Monday, October 29, 2007

So, it's begun. Rahul Dravid has apparently become the first of the start of a process of change. Speaking to the Hindustan Times on Saturday night, a national selector categorically stated: "We (the selectors) felt that the time to ease the seniors out has started." He reiterated that they while they had started a process of change with Dravid, it was one that would not stop with him. "We will not stop here, we will also go to Sourav (Ganguly) and Sachin (Tendulkar) after this," he said. Another stated that while Dravid was "undoubtedly a great player who still had lots of Test cricket left in him", there was a time when some "strong decisions have to be taken". These views, of course, are somewhat different from what Dilip Vengsarkar stated at the press conference in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Vengsarkar, when asked if Dravid could make a comeback, clearly indicated that he could. "Anyone who plays well will get a chance," he said. He added that Dravid was a "great player" who he thought would "come back soon". What this basically means is that this being Indian cricket, where selection processes are rarely systematic and problems are systemic, anything can happen when the selectors choose the team for the next three one-dayers against Pakistan! What will be interesting then — if the selectors are actually following a planned path of change — is to see whether they will have the gumption to "rest" or "give a break" to Ganguly or Tendulkar irrespective of performances. Tendulkar, it might be recalled, has been India's leading run-getter in the last three one-day series, while Ganguly has averaged 40+ in ODIs since his return to international cricket.Three things about Dravid's omission. First, one lean patch is not a reason to unceremoniously drop a player of Dravid's class or stature or question his form or fitness. Two, if you're dropping someone, then say that. Clearly state that there is a path being followed. Don't play games with someone's head and confuse him further. And finally, someone in the selection committee should have had the courtesy to call Dravid and inform him of his omission in advance and talked to him about the reasons for it. After all, he was India skipper even till last month. They did not extend that courtesy to Ganguly and now, they have treated Dravid with that same, utter lack of grace.

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