Updated: January 24, 2021 10:51:25 am
“I am floored with the way Rahane conjured magic from broken bodies around him. The way he handled his meagre resources reminds me of Tiger Pataudi, who throughout his captaincy tenure was woefully short of a well-rounded unit but his leadership alone gave Indian cricket fresh legs,” writes Bedi in The Indian Express.
“It was Pataudi who defined an ‘Indianness’ in our cricket. He infused in us a thrilling sense of being together in this ride. Mind you, when Tiger was thrown at the deep end, his biggest qualification was his royal upbringing, the very thing that could have jeopardised his and our chances. The country had chosen democracy, reducing the kings and queens to mythology, to children’s games. Tiger never flaunted his regal heritage and got into his groove fairly soon to leave a stamp of utter selflessness and humility — the soul of leadership,” states Bedi.
He says he finds all these qualities in Rahane and he is a seasoned campaigner unlike Pataudi, who had to find his way in the captaincy maze.
“I’ve observed Rahane pretty closely on this tour. The hallmark of any captain is his ability to handle the bowling resources. This is where yours truly has become an absolute ‘mureed’ (fan) of Rahane. Three Tests is good enough time to assess a captain’s bowling changes and fielding placements. I tried hard but I couldn’t find a single Rahane move which could be questioned by armchair critics like me,” he writes.
For Bedi, it was more important that the Indian bowlers thrived under Rahane’s quiet but watchful eyes.
“Ravichandran Ashwin is not easily satisfied with himself or even with the man at the helm. But it was heartening to see him at peace with himself and also the captain. You could see him all-involved in the final Test even when he wasn’t in the playing XI,” states Bedi.
“Even to a critical eye, it was pleasing to see a captain who was unperturbed, unruffled and least demonstrative. What sealed my vote for him was his gesture at the end of the Test. Watching him hand over the glittering Border-Gavaskar Trophy to T Natarajan, a rookie on his first away tour, would have had the cricketing Gods looking down at him with kind eyes. This for me was pure and simple leadership at its honest best.”
The question then is: Does India need Virat Kohli the great batsman or Virat Kohli a mediocre captain in the long run?
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