Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cricket: Board games and bucks – Rahul Dravid out!

Rahul Dravid would have seen it coming. Others too, who were alert enough (I was not one of those). In the retrospect it would seem that the indications of a move for Dravid’s ouster started when the pack of pundits opened up after the third Test against England at the Oval.

For the first time in the history of Indian cricket we saw a captain being criticized for the margin of victory on winning a Test series in England after a couple of decades. It sounded so absurd to me who has often seen the headlines ‘India goes down fighting’ (in almost all sports). Instead of congratulating the winning captain along with his team, a group of armchair critics went for Rahul Dravid’s jugular veins – he should have made England follow on, the wise men said.

What was the captain’s objective? To win the series or take even a remote risk of the series ending on an even note? If England following on managed to get even a small lead (they scored 369/6 in 110 overs in the 2nd innings) and the Indian batsmen buckled on the fifth day pitch, what would the critics have said? In the second innings the Indians were 11/3 at one stage.

The verbal diarrhea continued on to the ODI series. The pundits quoted all kinds of reasons why Dravid should have elected to bat first in the 1st match. The fact that in the none too distant past India had successfully chased targets 16 consecutive times was quietly overlooked. And no body asked how Dravid could have foreseen three of his batsmen getting themselves run out in the chase.

Do all these mean that there was a concerted effort to put pressure on Dravid? With the BCCI politics, Zonal equations and the money involved, anything is possible. It is not really performance that counts in Indian cricket. Take a look at the results achieved by three successive captains:

ODIs success rate: Dravid 56%, Ganguly 53.9%, Tendulkar 35.1%

Tests Win-loss ratio: Dravid W 8 –L 6, Ganguly W 21 – L 13, Tendulkar W 4 - L 9.

Dravid’s batting:

ODI: as Captain, AVG 42.19, as player 39.38, overall 40.05. Tests: as Captain 44.51, as player 60.12, overall 56.50.

Well, the figures speak better than words. But none of these matter in the murky world of Indian cricket. We have lost a decent and dignified captain with an astute cricketing mind. For the time being there is at least one consolation. I would like to quote a message that appeared on the famous Mumbai Marine Drive hoarding when JRD Tata stepped down as Air India Chairman, “TATA does not always mean goodbye”.

Dravid would continue to be available to play for India if the powers be deign to select him.


Indebted to Deccan Chronicle for the statistics.

Also see:

When strong men cried...

Cricket in remote areas


Ottayan said...

I think he followed his guru Chappells example and chickened out.

Roxi said...

Dravid is the kind of person who puts his heart and soul into any job he tackles. When you do that, especially in a country where a billion people all think they can do the job better or at least as well, it can wear you down mentally.

I think Dravid has done a right job. Things were getting out of his control.

Indian cricket need someone like ganguly to tackle all kind of internal politics. by ganguly i mean someone with ARROGANCE. mind you this weakest quality of an individual can transform into biggest strength with controled in right manner. this is exactly what ganguly did.

Maddy said...

i agree with roxi that ganguly is the right man, but i feel he has lost interest. i hope they do not appoint dhoni and destroy hi scareer too!!

Maddy said...

forgot to add something. I assume you have heard of jeffrey archer, the writer & politician. here is his blog site and he recently had lunch with dravid & tendu - interesting blog titled 'Cricketing greats'

Abraham Tharakan said...

Ottayan, that is one possibility. I have met Rahul Dravid only once, at a party in Bangalore. But having followed his career, I don't think he is the type who chickens out. Perhaps he foresaw the event of him being replaced as captain.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Roxi, it is an interesting thought about Ganguly returning as captain. My bet though is that somebody from the West Zone would get the job, most likely, Tendulkar. Anyway, we'll know today.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Maddy, you are right about Dhoni. I think it will be Tendulkar.

Thanks for the info on Jeffery Archer's Blog. I must visit it.

Roxi said...

i think their is no point going back to seniors. u people misunderstool me. india wants a leader of ganguly's stature. ganguly is too exhausted now.
its just the matter of 1 or 2 yrs when seniors retire.
BCCI should go for young blood.
agree we dont want to destroy dhoni's career by over burdening him. but who knows he may strive out there.
or yuvraj can be another good choice.

thax maddy for the link.i ll chek it soon.