Tag: Sachin Tendulkar

Rahul Dravid retires

On 9/3/2012 Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic first class cricket. Anil Kumble and BCCI President N. Srinivasan were with him. In 164 Tests, he had 36 centuries, scored 13,288 runs with an average of 52.31, 210 catches and one wicket that is of Ridley Jacobs. In 344 ODIs he scored 10,889 runs with an average of 39.16, 12 centuries, 196 catches and four wickets including one of Saeed Anwar. His T20 match against England was his debut match and retirement match. He was known as the Wall. When he batted well the headline was the Wall stands tall.

Rahul Dravid made Test debut at Lord’s in 1996. He scored 95. That was also the Test where Sourav Ganguly made his debut, hit a century, and overshadowed Rahul Dravid. Rahul Dravid’s first Test century came at Johannesburg in 1997. His highest Test runs in an Innings was 270 at Rawalpindi in 2004.

In 2001 at Calcutta Rahul Dravid partnered V. V. S. Laxman in fightback against Australia after India were asked to follow-on having scored 275 runs less than Australia. Rahul Dravid scored 180. V. V. S. Laxman scored 281*. In 2003-4 tour of Australia at Adelaide he scored 233 and 72* and India won the Test. Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag were once close to breaking Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s world record for first wicket.

For most of Rahul Dravid’s captaincy Gregory Stephen Chappell was coach. When G. S. Chappell began as coach Sourav Ganguly was captain and Rahul Dravid was vice captain. Chappell did not want Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar in the team. Sourav Ganguly was out of team after winning a series in Zimbabwe. Zaheer Khan was also out of the team. Both players returned to the team. The relationship between Chappell and many players was strained. Rahul Dravid was lonely. After Chappell’s term expired Chandu Borde became coach.

As Test captain Rahul Dravid’s record was mixed. Against Pakistan he lost a Test and consequently a series. Pakistan were 0/3 and 39/6 on the first day of third Test which India lost. In 2006 he won a Test series 1-0 in West Indies. At Kingston he scored 81 and 68 when wickets kept falling and led India to victory. India won the series in West Indies after 35 years. Against England he won a series 1-0. India won the series in England after 21 years. In one Test at Oval in 2007 he did not enforce follow-on in spite of having 312 runs lead and that Test ended in draw. India should have won the series 2-0. Against South Africa he lost the series 1-2 which India should have won 2-1.

As ODI captain Rahul Dravid won matches consecutively in the beginning. After India won the first ODI in West Indies Chappell said West Indies have forgotten how to win. That motivated West Indies and they won the next four ODIs. It was disaster in ODI World Cup 2007.

Rahul Dravid decided not to lead T20 side in World Cup 2007. Mahendra Singh Dhoni became captain of T20 team. While the tournament was in progress he quit as captain. India won the cup. Anil Kumble became Test captain and Dhoni ODI captain. Dhoni did not want seniors in the team. Rahul Dravid was out of ODI team. He was recalled for ODIs in South Africa and dropped again.

Shahid Afridi spoke of Pakistani’s being large hearted. He should have remembered India’s large heartedness and Pakistan’s small heartedness in an ODI where Saeed Anwar scored 192 and created a world record and Pakistan won the match. India had allowed Saeed Anwar to use a runner and Shahid Afridi was the runner. When Rahul Dravid batted Pakistan’s captain Rameez Raja first allowed Sachin Tendulkar to be runner. When it appeared Rahul Dravid will lead India to victory Rameez Raja withdrew the permission and did not allow Sachin Tendulkar to continue as runner. At the end Rahul Dravid was overcome by fatigue and India lost the ODI.

Rahul Dravid’s best time as cricketer was in England in 2011. He scored three centuries in four Tests which India lost. He was unexpectedly selected to play ODIs and T20 and he retired from ODIs and T20 at the end of the tour.

Rahul Dravid’s last Test series was a disappointment. India lost to Australia 0-4. Rahul Dravid was bowled six times out of eight. He did not score many runs. There was criticism of senior cricketers.

Rahul Dravid holds the record of highest Test catches, in Test runs aggregate he is second. Whether there will be another cricketer like him in Indian team is difficult to tell. India did not have an opener like Sunil Gavaskar and an all rounder like Kapil Dev after they retired. West Indies were once a great team. A player has to retire some day and Rahul Dravid chose the day.

Cricketers and retirement

The day Ricky Ponting retired from ODI cricket there was discussion on Indian news TV channels whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire. Before that during the Test series there was talk whether senior cricketers should retire.

It is for cricketers to decide when they want to retire and for selectors to decide who should be in the team. A cricketer does not retire does not mean he continues in the team. Selectors have dropped players who did not perform well. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh have been in and out of the team. Rahul Dravid was dropped from ODIs. Sourav Ganguly was dropped as captain and player after winning Test series in Zimbabwe. It is wrong to say Kapil Dev by not retiring two years early delayed Srinath’s entry. If Kapil Dev was not good selectors would have dropped him. The argument that senior cricketers by not retiring block chances of young cricketers is not correct.

India lost eight Tests in succession abroad and some talk how after Sourav Ganguly there has been no proper No. 6 batsman or how Anil Kumble used to tie up one end.

Ricky Ponting was dropped from ODI team after he scored 18 runs in five ODIs and it was made clear he will not be selected to ODIs so he retired. Sachin Tendulkar is not dropped. He has scored 87 runs in four ODIs. Rahul Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman are not in ODI team. It is for them to decide when they want to retire from Tests. Selectors will do their job.

Bharata Ratna candidates

The decision of the government to change the rule for eligibility to get Bharata Ratna has stirred a debate and opened the floodgates with demands for Bharata Ratna for various persons. Formerly it was for art, literature, public service and science. Now it is for any field in human endeavour. The change came about because sport was not a category for which Bharata Ratna was given and many people wanted Sachin Tendulkar should get Bharata Ratna.

There are people who feel all national awards should be abolished because they are political. They are few. There are those who say giving Bharata Ratna for sport will devalue Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna which was equivalent to Bharata Ratna and if someone is given Bharata Ratna for sport all sportspersons who got Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna will feel humiliated. Sachin Tendulkar has got Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. Since sport is included for Bharata Ratna, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna should be abolished.

Some question the timing of announcement and say it is a diversion from the problems faced by UPA government. There is movement for Lokpal Bill. It had to hold back FDI in retail. There is demand for P. Chidambaram’s resignation. Rupee has weakened. Economy has declined. Sachin Tendulkar is expected to hit his 100th international 100. Conferring Bharata Ratna on Sachin Tendulkar will make people happy and they will forget about the problems.

There are people who say Dhyan Chand should be the first one to get Bharata Ratna. He got three gold medals in Olympics. He played in Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932) and Berlin (1936). He scored 1,000 goals in hockey. Dhyan Chand died on 3 December 1979. Some say both Dhyan Chand and Sachin Tendulkar should get. Some say one should get, giving to two will devalue Bharata Ratna. In the past two or more persons were given Bharata Ratna in the same year. That time nobody spoke of devaluation. Some say SachinTendulkar is too young while others oppose it saying he started young.

Apart from the above two there are many other names doing rounds.

Some have proposed Balbir Singh who got three gold medals in hockey in Olympics, another player who got three gold medals and one silver medal in hockey in Olympics, Prakash Padukone, Vijay Amritraj, Ramanathan Krishnan, Milkha Singh, Vishwanathan Anand, Abhinav Bindra, Leander Paes and Karnam Malleshwari. Someone said Mahendra Singh Dhoni should get Bharata Ratna because he led India to victory in T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup and No. 1 Test ranking.

Some have proposed Katrina Kaif, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajnikant, Gulzar, Mohammed Rafi and Mamooty. Someone proposed Lata Mangeshkar without knowing she got Bharata Ratna some years back.

Some have proposed Anna Hazare.

Abolishing awards will mean end to controversies and demands about awards and saving money. Bharata Ratna should be restricted to living persons. It was meant and given for living persons except in case of Lal Bahadur Shastri who died unexpectedly and was awarded Bharata Ranta within a few days of his death. That changed in 1990 and for some years people who had died many years back got Bharata Ratna. Some years back there were demands on behalf of many persons who had died long back so the award has not been given to dead persons since then.