Lead­ers of In­dia

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Bo­ria Ma­jum­dar

For a newly in­de­pen­dent In­dia grap­pling with the trauma of a bloody par­ti­tion, Lala Amar­nath was an ide a l leader. Hav­ing grown up in La­hore, he was sen­si­tive to the hap­pen­ings around him and did much to pro­mote peo­ple to peo­ple con­tact when the two coun­tries, In­dia and Pak­istan, first played against each other in 195152. And it was only fair that the man­tle of cap­taincy passed on from Ama­ranth to Vi­jay Hazare, the son of a school teacher from San­gli in the Bom­bay Pres­i­dency. Hazare, much like 1950s In­dia, was a hes­i­tant captain. A newly in­de­pen­dent na­tion was still search­ing for direction and Hazare too showed the same un­cer­tainty in his cap­taincy.

In­dian cap­tains across time have been an ex­ten­sion off the larger pro­jec­tion of In­dia as a coun­try and vicev­ersa. Su­nil Gavaskar, for ex­am­ple, was very late 1970s and 80s In­dia. Tra­di­tional and con­ser­va­tive in his ap­proach, Gavaskar, much like the In­dian ide­ol­ogy of the time, would go on the at­tack only af­ter he had read­ied his de­fence. He was me­thod­i­cal and cal­cu­la­tive and ortho­dox, in sharp contrast to Sourav Gan­guly, who per­fectly epit­o­mised the turn-of-the-mil­len­nium In­dia.

For Sourav, it wasn’t a big deal to have Steve Waugh wait for 30 min­utes at the toss at Eden Gar­dens in 2001.Sowhat­ifWaugh­had­towait. The In­di­ans had been forced to do many­suchthingsinthep­ast.Now the roll of the dice had changed. It was give­back time and it was best if Waugh, Nasser Hus­sain and oth­ers did not make much fuss about it. Hus­sain showed his op­pos­ing num­ber his shirt num­ber when he reached his cen­tury in the Natwest fi­nal in 2002. Sourav re­sponded by open­ing his shirt at the Lord’s bal­cony.

Souravwithshirt­in­hand­while ex­pos­ing the many threads he wears for re­li­gious rea­sons round his neck pre­sented a pecu-

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