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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is Rahul Dravid the right captain for India?

While the media has been writing about Sachin Tendulkar, one man has managed to get away from the scrutiny of the public eye - Rahul Dravid. Is he the right captain of India, at this moment? This will be glorified in the forthcoming days, if India does not win the series in England. But, if they do win the test series, does it mean that he is the right choice? With Greg Chappell no longer associated with the Indian team, was it not a good idea to give the captaincy back to the most successful captain for India - Sourav Ganguly? Sourav Ganguly as a captain has more to offer to the team than as a mere player. He has shown that he can lift the team with his captaincy alone. This is now felt when he is not occupying the "hot seat". The aggression that was an integral part of his captaincy seems to be missing. The innovative field placings and bowling changes are areas that Rahul has clearly shown his weakness. He is also not that sort of a captain who can raise his voice when a youngster is not performing.

The statistics of his batting show the way he has been performing with the bat so far
India in West Indies - 496 runs at an average of 82+
India in South Africa - 6 innings for 125 runs at 21
India in Bangladesh - 3 innings for 192 runs at 64
India in England - 3 innings for 48 runs at 16 (till the 2nd test match)
His batting stats, in 23 matches that he has lead the side, show that he scores 11 runs less than a scenario when he is not the captain.

Rahul has not been able to blood new youngsters (Dinesh Karthick being the exception) during his reign, though this cannot be attributed to Rahul alone. With Greg Chappell's departure, the pressure on Rahul Dravid will be higher - to succeed. By making him the captain, India has made the mistake of losing its best batsman in recent times. One has seen that, thanks to Rahul Dravid's batting skills, India has won overseas test matches more regularly than before. He has shown that he is more consistent than the legendary Sachin Tendulkar in overseas performances. By giving him the captaincy, it is clearly visible that his batting is getting affected. This can be seen in the recent test matches, in the series against South Africa and England. He is able to settle down at the crease, but not able to carry on due to lack of concentration. In fact, his catching has also gone down one notch, compared to his heydays.

The question now would be - is there anyone who can take the reins of the current Indian team? I would back Sourav Ganguly to come back to the helm, so that Rahul can do what he does best - being the WALL of Indian batting lineup. If this change happens before the Australian tour, it would mean that the quartet (Rahul,Sourav,Sachin,VVS) will have a good chance for to sign-off in Aussie-land with a series win. Sachin Tendulkar is another option - but with his struggling form, this is one area that he would not like to get into.

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