India's Dad's Army must prove the doubters wrong
I still remember a wonderfully accurate banner unfurled with great pride by Australian fans on day one of the Brisbane Ashes Test in November 2006.
"Our Dad's Army - Too Old, Too Slow, Too Damn Good" it said.
There they all were, pushing ever closer to 40 - Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer. And there they all were the following January, retiring from Test cricket drenched in beer as they toasted a glorious 5-0 drubbing of the Poms.
On Thursday, a Test series that has attracted as much interest as any recent Ashes rubber begins in Bangalore when India take on Australia.
But this time the visiting side, attempting to follow up their momentous 2004 success under Ricky Ponting, is conspicuously bereft of old-timers.
Instead, it is their hosts who are reaching for the slippers and pension-books: Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are included in the batting line-up and leg-spinner Anil Kumble takes the captaincy.
When the squad was announced last Wednesday, a Chinese whisper spread through the Indian media that its five oldest players would be given two more home series before finding themselves "open to the axe".
If true - and inevitably there were swift denials of an off-the-record remark by "an unnamed official" - then this is a remarkably naive policy from the new selection panel chaired by former Indian batsman Kris Srikkanth.
The only way to ensure you have the best team at your disposal is to pick your best players regardless of their exploits in a previous era.
Sure - a balance must be drawn - you cannot drop people on the basis of two poor performances (see England's selection policy from circa 1985 to 1995 for the way not to do it).
But the bulging CV of Mark Waugh did not save the Australian skipper's twin brother from the axe six years ago. Of course it was the right decision, as the Aussies smoothly retained the Ashes and retained the World Cup in the course of the following season.
Similarly, David Gower - almost as elegant a batsman as Waugh - was cast aside by England in his mid-30s despite equally impressive statistics.
If India's so-called "fab four" batsmen really are guaranteed to play in their country's six next Test matches, what incentive do players like Rohit Sharma and Aakash Chopra have?
Will there be any value in them hitting big scores in domestic Indian cricket or should they save their gunpowder for the New Year?
Ganguly's last 15 Test innings have yielded only two scores above 50 and none above 100. Who can state the 36-year-old is not a dwindling force?
Dravid had nine innings without a fifty before scraping his way to 68 in nearly four hours in Colombo in August and none of Tendulkar's last eight innings have featured a half-century.
At least one of the three should have been dropped, and certainly Ganguly is the luckiest to survive.
There remains, of course, the glorious uncertainty of what will actually happen when the action gets under way.
It might be tempting fate to say this, but Australia's bowling attack - with spin options rapidly running out - looks weaker than at any time since the 1980s.
If he can avoid facing the new ball at the start of his innings, Ganguly probably still has the tools to craft a century in Bangalore - and what better tonic would that be for the millions who revere him in his native Bengal, not to mention Srikkanth and co?
I just feel for the younger generation of batsmen in India, many of whom now face being tossed into the notoriously uncompromising world of Test cricket at the same time next year without the ballast of the senior players to support them.
Interesting times indeed.