Monday, March 24, 2008

"aye aye captain...."

Most of you probably are aware of the dialogue mentioned in the heading. It is from dead poet society, where the students used to call their teacher by this, "aye aye captain...".

Captains in every form of life have roles to play, have responsibilities to fulfill, because the word captain itself is very precious and powerful, and as uncle of spider man said.."with great power, comes great responsibilities."

And the magnitude of the responsibility is even greater if you are captain of Indian cricket team. There are more than 1 billion people in the country, and counting NRIs, there are almost 1 billion cricket pundits. you got to be responsible when you are captain of a team which represents people of that huge number. Unfortunately our captain , ODI captain, current captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni isn't.

Now let me explain why I say that. We all followed what happened down under this summer, and this blog is not reporting news or scores that has already been reported in news papers. This is a place to speak your mind, so I am doing that.

India defeated Australia in the CB series final 2-0, and doing so, has achieved something no Indian team has done before, and in doing so has registered their name in history as this was the last annual triangular series played in Australia, which has been part of their cricketing culture for last 30 years.

India omitted senior players from the team, and barring sachin tendulkar, most of the other players can be tagged as "non-aged players". Everyone doubted the credibility of the young team in front of Lee, Johnson, Clark and predicted a washout.But thats the beauty of being an Indian. When people question you, hurt your emotion, then you bring out your best, and proves everyone wrong. Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar all played big role in defeating Aussies in their own backyard, and in a version of the game where they are world champions for almost a decade. Cool calm captaincy from Dhoni showed us we got a leader for the future who go by instincts, and who backs his players in difficult times.So far so good, we got a brilliant future.

Right, now lets talk about responsibilities and touch a little on the start of the story. Captains need to be responsible.As soon as Dhoni comes back to India with the team, he gave an flamboyant interview to the media, saying it was necessary to send the message across to some players. And there the whole debate started , the issue of responsibility came into play.

How many years Dhoni has played international cricket? 3. How many years Dravid has played? 12. How many years Sourav Ganguly has played? 12+4. I am not here to repeat Gangulys credentials as captain or Dravids contributions to many Indian victories in the past. We all know that. But we never heard of this kind of statement before. Dhoni has won a triangular series, not a world cup. To remind people, take out sachin tendulkar's 117* and 91 from the 2 finals, the score line might as well be reversed.

so why there is so much fuss about juniors? it should be kept in mind that the best eleven is required to win a tournament, not a youngest eleven.Throughout the tour we have observed the failure of opening stand in Indian innings. We have observed over the last year, whenever sachin and sourav gave india a good start, India went on to either win the match or at least put up a big score.So why Uthappa or Shewag is considered a better option than sourav ganguly as opening partner for tendulkar?

just because he is 36? just because he doesnt run as fast as Uthappa? well then we should consider the amount of runs he scores, which is way more than those players.

Even after India defeated Australia, I am not convinced that India has the right batting lineup in ODIs at the moment. More of all, the players need to show respect to seniors and elders who have served the country so passionately for so long. Words generally create enemies, again the words can create friends. Words can help the flow of emotions. Dhoni made the mistake of first not speaking to the seniors abut their exclusion, second made a huge mistake for making such public statement in the open.

I am a strong believer of what goes around, comes around.It will come back to haunt MS Dhoni, he will realise it one day, but it will be too late then.

From cricketing stand point, both Ganguly and Dravid has about 20 matches still left in ODI career and at least 2 years left in test career. Though energy and youth is replacing the experience in shorter version of the game, I am horrified to think abou Indian cricket's test future. Once sachin-sourav-dravid-laxman, the fab four, hang up their boots, I am shivering as I think about the state of Indian cricket will be then. So Dhoni, please remember, respecting elders is part of our culture.

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