Strong leadership a must for India: Wessels
by CricketArchive staff reporter
DateLine: 19th November 2006
Indian captain Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell must provide strong
leadership if India are to come out of the current slump, according to
former South African captain Kepler Wessels.
Wessels said Dravid must "make his own decisions" and lead from the
front during the grueling tour comprising five one-dayers and three
"It would take a very strong leadership. Dravid would have to lead from
the front and make his own decisions. It's important he shows the team
the way to follow," said Wessels, a former Australian international who
later returned to his roots to represent South Africa in 16 Tests.
"I think world cricket today places enormous pressure on the captain.
He plays for high stakes and he knows what to do. But if you get
prepared to take the job then you got to do it. It's not easy, but
it's certainly your choice. It's up to you, whether you choose to do it
or you choose not to do it. If you accept the job then there is a lot
of pressure which goes with the job," he said.
Wessels said Chappell must also be feeling the pressure in the wake of
the recent reversals in the shorter version of the game.
"I am sure Greg (Chappell) would be feeling the pressure as well
because they didn't do well in the Champions Trophy," he said.
Wessels had little doubt that it would be the flamboyant
wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni who would be the marked man
for the fiery home speedsters. "They would intimidate and come hard at
him. They would absolutely target him, there is no question about it."
Dhoni is being seen as a specialist batsman by the Indians on this tour
and would bat in the top order in one-day internationals as indicated
by Dravid. Also, it appears the Indians intend to make better use of
his explosive ability than what they have been doing till recently.
Wessels said though the present South African pacemen were not as quick
as their predecessors, they would still be more than handful for the
Indian batsmen. The likes of Makhaya Ntini (274), Shaun Pollock (395),
Jacques Kallis (200) and Andre Nel (84) have picked up 953 wickets
among them in a combined stint of 296 Tests.
"Their pace might have slowed up, but they seem to bowl well on these
sort of surfaces. There is enough in it for them. There is bounce and
they know where to bowl and what line and length to stick in these
conditions," Wessels said.
Even though the former player felt that the Indian batsmen would have
their share of short-pitched deliveries on this tour, it would be the
fuller length balls that would cause their undoing.
"I don't think they will bowl short. They will bowl a little further
up. There is natural carry on these wickets. By bowling short you could
make the batsmen hop on the back foot but it is with stuff further
pitched up that they would get wickets."