Rahul Dravid on trial?
BANGALORE, May 10
From Manoj Vatsyayana
Asked recently whether Rahul
Dravid was on trial in the current triangular series, skipper Mohammed
Azharuddin just said, "Everybody is on trial."
The reply betrayed his disinterestedness
in the matter. But the question is too topical to remain unheeded and unattended.
Is Dravid really on trial?
If so, what has he to prove? The National selectors feel that he has to
show that he can score briskly in one-dayers.
Nobody questions Dravid's
credentials in Tests. He has shown many a time that he has the talent,
temperament and technique to excel in conventional cricket. The same virtues
are, however, of no help in limited-overs game. He is considered steady
in Tests, but slow in one-dayers.
A misconception prevails
that a technically-correct batsman is a liability if he is unable to whack
the ball in the shorter version of the game. This hazy thinking has already
done in Sanjay Manjrekar.
Dravid is trying hard not
to become another Manjrekar. It is a tribute to his mental toughness that
he has so far stood his ground in keeping his berth in Tests. When it comes
to instant cricket, however he seems to be haunted by fear of failure.
It has apparently begun to zero in on his confidence.
They say cricket is played
in the mind. But when the mind is assailed with doubt, success becomes
a mirage. Dravid, in his natural frame of mind, is a treat to watch.
When confident and self-assured
he is an altogether different batsman. His 84 in the triangular series
final against South Africa at Durban last year should have ended all doubts
and arguments over his batting.
But that was not to be.
Doubting Thomases still called for his ouster, even though he scored a
quickfire 85 to help India declare in the third and final Test against
Sri Lanka at Mumbai last December. But that did not signal the end of his
A moderate performance in
his very next tournament - the Champions Trophy in Sharjah- was enough
to convince the selectors that Dravid was not cut out for one-dayers. Remember
also that none had performed well in that tournament and India had lost
all of their league matches.
Dravid, along with five,
was axed after the Sharjah tourney. In the event, he missed the three subsequent
meets-Independence Cup at Dhaka, triangular series at home and Coca-Cola
Cup at Sharjah.
He has now been recalled.
And put on trial. In a wrong tournament, though. He is in a catch-22 situation.
His failure will be exaggerated and success taken for granted.