Politics dominates Indian selection

The decision to drop Rahul Dravid is only the latest in India's cricketing history, where decisions based less on merit more on politics.

updated: November 06, 2007 15:40 IST
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While the decision to drop Rahul Dravid from the ODIs against Pakistan is rather abrupt, it is only the latest in India's cricketing history, which is littered with decisions based less on merit more on politics.

Rivalries couched in clever explanations like form, fitness and merit have queered the pitch for many cricketing greats.

The methods may have been different but the pattern always the same, i.e., there is always a not-so-subtle hint of things to come.

Not long ago, former captain Saurav Ganguly was left out in the cold for nearly a year and that some people wanted him to step down.

This was followed by selective leaks that it was the then coach Greg Chappel who had asked him to quit as captain.

And then a controversial e-email that Chappel sent to then BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya questioning Saurav's attitude and arguing that Ganguly was hanging on to captaincy for money was leaked.

Thereafter Chappel, chairman of selectors Kiran More and new skipper Rahul Dravid wanted Ganguly consigned to the pages of history.

The dressing room was tense, arguments occurred over Ganguly's batting position and the final axe followed soon after.

Compare this to how things are done in England, arguably the home of etiquette.

Their Chairman of Selectors David Graveney before announcing the Test squad for Sri Lanka next month called Andrew Strauss to personally convey the unhappy news of his not being there in the team.

He said that Strauss' status was such that he deserved more than a phone call.

Graveney did the same when fast bowler Andrew Caddick criticized the selectors for dropping a prolific scorer like Mark Ramprakash from the same tour.

He called Ramprakash and explained why other players were picked ahead of him.

But explanations were never given to Dravid. "They should get due respect. Players of that caliber need to be treated in a more mature manner," said Lalchand Rajput, Manager, Indian Cricket Team.

Axing people without a real reason is almost a policy in India.

Another example is VVS Laxman who was made the vice-captain for the South Africa tour but removed for the next tour to Bangladesh and then summarily replaced by Dinesh Karthik.

The same player Karthik was thought fit to replace Dravid in the last ODI against Australia and then dropped along with Dravid for the first two ODIs against Pakistan.

It seems that the trophy shelves of Indian cricket have always been dotted with silent, forgettable memories of rejection.