Sunday, September 03, 2006

What in h*ll is wrong with Rahul Dravid?

What in h*ll is wrong with Rahul Dravid!? I mean, when he became captain, I thought he was probably the best choice for the post. Unfortunately, he has proven me wrong repeatedly. Here are a few instances:

- Handling Sehwag: Clearly, Sehwag's performance is nothing to write anywhere about. But still, he continues to be in the team, at the expense of younger talent like Robin Uthappa who had like a dream start to his career. Now if you want to groom young talent, why keep Sehwag? And what impact will this have on Uthappa's confidence!?
- Handling Kumble: This is most shameful. How can you drop India's best bowler for the Champion's trophy? If you want to select him for the next world cup - which everyone mostly thinks will happen - you have to give him match practice. If you don't want to select him - which is disastrous - tell him straight and ask him to retire. Is this the way to treat one of the best bowlers in the world!? Instead of issuing platitudes like "Kumble is the best bowler we have", why not say openly, yes, we want Kumble, and this is how we want him!?
- Handling Saurav: I wrote about this earlier too. But what is really poignant was Saurav stating in a recent interview that neither Greg Chappell nor Rahul Dravid had spoken to him about why he was kept out. While I don't disagree with the decision to keep Saurav out, is it that difficult to simply walk up to him and tell him why he was kept out? Isn't it incumbent upon the captain to tell players why they're kept out? At least, for courtesy's sake!?
- Dhimmitude: This has happened many times. See this post for an instance.
Sorry, Dravid. India expects better from you.


Stier said...

Hi Gops,

I actually think Dravid is still the obvious choice for the post, more for the on field reasons. He is a good leader on the field. Yes, he is not as emotional as Ganguly in celebrating a wicket and victory, but atleast at times of distress he doesn't stand with a worried frown on his face, biting his nails.

Now coming to Sehwag's selection, do you think anyone who becomes a captain will be able to change that? Even if they try to do it, media will sensationalize it, just like the Ganguly's saga. With the media haunting, nobody will be able do anything with Sehwag and Sachin

Yes Kumble could have been treated a lot more differently. But this was the situation under Sourav too, dropped for unknown reason, right when he was at his peak.

I had read that the captain has no vote in the selection process. Yes, he is present and he is consulted, but there is no guarantee that the input given will be respected.

And obviously there is politics in it. Say Rahul says he doesn't want some X in his team until his form improves. I am pretty sure, that the news will be leaked out that Rahul had asked not to select X, the media will hog on this fodder, ceating hours together of programmes on this issue, which finally affects the team unity. The central idea here is "nobody will like to hear that they are not performing well". Even if u personally speak to X and tell him the reasons, he won't agree.

And as far as the many talented youngsters, actually can't help feel pity for them. With all the politics concerning the selection, the youngsters won't even have the belief that they will be selected

PS: I hereby declare that the long essay written above is my personal opinions only and are not to be interpreted as anything else :)


Gops said...

Nice post, Arun - thanks for taking the time to respond.
Totally agree that Dravid is still the better leader - for ex: he leads from the front, he has the respect of the team, and doesn't shirk from any responsibility.

With the media haunting, nobody will be able do anything with Sehwag and Sachin

The media will sensationalize anything - in fact, Star Plus keeps hammering Dravid/Chappell asking why they don't drop Sehwag!? So, that is a given. But the question is, does the team come first, or does media perception? Trust me, drop Sehwag, and let India win, and everyone will support the decision. If India loses, everyone will trash it.

And your point about Kumble - yes, he was dropped - but why!? That is the question.

I think there is a fundamental rule of captaincy/leadership. Frank, open, gentle and honest communication. If you keep that up on a continuous basis, you _can_ point out to people gently what their failures are. I'm sure Sehwag knows he hasn't been doing well - so, if Dravid is a good captain and he has the kind of relationship he should - it should be trivial to go and tell Sehwag that he is not doing well. He will agree. A fundamental quality of being a professional (sports, software or any other field) will typically be a innate amount of self-assessment. So, you know when you are going wrong...

What is important is building that kind of equation - which I think Dravid has strived to do. Question is why doesn't he make use of it!?