Tag: Zaheer Khan

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.

Defeat at Trent Bridge

Indians hoped that India will do well in Trent Bridge Test. India will win and it will be 1-1.

On Day 1 England were all out 221. At one time they were 124/8. India were 24/1. On Day 2 India were all out 288, a lead of 67 runs. At one time they were 267/4. England were 24/1. On Day 3 India’s bowling was not successful. England dominated. The day began with Vaseline controversy. Till tea break India had the chance of winning or drawing the Test. After Ian Bell run-out controversy it was downhill for India. England finished the day 441/6, a lead of 374 runs. On that day England scored 417 runs on a single day, highest since 1954. After tea break India did not have the will to fight. Something was seriously wrong. It seems there was a split in the team and many players were demoralised. On day 4 England were all out 544. India were all out 158 in 47.4 overs and lost the Test by 319 runs. Sachin Tendulkar was the top scorer with 56. Harbhajan Singh scored 46, Rahul Dravid 6, V. V. S. Laxman 4, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 0. The match was over within four days.

Ian Bell had a reprieve during World Cup some months back. That time he and everyone else knew he was out but he continued as umpire had not given him out. That time it was question of rules and there was no question of spirit of the game. After that incident UDRS rule changed for World Cup.

What went wrong? Batting was supposed to become more difficult every day. How is that even English tail enders batted well and Indians failed? India went into the series as No. 1 team. After two consecutive Test defeats that ranking is in doubt. Dhoni said our bowlers were tired and our batsmen were unable to live up to the challenge. His own form is a concern. Kapil Dev said out bowlers don’t play Ranji or three day matches. They play one day or T20 matches. Hence they are unable to bowl long spells.

India have to win the remaining two Tests to draw the series and retain No. 1 ranking. No team can remain No. 1 for ever but India lost the Lord’s Test and performed badly in Trent Bridge Test. Excuses will not do. Players get injured and their absence should not be the reason as others take their place. Some say missing the West Indies tour was the reason for poor performance of some players. Sunil Gavaskar had said that those who want rest and do not want to go to West Indies should be given permanent rest. Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan had missed the tour. Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan got injured at Lord’s and were out of Trent Bridge Test. Yuvraj Singh who replaced Gautam Gambhir could have been sent to open batting. Some blame BCCI’s refusal to have UDRS for LBW decisions as reason for India’s defeat as Harbhajan Singh was wrongly given out and some English batsmen were not given out LBW.

After the Test when asked about Ian Bell’s return Dhoni said it was not about rule or spirit of the game but about feeling good. They did not feel good about the way he was out. Really? In that case the players who did not feel good should not be in the team. If all players did not feel good the whole team should be back in India and another team should be sent. In 2004 BJP campaigned on feel good factor and it lost the election.

The series had a sideshow of one ad featuring Dhoni making fun of an ad featuring Harbhajan Singh. Then another ad featuring Gautam Gambhir endorsing the product Harbhajan Singh endorsed.

Before the Test there was also a controversy about Indian cricketers not attending the reception by Indian High Commissioner and attending Dhoni’s charity auction. BCCI said there was communication gap. When Mohinder Singh Gill was sports minister he had derecognised BCCI as a national sports organisation. It was not proper for Indian High Commissioner to invite a team that is not sent by a recognised national sports organisation. Once the players did not attend the reception there was no need to go public about it and the matter should have been closed. There is supposed to be another reception once the players return to London. Now that the players have done badly there may not be much enthusiasm to meet them.

It is possible for India to win the remaining two Tests and level the series. I hope they will.