Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rahul Dravid's Resignation

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.


Anonymous said...

You really mean this?? This is what you are saying -
a)Sachin needs skills other than cricket (eh...like deep s**t politics, Java & embedded technologies, Bharat Natyam perhaps
b)Sachin does not lead from the front ( He bats at no 11, while fielding he goes for a leak when the sun is up, he is the last one to raise his hand to try and prise open a partnership)
c)Sachin ain't bold (He only made about 25000 runs in international cricket after his debut in Pakistan taking one in the face from Waqar in his prime)
d)Sachin is negative (He should have started with a single in our last ODI world cup match against our the old enemy)
e) Sachin does not motivate others (especially Dada..or else just imagine....Dada would have less then 25000 runs in Test Cricket...Sachin is to blame for not motivating Dada)

Sachin has turned down the captaincy.

The man is the best batsman in the world today. Bradman said he bats like me. Just a thought about Bradman leading the Invincibles... wonder how he would have coped with a billion pair of eyes following his every move on field and off it ...live most of the time.. was there a Dada amongst the Invincible?? Was there a Kumble or a Dravid always wanting to become a captain??? Was ACB anything BCCI over the last two decades??? How do the Invincibles compare with the best 10 that played for India over the last sixteen years...ones that Sachin could have led to victory in the West Indies???

Truth is to be a great captain you need lots of things ...but first up you need a good team!
I hold nothing against Kumble...he should have been tried much before Dada was.
Truth is to be a good ('aggressive' or 'successful') captain you need a good BCCI (led by Dollermiya)and Tendlya fielding at third man, Dravid donning the wicket keepers gloves and Kumble carrying the drinks.
Truth is to be a really bad captain having one Dada in the team is enough (maybe someday Chapell will tell us more about it)


Ranjeet said...


Sachin has led from front? If batting at number 1 in ODIs, then that way will you say Jaffer and Akash Chopra have also led from front?
Sachin breaking partnerships? That requires bowling skills, not leadership.
Not coming for fielding after long innigs? yes Sachin has done that but I have nothing against it as the rules allow it under some caveat.
Sachin negative? Yes - much more than he was before - bring on a left arm spinner and he goes into a shell only to come out after the spinner gets him out.
Sachin making 25000 runs? It is a testimony to his great batting skills, not bold strategies required from captains.
Sachin motivating others? Show me anythign exceptional he did as a captain in motivating others?

As a captain, you are suppsoed to build and nurture your team and then win with that team. Dada did it, Sachin is proabably a genius batsman but not a godo captain.

I can see your animosity for Dada coming out in the comment while defending Sachin. I am not saying that Dada is a great human being or one of the invincibles. I also have no arguments about Sachin being the best. However, being best batsman is one thing and being a good captain is altogether another one.

javagal Sreenath once told while commenting on Sachin's captaincy is that he expected other 10 to be as good as him - which is impossible - so basically leading a team is different and batting is a different thing altogether.

Sachin is a humble nice guy just like Dravid and Kumble probably - sorry - but nice guys dont necessarily become good captains - those who lead the team to victory. Look at the good captains - smith, fleming, ranatunga - these guys are not your typical nice humble guys - they took everyone else head-on to emerge victorious. Dada has those qualities which should be appreciated.

In my eyes, Sourav is the right Captain for India today. However, selectors have chosen Dhoni (which in my eyes is a mistake) and Sachin for tests. Sachin can prove me wrong and believe ne I will be the happiest person to be proved wrong in this case.

Anonymous said...

About Sachin and Saurav and your rebuttal(wide off the stumps)... To each his own. I am on a different plane on this...with the Aussies. Be it Bradman or be it Warney...they know a champion when they see one...hell ...they are the champions!! Guess it takes a champion to acknowledge another.

As I said earlier Sachin has turned down the offer and good for him and good for us...he is all set ride into the sunset in full glory. Dada is still eyeing the captaincy which Dhoni got. Pot luck to him.

I am looking forward to see three of our best playing just as batsmen.

One gave up captaincy because he realised the futility of leading a bunch of also rans while - by the candid admission of Ajagal Srinath -expecting this bunch to be play like a champion. I hope in another decade or so people will still remember who this Ajagal is. I am reminded of what Achillies had to say to the boy in Troy in the opening scenes.

Another had to be pushed out of the captain's seat after his agression against fast bowlers became a national embarassment. Later on his replacement in a much televised/discussed tripartite discussion with coach and the ex, demonstrated the contrast in 'leading from the front' category, by offering the ex the only vacant position, that of the opener! This only to find himself face the - u guessed it - pakistani fast bowlers.

Come September...the replacement realised what the little champion (as he is universally known and acknowledged as) had to bear and continues to bear to this day. Pressure. The Wall came crumbling down faster than the twin towers in NY some years ago.

The towers will be replaced by taller and prouder buildings I gather. That may or may not be true but this is ...Sachin and Dravid are giants that will be hard to replace. Many years from now they will still be giants. Dada?
In some pockets the debate will continue...who is better Big B or King Khan??
Answer is obvious. But rest assured that the debate will never include Sallu Bhai.


Ranjeet said...

Thanks for your response Sanjeev. In my eyes too, Sachin and Dravid are much better batting giants than Dada. It is always nice to have this healthy debate with you.
On the aside, I normally dont rate Yuvraj very high - but yesterday's 6 sixes were awesome!

Amit said...

No no! Cant have Ganguly as captain no matter what kind of a player he is. We need to be moving forward, not fantasising abt the glorious past. IMO Dhoni is a strange choice, but it's all good as long as its none of the senior players who are on the verge of retiring/being made to sit out.