By Anjan Roy
There comes a time when the established order seems ripe for a change. In Indian cricket, the time has come for that obviously. The ruling monarch of Indian cricket for the past so many years, has slid past in two formats already and in the third he has sensed the straws in the wind and has given up.
Virat Kohli had retired at Capitan of the Indian ODI and T20 formats already. There were some clouds of controversy over these. Rumours had floated of a kind of rift between the BCCI and, more particularly, its chief, and the shining star of Indian cricket Virat Kohli.
Some had asked for explanations from the Board and its chief over the way Virat Kohli moved out of these two formats. Former Indian chief coach, Ravi Shastri, had even called for explanation from Board chief Sourav Ganguly about the way Virat Kohli exited from T20 and ODI formats. Sunil Gavaskar had also demanded some explanation.
The relations between Shastri and Ganguly are all well known and needs no reiteration. Nevertheless, Shastri has been already replaced by Rahul Dravid, one of the most highly respected and non-controversial player of the Indian team. Hence, the controversy died down as fast as it surfaced.
Saturday’s resignation from captaincy, coming immediately after a humiliating defeat of the Indian side at South Africa, was not as much a surprise. Given Kohli’s disposition and the severe beating of the Indian team in South Africa, the resignation was in order and somewhat expected.
Now what needs to be done has been clearly indicated by another Indian cricketing great, Kapil Dev, the captain who had earned the 1983 glorious World Cup for the country. Kapil Dev says that Virat Kohli should shed his ego and play under his juniors as Capitan.
Kohli is too valuable to be lost as a batsman, Kapil Dev had underscored. There is no doubt about the achievements of Kohli. He had been the most storied captain of the Indian side, winning on average 60% of the engagements under his leadership.
That’s a formal record for any of Indian captains. His leadership qualities on field and in the green rooms is undeniable. Existing players on the Indian side are all speaking about his natural leadership of the team. Now it is time for him to guide a younger replacement to lead the team. These periodic changes are needed, and these bring forward fresh thinking on the ground.
Are there some lessons from the cricket grounds for the overall situation in the country. Are we getting into a situation of some leaders becoming too big for their boots to really rally the country into new directions. Is an overall rejuvenation necessary at this point.
Some initial rounds of this game of change is currently being played out in the format of the state level elections and the even municipal elections spread throughout the country. There are mixed results and changing fortunes.
But indications are emerging about the need for a change. The ruling dispensation since 2014 have failed to steer in unequivocally clear manner to a higher level of performance. There have been grievous mistakes and harm to the country as an inevitable follow-up of current thinking.
Harsha Bhogle, cricket commentator, has stated that there are some excellent “thinkers” in the current Indian team, who are younger players, offering some excellent opportunity for introducing a change.
In every sphere, it is a dominant idea or thinking that brings about the critical changes that passing time demands.
In 1761, in the prelude to the Third Battle of Panipat, the Maratha confederacy had tremendous strength in terms of men and materials. Yet it lost to the Afghan invader, Ahmad Shah Abdali. The Marathas had failed to rally round all the native forces like Rajput princes and the Sikhs against the Afghan intruders.
Had that happened the results of the Third Battle of Panipat would have been different and the course of Indian history would have flown into different channels.
However, the dogged fighting between the Afghan intruders, aided by the Nawab of Oudh, had maimed both sides, the Marathas as well as the Afghan usurpers.
The upshot of the native blood-letting was obvious. In the Battle of Buxar the entire Indian side —running into over fifty thousand soldiers on ground— was routed surely by a mere force of 7500 British solders of which hardly a few hundred were Englishmen, the rest being Indian foot soldiers.
The idea of an English rule won the day. No wonder that later claimed that the British empire in India was created in a feat of absentmindedness.
The idea of Modi, which had replaced the Advani-Vajpayee domination in BJP, after the 2004, had run its course. It is possibly time again for some others to replace Modi had come. The need of the hour is fresh thinking, which have stopped flowing from the current team. (IPA Service)