Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Indian habit of clinging on stubbornly

After a gap of ages, I somehow psyched myself to watch the recent One Day match between India and Pakistan. Believe me, it was not only a painfully gut wrenching experience, the manner in which the Blues lost told me a lot about what is wrong with both the political and corporate sectors in India; more political than corporate. Sure a game is a game and no big deal if India loses the odd match to Pakistan. Besides, haven’t M. S. Dhoni and his band of boys been delivering a string of famous victories in recent times? I accept all that; nor did I sink into despair when Pakistan won. What despaired me was the sight of Rahul Dravid trying to justify his relevance even though he is long past his sell by date in the One Day and the T-20 format. It was truly painful. Was this the same Dravid whose stirring Test match knocks in Kolkatta (2001) and Adelaide (2003) delivered India its sensational victories against Australia? It was all the more pathetic to watch Dravid batting along with Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir was all aggression and a ‘play hard’ attitude that was palpable. Gambhir was on a song. And then the poor man was run out because Dravid preferred to be ‘circumspect’ and India saw its chances being sacrificed at the altar of caution. Of course, even Dravid was run out in that match; and even in the match against West Indies that followed!

Many of you will argue that Dravid was playing his role to perfection. That his job is that of being ‘The Wall’, the sheet anchor who will hold one end up as the other more aggressive batsmen smash the ball around. Sure, you will say that being ‘circumspect’ is what a sheet anchor does. But then, there is a very thin line between being ‘circumspect’ and being plagued by the fear of losing both your wicket and your place in the side. Was Dravid really playing as the quintessential team man or was he playing like an ageing and insecure performer who knows deep down that his salad days are over and that he is in the team because of ‘other factors’? I mean, was Dravid – a batsman never known for his match winning prowess in the one day format – the only ‘sheet anchor’ available? If you were watching the match and saw the disgusted expression on Ganbhir’s face when he was run out, you would have instantly realised the huge gulf between the ‘old and circumspect’ India and the ‘new and never say die’ India? Poor Dravid was not even able to rotate the strike by taking singles!

This habit of clinging on to something long after your relevance and sell by date have vanished into thin air is also a classic habit of Indian politicians. Is it surprising then that despite the best eff orts of leaders like Rahul Gandhi, ‘realpolitik’ ensures that really old leaders hold the most important posts in the government? And mind you, ‘old’ is not something to do with age alone; it is about mindset and your ability to adapt to changing conditions. Look at how the ‘old’ Sachin keeps re-inventing himself!

Mercifully, India Inc now witnesses less of this problem – that of people clinging on long after they have stopped being relevant to the times.


1 comment:

  1. Very right,
    There is a prime age for every thing,
    very good to retire at the right age.