been thinking for a few days now about how to tackle the news of Rahul Dravid's recent drop from
the Indian one-day squad. It just seems like an issue that I
should say something about, since a) I am a cricket follower, b) I write for a
cricket blog, and c) I have always been a big Dravid fan (and public booster),
never quite getting enough of his humble orthodoxy with the bat, his utter implacability as a leader, or his
narrow shoulders and sunken chest. Isn't this the kind of issue that made me
start this blog in the first place? The kind that I can sink my teeth into and
ruminate on for weeks, debating the pros and cons, with just the right
combination of hard data, holistic team analysis, and soft-focus rhetorical
And yet I find myself curiously indifferent about it all. Dare I say... I just don't give a shit about it? In a way, I don't. Because when it comes right down to it, none of this is about Rahul Dravid at all. He's just the fall guy – a victim of expediency in uncertain times. If he had the ruthless drive or Machiavellian streak of, say, a Sourav Ganguly, Dravid would still be in that Indian team, living to play another day. But he doesn't, so now he's the one being put out to slaughter, regardless of his extensive contributions to the team in the past, his not-that-bad-when-you-really-bother-looking-at-the-numbers form in recent times, as well as his obvious ability under pressure and mental strength in a batting lineup typically beset by psychological frailty.
Normally, I'd be screaming Injustice! from the rooftops, but in this case I'll just say to Dravid what Mork from Ork once said to Will Hunting: "It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault." This has nothing to do with Dravid or the objective merit for his presence in the Indian one-day squad. It is about Sachin Tendulkar, and what is probably destined to be one long-ass, protracted Farewell Tour he is embarking on. As far as Indian cricket goes, it’s clear that their team will never really be able move forward until Tendulkar – the man, the symbol, and everything it represents – goes. In the history books, this is still Tendulkar's India, just like the Australia of the 1930s and 40s was Bradman's Australia. The man has been too huge a monster (in athletic, symbolic, and cultural terms) to just allow the team to 'move on' while he's still around.
So all you can do is wait and work around it. I mean, what else are you gonna do? Huh? Drop him? Drop Tendulkar? Who's going to make that phone call?
(Unfortunately, that means you might have to drop this by the wayside):