That dream now lies in the dust and with no Test series in sight for the next eight months, there seems to be nothing more to achieve for a generation of players who began their journey in the ’90s – the ’80s in Tendullkar’s case – and have formed the most luminous collection of batsmen in the last three decades. It’s cruel that their journey should end on such a low, but when they are gone, they will be remembered for their peaks.
Everything points to them turning up together in Adelaide. But the result and the performances won’t, and shouldn’t, matter. Indian cricket has sunk to the lowest of lows: in another time these very men, as did they so single-mindedly at the beginning of the last decade, would have been relied on to forge a revival. But their time has gone now. Indian cricket has no option but to embrace the future, however uncertain it may seem.
Not all of them will go at once. In fact, there is merit in graduating the next generation under the watch of a master or two. But a line must be drawn in Adelaide. Every player who retains his place for the next Test series must have a clear role to play in creating the future.
But for the moment, push the gloom aside and keep your eyes peeled. Viru, Rahul, Sachin and VVS you might never watch together again, and not in that order. They might or might not stroke a couple of hundreds between them, or put together one of those monster partnerships, but if you care enough to watch, there will still be moments of magic: a murderous scythe through the covers, a picture-perfect drive down the ground, a cover drive that paints the most ornate arc, or a gentle swish that charms the ball to the ropes. It’s the team, and the results, that ultimately count. But invariably it is individual players who leave the fondest memories.