Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why did Dravid throw away the cares of captaincy?

By John Cheeran
Why did Rahul Dravid quit the Indian team’s captaincy?
Obviously this was the story of the recent times, and a much speculative Indian media, did not get a whiff of it till Dravid made it clear to the BCCI supremo Sharad Pawar that enough is enough.
I’m not a mind reader, but Dravid must have thought a lot about the leading job. That Dravid has not discussed the subject with individuals such as Chandu Borde, who accompanied the team as a mascot to England, fits in with the Bangalore man’s character. But Dravid would have discussed the matter with his closest pal in Indian cricket, Anil Kumble, the man who should have led India instead of Sourav Ganguly.
Dravid’s critics say that his timing of the decision to step down as the captain is puzzling.
Some of them even have dared to insinuate that Dravid has scared away from the forthcoming series against Australia and Pakistan.
I have only contempt for them. The man who led India to series wins in West Indies and most recently in England should not worry about assignments similar in nature. And if you can recall it was Dravid who captained India’s first Test wins not just in Pakistan but also in South Africa.
It would be silly to point out that Dravid’s batting has suffered during the last Test series against England. How could anyone argue with those who judge form only on the basis of scoreboard?
There was never a shadow of doubt regarding Dravid’s batting during the England series. It is true that he was a victinmg of a series of poor decisions should be taken for what they are instead of linking with the so called pressures of the captaincy.
And one should admit that the intrigue that botched India’s World Cup campaign in the West Indies is still at work in the dressing room. And chief villain is none other than Sourav Ganguly. It is with Ganguly’s tacit support that Indian pacer Zaheer Khan told a television crew that he was not at all tired after the Oval Test.
Zaheer’s statement was out of sync with Dravid’s argument that he knew his bowlers were a tired lot and hence he preferred not to to enforce the follow on against Michael Vaughan’s England. No captain likes a situation such as this.
And I can directly link Dravid’s decision to throw away the cares of captaincy to the fourth day of the third and final Test against England this summer, when Indian skipper had to play an ultra defensive innings of 22 off 92 balls to ensure that India did not lose the match, and forego the opportunity to win the series.
An earnest captain such as Dravid is justified if he nursed doubts regrading the commitment of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who played a cavalier second innings at the Brit Oval. Such sudden outbreaks of loss of batting form among his senior colleagues should have concerned Dravid, who gave his best for India, under the leaderships of Tendulkar and Ganguly.
And to add to the situation the BCCI has not helped the matters either. It is six months after the World Cup, still Indian team does not have a coach. Dravid who believes in a studied approach to the game would not have enjoyed the ad-hocism of the BCCI.
Is there a better time to let it go when you have emerged from the ashheap of the World Cup fiasco with a refulgent Test series win in England and after rallying the side to thrilling finish (3-4) in the one-day series?There are few things left for Dravid to prove as a modern-day batsman. He has, unlike Tendulkars and Gangulys, played his defining innings much, much earlier.
Even if Dravid quits playing for India with in the coming season, there will be another shock for Indian cricket. And I’m sure those days are fast approaching when Dravid will say enough is enough at the end of the series Down Under. It is for Tendulkars and Ganguly’s to go on and on.
It is for men to stop when they see the writing on the wall.

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