Somehow it doesn’t bode well when people refuse to accept the top job in Indian cricket, writes G.R. Viswanath
Sachin Tendulkar’s refusal to take on the responsibility of captaining India has left me shocked and disappointed.
There must be something wrong somewhere for senior players, one by one, to decline such offers.
But then the people who matter should have known better than to offer the captaincy to someone who has once relinquished it and then spoken about not wanting it on many other occasions.
Somehow it doesn’t bode well when people refuse to accept the top job in Indian cricket.
As far as his playing abilities go, I can’t look beyond Sachin. He’s undoubtedly the best over many eras and has on a lot of occasions fought the team’s battle single-handedly.
That’s where my disappointment kicks in.
As a player only he knows how long he has got as yet in the international arena but in the context of the team preparing to take on not one but three tough Test nations, he should have accepted the job for the team’s sake once he was turned to by the selectors.
The obvious question now is, if not Sachin who. The very fact that the selectors opted for Sachin in the first place is an indicator that they, perhaps, think that Mahendra Dhoni is not ready yet.
Kumble an alternative
If that is the case, they should not look beyond Anil Kumble, who unlike the other possible candidate Sourav Ganguly, has retired from ODIs, thus ensuring there will no real clash with Dhoni’s current responsibilities.
I would actually plump for Dhoni first because I tend to think long term. The wicketkeeper-batsman has been doing well in all departments including in his new role as skipper and I see no reason to deny him the job in totality.
I know there are a lot of apprehensions in asking a wicketkeeper to take on more and more responsibilities but it is an unfounded apprehension.
Starting with the great West Indian Alexander, right down to Moin Khan and Rashid Latif of Pakistan, teams have had wicketkeepers as captain without the team or the individual suffering from the dual role.
Also a wicketkeeper, because of his fielding position behind the wickets is always best placed to assess the different situations and most of the successful Test captains, Ian Chappell, Mark Taylor and Rahul Dravid to name a few, have been slip fielders.
Of course if the national selectors decide that Dhoni needs some more time to grow into the job, they should simply turn to Kumble, who I am sure, will not refuse any responsibility thrust on him as he is one who thrives on it.
Kumble’s got a few years left in his illustrious Test career and he has the experience of leading in first class cricket for a long time. He is also a very good student of the game, having worked his way up.
Work cut out
Moving on to the second ODI to be played at the picturesque Mohali stadium, the Pakistanis have their work cut out. The pitch at Guwahati may not have been all that conducive for one-day cricket but at the highest level you are expected to adjust and conquer all conditions.
To bat first and settle for a target of 240 is a little ridiculous. I can understand if they didn’t have wickets in hand and were forced to settle for a lower score but in any other scenario a team’s credo should be, no score is enough. What the Indians should be wary of is the fact that like them, Pakistan too is a dangerous side when down. The comfortable victory in the first match must make for a dressing room full of confident young men but it is the ability to remain consistent that will be tested at Mohali.
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