Sunday, 28 October 2007

The end for Dravid?

India's selectors have an unenviable task. Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are a trio whose place in Indian cricket history has long since been assured. The problem, however, is it is unlikely even one will make the 2011 World Cup.

England are prone to having clearouts after each World Cup, immediately talking of 'planning for the future'. However, Australia refuse to countenance such seletorial upheavel. Matthew Hayden and Brad Hogg are both 36, but they remain integral parts of their ODI side. They will not play in the next 50-over World Cup, but Australia insist on picking their best side to win games and series in the meantime.

In continuing to pick the Big Three in one-dayers since the World Cup, India have made it clear their priority is to pick their best possible side. The problem is that, unlike for Australia, results have been poor. Conversely, when the trio were left out of the Tweny20 World Cup, India were victorious.

Officially, Rahul Dravid is now being 'rested' for the one-day series with Pakistan. Patently, this is because he has scored 88 runs in his past 10 ODI innings. His solidity, experience and class are still apparent but, after giving up the captaincy recently, he could surely do with a break to prepare himself for the Test series with Pakistan.

If the recalled Virender Sehwag does well in the one-dayers in the meantime, Dravid's ODI future will look increasingly uncertain. Nearing 35, he may consider retiring from ODIs. Slowly, India must look to replace their Big Three in 50-over cricket, or risk losing all three simultaneously sometime soon. Currently, Dravid is by far the most expendable.

Moreover, Dravid has hit just one fifty in his past six Test matches. A semi-retirement, along the lines of Shane Warne, could reinvigorate him and prolong the Test career of a man who, unquestionably, has played more match-winning innings in the five-day game than any other Indian. In one-dayers, some attention must be played to the future. But in Test matches, India certainly need Dravid back to his best.


John said...

Dravid, along with Tendulkar and Yuvraj, is our most valuable ODI bat. Someone who can grind and shift gears up with equal ease. Just a month or so ago, he was flaying the English attack to all parts for a match-winning 92 not out at Bristol. How can public - and selectorial - memory be so short?

Uncle J rod said...

I think anyone who isnt playing in the next one day world cup, for any country should be pensioned off. India need crickters with a 4 year appreticeship before hand.

Stuart said...

India need to start the process of culling the older players, or they will suddenly find all of them gone at the same time (a la Australia 1984) and see a massive loss in experience.

Soulberry said...

As of today evening, Dravid is set to return to the ODI team from the third ODI against Pakistan.

The BCCI Prez instructed so.

Personally, I'd prefer a gradual transition in ODIs with the process completed before the end of the new season. I'd also prefer Dravid and the senior members devoting their energies in garnering more test match victories in India and abroad.

But that's just me.

Stuart said...

Agree with Soulberry (as per usual).

Anonymous said...

Problem with Dravid was not with the technique or the form, it was somewhere in the mind. And thats being solved I guess after a patient stay in the domestic game against the champions.

thecricketconnoisseur said...

And he goes and scores a double for Karnataka about two days later! With his second day innings coming at a strike rate of almost 90! A testament to the man's class, dignity and plain ol' cricketing ability. As John said rightly, a bad streak with the bat for one (ONE!) series and the selectors develop (selective) amnesia. Dravid has invariably been the go-to-man of Indian cricket for the last 7-10 years and yet; his consummate professionalism and attitude are precisely the reasons for the selectors' grievous injustice to him. They know that he is too gentlemanly to raise a hue and cry over his "resting" [when he well within his right to question the (inane) decision] and as such have decided that he is "dispensable". While I hate to bring up Tendulkar while I'm talking about Dravid [all too many people bring him up and sycophantically and ridiculously raise him to the skies; even while they are praising Dravid. Case in point: Nirmal Shekhar of 'The Hindu". It's as if this comparison makes Dravid seems even more lustrous! Hah! As if. It should be the other way round if anything.] I'd like to note that he averaged a gargantuan 0.5 (let me say that again; 0.5!) in the series against NZ just before the 2003(or was it 2007?) WC. Agreed, Sehwag was the only guy who managed to do well, but still anybody else but Tendulkar (say, Laxman; another underrated gem) and he'd have been axed immediately. And now, a bad series against England and poof! out with Dravid. Immensely unfair and grotesquely ignorant selection. Amen I s'pose. He shall rise yet again, shall Dravid. Of that, there is no doubt. But, until then, I atleast shall be in mourning [and so I reckon shall the 'Team India'].