|Indian cricket & it's over-the-top hysteria|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Dec 24, 2006|
The amount of abuse captain Rahul Dravid and coach
Greg Chappell have had to endure over the last six
months has been astonishing.
It must have made life pretty miserable for them as
India were trounced 4-1 in the West Indies, lost in
the prelims of the Champions Trophy in India and then
were whitewashed 4-0 in South Africa.
Of course all this was in ODIs with their record in
Test matches being much better, exemplified by the
fantastic victory at Johannesburg.
Indian cricket fans have a notoriously short memory.
It was only six months ago that India won a Test
series in the West Indies for the first time in 35
years. And now they have won a Test match there for
the first time since India first toured South Africa
Since Chappell took over as coach in October last year
India have won seven out of 16 Test matches and lost
just two. Yet this all seems to be forgotten in the
hysteria over results in ODIs.
Here too it should be remembered that in the first six
months under Chappell and Dravid India enjoyed a
fantastic run, winning 18 of their first 24 games.
It has been downhill all the way since then and the
same young players who played such a big part in that
golden run and were feted by fans and the media alike
as the future of Indian cricket-Irfan Pathan, Mohammad
Kaif, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh (who is
injured)-are now out of favour. Such are the vagaries
Still, I found it shocking to read some of the
comments following the triumph at the Wanderers,
largely due to the bowling efforts of S. Sreesanth and
the batting of the so-called veterans.
If Indian cricket is still dependant on Rahul Dravid,
VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil
Kumble, it should be cause for alarm rather than
jubilation and gloating as we are seeing today.
Chairman of the selectors Dilip Vengsarkar's comment
that there is no ready-made young talent ready to step
in to their shoes rings true and should also ring the
It should also be gracefully accepted that the
enforced period out of the Indian team has done a
world of good to Ganguly and Zaheer Khan. As Ravi
Shastri rightly commented on TV, it has meant they are
back refreshed and recharged and with that fire in the
belly again which was lacking when they were dropped
And remember, it was Laxman who had been dumped by the
previous regime for the 2003 World Cup, something that
still rankles him. Kumble too was dropped for that
final in Johannesburg by the same pair.
To read the comments of a well-known columnist in a
Kolkata daily that Dravid was "possessed" of
Chappell's spirit and that the Test victory will help
'exorcise' him of that spirit is in pretty bad taste.
We are talking of cricket here, not some life-or-death
issue. Perhaps the writer is simply pandering to the
emotional needs of his target audience.
Some moderation and perspective though is surely the
need of the hour instead of this over-the-top hysteria
that accompanies both victory and defeat in the realms
of Indian cricket. Or is that asking for the moon?