14 September 2007

Dravid resigns from captaincy

Has Rahul Dravid resigned from captaincy? CNN-IBN has just carried a headline saying exactly that. More on that soon, I guess.

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Well it's confirmed. He has asked to be relieved prior to the arrival of the Aussies. The only reason that Dravid has cited in his letter to the BCCI is that he wants to concentrate on his batting. He has also pledged complete support to his successor.

Under Dravid, India won eight Tests. However, his ODI record was patchy. He began on a winning streak, where India set a record for 16 consecutive successful chases. However, this was a man who captained India through a very tricky phase. He had to handle a team that was being eaten from inside by a rift between senior players and coach. At the end it also has to be said that he handled Ganguly's tricky return to the team very well. Given all these, it is remarkable that he led us to Test series victories in West Indies, Pakistan and England, and also one of our greatest ever Test wins, when we knocked South Africa down in their Jo'burg citadel. His captaincy will also be remembered for the fall-from-grace of three pillars of the Ganguly era: Sehwag, Harbhajan and Zaheer - the third of whom also made a sensational comeback under Dravid. Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, S Sreesanth and M S Dhoni were fairly consistent performers during this all-too-brief period.

But it was also clear that captaincy was taking its toll on Dravid the batsman. The tours of South Africa and England earned him mixed returns which were well below the standards that he set himself as a professional. With a tough tour to Australia looming, India needed Dravid the batsman to be firing, and so perhaps it is just as well.

It is also quite typical of Dravid the person that he realized earlier than anyone else that his time at the helm, and in the team, would soon come to a close, and decided to make way in an understated manner.