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Dravid's decision leaves cricket fraternity in shock

cricket Updated: Sep 14, 2007 18:50 IST

PTI
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Jolted by Rahul Dravid's out-of-the blue decision to relinquish Team India captaincy, the cricket fraternity on Friday reacted with shock and wondered what made him quit the job.

Former India opener Chetan Chauhan had no doubt in his mind that, for once, Dravid got his timing wrong.

"This would definitely affect the team. He's leaving at a time when the side was gradually settling under him," Chauhan told PTI.

"He was a decent captain who was improving with every game. He did well in the series against England and leading India to a Test series triumph after a 21-year gap is no mean achievement," he pointed out.

Chetan, however, still clings on to the faint hope that Dravid may still give it a second thought. "I would request the selectors first to persuade Dravid to continue and in case he does not relent, only then you should explore other options."

And in case Dravid is adamant, Chetan said, it would leave the selectors with no other options but to fall back on either Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly.

"For the time being, I guess maybe another two years, you have no other options but to go back and appoint either Sachin Tendulkar or Ganguly. Personally I would prefer Tendulkar, he was the vice captain in the Test series in England."

Former captain MAK Pataudi, however, believes the Board should not pressurise Dravid to revert his decision. "If someone doesn't want to continue, he should be allowed to do that. India has done exceptionally well this year in England under his leadership. But if he does not want to continue as captain and wants to be there only as a player, we should respect that," he said.

Member of India's 1983 World Cup winning team Madan Lal was also shocked by the news. "It must have been a hard decision. It surprised me because he was having a good run as captain. He has won so many matches for the team," Madan said.

The former player felt public pressure and constant criticism could have played some part in influencing Dravid's decision and said, "The trouble is the public pressure is such that it doesn't allow you to settle down. Coaches and captains are always targeted when we lose."

Two other former players, K Srikkanth and Kiran More, who served as chief selector when Dravid was captain, were also baffled by Dravid's decision.

"More than surprising, it was shocking," Srikkanth said. More said he too could not foresee it coming and said, "It's his personal decision, maybe he was not liking the weight of captaincy on his shoulder."

Former player and India's manager in the recent UK tour Chandu Borde was equally shocked. "The decision has come as a complete surprise to me, a bolt from the blue. He never discussed this even once when we were on the long tour. I don't know why he has taken this decision," he said.

"He must have given it a lot of consideration. We have to respect his decision," the former Test middle order mainstay told PTI from Pune.

Asked if the criticism for not enforcing follow-on in the final Test at the Oval could have anything to do with Dravid's decision, Borde said, "No, I don't think so. It was a collective decision."