Dravid to captain Rajasthan Royals
Rahul Dravid has been appointed the new captain of Rajasthan Royals. Dravid succeeds Shane Warne, who captained Royals in the first four IPLs and led them to the championship in the league's inaugural season. Dravid was bought by Royals in the 2011 IPL auction for $500,000, after playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore for the first three years. One of the reasons Dravid was signed by Royals was his proven leadership abilities.
"I am honoured to lead the Rajasthan Royals and look forward to the valuable inputs from my team-mates who are already leading their national sides and clubs," Dravid said. "My aim will be to get the best out of a very talented squad and invoke the same team spirit that won the franchise the first IPL, and has been a hallmark of the Rajasthan Royals ever since."
Warne announced his retirement from the IPL following the 2011 tournament and Royals had a number of players with leadership experience from which to choose his successor. Their squad includes current New Zealand captain, Ross Taylor, and former international Twenty20 captains Johan Both and Paul Collingwood. Shane Watson, the Australia allrounder was another candidate but in the end Dravid's qualifications were too strong too ignore.
"No one [in the squad] has Rahul Dravid's stature," Raghu Iyer, Rajasthan's spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. "He is probably one of the world's best ever. Very difficult not to appoint him as captain."
Warne complimented Dravid's leadership skills. "He is not only one of the world's best batsmen, but a leader par excellence. The Royals squad is a bunch of extremely energetic and talented players who know their roles perfectly well and I am sure they will thrive under Dravid's inspiring leadership."
In his debut season with Royals earlier this year, Dravid scored 343 runs in 12 matches at an average of 31.18 and a strike-rate of 109.23. The team finished sixth in the table, and were in the hunt for a play-off spot for most of the season before fading at the end.
Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo