Daily Archives: 28 May 2007

So India, Dravid and Tendulkar win a lose-lose series…

Rahul Dravid has kept his head on his shoulders and feet on the ground after the win against Bangladesh. He did acknowledge that this was always going to be a “lose-lose series” for India. “Had we not done well, people would have said, ‘What’s happening?’ Had we won, it’s not a big deal. So it was tough in that sense.”

I like the poise with which Dravid speaks. His words are measured and not much has been out of place ever — apart from that outburst against Chetan Desai, Manager of Team India to South Africa wherein he is reported to have said, “I have read cricketing history and Desai’s name does not figure anywhere“.

His recent post-win interview reflects a balanced individual with a clear sense of perspective. He called this a lose-lose series.

But this was not merely a lose-lose series for India. It was a lose-lose-lose series. If India had done well, the cynics would have been out with the “After all this was agaisnt the minnows. So what the heck are you celebrating for?” wisecracks. If they had lost, the couch-potatoes would have woken from their slumber to chuck the very same potatoes at the team. The third lose facet is the physical dimension. This was an energy-sapping series. And it came at a time when Team India is going to be busier than I have ever known it to be — a series in Ireland with Ireland and South Africa (from June 23); an ODI against Pakistan (July 3); a tour of England for Tests and ODIs (from July 3 to September 8); the ICC Twenty20 Cup (from September 11 to September 24); a tour to Pakistan (October and November); a tour to Australia (December 2007 to March 2008)…

So it came at a pretty intense time for Team India in the aftermath of a disastrous World Cup campaign.

Given all of that, it was a reasonable performance against the team.

Tendulkar had a lose-lose-lose campaign too. If he had done well the cynics would have questioned the strength of the opposition. If he had done reasonably, they would have asked why he hadn’t done better. If he had done terribly, they would have asked for his blood!

But Dravid puts things in perspective when he talks to the bigger challenge that awaits them in England and beyond. But then, as Dravid says, “the conditions, opponents will be different”.

— Mohan

Team India Dressing room rifts and “politicking”

Recently there has been talk of “politicking” in the Team India dressing room. This has also been drawn out in an extensive debate on this blogsite.

Today, Ravi Shastri, in a candid interview, dismisses any such conjectures and postulations.

He said,

“I thought that was nonsense. I know now that it is absolute nonsense. I don’t know what happens two months down the line. Right now it’s absolute nonsense.”

This is quite a big statement from Ravi Shastri who is, essentially, a journalist/media-commentator these days. So, a bold and incontrovertible statement of this sort is not easy. In the past I have observed that he has always been the sort that has left the door ajar to interpretation when it comes to tricky questions. On some questions, of course, he doesn’t leave much doubt. This statement above clearly leaves no doubt in anyones’ mind. Of course, he has brought himself a futures-option by saying he would not know “what happens two months down the line”. Even so, this is a clear statement (data/evidence) from an honourable man.

I like the way he says in the interview, “That’s dressing room stuff. We have discussed a lot, we have gone one-on-one with each individual.”

Sadly (in my view), Greg Chappell did not quite believe in “dressing room stuff” and let many a cat out of the bag to (perhaps) suit his own needs. There are times when one can be loose-mouthed (or trigger-fingered in these days of instant-messages and emails) and there are times when it is right to play your cards close to your chest.

It is a pity that Ravi Shastri is not available for a longer gig.

— Mohan