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Cosmetic change, short-changing & compromises

Apart from strange selections, even more baffling was not selecting a vice-captain, writes Pradeep Magazine.

cricket Updated: Apr 21, 2007 01:54 IST

This is a sell-out. If the Indian selectors have any pride left in them they should quit and tell the Board that from now on, they should pick the team themselves.

How did a man of Dilip Vengsarkar's stature not walk out of the meeting and later, keep his calm in a press conference where one bizarre explanation after another was being given for strange selections. Even more baffling was not selecting a vice-captain, instead leaving the choice of Rahul Dravid's deputy to the captain and coach.

First, the Working Committee decides to name the captain of the team themselves -unprecedented in the annals of India's history - and then it gives a directive to the selectors to pick a "youthful team".

Following that, the selection committee promptly decides that Dinesh Mongia, at 30 years, is young and Virender Sehwag, nearly 29, is not old enough to be dropped.

What has saved Sehwag is his great match-winning hundred against a team like Bermuda and what has not saved Sourav Ganguly his place in the team is his six half centuries in the nine ODIs innings he has played after his comeback to international cricket.

And has Sachin Tendulkar been penalised for speaking against Greg Chappell or for his lack of form? No, it has to be for speaking out against the coach, who, if one goes by the Board's thinking, is the greatest thing to have happened to Indian cricket.

So great has been the coach's influence on the team that within 18 months of his taking over this role, Indian cricket may have hit rock-bottom, but his methods have given the Board a great insight into how to improve Indian cricket.

Perhaps they are right. After all, how low can one sink? From now on, India can only improve their ranking. The Working Committee will then deserve all credit and may be they should then take a leaf from what happens in tennis and appoint a non-playing captain.

There are many in the Board who understand the game better than the players and no harm in giving one of them this job. Their own Working Committee can then ratify all these decisions.

One can well understand this policy of "youth" and also the logic that Bangladesh will be the best place to groom youngsters. But apart from one or two players, which youngsters have been picked? None.

It is a team full of compromises only because the Board wanted to keep Tendulkar and Ganguly out of the one-day team. Mr Chappell must be smirking wherever he is in Australia.

Rahul Dravid, one believed, was a great captain-statesman in the making. But after all that has happened in the past month, I am afraid his silent acquiescence could well have him go down in history as someone who played a crucial role in the liquidation of Indian cricket.

First Published: Apr 21, 2007 01:29 IST