Rahul Dravid's resignation after the English tour has opened a can of worms in Indian Cricket.
These worms come in different shapes and sizes, some of them are called as 'reasons', some called as 'impacts' and some are called as 'perennial problems in Indian Cricket'.
Each of these categories automatically calls for an intense, passionate discussion at lunch tables in offices, chowrahas, naakaas and panwallahs all across India.
I think it is better to put some things in perspective before analysing the root causes and preparing for impacts.
- Rahul Dravid was never a great captain.
- His captaincy was unimaginative at times and un-aggressive all the times.
- He was opposite of captains like Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting who play only to win.
- Rahul was given this position in circumstances best forgotten.
- At the end, captain is as good or bad as the team.
Now I can start my analysis of the situation at hand.
The reasons for Rahul's resignation are best known to him and those close to him. His public statement is that the reasons are personal, and the public should respect the same. The talk of his timing being so un-patriotic on the verge of important tour and all that is bull-shit and people are talking as if he has left the tour mid-way and returned back like someone we all know did. He has completed the tour which started when chips were down, got a series victory and a ODI series loss and then came back and resigned. He did not resign mid-way in the tour, he did not trigger any rumours to such an effect while the tour was going on and he certainly ensured that there was no leakage and no bad blood like in the case of Chappel-Ganguly feud.
His resignation has to be taken by the public and more importantly by BCCI in the right spirit and they need to move on as they have rightly done so far.
About the impact, well a team certainly needs a captain and preferably a coach. The candidates for whom captaincy is up for grabs are supposed to be Tendulkar and Dhoni. Kumble has said that he will be honoured if it is offered to him as well. Ganguly's name came up for discussion and public debates too.
Let us take the candidates one by one.
1) Sachin Tendulkar: Certainly the most experienced batsman in the world today. With acute cricketing mind, he should be able to have the best of strategies in all conditions. With the richness of skill and experience he will also have the respect of the remaining 10 members of the side. However, he has failed as a captain and also has shown to be a fragile batsman while handling pressures of captaincy. Not only that, a captain needs a lot of other skills than cricketing ones. He needs to be a leader. He needs to lead from front. He needs to be bold, to be positive and to motivate the others in the team to outperform themselves. Sadly, I do not see these qualities in Sachin. I would not recommend Sachin's name as a captain. We have had too many captains who have not been aggressive and we certainly should not repeat the mistakes we did once. Not recommended.
2) MS Dhoni: The most exciting batsman of Indian cricket team today - he has also shown a balanced head on his strong shoulders. He has also shown cricketing acumen while batting and keeping. However, he is still quite young and has not seen the troughs in a waveform when it comes to one's form. Like Pathan, Sehwag etc. who rode high on public wave when their forms were on the crests of a waveform, Dhoni too is today touted as the next captain. Sehwag was even made a Vice Captain once. I think that Dhoni is still too raw and yet not as mature as we would want to have for someone who will lead India. He is yet to gain the respect that the famed trio have in the team. I doubt whether he will have it in him to tame the trio as and when required or to take tough decisions regarding their batting slots etc. Twenty20 is a different ball game and he should retain that captaincy since he is India's first Twenty20 captain (almost) and he will get the respect in this form of the game from seniors, but I doubt what and how they will treat him when he tries to lead them in tests and ODIs. Not recommended.
3) Anil Kumble: Extremely talented, a war-horse, a 200% committed cricketer who tries and tries and tries and tries till he can. Again not a motivator, not a leader and certainly not aggressive. Not recommended.
4) Sourav Ganguly: Post-Chappell saga, we see a different Ganguly now a days - a much more mature senior person who thinks before he talks now - someone who has probably lost a touch of his flamboyancy off the field and gained a lot of it on the field. Has always gelled well with Dravid and off late jelling well with Sachin too. Certainly has it in him to lead a side. The most aggressive Indian Captain till date. Back in form. More mature. My choice for Captain is Dada - Yes, in both forms of the game.