CAPTAIN AND COACH ARE LEAVING AFTER T20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – WHAT IT MEANS TO INDIAN CRICKET
Many of you advised me that I should not poke my nose into cricket and to stay with subjects I know. Well, I told you – both needed to go, regardless of the 2-1 result against a weak English team. They blew a chance to rub the noses of the English team into the ground 4-0 or 5-0. Don’t tell me that you will take 2-1 any day. But if you want to stamp your authority, you must be ruthless. The sad part is that India could have done this if it had chosen the right playing 11.
WHAT ASHWIN KEEPS MISSING
For all his prowess as a bowler, Ashwin can get out to some rank bad shots. I am talking about Tests only here – not ODIs or T20s. Sometimes, we can see the expression on his face – “I am putting a price on my wicket” when he comes out to bat, and on other times, he is playing a lot of shots very early in the innings. Take the last test he played – The WTC test. In the first innings, he scored 20 odd – got his eye in and could have avoided playing the shot that got him out. Test matches are all about wearing down the opposition, making it hard, and grinding the bowling into the dust. If India had scored another fifty runs in their first innings, who knows what the result could have been! Sure, people will argue that just hanging in there won’t help and that a ball with your name on it will arrive sooner or later. Let us test this a bit.
In the second innings, both Pant and Ashwin got out trying to take on New Zealand’s best bowler. Pant was living dangerously and could have bided his time and made it harder for the Kiwis – a drawn test would have made both India and NZ the joint champions. Check this out – I remember reading somewhere that a draw meant joint winners…
Pant walked down the wicket to Boult and mistimed his shot. They crossed over. Just two balls later, Ashwin, who was batting on 7, flashes at Boult and gets out too. What was the reason for this madness against Boult? Didn’t they know that a draw would be a much better outcome? What happened to putting a price on one’s wicket?
If India had batted one more session, who knows what could have happened! The Kiwi pace attack was playing its third test in as many weeks and would have tired sooner or later and that would have given ample opportunity for these two to “express” themselves. It is easy to be doing Monday-morning-quarterbacking (look this up guys – tell this to Americans and they will love you) but was playing those shots what the team wanted? Or was it the player’s decision?
No matter what, dropping Ashwin at the Oval and then promoting Jadeja to shield Rahane was a very, very poor decision – whoever made that. When Ashwin has intent, he can play like an opener. The only problem is that “intent” is showing up less and less.
Back to Kohli. Should he continue as captain in other formats? In my opinion, No. He can play as a batsman if he gets selected. He needs all the time that he can muster to focus on his game. Remember, his batting style is not out of a coaching book.
So who should be the next captain? IMO, Rohit Sharma for White Ball Cricket and Ashwin for Tests. These are the names I would put down first when I am choosing the playing 11. And I would like Rohit to bat in Tests and not worry about captaincy. But that is just me. My predictions rarely come true.
DRAVID FOR THE NEXT COACH?
BCCI may think that it rewards meritocracy (Rajdeep Sardesai once mentioned this) just pooh-poohed that by making sloppy selection errors in the last Test series. Ishant was not fit and Siraj was only half-fit in the fourth test and yet both were persisted. One bright spot was Umesh Yadav who bowled the right lines for the most part and got rewarded. If BCCI wants to redeem its reputation, it must start by appointing the best person suited to coach India, and that in my opinion is Rahul Dravid.
And if India is going to play a 4-pace attack, then they must choose bowlers who can hit an average of 140Ks or more. Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi should be part of the squad when India travels overseas and is used judiciously. Both hit 150Ks and in short spells of 2 to 3 overs can wreak havoc. And who got the best out of these two youngsters? Rahul Dravid. As their Under-19 coach.
Both break down frequently but like Pat Cummins, I believe that now they may have stronger hamstring muscles and that they are the future of the Indian Cricket team. They need to be still nurtured carefully. Do not play them in T20s/ IPL etc. unless they are 100 percent fit. I want Team India to be Dominators – for a decade. And Rahul Dravid can make that happen.
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 Test series: India beat England at Oval, take unassailable 2-1 lead – Sep 06, 2021, Telegraph India
 Virat Kohli to step down as T20I captain after World Cup – Sep 16, 2021, ICC
 Will Rahul Dravid replace Ravi Shastri as Team India coach? Sourav Ganguly shares big update – Sep 13, 2021, WION News
 When Rahul Dravid Was Appointed As The U-19 Coach, I Felt India Did A Great Job: Aravinda de Silva – Jul 09, 2021, Cricket Addictor