Monday, October 29, 2007

Times edit on Dhoni, the new captain

Thankless job (the times of india
19 Sep 2007

The selectors have done the right thing by appointing Mahendra Singh Dhoni as India's ODI captain. After Rahul Dravid's sudden resignation from the captaincy last week, there was no obvious choice to fill his shoes. Sachin Tendulkar was the front runner for the job, but he is reported to have said that one-dayers were taking a toll on his body. In such a situation, appointing a younger player as captain of the ODI team is a positive move. Dhoni, who is at present leading India's Twenty20 team, will now have to come to terms with the incredible pressure that accompanies the job. Soon after quitting as skipper, Dravid said that there is a "shelf life" to the Indian captaincy, which he felt could be getting shorter with every passing year. Both Dravid and his predecessor, Sourav Ganguly, suffered a loss of form at some stage of their captaincy. Moreover, the captaincy takes a toll not only on the cricket field but also off it. The expectations of Indian fans are huge, often unreasonably so. In that sense, Dravid probably had taken as much as he could. More importantly, he quit when the going was good -- after a memorable series' win against England -- and not when people were calling for his head. There are a few lessons for both BCCI and Indian cricketers. The cricket board must try and help make the job easier for captains. Separate captains for the shorter and longer versions of the game -- which is now a distinct possibility -- is one way to do that. A fixed tenure for the skipper is another way to ease some of the pressure. This will allow a captain to tide over a temporary loss of form. A full-time coach as well as a carefully selected manager must always accompany the team. Under Dravid, India toured England without a coach; the manager was a former cricketer who last played international cricket in the 1960s. BCCI can definitely do much better in terms of giving back-up support to captains. All this will only go a little way in helping to ease the burden of Team India's skipper. He would himself have to find ways to deal with a job that possibly comes with more stress than that of the prime minister. The trick, as Dravid told reporters of this newspaper, is to be completely focused at the right time and to switch off at other times. The trick is finding the switch.

No comments:

John Cheeran at Blogged