>Is The Writing On The Wall Clear?

>These are busy days for Indian cricket. After the lame loss in the Nat-west final against England, the Indian team traveled, for the first time, without its terrific trio to a major world cricket tournament, The ICC Twenty20 Championship. India does not have a national team coach, but two specialists, one each for bowling and fielding. This makes the experienced players’ responsibilities higher, as they should teach and lead the younger ones through the nuances of modern day cricket. Now, the team that was sent to South Africa had anything but experienced hands. Although twenty20 is famous around cricket circles outside the Indian subcontinent, this new avatar of the game is yet to make impact in the land that sees the sport as an all uniting religion. . In fact, the highest number of twenty20 matches played by anyone in the team was either one or zero up until the tournament. To make the situation more entertaining (?!?) Rahul Dravid, the captain, a premier batsman and respected personality in and outside the field, has resigned his post citing his ‘need to concentrate more on his batting’.
As always, the decision has created much controversy due to the limited words of Dravid and lack thereof from the BCCI. Too many ‘officials’ have come out questioning Dravid’s captaincy skills and his dedication towards the team he has given so much over these years. Especially chairman of selectors, Dilip Vengsarkar, has openly criticized the former captain’s decision. Vengsarkar, himself being in the ‘system’ for so long, should know better than to mouth off every time he sees a reporter and a camera. What should have been transpired within the confines of BCCI meetings, thanks to Vengsarkar, gets printed in the media even before those meetings are scheduled. Given this kind of ‘the love for the spotlight’ by the officials, one sees no surprises when important confidential messages passed between ranks of the system find their way in morning news. These boom boxes are as much culpable to what broke out between Sourav Ganguly, the captain before Dravid, and Greg Chappell, the last coach as the duo’s ego. The BCCI must curb this habit, if it wants to avoid small team problems being blown out of proportion, by the media and public alike.
Coming back Dravid’s decision, one can always be sure that ‘the Wall’ should have taken this step only after having deeply though about it. Given the amount of mental preparation he undergoes before a match and the methodical way in which he builds his innings during a match, one can be certain that he would have pondered his options clearly before this unexpected (for everybody else) announcement.
Having watched and followed the career of Dravid’s cricket, one gets the feeling that he has accepted his failure as a leader that he wants to be. Rahul Sharad Dravid started out as slow, technically good but no one-day caliber batsman, but soon he transformed himself, through hard work and perseverance, into one of the most indispensable player of Indian cricket.
Mr. Dependable, as he is known in the Indian contingent, took the mantle of leading Indian cricket team after the controversial end of a stormy tenure from Ganguly. Given his approach to the game, it is easy to connect the dots and see that he would have wanted to bring the much needed change in the ‘system’. When Greg Chappell, respected for his technical acumen and game strategy, joined the Indian team as national coach Dravid should have thought that he can really take the essential, but sometimes harsh, steps that were required to improve the team he so dedicated himself to.
After the disastrous world-cup campaign and the fall of his most reliable partner things were definitely tough for the skipper. One can vividly recover the dejected look on his face after the world cup exit as he answered all the probing, and sometimes annoying, questions from the press.
May be he has come to conclusion that he does not have a realistic chance of bringing the change that he so wanted. May be he found out that the system only consists of people who don’t want to change and who wish there was a change but do not act. May be he is just tired after shouting into deaf ears for two years. May be he does want to concentrate on his batting. May be he is just had enough of the spotlight and issues, unwarranted and completely outside that of his control, that he, as a skipper of Indian cricket, must handle. As a shrewd cricketer turned commentator observed – ‘…leading any team in the world is not half as tough as leading the Indian team for the variety in pressures are just too much to handle’.
May be the wall has decided to stand firm than to crack. One gets the feeling that we might never know the real reason behind the decision of the nation most respected sport star to step down from the position he so respected and cherished.
Rahul Dravid has done so much for the Indian cricket during his time, and one could arguably say, in all forms of the game and it will be wrong of us, cricketing fans, if we doubted his respect and dedication towards the team. As the quest for the new skipper has taken lead role in BCCI’s agenda, pushing back the hunt for national coach, one has to wait and see if the richest cricket association sticks to its post-world cup promise of progress by selecting a young blood or goes back to its dark doldrums by picking a old war horse.
Rest assured, one can be certain that Mr.Dependable will continue to remain as Mr.Indespensable as long as he wears the blue jersey.


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