India face the task of rebuilding their top order when they name their team this week for the two-test series against New Zealand.
The Indians lost eight consecutive away tests in England and Australia last year to relinquish the world number one status and will be without two batting stalwarts in Hyderabad on the opening day on Thursday.
The 4-0 drubbing they received in both series prompted the experienced Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman to hang up their boots and pave the way for the next generation.
Sachin Tendulkar, 39, is the only surviving member of the famed batting trio and it will now be up to the young players to make an impression.
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor has called Dravid and Laxman greats of Indian cricket that cannot be replaced.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are the most likely candidates to fill the void although Subramaniam Badrinath is waiting in the wings as well.
India, ranked fifth in the world, also need to find two dependable slip fielders in the absence of Dravid and Laxman.
Eighth-ranked New Zealand are still smarting from a 2-0 test defeat in West Indies.
The Black Caps have never won a series in India and their problems have been compounded by the absence of Daniel Vettori, their most capped test cricketer.
The all-rounder has been ruled out by injury and New Zealand will miss the spinner's experience on the low and slow surfaces of India.
But despite their recent poor form overseas, India have a formidable record at home.
Taylor says India are always tough in their home conditions and New Zealand must learn quickly to be able to combat the Indian bowlers' use of reverse swing and the spin.