Monday, August 22, 2005

The Indian Captaincy debate

So many times, in the past week, have we seen different people express their opinion on the whole 'handling of the captaincy' issue. Analysts, past players, critics, present players, bloggers all have had something or the other to say. From taking straight-forward Rahul-vs-Saurav positions to the neutrals 'we are not against either, but it should have been handled better' ones. Here Kapil, yes the same cricketer turned 'entertainer' Kapil, joins the list.

I have a simple understanding of the issue, based on what I read. There may be others with 'insider' information. If so they should reveal that they are using such information (with or without revealing the sources) otherwise the case is as simple as this.

Saurav was possibly not available for the whole series. He could have missed minimum 2 and maximum 4 games of the series. In case of latter, he would not have joined the team in SL at all. The actually verdict was not known at the time of selection of team and captain. Also, assuming that the selectors were sure about appointing Saurav as captain once he completed his ban (we are not sure, but its quite likely). So, given these sets of conditions, what were the options for selectors ?

a) Declare Rahul as captain of first two games, extendible to full series in case Saurav does not join. This would have hampered team preparations in the absence of Saurav (who was still in England for his county stint) and would have been a nightmare scenario for Rahul, something which he clearly dislikes (as commonly known and agreed by everyone around). This scenario is bad for Rahul, and for the team. Saurav would not have minded this, as he could have done without the additional tension of thinking about 'retaining' captaincy when he clearly knew that in reality he should only be thinking about retaining his batting position (and captaincy should come by default, given his good record in that aspect)

b) Declare Saurav as captain and wait till the verdict comes out. When its not completely revoked (as was the case) but only reduced, THEN name Rahul as captain for the period Saurav is sitting out. In fact such 'naming' would not have been necessary as he is the vice captain and therefore captaincy goes to him by default. The minuses of this scenario are same as above. Bad for Rahul, and the team. No impact on Saurav.

c) Named Rahul as the captain of the WHOLE series (and only that series) just to avoid the downfalls of the above two scenarios. What they also did was to 'explain' the reason for making Rahul the captain of the whole series. It was quite obvious from those explanations that it was done only to give Rahul, and the team, a better chance of preparation. It was NOT a judgment on Saurav and his captaincy. And by extension, this means he would be captain after the series (now this is what they did not state, and I think they would have to start doing it more often, to avoid such controversies as our media is capable of creating in the most simplest of situations!). I hope (and I think I read it also somewhere) that this much was made clear to Rahul as well, when handing him the captaincy. Anyway, it SHOULD have been.

Note that the third (and actually chosen) scenario was probably the WORST out of the three for Saurav. And yet people feel that the whole thing went 'against' Rahul !

If some are arguing that the selectors should have not taken the condition 'Saurav is the captain and will be the captain as soon as he is ready to play' in mind then let me ask this. If Saurav had NOT been fined by the referee, wouldn't he be the captain for SL and subsequent series by default ? Would we still be having this debate ? He may have batted badly recently, but still does not justify exclusion from the team (and this is topic for another debate). So where is the question mark on his captaincy ?

Btw, Kapil also mentions in the same article : Asked about the team'’s slide down the performance chart, Kapil said, “the media wrote so highly about the team last year, they hailed (John) Wright. Tshey should now explain, if he was a good coach why was he sacked? - so he still thinks John Wright was 'sacked' ?? I would like to see any article, report, interview mention his 'sacking'. As far as I know, he had given his ultimatum for almost a year (or atleast a long period).

Why do I feel I will soon be hearing more from Kapil on this issue, on the lines of 'What I meant to say was actually...'


Blogger shakester said...

are you watching the Ind NZ match? Am going to try and write a bit now and then (not bulletins, just snippets as and when I can), so let us get some live interaction going on? Doing it for the ashes was so much fun I dont see why we shouldnt for an India match!
NZ are 15/3!

August 26, 2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger worma said...

Following the score at work, not video. Will check out your posting.

August 26, 2005 11:11 AM  
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August 26, 2005 8:07 PM  

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