• Rahul, one of the problems many people see is that this is a team full of senior people and senior influences. In fact we saw in the Kotla match in Delhi, it looked as if Pathan was getting instructions from three different people, from you, Sourav, Sachin. I am sure even the wicketkeeper will start doing it soon.
I think you want to get as many people involved as possible. I take the final decision.
• You can’t captain by committee.
But you can take advice by committee. Finally the captain is at the end, and whatever decisions have to be taken, I have to take those. I don’t have all the knowledge in the world, I don’t have all the ideas about cricket, and I’m not fool enough to believe I have all that knowledge. I know that to be successful as a captain and as a team, I’ll have to get help from other people, whether it’s the coach, senior players, people outside the team as well. It is not a job you can do on your own. But in the end, the responsibility lies with me and I have to take the tough decision.
• But when the buck stops with you, you better have the power to take that final call.
It does. That what’s the challenge of leadership is all about.
• The last time we spoke, you said what India needs most of all is a wicketkeeper/batsman. You think that wish has been answered a bit now?
Well, Dhoni’s had a great start to his career. He has done really well, he’s got a fair distance to go. He has got what it takes. And the good thing to see is that there’s not only Dhoni, there’s Dinesh Karthik who’s done quite well, there’s Parthiv Patel.
• We suddenly have talent.
Yeah, we’ve got talent and they’ll push each other throughout their careers, they are about the same age. So that’s going to be very exciting for Indian cricket.
• But one area where we don’t see that much talent coming up is spin bowling, unfortunately. I mean, out on the bench.
That is true, probably. I haven’t had a chance to see what the domestic talent is, but even there, some of the senior players I talk to in domestic cricket, or coaches, tend to tell me the same thing, that there isn’t much spin bowling around. But all that can change.
• Tell me your thoughts now on the eve of your visit to Pakistan.
It is a great opportunity, a great challenge and a great team; it’s a great chance for this young team, I think, to grow and to take this as one step in the journey that we want to accomplish. And to enjoy it. I think that’s more important. What I want this team to do is to go and play good cricket, irrespective of the results.
• And what will decide this series? Is it bowlers, batsmen, umpires, pitches?
Discipline will decide the series.
• Would you like to elaborate on that?
Well, the team that’s going to be more disciplined, the team that’s going to find courage and character in critical times, is the one that’s probably going to decide the series.
• Is that what we had the last time we won in Pakistan?
We had that. We had people who put their hands up when it mattered. There were critical points in the game, and it was one of our players who was a match winner. That decided the series.