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Captaincy is not learnt overnight: Dravid

Dravid says it takes time to understand captaincy, writes Kadambari Murali.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2005 17:29 IST

Rahul Dravid probably had his reasons but it was very clear at first that India's new captain was reluctant to speak to the Indian media.

Even as everyone waited for the end of the day's play to get the first sound bytes from the man whose ascension to captaincy could well be the heralding of a new era in Indian cricket, came the news first, that he was thinking about it and then, that he would instead, give a written statement.

Even as everyone present, Indian or otherwise, wondered what circumstances could possibly have made the composed Dravid seem so edgy even after getting the official nod, we got the statement through the World XI Manager, the ICC's Jon Long.

It basically said that Dravid was honoured and privileged to be given the captaincy for the next couple of series and was looking forward to the challenge.

And then again, just as everyone was trying to figure out what best to do with what was a bland statement, when the country had a zillion questions of the man in what is indisputably the hot seat, came some more news.

Our captain had changed his mind again and had decided to meet the Indian media after all, in the hotel lobby at 8:15 p.m. local time.

It wasn't the most auspicious beginning to a relationship that, under the circumstances, is expected to last long but what the heck --- at this point in time, after all that Indian cricket has gone through, Dravid can probably do or say anything and come out smelling of roses.

He was his usual calm self but undeniably happy when we finally met up --- and for more than just one reason. On top though, was not the captaincy but fatherhood, which he said, had him “more anxious than anything else”.

“While this (being named captain) is nice as well, becoming a father is absolutely special. I've just seen the photos of my baby via e-mail and that is really something,” was the first thing Dravid said, before getting down to more mundane business:

On becoming skipper after such a turbulent phase

There's no good time or bad time really to become captain. It is a privilege at any time. I am looking forward to meeting the coach and the boys and planning for the long season ahead.

On the players themselves

The best thing about this team is that there are a lot of boys here who want to win. Irrespective of what you have heard or want to hear, there are boys here who really want to win and try their best.

On Chappell's ‘authoritative’ regime

I have no issues with him at all. Irrespective of who the coach or captain is, it is important to gel as a team. Sometimes, there is a perception of someone being too authoritative or too soft. That perception is not necessarily correct.

On divisions within the team

In any team or organisation, there are bound to be differences and a difference of opinion. I think differences are sometimes good, they help you to learn. But whatever these are and whenever they happen, they should not come out in the media. The boys are committed to playing for India; there is no doubting that.

On whether he has spoken to Chappell or Ganguly recently

As I said, if I did or didn't, whoever I spoke to, that is something that should not be discussed in the media. Private conversations should be kept private.

On being appointed for only two series

It's not my job to pick how many games or series I will be captain for. My job is to work with what I've been given and I'll do just that.

On whether getting 12 games as opposed to a couple is better

Obviously it helps getting a considerable length of time to understand the job. I have been speaking to other captains here, in the World team and they have all assured me it takes time to understand captaincy, it's something you grow into and something that needs patience. It is not something you learn overnight.

How he got the news

I had slept off early last night, as I do before a match day and got the news from my wife this morning. Then, during the tea break, I got a call from BCCI secretary SK Nair and Kiran (chairman of selectors More). It was a brief chat because of lack of time and they congratulated me.

On having any say in the team and what lies ahead

See, I had no wind of it, even now I have no idea what the team is. I spoke to the selectors last time (Lanka), this time obviously, the circumstances prevented it. I've had no time to think or make plans and will first have to go back and sit with the boys before I say too much or say anything.

First Published: Oct 15, 2005 01:14 IST