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So India has comprehensively won the first two games of the seven match ODI series against Sri Lanka. There are a quite a few things to be happy about as an Indian cricket fan. Apart from the fact that Sachin has returned to refreshing form with a bang, it has given the new skipper time to settle into his job and has allowed him some breathing space to work at his captaincy. It will also allow some of the new faces to make an entry into the Indian team. Already the likes of Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina and Sreesanth are competing for places in the Indian side with some of the seniors. In this transition stage, every cricketer will now be on edge. I don't think any senior player can take his place for granted.
In spite of this early success for Dravid, I think we should expect a few failures here and there as well. This is a new-look Indian team and Dravid certainly needs time to establish his leadership. And a couple of victories shouldn't blind us to the fact that this is still a team that is in the process of rebuilding. In my opinion, it's always tough for a team after an established captain who's been at the helm for a long time leaves the team. One thing in India's favour is that Sachin has come back after a long break to fill up some important gaps in the team. It was crucial that he performed now and he has delivered so far. Dravid will certainly need all the help he can get in keeping the critics at bay. It would certainly be interesting to watch how this team progresses over the next few games.
I'm beginning to wonder how Saurav feels about all this. Certainly it won't be easy for Dravid at the stage to captain the side because the selectors have (officially at least) kept their options open and there will be immense pressure from Saurav's supporters in the BCCI for a change if he fails a couple of times in a row. This is why I wish that the selectors would come out with a policy where the captain doesn't have to be uncertain of his post for at least a couple of series. It happens every time in Indian cricket: transition has never been easy and politics has always played its part during such times.
However, one thing is certain: the era of Sourav Ganguly as dada is over. Whatever happens from here on and even if he makes a comeback (which is very likely, given that he's a class player), I doubt whether he will ever hold the same influence on Indian Cricket as he has done over the last four or five years. The selectors have only given an early signal that his International career might practically be over. All said and done, nobody can complain except the Ganguly's most devoted fans. The fact is that he's had a nice, long and successful career as a player and captain and though we all acknowledge his past contributions, it was time for a change. In fact, it was long overdue.
Picture courtesy: uk.sports.yahoo.com
Posted on Sun, Oct 30, 2005 at 10:37 IST (last updated: Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 19:23 IST)