The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav comes into the picture
- Opinion seems divided within BCCI on Team India captaincy issue

Calcutta: While coach Greg Chappell’s fate is as good as sealed, opinion within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seems divided on the leadership issue.

“I think it’s time for a passionate captain,” somebody involved with the selection process told The Telegraph on Monday evening.

He wished to remain anonymous.

While Sachin Tendulkar was vice-captain till the World Cup, the gentleman indicated Sourav Ganguly stood a better chance of getting back the captaincy, which was taken away in October 2005.

His argument: Barring the odd innings, Sourav has been “most consistent” since his comeback in mid-December.

In runs and averages, that translates to 214 (42.80) in three Tests and 509 (63.62) in ten ODIs.

Yet, it’s not that Rahul Dravid doesn’t have support in the corridors of power.

Somebody else associated with the selection process remarked he would “first” like to interact with the World Cup manager (and selector), Sanjay Jagdale.

This gentleman, too, didn’t want to be identified.

“It wouldn’t be fair to judge Dravid’s captaincy on the basis of what one saw on the TV… Just how warm was the team spirit in the dressing room' Did everybody prepare as they should have' These answers can best come from the manager,” he said.

Sourav’s performances have been well documented, but where will a tilt in his favour leave senior-most pro Sachin'

Surely, he wouldn’t have accepted the vice-captaincy (in mid-January), after yet another poor tour of South Africa, if he wasn’t mentally prepared to again captain India.

Sachin, however, had been reluctant to take up the responsibility when he last got the job (July 1999) and relinquished it some seven months later.

It was a listless tenure. Moreover, appearing weighed down, he’d even forgotten to smile in that short period.

Sachin never quite came across as a charged-up and innovative captain in his first innings (August 1996-December 1997) either.

A great batsman isn’t necessarily an extraordinary leader.

“Look, a knee-jerk reaction won’t help… Isn’t the captain only as good as his team' We’ve got to make a rational and not emotional call,” is what a key BCCI official emphasised.

Dravid’s batting may not have suffered, but he doesn’t breathe fire and is, well, conservative.

Then, how about accountability for the awful body language throughout a miserable World Cup'

Significantly, at the moment, there’s no move to “gamble” and give the No. 1 job to somebody young.

Sourav is soon going to be 35, while Sachin turns 34 next month.

The BCCI, obviously, is keen to play with bat close to pad.

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