‘Dravid is not there mentally’

Mumbai: Thirty-one, nought, thirteen, nought – put together it is an unfamiliar string of numbers for Rahul Dravid.

It is not as much the scores as his detached demeanour on the field that is disconcerting. Could it be attributed to a period of transition and its unsettling effect?

Former selector Kiran More is far from convinced. He says, “There maybe nothing wrong with his cricket but looking at Dravid it seems obvious that something is bothering him. I don’t know what is going through his mind at the moment. He is not there mentally.”

Ashok Malhotra feels that by taking up the role of a floater, Dravid is floating nowhere.

“This somewhere in-between position could be tricky. Even though he failed at Vadodara, he should take guard at three,” Malhotra remarks. “I wonder whether Dravid is regretting his decision to step down as captain. There may not be an immediate threat to his place in the one-day side but now it could be open to debate with talents like Rohit Sharma, S Badrinath and Manoj Tiwary waiting at the fringes.”

Although Dravid may want to wipe off the memories of the recent turn of events, they seem to have dredged up again. Kiran More nails home the point that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should have intervened when Dravid resigned as captain.

The BCCI should have addressed the matter. Why is it that Dravid never informed Dilip Vengsarkar of his decision to step down? It is understandable that Rahul chose to confide in the President (Sharad Pawar), but we must bear in mind that the chairman is integral to the skipper’s success. I find a strange disconnect here,” he holds.

Both agree that it would be a folly if the selectors sharpen the axe on Dravid after one bad series. In this regard More reminds that history has it that many Indian captains, irrespective of their form, had held on to their positions for seasons together.

More comments, “I know Dravid closely and can vouch for what he feels for Indian cricket. It would be a monumental blunder to drop him. We turned to him when the chips were down and he has always responded manfully, whether it is batting anywhere from one to eight or keeping wickets.”

Malhotra, however, thinks that it may not be a bad idea to rest Dravid for the remaining games. He agrees, though, that India’s win in the Twenty20 Championship may now hurry the exits of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Dravid.

He says, “It is time for us to decide whether we need three anchors in the side. If you ask me, it makes sense to include only one out of big three in Indian conditions and probably any two of them in Australia where our flat-track bullies come unstuck.”


BCCI looking ahead by resting Big Three?

New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have been left out of the Challenger series in Ahmedabad that begins on October 25. The BCCI says they have been rested; but if the wagging tongues are to be believed, this is a strong signal about their future in One-Day cricket.

Team India arrived in Nagpur for the sixth game against the world champions. But once the series is over for the big three, they can return home and watch the next generation sweat it out at the Challenger Series.

Should too much be read though between the lines; now that they have been left out? No, says the BCCI.

“All of them have been rested for the Challenger Trophy. And as the Pakistan series is coming up, the selectors decided to rest all these players,” says BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah.

But do they really need the rest? After all, the ‘Big Three’ had their feet up throughout the T20 World Cup and have only just returned for the Australia series.

“Where is the break they are getting? They have been playing all the time. It’s a good idea to find new talent,” says India’s former cricket manager Chandu Borde.

The selectors have given the fringe players a chance to shine again. Virender Sehwag will captain India Blue; Mohammad Kaif will lead India Red and Parthiv Patel will lead the Greens, after what has been a stunning domestic season with the bat and gloves.

“The Challenger Trophy is the biggest tournament in Indian domestic cricket. And if I perform well, I will definitely have a great chance to come back into the Indian team,” says Parthiv Patel.
The three teams feature a number of younger players while skipper MS Dhoni, his deputy Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan have been given a rest.