2 Oct 2008

India's veteran cricketers warned the end is nigh

11:12 am on 2 October 2008

Five veteran Indian cricketers have been told to plan their retirements by December to avoid unceremonious exits from the national team.

Indian cricket board officials have given the players an exit strategy and one official, who doesn't wish to be named, says the five have been given the next two home series to time a graceful exit following which they are open to the axe.

India is fiercely debating whether it is time for their record-breaking batsmen Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Vangipurappu Laxman as well as spinner Anil Kumble, the test captain, all well into their 30s, to quit.

Ganguly, 36, India's most successful test skipper, was retained in the squad on Wednesday for the first two tests of this month's home series against Australia along with the other seniors, belying media predictions he could be dropped.