Strong leadership a must for India: Wessels
by CricketArchive staff reporter

Player:KC Wessels, RS Dravid, RS Dravid, MS Dhoni
Event:India in South Africa 2006/07

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 Tests.


"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."


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