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What made 'The Wall' crumble

Selection committee chief Vengsarkar's sharp criticism of Dravid's captaincy may have triggered his decision to step down.

cricket Updated: Sep 14, 2007 21:06 IST

National selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar's sharp criticism of Rahul Dravid's captaincy may have triggered `The Wall's decision to step down as skipper of the Indian cricket team.

Following India's defeat in the seventh and final one-day international (ODI) at the Lord's last on Saturday after they leveled the series 3-3, Vengsarkar clearly gave the impression that he was unhappy about Dravid not batting at number three in the ODIs and sending others in that position.

Such remarks came in the wake of apparent disenchantment in a section of the media about Dravid's move not to enforce a follow-on in the third and final Test match at the Kennington Oval, to field first in the ODI at Birmingham and choose Yuvraj Singh rather than Ramesh Powar to bowl the final over in the crucial sixth ODI.

In the course of the England tour, Dravid was visibly becoming distressed by the fact that people, including former players, had not fully appreciated India's Test series win last month. He felt the Indian public, influenced by commentators and reporters, would probably forget this feat just because the team lost the ODI series.

Dravid wanting to quit immediately after attending Thursday's announcement of a Twenty20 league undoubtedly stung the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

However, BCCI president Sharad Pawar's hasty statement, without any regret or tribute
to the outgoing captain - generally a civilised thing to do - could be misinterpreted as he was not disappointed by Dravid's sudden departure.

Whether true or not, Pawar's critics have long suspected that he has had an agenda to appoint Sachin Tendulkar as skipper during his term.

In a TV serial entitled "Indian Pioneers" broadcast by Britain's Sky TV during the recent Test series, Tendulkar categorically remarked he had not enjoyed his previous tenures at the helm. It will be interesting to see if he now accepts the job.

First Published: Sep 14, 2007 20:36 IST