The BCCI has a tough week ahead. It has to digest several reports and, more importantly, it has to make quite a few hard decisions, decisions that are supposed to redesign the fabric of Indian cricket
I’m afraid some of the reports the World Cup team management will file will be quite harsh. These need to be kept secret, for a leak could cause mayhem, especially if they fall in the hands of the media. Speculation is already going wild, with ‘experts’ from all over pitching in with their unsolicited views on what should be done. In the midst of all this, there could be careful planting of SMSs and strategically invited statements from Down Under.
In the next few days, we should know the true story behind the disastrous campaign, who would need to look for cover and, finally, how many would be made scapegoats. I’m afraid one person, skipper Rahul Dravid, would be the common factor in all these discussions.
For Rahul, the last two weeks must have felt like the longest of his glittering career. The latest turn of events must have given him a different understanding of the game. I can very well imagine what Rahul must be thinking at the moment.
But then, Rahul is facing nothing captains in the past have not faced. Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, all have gone through similar crises.
Has captaining India over the last 20 months done any good to Rahul’s own game? Did he have the right environment and people around him to run the team the way he wanted? And, finally, is it worth another go to turn things around? It is certainly a time for introspection for Rahul.
The crux of the issue was the turbulent transition of leadership from Ganguly to Rahul. This sort of change leaves an indelible mark on the players as well as the captains involved. A proper protocol, thus, was absolutely necessary when the change of guard took place.
I still remember a couple of players, who blossomed under Ganguly, airing their disappointment on his removal and openly supporting the Bengal southpaw. I do not wish to rake up old issues, but there is a need to be sensitive. There is always a sense of loyalty in the youngsters towards their captain, especially if they have blossomed under him.
Now, it cannot be expected everyone would switch loyalties all of a sudden. The players must be made aware of why there is a need to change things. It is the incumbent captain’s responsibility to leave the team without any kind of negativity that might affect his successor.
The reason I am making this point now is because this team might be facing another such period very soon.
Frankly, under the given circumstances, that cannot be ruled out. Most of the cricketplaying nations — with a few exceptions — go through this process.
If Rahul is asked to continue, I won’t be surprised if he turns it down. In Rahul, you cannot separate the man and his art. The way he bats is the way he leads the side.
Even such a complete batsman has found it hard to make the team imbibe his values and practices. By now, Rahul must have realised that captaincy is not confined to the ground, that a lot of it is outside the arena as well. The coming week will once again test his leadership qualities.