Die-hard cricket fans in India are realising a dream: Good men have taken charge of the country's most popular sport. Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman, who were exemplary batsmen and took the Indian cricket team to great heights, are now playing important roles as administrators and experts.
While Ganguly is the president of the board (BCCI), Dravid is the new head coach of the Indian team. Laxman will soon head the National Cricket Academy (NCA), which grooms young and talented players.
The three will have to overcome many challenges as Indian cricket is rife with petty politics and regional pulls and pressures. But the feeling among the fans is that Indian cricket is in good hands and its future is rosy. Ganguly: Fearless captain, sensible administrator Left-handed Ganguly was a fearless batsman and captain who lifted the Indian team and made it a force to reckon with at the world level. He is now employing the same forceful tactics as an administrator.
He successfully organised India's first day-night Test in Kolkata in November 2019 and settled the issue of salaries to domestic cricketers who were hit hard by Covid-19.
Under his leadership, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was also held in two stages this year despite the pandemic and the tournament's stock went high after two more franchises were added in record deals.
More importantly, he convinced Dravid to become the Indian team's head coach despite Dravid initially expressing reservations.
Ganguly knows that there cannot be a better person than Dravid to coach the Indian team at this crucial juncture with so many major tournaments coming up.
Instead of a foreign coach, he got an Indian coach who knows the minute details of the cricketing set-up in the country. Dravid's presence also means that his unmatched career experience will be passed on to young Indian cricketers.
A better scheduling of India's matches is a key challenge that Ganguly faces. But, fans believe, he will overcome that issue soon. Dravid: Gentleman, trustworthy,
hard-working The Karnataka man brings a sense of calmness and trust in the dressing room and his debut as coach started with India beating New Zealand 3-0 in a home T20 series last Sunday.
He is expected to make many things smoother for the players, having worked with most of them as NCA chief and India A and Under-19 coach.
He has created a strong pool of young talented cricketers, including Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Mavi and Ruturaj Gaikwad, who are set to serve India well. Under his tutelage, India won the 2018 Under-19 World Cup and several players from that squad are considered good enough to play at the senior level.
With senior players such as Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara set to retire in the next few years, many believe Dravid is the right man to be in charge as he will ensure continuity of talent, class and progression.
However, his task is cut out for him as India have not won a major trophy in eight years. Laxman: Consistent performer, selfless, dedicated During their playing days, the synergy of Dravid and Laxman overshadowed the opponents many times. Now, Ganguly wants the same synergy to take Indian cricket forward.
The BCCI president decided to appoint Laxman as the NCA director, a post which became vacant after Dravid became India's head coach, precisely for this reason.
Laxman knows the art of excelling under pressure. He has the important responsibility of making young cricketers mentally strong. Dravid and Laxman also have a good understanding and this will help players to progress smoothly to the national team.
Laxman has given up several incentives, including a contract with IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad and a commentary deal with Star Sports, to take up the NCA job. He will also have to move from Hyderabad to Bengaluru for the next three years along with his wife and kids.
All these moves show Laxman's selflessness and his strong desire to serve Indian cricket.
Indo-Asian News Service