It’s interesting how in India, where cricket is unnaturally close to people’s hearts, the game is in the news for all the wrong reasons more often than for the performance of the players. Internal politics and wars of words rule the roost in what can only be called the murky world of the BCCI. The latest to grab headlines is veteran Rahul Dravid’s resignation as captain, paving the way for his antithesis, MS Dhoni, to lead the National Team. Dhoni is young, aggressive and flamboyant as opposed to the experienced and stoic Dravid.
Seeing the number of press inches devoted to this issue, one wonders whether it’s just more proof of over-reporting by our undoubtedly sensationalist media or do the reasons for Dravid’s resignation really go deeper than what has been said officially. If what Dravid told the BCCI chief Sharad Pawar is to be believed, Dravid felt he needed to concentrate on his batting and that captaincy of the team was making it difficult for him to do so. However, he also told the press that it had been an eventful two years at the helm and that he was not enjoying captaincy any more. “Captaincy takes a lot out of you, there’s a shelf life to captaincy in India,” said Dravid . If his recent form as a batsman is anything to go by, it becomes obvious that there might not be much more behind his decision of quitting than what he has already stated. The announcement might have been abrupt but according to him, he had started thinking about it even before India lost the Natwest ODI series 4-3 to England and that he thought it over well.
However, Dravid’s innocuous statements have been twisted out of context and there is no shortage of reports where a “senior player” in the team or a “BCCI bigwig” has decided to grace the correspondent with his choice opinions. Some will say Dravid felt suffocated by the Mumbai lobby of the BCCI, others will bluntly question his caliber as a batsman despite his marvelous performances, saying that he knew it was better to quit than be removed. But then again, as often happens with such speculation, it is more than likely to be sheer figments of the imagination of some excited journalist.
As an dispassionate observer, I simply feel that we should take him on his words and let him step down with dignity, as he has tried so hard to do. But then again, we Indians do have a difficulty comprehending that sometimes things can be as simple as they seem. And all the brouhaha is quite a waste of energy; after all it isn’t as if Dravid has retired, he has only taken the decision to concentrate on his batting, so that he gives and gets the most out of his last years as one of the greatest cricketers around today.
In conclusion, Dhoni’s appointment could not have come at a better time. A good captain is born when he tackles tough situations himself and not merely by observing somebody else make all the decisions. Dhoni is the face of the ‘new’ Indian team, aggressive, young, energetic and fully capable of taming the rivals when it matters most. So, let us give the (former) Indian skipper the farewell he very well deserves and welcome what could prove to be a new era for the Indian Cricket team.