Ash is not going to become magically good between his late 20s and mid 30s.
His improvements until then need to be both steady and visible. Something all of us, his fans and foes alike, have been longing for but haven't seen much of. It is safe to say he hasn't done his talent justice up to this point for a wide variety of reasons, his compulsive brainfarting being the most obvious one. The ultimate responsibilty for positive and tangible development, of course lies with him.
A 16 YO test centurian on debut aginst Murali and Vaas in their own backyard, and a young guy whose 158* against India in Chittagong is possibly one of the finest, classiest innings played in recent memory, continues to shoot himself at the foot by having his impulses and compulsions take over at the wrong time, and not learning from his mistakes, REPEATEDLY.
Then again, who in our team does and for how long? We have higher expectations when it comes to Ash, and when he fails to deliver again and again, we are naturally more exasperated.
I'll never give up on him. But I don't think he'll be as great as he could be. Guys like Michael Clarke, thanks to his cricketing environment and the impact of that environment on his character as a cricketer, will always be ahead.
That said, I believe that all of our players - IF we keep them together as unit while improving our domestic FC/List A and emphasizing A-Team Cricket to bridge the qualitative gaps that exist between the levels - will become better players from their early 30s Inshallah once that sort of "growth-environment" doesn't allow for slack in any way, shape or form. Too bad we don't have the cosmic fast-forward button to get there right away.
We'll have to wait a couple of decades before getting our own Clarke, Ponting, Anwar, Inzi, Sachin, Sangakkara, Smith, KP or possibly UV and Ross Taylor. But we don't need those guys to belong at this highest level way before then. Infrastructure matters, as does time.
"O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant." (49:13)
Last edited by Sohel; March 17, 2008 at 06:03 AM.