When Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid put the pads in their kit bags for the last time, India is set for a decline in its fortunes to match that of Australia once Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist amongst others retired. Well that's the script peddled by most commentators anyway.
Its certainly true, that any side would miss three all-time great batsmen such as these especially if they were to retire simultaneously or within a short timespan of each other. But firstly the form of Tendulkar and Laxman at least, who both average over 90 in test cricket this year, would seem to suggest that they have plenty of gas left in the tank.
And perhaps more importantly, it would appear that India has a plethora of young batsmen ready to step into the footsteps of this illustrious trio - Suresh Raina has had a brilliant start to his test career and averages 68 after four matches. Murali Vijay hit a majestic hundred in the recent Bangalore Test and looks a class act. Cheteshwar Pujara looked every inch a batsman with a first-class average of 60 when pitched in at the deep end in his first test. Virat Kohli may not have made his test bow yet, but has looked to have all the ingredients required for the longer form of the game in his outings for the one day side. Even Rohit Sharma looks like he may finally deliver on his obvious promise. And my Indian spies tell me there are others too.
Yes, these five batsmen need to prove they have the games to shine outside the subcontinent. And they certainly need to stay away from the many distractions that now face every young Indian cricketer thanks to the IPL and the celebrity circus, but the future looks brighter than many Indian fans fear.
So, India could yet be set for a long reign as the number one side in the world. The next eighteen months where India play away series in South Africa, England and Australia will go a long way to demonstrating if any changing of the guard sees them reinforce their lofty position or slip away from the summit. Our money is on some of these boys at least becoming men.