There seems to be plenty of press about Rahul Dravid being dropped from the ODI side for the home series against Australia. “He got a raw deal”, “this is weird”, “It makes no sense” etc. seems to be the common sentiment and understandably so. Rahul Dravid was brought back to the ODI team after the young turks in the Indian team where found wanting when it came to negotiating the short pitched delivery. Dravid played the series against Sri Lanka and the Champions trophy in South Africa and did a decent job before being dropped for the home series against Australia. The obvious questions that arise are: Why was he brought back? Shouldn’t the youngsters have been given a chance in South Africa to see if they are capable? What did he do to be dropped? Is this a way to treat one of our cricketing heroes?
Despite of all these legitimate questions, by far the most troubling was the fact that the selectors did not face the media after announcing the team (it is quite surprising given that Kris Srikanth is fairly outspoken). This is ridiculous to say the least (PR at its worst) given that cricket is so obsessively followed in India. It is highly possible that the selectors didn’t have a discussion with Dravid either about the rationale behind the decision either. However, I guess that Dravid has the maturity to take this in his stride if not understand the thinking behind this decision. An interview with Dravid (while he was fielding!) in the recent Champions league gave some interesting insights to the man himself and his mental make up. The conversation went something like this ..”Rahul, you running around like you are in your 20s”…”Well, this is T20 and you have all the young boys running around so you can’t exactly hide in the slips like in a Test match”…”Well Rahul, for someone who holds the world record for the number of slip catches, I wouldn’t exactly call it hiding in the slips”
The decision by itself is not a bad one for several reasons. There is plenty of proven young talent that can do well on Indian pitches. Dravid’s dropping has little to do with his form or his performance. This series is a perfect chance for youngsters to prove their mettle against the best ODI team in the world. If they can’t deliver on Indian pitches then they are not up to “scratch” anyway. Besides, with the return of Sehwag, Gambhir and Yuvraj there is plenty of strength in the batting order. Moreover, this series is not like the Champions trophy where the stakes are simply much higher. Last but not the least, cricket is played all round the year, so there are always injuries and loss of form to deal with from time to time. If such situations arise, Dravid can certainly be called upon like he was recently. I only wish the selectors had given Harbhajan and Ishant Sharma a rest as well. Both overexposed, jaded, out of form players who are being dragged around from series to series with no significant contribution to speak off, Bhajji’s five wickets against SL not withstanding.
p.s: The coaches were also fired. I guess someone had to be held accountable for the recent back to back defeats in two major tournaments. Wonder if this is a message to the captain?