On Dravid becoming captain
Sourav Ganguly is out and Rahul Dravid is in. Much as I hailed Ganguly's appointment as captain way back in the year 2000 (refer - http://www.rediff.com/sports/2000/mar/03sriram.htm), I feel it is the right time for him to make way. Just like he was the correct person to take the team forward in 2000, rather than saying Rahul Dravid is the correct person to take it forward now, I would say Sourav Ganguly is the last person who can take this team forward today. Rahul Dravid has got that chance and I hope he takes it. If not, I hope Sehwag, Kaif or Laxman is given the job ... what is clear in my mind is that the last thing we need right now is Sourav Ganguly being the number one name on the Indian team list.
I have no doubts that Ganguly must be feeling like shit right now. The guy has done a lot for Indian cricket. I would even say that he sacrificed his own cricket for the team's cause as in giving up his opening slot in the ODIs. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind at all about his past contributions but the keyword here is "past". The future must not be dictated by the past ... directed, yes but dictated, no.
The surprise is not in Dravid's appointment as captain but in his appointment for the two forthcoming series against SL and SA. It seems a bit strange to me coz the captaincy is not such a trivial issue that a couple of matches would prove or disprove it. As I said earlier, if not Dravid then someone else ... but this move just leaves things open for Ganguly. Maybe a small window of opportunity but a window none the less. Ganguly fighting his way back into the team as a player is something I can stand ... the thought of his taking over the reins again is something that makes me feel a bit ill. Also, the possibility of Ganguly becoming captain again would give hope to those who are against the Chappell mantra of hard work. They might lie low till their master returns and that would indicate a less-from-total level of commitment from them. Harmful for them, yes ... but more importantly, harmful for the team. Anyway, if the team does well in the coming 12 matches, then all these arguments would be null and void so here is hoping.
Let's face one simple fact. As an on field captain, Dravid doesn't have to do too much to be equal to or surpass Ganguly ... Ganguly was an extremely poor on-field captain. It is the off-field captaincy that Ganguly thrived in and it is in getting the best out of the rest of the guys that Dravid will be hard pressed to match Ganguly. Hopefully with Greg Chappell laying down the law, that would not be an issue.
The recent confrontation between the captain and coach and the whole charade of the leaked email would surely have left many with a bitter taste in the mouth. There r those like Bhajji and Zaheer who might feel that their guru has been given a raw deal and hopefully they will not be immature enough to try and solve the problem by under-performing. Not only would that not serve any purpose (as the Indian public is not that dumb either) but might result in a severe shortening of their own cricket careers.
The return of Sachin Tendulkar adds another layer of complexity to the whole situation coz he is the biggest name of them all ... the difference as compared to Ganguly being that SRT has both a cricket brain and a discipline which would stand him in good stead with people like Chappell and Dravid. I for one am watching this particular angle with utmost interest coz I believe that unlike Ganguly, SRT does indeed has some years of international cricket in him and could be the weapon that India has lacked in the ODI. The big question is whether SRT has cleared his head of the cobwebs set there ... whether he still believes in all that nonsense of being responsible / senior etc being equivalent to being a strokeless wonder. I hope Chappell (or his support staff ... or hey, even BCCI President Mahendra, for all I care) can explain to him that being senior or being responsible does not stop one from decimating attacks. A man can come down the wicket and thwack Glenn McGrath over the mid-off fielder and still be called "senior".
Anyway, gotta run now. Will post during the ODI series.