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Friday, August 12, 2005

Cricket: Who will be the Captain of India? My choice is Rahul Dravid and here's why...

Update: Aug. 12, 2005 5:20 p.m. IST
Saurav Ganguly has been named as the captain of the Indian cricket team to tour Zimbabwe later this month.

Posted on Aug. 12 at 2:58 p.m. IST
There are speculations that Saurav Ganguly might be given back the captaincy of the Indian cricket team, when the selectors meet today for choosing the team to tour Zimbabwe.

My question to the selectors.

Q: Does Saurav Ganguly merit a place in the team based on his recent Test and ODI performances, leave alone being made the captain of India?
A: No he doesn't, and anyone who follows cricket in India can answer that.

And these wise men think he's good enough to be the Captain.

A captain doesn't only have to be passionate, motivated, and encouraging, along with these qualities, a captain has to walk the talk and lead from the front by example, which Saurav Ganguly has never done in the recent past.

What wrong did Rahul Dravid do? He played well and led from the front and so he is to be kicked out just because he doesn't swear or show outward aggression, and because India has lost six of the last eight ODIs played under his captainship? Is that the reason?

The selectors will be making a big mistake if they select Ganguly to captain India.
Think of the 2007 World Cup. Who do you think will last, Dravid or Ganguly?
Select Ganguly in the team and let him perform to keep his place in the side.
If Ganguly is selected again as the captain, it will send wrong signals of 'once a captain always a captain.'

Selectors, please define your parameters of leadership then choose a captain.

Saurav Ganguly
- Shows passion, that is outward emotion
- Aggressive body language
- Encourages and motivates players
- Supports youngsters
- Sticks for players

- Never performs
- Cannot lead from the front by example
- Doesn't walk the talk
- Bad fielder
- Doesn't play when the team needs it the most
- Only talks and shows outward aggression
- Doesn't have the performances to deserve a place in the team, except as only a captain
What good is this?
When was the last time Saurav Ganguly played a captain's knock to lead India to victory? One fails to recollect.

Now lets's take Rahul Dravid

- India has lost six of the last eight ODI matches played under his captainship.
- Doesn't appear to be aggressive
- Doesn't show outward emotions
- Doesn't swear on the field

I say, So what!
That doesn't make him a bad captain.

Rahul Dravid's strengths
- Leads from the front by example
- Always performs
- Performs when the team needs it the most
- Doesn't talk for the press, let's his bat do the talking on the cricket field
- Is a tough cricketer who plays when it matters
- Consistent performer from the last so many years
- His time will come and he will lead India to great victories.

For all those people who say Ganguly is a better tactician and understands the game better, my answer is, did he know that when he became captain of India in 2001? Give Dravid an extended spell of captainship, put confidence in him and make him the captain of India for a season and see the results.

For all the great wins that Ganguly has led India to, look at his individual performance. In the epic Kolkata test of March 2001 v/s. the Australians it was VVS Laxman and Dravid who batted through the day and then Harbhajan who took the wickets.
In India's test match victories versus Pakistan in Pakistan it was the bowling of Irfan, Balaji, and others, and the batting of Sehwag and Dravid that helped India beat Pakistan in March-April 2004. The last test match century that Saurav Ganguly had scored was way back in December 2003 in Brisbane during the 2003-04 tour down under. It was Rahul Dravid who scored a double century and Agarkar's five wickets that helped India win the Adelaide test match in Dec. 2003.

Selectors, if captaining a Cricket team is about showmanship and outward aggression, make Ganguly the captain. If you think cricket captaincy is about leadership that has the ability to walk the talk, Sirf Bolneka nahin boss, dum hai to karke dikhaneka, then Rahul Dravid is my captain of India for the next series and till the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

That's my definition of leadership, and it doesn't apply only to the cricket field.

If you expect your employees to be in office at 9:30 a.m. you've got to be in office at 9:25 a.m. If you expect them to work fast, you've got to work faster and show it to them. Good leadership is not about pointing toward a mountain, but running uphill, passing obstacles, and reaching the summit, then encouraging others to reach there by saying, "I did it so fast, you too can it's that easy!"

Rahul Dravid has the ability to say, "The buck stops here!" Does Saurav Ganguly have that ability? Ganguly ne kiya kya hai jo usko vapas captain banayenge? If he'd have scored a match-winning century and helped India win the Triangular series then it would have been a commendable comeback. What did he do? Pottered around to score a half century, exposed his inability to play the short ball by getting injured, and then didn't perform in the final, as all cricket fans already knew, he wouldn't. Ganguly doesn't deserve to be the captain of India.

"Even actor Abhishek Bachchan has started giving multiple hit films after 18 consecutive flops. His time has come and now he's counted among India's top Bollywood actors."

How many more chances does Saurav Ganguly need, or is Saurav Ganguly waiting for a divine intervention for his time to come?

Selectors need to send across a signal to all cricketers aspiring to play for India.
First deserve and then desire.

Any team can win against Zimbabwe, New Zealand recently gave them a battering by bowling them out for less than a hundred runs in both innings of a test, and if the selectors choose Ganguly over Dravid, and India wins in Zimbabwe, it won't be a big achievement.

Keep the faith, Rahul. Good guys don't always finish last.

Update: Aug. 12, 2005 5:20 p.m. IST

Saurav Ganguly has been named as the captain of the Indian cricket team to tour Zimbabwe later this month. Rahul Dravid has been named as the vice-captain.

- Schedule of India's cricket tour of Zimbabwe in Aug-Sept. 2005.

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