Sunday, March 25, 2007

Will Pawar strip Dravid of Indian team's captaincy?

By John Cheeran
Will the Board of Control for Cricket in India strip Rahul Dravid of Indian team’s captaincy after the debacle in the World Cup?
As the custodians of the game in the country, the BCCI and its President Sharad Pawar will have to act after the shock and awe the side was subjected to in the Caribbean.
Pawar has already spoken of bringing youngsters to the team. But before doing that will he change the coach and captain?
As Dravid was quick to point out his brief as captain is already over after the game against Sri Lanka. Ditto for Greg Chappell. The BCCI will, however, have to wait till the end of the Bermuda-Bangladesh game in Group B to make up their mind. Technically, that game gives India a slender hope.
All ruling regimes want to save their skins so it is quite likely that Chappell will go. And already desi jokers such as Syed Kirmani, Madan Lal, Anshuman Gaekwad and Mohinder Amarnath are salivating at the prospects of becoming the national coach.
Once Chappell leaves the scene, it may be possible that a majority in the board may want a fresh start by replacing Dravid as captain. Dravid, however, remains by far India’s best batsman. The leading contender for captain’s job, the vice-captain Sachin Tendulkar is finished as a one-day batsman.
On the two occasions when Tendulkar was given the responsibility of leading the side, India’s record was not all that impressive. Not just that Tendulkar’s own run-scoring suffered as a consequence. Beyond all that, only a senseless team of managers will give Tendulkar the reins of the side after he failed abjectly to come to the rescue of the side by failing to open his account both against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Mind you, though it is quite unfortunate, the most vilified cricketer in private conversations all over India and wherever Indian come together, is none other than Tendulkar. How can a man who struggles to stretch is international career can come to the rescue of the side?
He did not when it mattered at Port-of-Spain. Anointing Tendulkar as captain will not be the right signal if Pawar actually wants to look ahead and bring in fresh blood.
And Yuvraj Singh, another name bandied about, hardly fits the bill. Except in the minds of a few acolytes, this brash cricketer from Punjab is yet to command a place in the side.
You cannot stop Bengalis from wanting Ganguly to comeback as captain of the side. But apart from his arrogance, he cannot bring anything good to the side. Ganguly, it should be conceded that, excels in the art of self-preservation, as he did during the game against Bangladesh. Not just that, the major players in the board games do not want to return to Ganguly as skipper.
That leaves VVS Laxman as the only practical choice for the board to fall back as captain.
Missing the World Cup, after all, might turnout to be a blessing in disguise for Laxman.
And for all that, If I were the BCCI President I would have retained Dravid as captain.
Captaincy has not diminished this man’s appetite for hard work and runs. And from the old guard, only Dravid looks set to last the distance of, at least, the coming two years.
And I would have retained Chappell as coach since I know the limitations of the role of coach at the national level. And I simply admire this Aussie’s guts.
Unless, Sunil Gavaskar, Chappell’s bete noire, is ready to stop preaching and become India’s coach.


Anonymous said...

Dravid lacks leadership skills, but has talent. Ganguly has leadership skills, but lacks consistency. Tendulkar is not worth captain material. Graeme Smith of SA was made the captain when he was 22 and SA is in top form under his leadership now. If we want a captain who can lead from the front for the next 3-4 years, we have to pick up some one who is good, has leadership skills and most importantly young. And from the current lot, only Yuvraj Singh fits the bill.

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John Cheeran at Blogged