Decision to drop Rahul shocking: Jadeja

Former Indian skipper Ajay Jadeja on Tuesday described the decision to sack Rahul Dravid from the national team as "shocking".

updated: November 06, 2007 15:40 IST
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Former Indian skipper Ajay Jadeja on Tuesday described the decision to sack Rahul Dravid from the national team as "shocking", emphasising the selectors would be forced to recall the former captain.

"The decision was quite shocking. You don't drop players, let alone somebody like Rahul, for not performing in three-four matches. Moreover, except in two of the matches, in the other games he came in the 42nd or 43rd over where it is difficult to score as many runs as the public wants," Jadeja told newspersons on the sidelines of a function here.

Lashing out at the board and the quintet of selectors for harping on terms like 'building a team for the future' and 'blooding juniors', Jadeja said "When Ganguly was dropped, they talked of bringing in juniors. A year and a half later, they had to go back to Ganguly.

"In the same way, they will go back to Rahul after some time. This is not the way to build a team. It seems we are going round and round," he said.

Jadeja also ridiculed the re-induction of Virender Sehwag for the first two one-dayers against Pakistan.

"Is he junior? He may be as great a player as Rahul, but he has not been in such sparkling form of late, which justifies his induction. And then too, how can you justify the inclusion of a senior player like him in place of Rahul when you are laying stress on taking in juniors?" he said.

Continuing his tirade against the selection panel, Jadeja said "They seem to be making fools of everybody.

"It seems what Jimmy Amarnath said about them a decade back still holds good," he said tongue-in-cheek, in an apparent reference to the former right hander dubbing the selectors 'a bunch of jokers".

On the ensuing five-match India-Pakistan one-day series, Jadeja predicted a close contest. "The result could be 3-2 either way. But I have a feeling that the individual matches may not be that close. The matches may end three overs before the full quota of overs."

He praised M S Dhoni's captaincy and said "I see all the signs in him of a perfect captain. But still, it may be a bit early to comment on him."

Jadeja, however, asserted that the wicket-keeper stumper should also be made the skipper of the Test side.

Asked about the absence of quality all-rounders in the Indian side, Jadeja mentioned Dhoni (batsman plus wicket keeping) and Yuvraj Singh (almost an allrounder).

But he said one should not compare the present lot of allrounders with a legend like Kapil Dev. "Players like Kapil are born and not created. It is the same for Ganguly and (Sachin) Tendulkar. The greatness about great players is that they cannot be replaced."

He did not agree that the Indian team badly needed a new coach. "Unless you are talking of a big name, you have to accept that the present coaching staff (bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad) and fielding coach (Robin Singh) are doing a good job. The two of them are very hard working and disciplined.

"They have got victories, and got respect of players. Earlier, you had a big name, but you know what happenned," he said.

Jadeja was all praise for the Indian Premier League promoted by the BCCI.

"It's a most wonderful thing that has happened to Indian cricketers. The players will not get into the team for being born at some place, or because they work for an organisation. The players will be evaluated solely on the basis of their performance," said Jadeja.

Jadeja felt the India Cricket League had taken a backseat.

"Most of the players in the ICL, save some like Dinesh Mongia and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, don't even feature regularly in the state sides. The league has opened up possibilites for second-rung players."