill the jinxed 4 down position.
Did you know that Sehwag debuted 4 down on a hostile South African pitch in 2001 and scored a century? In all he has played about a dozen Tests down the order.
Gambhir could be groomed to replace Dravid for the crucial one down position. The search for young long-term Test openers could then begin with earnest.
2. Rejig the management: Whether you believe in co-incidences or not, this terminal decline has happened the moment coach Duncan Fletcher took charge. The team’s performance seems to be dipping the way it did under Greg Chappell. The BCCI has to investigate this comprehensively and also see if they can change the way Test cricket is managed.
3. Unburden Dhoni: Dhoni is actually a quadruple captain: Tests, ODIs, T20s and CSK. On top of that he is a wicket-keeper to boot. Will the BCCI have the guts to tell him to take a sabbatical from IPL for a couple of years?
Someone else will have to be groomed for Test captaincy, but who? Gambhir is the right candidate, but will he agree and how sure is his place in the team? Ideally Dhoni should be rested for ODI tours regularly, where there are many more candidates for stand-in captaincy: Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli.
4. Take a break: Will the BCCI have the guts to cancel the IPL in April-May and organize a Test camp of 20-25 players and brainstorm in a strategy meet to formalize India’s Test roadmap for the next five years? It would be a bold move and pay rich dividends in the long-term.