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Dravid quits captaincy for batting, Tendulkar may step in

What is most intriguing about Dravid’s decision to make himself unavailable for the India captaincy is not just the decision itself, but its timing, writes Kadambari Murali.

cricket Updated: Sep 15, 2007 02:23 IST
Kadambari Murali
Kadambari Murali
Hindustan Times

What was most intriguing about Rahul Dravid’s decision to make himself unavailable for the India captaincy was not just the decision itself, but its timing.

It has come on the eve of what is possibly India’s toughest-ever season of cricket — up ahead are series against Australia, Pakistan and South Africa. It can’t get tougher than this.

Then again, it has come at a time when the Indian team finally seemed to have thrown off the bad memories of the Greg Chappell era and the shadow of the World Cup debacle. The one-day series in England had been lost but was a closely fought, enthralling contest; the Test series had seen a historic victory. Perhaps a combination of these two points resulted in the decision.

Who next? The run-up to the announcement of a new captain on September 18 will see a fresh, frenzied debate. Sources said that if Sachin Tendulkar wants the job, he will get it. There is reason to believe that this time, if offered, he will accept. If he doesn’t, given the tough season ahead, India might look to the experience of Sourav Ganguly ahead of a rookie skipper like M.S. Dhoni.

Dravid had been appointed skipper till the end of the England series and would have — as selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar said — “definitely continued if he hadn’t made this decision.” Possibly, he wanted to walk away on his own terms.

Now that the team has been brought together after being a house divided, and at a time when his invaluable services as a batsman — adversely affected by captaincy — would be most needed, Dravid deemed it fit to step down.

He apparently told the BCCI brass that he couldn’t keep playing “two roles”, that of batsman and captain, successfully, unless he did justice to and enjoyed both. Something he was finding increasingly difficult.

Dravid had discussed this with BCCI president Sharad Pawar once in England and then conveyed it to him formally here on Thursday.

The BCCI seems to have decided to accept Dravid’s decision; there is some talk of asking him to reconsider but for the most, there is a belief that it is a “personal choice that we respect”.

India’s most prolific batsman of the last decade has cut a rather lonely, tense figure over the past two years, increasingly isolated by his natural reserve, the burdens of captaincy and perhaps an inability to properly communicate with his more flamboyant team-mates on several issues.

First Published: Sep 14, 2007 13:02 IST