In the cricketing world, all of us agree that we are in the midst of some extraordinary talent - talent that may not touch the heights of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting or Inzamam-ul-Haq but will take their countries to the pinnacle in some form or the other. But, it is also disturbing to see the likes of Rohit Sharma, JP Duminy and Umar Akmal falter the way they have been in recent times.
The three of them have been given chances galore by their country but they have not risen to the occasion as well as they would have or their captains would have liked. It becomes frustrating from the perspective of their fans that such a huge talent is wasted amidst talents that do not scale to the half-way mark.
Let us look at their numbers for a moment:
- JP Duminy - age of 28 years. 16 tests at an average of close to 38, 92 ODIs at 40. Though the numbers do not show anything wrong, they have come down a notch in recent times. It was expected that JP will be the fulcrum of the Proteas batting with AB De Viliers - but that was not to be. After a great 2010-11 season, JP has not been able to catch up with the rest of his team-mates.
- Rohit Sharma - age of 25 years. Though he has not played any tests so far, he has been helped by a captain who thinks he has a big future. 85 ODIs at an average of 31 does not do Rohit any justice at all. His penchant to play across the line has led to many downfall. He is still in the scheme of things but time is running out and there are other talented players waiting for his spot in the team.
- Umar Akmal - age of 22 years. An average of 36 in 16 tests, 39 in 69 ODIs once again does not reflect the talent that is inherent in this youngster. If he can only put in the effort like Hafeez or Ajmal, this youngster can reach the heights of the world. He has promised so much in his innings only to falter at the wrong time. Reminds one of a certain Basit Ali from the earlier days.
Do they need a challenge to deliver their performance? Or is it something more serious - having reached the highest level, do they not have the drive to perform day in and day out?
Whatever it is, world cricket is poorer by their absence at the headlines of the sports page!