Rahul Dravid’s selection for the Champions Trophy is perplexing. In sheer respect of his stature and achievements one refrains from calling this move regressive.
I am not sure what Dravid himself makes of this, as he must have moved ahead in life and will all of a sudden have to make some instant changes to the way he must have chartered his future course.
Why would India fall back upon a man they had discarded a long time back to create a team for the future? Sourav Ganguly also wasn’t spared later and none of us were critical of these changes as India did need to bring in new, vibrant, fresh faces to move ahead with the times.
The outstanding record of the Indian team in the last year or so has justified what Dilip Vengsarkar set out to achieve by taking these bold decisions, but all of a sudden we seem to have pressed the panic button. Why? Is it just because we did not do well in the T20 World Cup? Or is the fact that the Indian team stands exposed to short stuff -- an ailment which we all believed had been cured a long time back -- which has forced the selectors to recall a man who could lend stability to the middle order?
If that is the case then this move can be called a pragmatic one but why should we feel so unnerved by what happened in the T-20 format and not trust those very batsmen who have won almost every series they have played in the last year or so?
True a Gautam Gambhir or a Rohit Sharma should not take their places in the team for granted. The whole world by now also knows that Suresh Raina has serious shortcomings when the ball climbs to his ribcage, but the return of Dravid, at best, can be a temporary solution. It can’t serve any useful long-term purpose and what Kris Srikkanth’s selection panel has done is take one step backward while trying to move ahead, especially when the same people never tire of reminding us that India has a vast reservoir of young talent. So, why not dip into that and find right answers to genuine problems, instead of recalling a man who himself may be finding it mystifying that he is back in the one-day squad.
The cynical among us would even believe that had a man from the South not been the head of the selection panel and the all-powerful secretary of the Board not been also from the same state, this return wouldn’t have been possible.
Having said that let us have faith in sportsmen, especially those blessed with Dravid’s incredible ability. He has set high standards for future generations to follow and there is no reason why he won’t succeed once again.
But a failure will be an embarrassment, something wholly unnecessary at this stage for a man in the twilight of a great career.