This post has taken its own sweet time in coming. In the interim, we lost an ODI series against Australia and won an ODI series against Pakistan. We managed to drop Dravid through an entire ODI series. Unthinkable, even a couple of months back.
In quick succession, two stalwarts of the Indian cricket team, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar have refused captaincy. Surely, there is more to this than what meets the eye. Though we are all aware of numerous manipulations and machinations that go behind closed doors in the corridors of BCCI, the news that two of the greatest Indian batsmen of the past two decades have refused captaincy merits more attention. Add to the fact that Ford and Emburey both were not interested in the offer of the coach of the Indian team, and you know there is something rotten there. And its stinking. Remarkably, no one has chose to comment about the same.
Anil Kumble - one of the greatest cricketers India has ever produced and the architect of most Indian wins - gets the captaincy be default. And like he has always done, he has taken this responsibility also without a murmur. No celebrations, no interviews, no fireworks. Just "Thank you". That it has taken 17 years for him to get this recognition (he was already being described as the best captain India never had) and that it has come in the fag end of his career doesn't take anything away.
Personally, I'm more worried about his past few performances. He hasn't been the force that he was. He was largely ineffective in the series in England, he wasn't among the wickets during the WI and SA tour earlier and he failed to get wickets by the buckets in the 2 Ranji trophy matches played so far. Maybe, the captaincy has come to him at a wrong time. But it would be foolish to write him off. 6th and 7th standard text books have a chapter on him called "True Grit" Grit could well be his middle name.
While there have been many calls to include Yuvraj in the Test team in place of Saurav or Laxman, Kumble believes that Yuvraj will have to wait for his turn. So effectively, he has already announced his batsmen for the 1st Test. With Sreesanth and RP Singh getting injured, the trick now is to get some fit bowlers on the park. Kumble's innings as Test captain begins tomorrow. We already know his mettle and grit. Tomorrow, he will be readying himself for another challenge. A challenge that eminent players like Dravid and Tendulkar declined. And if the past is any indication, Kumble will give it his best shot.
All the best!