Rahul Dravid's Return: It's all about form

There has been plenty of analysis and theories about Rahul Dravid’s returnto the ODI team. Shouldn’t the selectors look to the future? What if he fails? Is this his ODI farewell? etc.

As cricket gets more and more commercial and players end up with a near 12-month cricketing calendar it is next to impossible for any player to perform consistently over an extended period of time (not to mention challenges posed by frequent injuries).  It is just too demanding and hard to sustain. Dhoni is a prime example. The man who burst into the scene with a slaughtering 180+ score against SL now says “I need time to settle, I can’t hit from the first ball!” Ironically, it was this ability of his that made him a favorite of so many Indian cricket fans.

To adapt to the year long cricket season, teams must select players purely based on current form. Proven stars like Viru, Sachin and Dravid are assumed to be in form unless proven otherwise. Dravid was dumped when he was out of form and returned when he showed that he was back in form. He is probably sufficiently rested and hungry to perform well again. The return of Ashish Nehra is another example. He showed that he was in form in the IPL and resurrected his career, thanks partly to Zaheer Khan’s injury and Ishant Sharma’s slump. Dinesh Karthick is another example of a player who worked his way back by virtue of good performances in the IPL and in the domestic season.

When India failed at the T20 World Cup, heads had to roll, deficiencies had to be addressed, so those out of form like Rohit Sharma were dumped in favor of those in form with the necessary skills.

Srikanth and co. deserve kudos for selecting “in-form” players regardless of age. It sends a clear message to young talented discards like Sreesanth, Rohit Sharma and Uthappa that if they return to form opportunities could open up for them. Unlike Australia, India does not have to worry about losing players to retirement all at once. There is plenty of bench strength and rotation among a pool of players makes a lot of sense.  There is no point looking to the future when India is losing in the present. India should try to forge a combination that can win in the present and the future will take care of itself.

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