India's defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the final
of the Indian Oil Cup in Colombo, expected though it
was, has ironically made the task of the selectors that
Still, their job will be an unenviable one when they
sit down on Friday (August 12) to pick the captain for
the tour of Zimbabwe commencing later this month.
India winning the title would have strengthened the
claims of Rahul Dravid to retain the captaincy which
he took over when Sourav Ganguly was banned mid-way
through the ODI series against Pakistan in April.
As it is, Ganguly got in through the back-door with
the ban reduced from six to four games on the eve of
the tri-series and did not do his chances any harm in
his three innings (one retired hurt).
Though he looked rusty and struggled to hit
boundaries, Ganguly has done just enough to ensure he
retains his place in the side as a batsman.
Having done that, there can be little doubt that he
will be given back the captaincy on Sunday, though
Dravid may still feel hard done by considering few
Indian captains have managed to win an ODI title in
Sri Lanka in recent years.
Still, though Dravid was India's leading batsman in
the series, and at one stage looked like he would take
India home in the final, his captaincy record has been
disappointing. India were beaten in the last two ODIs
against Pakistan under his charge and here lost three
of their five matches. Further, they came pretty close
to being surprised by a second-string West Indian side
Had Ganguly failed with the bat yet again, he had a
miserable 2004-05 season, he would not have been worth
his place in the side and Dravid would have stayed
captain almost by default. That is now unlikely to
The tour itself is not something to look forward to.
After being crushed in less than two days by New
Zealand in the recent Test at Harare, Zimbabwe now are
surely facing relegation from Test cricket. Even their
own selectors admit the cupboard is bare. It is a sad
state of affairs, even though the Indian cricketers
must be licking their lips at the anticipation of easy
In fact this is a golden opportunity to improve our
record in Zimbabwe where India is yet to win a Test
series since the first visit in 1992. Three years ago
the series ended 1-1. A victory this time around,
which is all but assured, will leave only South Africa
and Australia as the two countries where we have not
won a Test series.
Surprisingly it is also the only Test playing nation
on whose soil Sachin Tendulkar has failed to score a
century. He must be tempted to return but no doubt
will be wise enough to keep himself back for the
sterner tests ahead this season.