In times of distress who do you turn to? This must be the question MSD would be asking himself as he prepares to take on the rampaging Aussies at the WACA.
The Oz press and fans are already gleefully wringing their hands in the anticipation of another capitulation by the Indians at the pacy and lively WACA. Then, with the likes of Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma flipping off the fans and press alike, MSD by now is a captain with his back up against the proverbial Wall.
Did I just say Wall? What Wall? The jury is out with that verdict. The Wall has caved in, the Wall's defenses are shattered and Rahul "Wall" Dravid is history, they say. Well, in the face of the form that Rahul Dravid is in, those naysayers certainly seem to have a point. But do they?
Rahul Dravid, like the much-maligned Ricky Ponting, is part of a rare breed of never-say-die, gritty and fiercely focused cricketers of an era that concentrated on deeds on the field involving character and perseverance rather than that off it flipping a set of fingers that would be better served keeping firmly to themselves.
When India collapsed like a pack of cards in England last year, it was the Wall that stood firm. He has scored consistently ever since - was in fact the highest scorer of 2011 - and can be forgiven for a few so-called failures in the last two Tests. If there is anyone who would be smarting at India's capitulations, it would be Rahul himself. His understated and quiet demeanor does not do justice to his steely resolve to put the country before self as he has always done. He would be the first person to put his hand up and give up his spot if he felt that he was incapable of the responsibilities that he needs to shoulder for the cause.
Technically brilliant and possessing a temperament that the likes of Virat and Ishant can learn a bit from, I believe as all purists, that on the WACA, there could be no other batsman who could adapt faster than Rahul. His strength has always been his ability to play on the back foot and on the WACA, this is what Rahul would be hoping to draw from.
Virat Kohli draws a lot of inspiration from being aggressive and from being the quintessential poster boy of the fearless young India, but it would be prudent that this aggression is channelised into his batting, than being drawn in by taunts of fans. He would be better served to remember that it takes all kinds to make up this world and that he is a much better and more composed player than what he has let the Oz press and fans make of him.
Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma are players who are rightfully the future of Indian cricket and this tour will steel them to face such situations in the future. Let the bat and the ball do the talking and let the tongues of a few irresponsible and uncouth people not cloud judgment and the overwhelming need to restore Indian pride. To the others who say that it's time for the Wall to be dismantled, look around you and tell me of a player who has the temperament and the technical brilliance of Rahul. This man has performed in all formats of the game. The gentleman that he is, he has never defended himself when he has not been on the top of his game. He would be equally conscious and troubled as MSD and his team that India would lose their No 2 status if they lose the Perth Test match.
Let's not write them off yet as I have this strange feeling that there would be not one person on that team which dons the India colours who would want to let his country down. I am sure MSD would have told his team that it's the time to stand up and fight and go down fighting rather than capitulating. Are we going to see the tide turn? Watch this space...