Saturday, January 07, 2006

The importance of being Rahul Dravid: part one

If an avid follower of cricket were to be asked to sum up 2005 in the context of Indian cricket he would perhaps look into the distance for a few moments, tautly curved eyebrows accentuating his silence, and return with an honest answer: “Hard work.” The reasons require no further elaboration. Uneasiness surrounds the cricket lovers in this country who have been suddenly split into a number of camps. And this time it is an unprecedented split, quite unlike the ‘who’s right between Kapil & Sunil’ or ‘who’s better between Ganguly & Dravid’ squabbles from the past.
Assuming (1) the average Indian cricket fan to reserve an opinion on each of the six key characters – Ganguly, Dravid, Chappell, Kiran More, Dalmiya and Pawar - in the drama unfolding since appointment of the new Indian cricket coach, and (2) three types of opinions to be possible against each name (‘he is right’, ‘he is wrong’ and ‘he is not party to this’), the mad statistician can jolly well claim a possible 729 opinion sets resulting on the issue.
Even considering the unanimity of opinion of all followers regarding the latter three we are still having 27 kinds of statistically probable opinions. Too much? We narrow down further and eliminate the purely theoretical possibilities. The Indian supporters are still left with 8 or 10 palatable schools of thought to take their pick from. Unforeseen, indeed.
In this present state of anarchy my thoughts keep going back to the lone picture of sanity upon whom the future of Indian cricket must necessarily rest for the immediate future – Rahul Dravid. His ruthlessness and aggressive decisions have often been assigned to the coach at the expense of credit due to him, just as his deafening silence on an obvious farce has raised concerns. Importantly there, his stance on the issue matters. As the leader of a changing pack Rahul is assigned the dirty work of rebuilding these days, just as his predecessor was after the match-fixing scandal took its toll.
The big worries that can be associated with the Rahul Dravid of today are mostly on two counts: the continuation of his sterling batting form with the crown now placed firmly in place, and continuation (even with certain modified parameters) of ‘the skipper shall rule’ first principle during his regime in the face of a strong upsurge of 'coach power'.
(to be continued…in a changed context)
[cross posted at Different strokes]

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