Rahul Dravid's out-of-the-blue decision to relinquish the captaincy of the Indian cricket team found a supporter in Ian Chappell, who believes India should ask VVS Laxman to lead the Test squad, while the ODI reins should be in MS Dhoni's hands.
Chappell, an astute captain of his era, who himself quit after leading Australia between 1971-75, said he could understand Dravid's mental state and suggested India should go for split captaincy, like Australia did at a point with Steve Waugh leading the Test side and Ricky Ponting at the helms in ODI.
<b1>"Because there is no obvious successor, the selectors may think about splitting the captaincy as a short-term solution. On that basis VVS Laxman would make a good Test captain; it may just be the confidence boost his batting needs, and it would give the selectors time to find a long-term, full-time captain.
"Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been earmarked for future leadership and the one-day captaincy would be a good way to test his mettle," Chappell wrote in his column for Cricinfo.
The cricketer-turned-commentator dwelled at length on Dravid's decision and said though Dravid was certainly not India's best captain, he at least left the job head held high and dignity intact.
"As is the case with retirement for a regular player, for a captain it is better to resign when people are asking, 'Why did you?' rather than 'Why don't you?' Dravid certainly achieved that aim, having just completed a memorable Test series win over England and then pushing the hosts to the limit in the seven-match one-day international series," Chappell said.
He said captaincy comes with a use-by date and Dravid had reached the end of the line.
"Many people will wonder why Dravid has resigned from the most prestigious sporting job in India after only two years. I'm not surprised, because Dravid is the kind of person who puts his heart and soul into any job he tackles. When you do that, especially in a country where a billion people all think they can do the job better or at least as well, it can wear you down mentally. "
Chappell also felt that immense public pressure never allowed Dravid to be more aggressive in his approach to the job.
"He was a solid captain, and there were times when he threatened to be an aggressive captain with oodles of flair, but in the end there was always the feeling that the extra pressure that comes with being Indian captain generally stifled those urges."
Having a cricket great (Sachin Tendulkar) and a number of star players also did not help Dravid's cause, believes Chappell.
"It may also have been that captaining a side containing one superstar and a number of high-profile players wasn't conducive to Dravid always doing what his instincts told him was best to claim victory. Dravid is a strong and honest character but he is more inclined towards consensus than confrontation."
Drawing a parallel between his quitting from the job, Chappell said, "In September, 1975, I resigned from the Australian captaincy after four years in the job, feeling a sense of satisfaction and relief.
"In the modern game with all the extra matches and duties, two years of Indian captaincy is the equivalent of four in the Australian job. I empathise with Dravid's decision and think he has made the correct call."