By Chetan Sharma (IANS): It was a dream for die-hard fans to see “good men” lead India cricket both on and off the field and it’s becoming a reality now as the trio of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman is all set to take country’s cricket to greater heights in their respective roles.
Over the years, fans have seen low and highs, many controversies and unnecessary issues around Indian cricket. With Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman coming together, there is a sense of assurance among fans and they feel that Indian cricket is in safe hands.
“Oh God! Give Good sense to cricketers”. In 2000, these posters were quite common in Delhi streets, especially near the then named Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. It was the time when Indian cricket was going through its toughest phase. The match-fixing scandal had jolted the entire World or can say most importantly India. Cricketing heroes – who were ruling the hearts of the people – became villains overnight.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was in tatters and meetings were taking place on a regular basis on how to regain the lost trust and respect. In such a situation, one man named Ganguly took over the charge and changed the fortunes of Indian cricket.
Ganguly was appointed as captain of the team and he brought India out of the turmoil, forming a team which stunned the World. That team not only won the matches on home soil but also instilled belief that Men in Blue can win on foreign countries as well. The ‘Dadagiri’ made India fearless and his decision-making skills were awe-inspiring. He became people’s choice and the fans, who had unfollowed the sport, started believing it again.
The role of Dravid and Laxman on foreign soil was also equally important in making Ganguly’s dream come true. Sachin Tendulkar was already there. This pair was then called Fabulous-4 alias ‘Fab-4’ in Indian cricket history.
Today, out of these, Tendulkar is currently associated with the IPL team Mumbai Indians, while the ‘Fab Three’ – Ganguly, Laxman and Dravid – have geared up to take national cricket to new heights after taking over the administrative roles.
Actually, now the reins of Indian cricket have come in the hands of these three legends. While Ganguly currently is the BCCI President, Dravid has made a great start to his new innings as the head coach of Team India. And now the classy left-handed batsman has himself announced that Laxman will serve as the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. Soon it will also be formally announced.
Indian cricket will now be run by the trinity of Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman. However, there will be challenges and they will have to deal with it by bringing their master plan into action.
A look into what lies ahead for these “good men” of Indian cricket:
Sourav Ganguly: Fearless captain, sensible cricket administrator
Every Indian cricket fan knows how Ganguly did wonders for the team while playing and now he is equally active as a cricket administrator as well. Whether it was the matter of organising India’s first Pink Ball Test match or the salaries issue of domestic cricketers, the BCCI president has taken decisions well within the time.
And now, he has even convinced a legend like Dravid to become the head coach despite The Wall’s initial ‘no’. It is not hidden from anyone how hard Ganguly had to work to persuade Dravid. Former India captain knows that there cannot be a better person than Dravid to coach the Indian team at this crucial juncture with so many ICC events coming up.
With this decision, Dada shot many targets with one arrow. One is that instead of a foreign coach, he chose an Indian coach, who knows minute details of cricketing set-up in the country. Secondly, Dravid’s presence also means that his unmatched career experience will also be passed on to Team India’s cricketers. A career that featured exceptional performances as a batsman, followed by mastery as coach of Under-19 and India A.
However, organising a women’s IPL and better scheduling of India matches are the key challenges for the BCCI president, which fans expect him to overcome in times to come.
Rahul Dravid: Hard-working yet gentleman, Trustworthy
Dravid brings a sense of calmness and trust in the dressing room and his debut as the head coach of the Indian team also started on a positive note with the T20 series win against New Zealand. Although, the legendary batsman was not ready to take this job at first and wanted to give more time to his family, but later in the interest of Indian cricket, he agreed.
With him becoming the head coach of Team India, many things in Indian cricket will become smooth. One, Rahul has worked with most of the Indian players as NCA chief, India A and Under-19 team coach and has created a strong pool of young talented cricketers. Several Indian cricketers- Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Mavi, Rituraj Gaikwad and others have enhanced their skills under Dravid’s guidance. Under his tutelage, India also won the 2018 Under-19 World Cup title.
In the last few years, many players from India’s A team have also been successful in making their place in the senior team by improving the level of their game. In the next few years, many current members of the Indian cricket team will be on the verge of retirement and Dravid will have to go ahead and work with only those players who have matured from youth under his supervision. In this sense, it will help in taking Team India forward together.
India haven’t won an ICC tournament for eight years now and it will be an uphill task for Dravid to guide ‘Men in Blue’ to a title in next few years.
VVS Laxman: Known for performing under pressure and his selflessness
During their playing days, the synergy of Dravid and Laxman has overshadowed the opponents many times. Who can forget that famous Kolkata Test, where these two showed the meaning of determination and courage to the whole world.
Now, the BCCI wants the same synergy between these two legends in taking Indian cricket forward. And this is the reason BCCI President Ganguly decided to appoint Laxman as the director of National Cricket Academy, a post which became vacant after Dravid became the head coach of Team India.
Laxman, who will soon formally take over as the Director of the NCA, knows the art of excelling under pressure and in such a situation, the important responsibility of making young cricketers mentally strong in the NCA will be on his strong and capable shoulders.
On the other hand, Dravid and Laxman have a good understanding and will act as a bridge between Team India and NCA. In fact, the coach of Team India, along with the NCA chief, will also have to prepare a plan to hone the skills and fitness of those players who are not part of the national team. In this sense, the off-field partnership of Laxman and Dravid will be worth watching.
Succeeding Dravid as NCA’s chief, Laxman will have to let go off several incentives, including a contract with IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad, his commentary deal with Star Sports and other financial cuts. He along with his wife and kids will also shift to Bangalore for next three years from Hyderabad, his hometown.
All these factors show Laxman’s selflessness and his strong desire to serve Indian cricket.