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Roles have changed, so has body lingo

MS Dhoni multi-tasks in first ODI as skipper, while former captain Rahul Dravid chills, reports Akshay Sawai.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2007 11:49 IST
Akshay Sawai
Akshay Sawai
Hindustan Times

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rahul Dravid stood beside each other for a significant duration of the Australian innings on Saturday. Dhoni was positioned behind the stumps, Dravid was at first, and sometimes, only, slip.

But it wasn't just a wicket-keeper and first slip being neighbours on the cricket field. It was a current captain leading for the first time in a 50-over international. The other man had been in the throne for 79 matches till relinquishing it after India's last One-day International, the final match of the NatWest trophy against England.

A simple difference captured the change of roles. Dhoni clapped, Dravid just stood, hands crossed. Earlier, both would have worked their palms. The wicket-keeper is involved and chirpy anyway. As captain, Dravid would have been too.

There were other body language giveaways that Dhoni was now the man with the big but multi-tasking job. He went up to his bowlers or fielders, put his arms around them and talked strategy, as he did with S Sreesanth after the 15 th over.

At one point he collected an RP Singh delivery and, without stopping, ran up to him to tell him something. Without stopping, he turned and, on the way back, heard out Sachin Tendulkar as the batting icon made a suggestion.

Another sign that Dhoni was the captain came when he conferred with the umpires. This being the first match with the International Cricket Council's new ODI rules, there were quite a few mid-game conversations between arbiter and skipper.

Dravid, Tendulkar and the other eminent former captain, Sourav Ganguly, maintained a low profile in comparison. Dravid in particular looked free, unburdened, like Anne Hathaway when she chucks her mobile phone in a Paris fountain in The Devil Wears Prada. The captaincy had started looking like Miranda Priestley to Dravid in the last few days (though not as fashionable).

He wanted his life and his cricketing enjoyment back. From the looks of it on Saturday, both he and Dhoni seemed happy to be in their new places.

First Published: Sep 29, 2007 23:17 IST