Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features > Moments in history >

Rahul Dravid can play a pivotal role in turning Indian cricket around

Rahul Dravid can play a pivotal role in turning Indian cricket around

With the faith that he has demonstrated in captain MS Dhoni (right), Rahul Dravid (left) can be the ideal candidate for the role of the coach, or at least a close advisor in any designated role that can be created to involve him with the team © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid, born January 11, 1973, turns 40 today. Arunabha Sengupta writes that even though the maestro has walked away from the international arena, he can play a sterling role during this transitional phase of the Indian side.

For a decade and a half, Rahul Dravid had shepherded the Indian top order, establishing sanity in the face of crisis and turmoil.
Now, as he celebrates his 40th birthday, he may have moved away from his timeless presence at the batting crease and in the first slip; but given the current condition of Indian cricket, there are many ways in which his serene sagacity and cricketing common sense can be of immense use.
If we look at the present scenario with detachment, stripping the plethora of loud voices that ring out of the associated frustration, agenda, emotions and – in some cases – retribution, Rahul Dravid indeed emerges as someone who can play a pivotal role in transforming the fortunes of Indian cricket.
No, not as a miracle man. With Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Dravid himself and Anil Kumble in their primes, miracles had been daily affairs and easy to perform. Times have changed. Dravid is one man who understands that the team is going through a transition and expectations need to be rationalised based on the availability of talent and experience in the playing eleven.
Dravid himself can be an excellent candidate to facilitate this transition.

Voice of reason

Dravid does his job as a commentator and analyst with a difference. While he has his views about tactics and decisions, he is the first – and may be the only one – to admit that the suggested ploys could go wrong as easily and it is always easy to criticise in retrospect. Perhaps the green fields he has walked on, for so long and with such dignity, have left a lasting honest stain on his boots. Or perhaps his playing days are too recent for him to wallow in a manufactured ideal past. But, he has kept his feet firmly on the ground, and the antiseptic air-conditioned environment of the commentary box has been unable to delude him into becoming a divine voice that can utter no wrong.
Amidst the turbulent calls for chopping and changing, the bloodthirsty demand for important heads to roll, Dravid’s voice has rung out balanced and sensible, following the same glorious way his bat had done the talking over the years.
While from all possible nooks and crannies of Indian cricket voices have clamoured for the head of MS Dhoni, Dravid has backed the skipper firmly.
There have been arguments for Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir getting the top job, important voices have claimed that Dhoni does not merit a place in the Test side. If these suggestions had been put under a rational microscope, eggs would have landed conspicuously on the faces of these backseat drivers.
Not only have Sehwag and Gambhir struggled to justify their respective places in the side, Dhoni, a wicket-keeper batsman, has had a better run with the bat in Test cricket in the recent past than the two openers. And the day an ex-selector came out all guns blazing, proclaiming that Dhoni did not have the technique to play Test cricket, the Indian captain batted through a full day in Nagpur on a difficult wicket. However, riding on the waves of fanatical emotions, the unreasonable voices have transcended logic and enjoyed heady popularity.
Dravid, however, has a much more realistic view of the situation. He understands that Sehwag and Gambhir have not performed for a long time, and cannot take up the reins in these circumstances. He is aware of the figures – a trait curiously uncommon in an Indian ex-player turned critic.
He is also pragmatic about Virat Kohli, and rightly says: “I believe it’s a little early for him. At the moment, he is a growing, developing cricketer. I would love for him to get the job after India has played another 15 or so Tests, which means after the England tour, in September 2014. If he can keep his form and develop till then, it will be a good time for him to take over. He is a long-term prospect as batsman and captain, but giving him the Test captaincy at this stage might be risky.”

In Dravid’s vision – pleasantly long term –  the next 15 Test matches, consisting of  the home series against Australia, the tour to South Africa, New Zealand and the English summer of 2014, are crucial for India, and this period can see the transition coming along. And he believes that Dhoni can lead this transition fully, before leaving the reins in the hands of an able successor.

He speaks highly about Dhoni’s ability to lead from the front. “We saw this in the Nagpur Test match – and not merely from his 99. Because the wicket was slow, Dhoni came up to the stumps to Ishant Sharma, who was bowling at 140kph. To do that was gutsy, because it had ‘break your finger’ written all over it. Dhoni was willing to take that chance, and to me, in some ways, that shows leadership.”

While these views, aired across the media by someone of Dravid’s stature, do work wonders to apply a layer of reason on the tumultuous thought-space of Indian cricket, perhaps his contribution to the transition can be more direct.

Dravid as coach?

With the faith that he has demonstrated in the Indian captain, he can be the ideal candidate for the role of the coach, or at least a close advisor in any designated role that can be created to involve him with the team.

“It will require from Dhoni a change in the way he captains, a recognition that he can’t do everything all the time, and the willingness to ask for and accept help,”Dravid has gone on record voicing. By a logical extension, Dravid himself can be the one to advance the required help as and when required.
For the captain too it is easier to work with the supportive Dravid than some others who have hacked away at his credentials with a relentless sense of purpose.

Tactically, Dravid was the most brilliant skipper India ever had since Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. He has played alongside Dhoni for a long, long time. The two have been the only captains since the eighties to have won major Test series outside the subcontinent. Collaboration between the two can result in the perfect captain-coach combination to turn around India’s fortunes.

If we look through the annals of cricket history, the side that comes closest to the sudden depletion India is currently experiencing is perhaps Australia of the 1980s, when Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh left the scene together. It took a while, but Allan Border did turn things around. In the first four years, he won three Tests while losing nine. But, he managed to win the World Cup, and then convert the Australians into a world beating unit in Test cricket before passing his baton into the deserving hands of Mark Taylor. Close at hand, he had the wisdom of the canny Bobby Simpson to fall back on.

Dhoni’s case is slightly different. He had taken India to the pinnacle in both Test and One-Day cricket, he has already won a World Cup apiece in both the short formats of the game. The transition has affected the side in the very middle of his tenure. However, with Dravid playing a crucial role, the two can combine into a Border-Simpson like combination to guide India into becoming a winning force yet again.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah


Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014  at Sharjah

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 8 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 16, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 41 runs

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Australia Women won by 6 wkts


Delhi vs Bangalore match 2, IPL 2014 at Sharjah


Video Highlights: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders wickets

IPL Statistics and Records: IPL’s First

IPL 2014: Umpire Camera View creates latest buzz in tournament

IPL 7: Vintage Jacques Kallis showed his class for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Capacity crowd at UAE provides glimpse of the T20 league’s huge following

BCCI Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga MS Dhoni Mumbai Indians Royal Challengers Bangalore Virat Kohli

Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014, Match 6 Preview: Delhi search for first win

Rajasthan Royals open their IPL 2014 campaign with a nervy 4-wicket over Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2014: JP Duminy takes tips from AB de Villier’s after Delhi Daredevils’s loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore

Varun Aaron says he won’t cut down on pace

IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore looking to carry forward momentum against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team composition vital for success

Kings XI Punjab’s local talent gives them an added dimension in IPL 2014

Former Australia PM Robert Menzies used cricket to win a case as a lawyer

Naoomal Jaoomal: The man who opened batting in India’s first ever Test

Sony launches ‘IPL Smart Earphone’ to filter crap commentary; calls endeavour CSR

Fan of the Day

Sudatta Mukherjee

Sudatta Mukherjee

1 Posts | 0 Fans

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014 Video Highlights

Know what it takes to save your skin during flights

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom’s camera sample surfaces online

Why is Boman Irani happy for Jolly LLB’s National Film Award?

Britney Spears to marry beau David Lucadao in Hawaii

11 possible causes of coughing up blood

CUPS, a mobile application for unlimited coffee, launched

Also on