The Mahender Singh Dhoni led Indian team is surely having a tough time in their tour of England. If the lackluster performances on the field were not enough, it has been embarrassed by controversies, (read Indian team’s inability to attend charity event hosted by Indian High Commission), injuries (both hidden and new found) and players getting into fight with spectators! The latter IMHO, is actually not so bad as it shows that some sort of aggression is still present.
After thumping losses in the first two Tests everyone must have welcomed the break of ten days between the second and third Test match, little realizing that something as routine as selecting a team for subsequent One-Day Internationals would also become a contentious issue. Its true that not even the most ardent supporter of Rahul Dravid would have expected him to be picked for the shorter version of the game. The man himself summed up the brouhaha by stating that he himself was surprised by the inclusion.
I am sure even the selectors while picking the man who has not played the shorter format since 2009 must have anticipated the kind of public interest which has been generated. However what is surprising is how it has become one of the most talked about things in the past week. Almost anyone who has a tongue to speak and can get hold of an ear to make himself heard has an opinion about how Dravid must be feeling back in 2009- Ill, shabbily treated, humiliated, hurt sentiments are some of the terms being used to describe his state of mind then.
Now when one has been given a chance to represent his/her country there is a fat or almost no chance that the person would be harbouring any of the above feelings and if that person happens to be Rahul Dravid, be rest assured that all his thoughts would be centered around the ways to take his team out of doldrums that Dhoni and his men have got themselves into.
Yes, perhaps to select him is a decision taken in panic but at the same time it is not devoid of a solid reason. Agreed that he hasn’t been part of the one-day fold for some time but he has enough skill required to succeed. Moreover when he was dropped it was not because he suddenly became a bad batsman. He perhaps did not fit into the scheme of things of people who were entrusted with the job of selecting the team. Nobody ever questioned his ability. You cannot do that with some one who has more than 10,000 runs. Perhaps they wanted to build a team for 2011 and felt that Dravid may not be around. That India won the 2011 world cup and yet now needs the services of the man who was discarded long back post that historical moment is a paradox in itself. But the people who are getting sentimental about it must realize that both the situations, Dravid’s rejection in 2009 and his selection now, were only aimed at the betterment of Indian cricket and there were no vested interests involved.
Rahul Dravid has been the best batsman on the tour so far and has been aptly rewarded for the same. His performances coupled with the absence of Yuvraj Singh and the inability of younger batsmen to cope with the movement and bounce of English pitches may have forced the selectors to give him an SOS but this is no way a backward decision. Rather it should be seen as a victory for the batsmanship of Rahul Dravid. It even allowed him to call time on his own terms as far as One day Internationals are concerned. The true ambassador of the Gentleman’s game would be retiring from both ODI’s and Twenty-20 after England series perhaps saving the wise men from selection dilema when they will be sitting down again. Considering the kind of form he is in right now he could well be one of the leading scorers for India in ODI’s. He has bailed out India on so many occassions but this time he bailed the very people who dropped him two years back. That’s what is called poetic justice may be!