One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Go it alone, Rahul!

After looking jaded and out-of-sorts in their DLF Cup campaign, Team India and it's coach are being panned for too much experimentation and too few results and almost no imagination.

Fair enough, I say! Nothing succeeds like success or fails like failure. If Chappell's way had continued to produce results as it did for the first half of his tenure so far (India was winning nearly 76% of its ODI matches during that period), everyone would have been gushing about the very same methods that are being trashed in the media right now. So I won't say too much about Chappell's methods. But I will say this... that Chappell ought to be more receptive of criticism and suggestions than he is. Closed minds rust away to nothingness, however great the ideas inside them!

Having said that, one of things that was noticeable quite prominently during the DLF Cup was the lack on imaginative captaincy on the part of Rahul Dravid. Dressing room strategy is one thing, but a match situation demands continuous thinking on one's feet out there in the middle. Rahul Dravid seemed to have outsourced all the thinking to Chappell and his staff. Precious little of Dravid's cricketing acumen was on display during the DLF Cup matches. As a captain he seemed unable to assert his views on the team he led. This prevented dynamic strategy changes based on on-field situations. The resulting one-dimensional approach was easy pickings for the opposing teams. The win against West Indies was Lara's gift to the Indians, more than anything else.

Now, with Chappell away on a break and the Challenger tournament coming up, it's a golden opportunity for Dravid to lead from the front, in the dressing room and on the field. The Indian Seniors side should go in without a coach. Dravid, Sehwag and Tendulkar should manage the team themselves during the Challenger series and get a grip on details like team composition and players' roles within the team. BCCI has decided to appoint Ian Frazer, Chappell's deputy, to coach the Seniors during this domestic series. That is a joke! Mr. Frazer, with due respect to him, can bring no value to the table in this instance. Instead of the seniors, he may be better off assisting one of the other two sides. The seniors, with individual players having more ODI experience than Chappell, are better off strategizing and playing the 3-4 matches on their own. It will be a great confidence booster for Rahul Dravid as a captain if he can truly 'lead' his team on his own. It will also give Chappell a couple of things to think about when he re-joins Team India before the Champions Trophy.

So go it alone, Rahul!

cross-posted at The Opti Mystic.

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