NEW DELHI: In a bizarre development last week, Chelsea›s manager Thomas Tuchel has been abruptly asked to leave the mantle.  Fans termed the developments as cold-blooded murder of their dreams and confidence to remain at the top of the season.  It occurred in his 100th with only defeat in 18 matches and winning four major trophies and cups. Incidentally, Tuchel was not alone in the melee, four other coaches across the world were laid off same week unceremoniously. The lost confidence of the newly formed US board on their 100th day of Chelsea ownership in the newly formed venture. The writing is clear on the wall. Give impactful results sooner or perish.
While Tuchels departure is closely magnified, another script is being written and the newly made Indian cricket head coach is under invisible lenses. This comes straight after India›s loss at the Asia Cup where the men in blue were beaten by arch-rivals and got their VISA for the finals cancelled since India lost all their chances to make it to the finals.
After the usual rituals of playing the blame game, the focus is now fixed on Rahul Dravid. Conspiracy theories are being scripted. Purists will scratch and discover in the fast-paced sporting world – tougher calls for coaches› replacement are a norm.
On examining statistics, it emerges that Dravid is sufficiently rigid in his approach and ill-equipped to try innovativeness and somewhere inadequate to reach out to his fans. He›s committing a cardinal sin of staying away from all forms of social media.
His tenure is far away from smooth. Seven Indian cricket captains have changed since November 2021, sans, a big significant victory. Asia Cup loss to Pakistan is and will remain a sore thumb for some time to come. No big trophy in the cabinet will compound the problem for Dravid. More interestingly, Dravid is polite and respectful of its opponents. Just like English football coach Gareth Southgate. Regardless of England’s progress in WorldCup18, Southgate was stoic just like Dravidsque School of being humble, professional (dress & behaviour), manners, speaks well Is like a leader, not a boss as he is empathetic. Defies the common logic of (Not) being interested in the limelight.
But times have changed and sports consumption is now more on the second screen. Fans› discussion is more on social media during pre-match build-up and post-match analysis, which also take in fan calls who are tribal in their outlook.
Purists seldom exist, now. Not certainly on regular TV.  The commentators now analyse more statistics than the beauty of the game. The perimeter board screens attract more eyeballs in the stadium than the LIVE game inside the stadium. The team owners want to explore multiple levels of revenue. Sell jerseys and also get an appearance fee, click bait likes and create one social media legend.
The chatter and comparison between Ravi Shastri and Rahul Dravid have begun. After the loss fans openly discuss Ravi Shastri›s street smartness. Also approval of Shastris›s unspoken doctrine – of dropping standards or guidelines to win a game or take big risks. Some have paid off, like in Gabba in 2021 where Indians chased 328 on a fast pace pitch and became the first Asian team to defeat Kangaroos in Gabba. Others haven’t, like the 2019 Semi Final loss were Dhoni was dropped down the order.
So how is Rahul Dravid suited? Dravid understands the importance of standards. Playing ethics and will be fine to sacrifice any game to uphold standards. Dravid is more of a philosophical cricket reformist. He dares his pupil›s continuous improvement. Dares to dream big. Treats himself as a lifelong student and appreciates self-taught mentees.
Dravid reforms have had a significant development in Indian cricket. Especially in the under-19 and India-A since 2016 and as a head coach he lost one and won one World Cup. More importantly, he introduced a rule for a junior player to play only one World Cup. This arrests age fraud by players. Admissibly is reticent in press interaction. Is not available on social media and certainly will not be able to drive sales of team jerseys. More importantly, unlike Mourinho will not deflect blame, pressure on himself before a big game. In a nutshell in big stadiums or theatres of dreams Dravid will not adopt theatrics. He›s more suited for the ICC role for game development.
With two Cricket World Cups in the next 14 months, it will grow increasingly difficult for Indian head coach Rahul Dravid if his talent pool depletes and India continues to Asia Cup-like loss.