Monday, 17 September 2007

...And Shatters a "Team Man" Myth

As Rahul Dravid abdicates Team India captaincy, despite its frills and thrills, one could not help but sink into a state of depression as petty selfishness gets the better of a quintessential team man, who leaves the job admitting he is weak at heart and incapable of bearing the burden anymore.

Ian Chappell and Co. wants to believe us otherwise, but Dravid’s decision stemmed from uncharacteristic petty selfishness and its horrendous timing exposes a man who is so touchy about his own craft that he does not hesitate to sacrifice collective interest in the altar of perfectionism.

That Dravid wanted to leave head held high with his dignity intact sounds alright. He wants to concentrate on his batting sounds okay too. But it’s, unmistakably, Dravid the batsman, who is at the centre of concern and not the team!

Roll back the years and you have a Dravid who threw weight behind Sourav Ganguly, shed ego and though reluctant, stood behind the stumps on one dayers, moved up and down the batting order just to serve the team’s purpose. And he was still successful, prompting Sunil Gavaskar to say every time Dravid walked out to bat, he could see a tri-colour fluttering.

Dravid’s out-of-the-blue decision has plunged Indian cricket into deep leadership crisis. Indeed, the timing could not have been worse. Ricky Ponting’s men are packing their bag before they barge into the country for a seven-match ODI series. Thirteen days to go and Team India still does not know who’ll walk out with Ponting for the toss.

And it came when selectors just don’t have enough options around. An ageing Sachin Tendulkar, his ODI retirement being the subject of speculation till the other day, has been sounded out to take over, while Ganguly’s name is also doing the rounds.

Dhoni, meanwhile, looks certain to be saddled with the burden of ODI captaincy, whether the poor Jharkhand lad is ready for it or not. In such a case, the stumper with flowing tresses would have more on his platter than he can possibly eat. The Too-Much-Too-Early syndrome has had many a casualty and Dhoni might soon join the list.

But, you can’t actually blame the selectors. Show me the options!

Those were the days when Virender Sehwag was shoehorned into vice captaincy, hoping he would take over the reins one day. But with his form deserting him like a fickle girl friend, the Nawab of Najafgarh fell by the wayside and let alone captaincy, a comeback as a player would be like hitting the jackpot for Sehwag.

Yuvraj Singh’s story has been more or less the same. His off-the-field lifestyle has often blighted his performance with the bat and failing to cement his berth in Test side scuttled his case.

That leaves Dhoni as the last Indian hope and thanks to Dravid’s rather untimely realization, instead of being guided to the pool, Dhoni is about to be thrown into the deepest end. And he can’t be faulted if he sinks, rather than swims.

Image: AFP

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