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Dravid says it is time for transition

Sharda Ugra

March 28, 2012

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Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid wait for the umpires to offer them the light, India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali, 1st day, December 19, 2008
Rahul Dravid says it is time for players like Gautam Gambhir to embrace senior roles in the Indian team © AFP
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Dravid on his stint as captain

  • Rahul Dravid said he decided to step down from the captaincy in mid-2007, after leading India to their first Test series win in England for 21 years, because he had stopped enjoying the job.
  • "I'd been playing and captaining non-stop for three years with hardly any breaks and I had a young family," he said. "I lost a certain enjoyment I used to get from the job, and I felt that the captain of India should be someone who is extremely eager; someone who wakes up every morning wanting to captain the team."
  • He did admit that he could have handled his resignation better; the decision was announced via an official BCCI message sent out to the media. None of his team-mates on that England tour were informed of the resignation.
  • There were parts of the job, Dravid said, that he had enjoyed, despite the fact that his tenure was highlighted by the controversial coaching tenure of Greg Chappell and an early exit from the 2007 World Cup.
  • "I enjoyed the decision-making process in the middle. I enjoyed being part of the process of trying to build a team, trying to be creative, to see how we could get the best out of the players, get the best out of the skills, see how we could win and compete with the resources we had. In the end, you have to accept that in India you are judged a lot by your performance in the World Cup."

Rahul Dravid has said it is time the Indian team goes through a transition and a new group of leaders emerges to act as a link between his generation and the next. Dravid said it was the responsibility of players like MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan, who have been around for long enough, to shepherd the successful transition of India's Test team and "set the tone" for their younger team-mates. Dravid announced his retirement from international and first-class cricket earlier this month, and India's other two senior batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, are both in their late 30s.

In his first interview after retirement, Dravid told ESPNcricinfo that the next lot of senior players needed to "step it up, not only as players, but as spokesmen, as people who decide the culture of the team, the way the team is run, the image they want to project and which form of the game is important to this team." The Indian team, he said, has "got to move on from being the team that was led by my generation."

While he has already seen part of the transition between generations take place, Dravid said India's challenge would be to understand how Twenty20 and the IPL impacted younger players.

"It's not something we need to be fearful of but something we need to recognise: that Twenty20 has an impact. We have to decide how we deal with it, what are the steps we need to put in place to ensure that the transition is smooth on and off the field.

"It would require a whole new level of thinking, a whole new level of leadership, to decide how the team is going to project itself. I'm not saying the seniors need to be replaced, they will be the sounding boards. But the direction and the culture of the team over the next ten years will have to be decided by this capable group of young players."

In Dravid's opinion, all stakeholders in the team, the players and the administrators, needed to be involved in managing the change instead of letting things "flow".

He said, however, that he was not worried about the situation Indian cricket finds itself in at the end of a disastrous eight months of Test cricket. He said the challenges India faced now were not new ones.

"Some of these challenges are not challenges of today. These are challenges that have always been there. Whether it is finding quality fast-bowling allrounders, opening batsmen or fast bowlers, these are issues we have had. They have to be addressed and it's no point worrying. I don't worry about things. There are a lot of positives about Indian cricket."

India's previous generation of seniors, who adopted leadership roles post the match-fixing purge of 2000, featured Dravid, Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, Javagal Srinath and Laxman. The group turned out to be an influential and successful one.

"We were going through a rough patch," Dravid said of the time. "We had come out of this match-fixing thing, we were not good travellers, it was said we were scared of fast bowling, we were arrogant, rude, or that because of match-fixing you can't trust anyone. Those were the sort of things that were around then, but you can change that. Ten years later, now there's another challenge."

He said that following the recent 0-4 defeats in England and Australia there was pressure on the players to ensure they did not get branded as a good ODI team but an ordinary Test outfit, and to answer doubts about how seriously the team and the administration takes Test cricket.

"You keep hearing talk about what impact the IPL might have, how everyone will only want to play IPL and how it might affect our Test cricket. Hopefully these guys will go on to challenge that notion, to show us that it is not the case [that Test cricket will suffer]." Dravid said serious thought needed to be put in about "how we want to see the Indian team, not today but ten years ahead."

The rise of Virat Kohli as a matchwinner and a potential replacement for Dravid at No. 3 in the Test team has given India hope. But Dravid pointed out that Kohli has only shown initial promise and will need to focus on being consistent through his career.

"It's great to see the evolution of this kid from what we saw of him at 19 to what he's becoming now. His consistency of performance, his ability to play in different conditions, and score runs, that is great. And he's got to keep doing that because, as with any long career, questions are going to be asked of him, on the technical front, on the physical front, on the mental front."

Whether Kohli could form the core of a successful team would, Dravid said, depend on how he dealt with success, failure and Indian cricket's circus. "How he comes up with solutions or answers is going to decide how long or how successful a career he is going to have.

"What Indian cricket can hope for is that someone like Virat, who has seemingly made a transition from a precocious talent to a performer at the international level, is able to have a long and successful career. The strength of your team is finally built around people who can have long and successful careers."

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (March 31, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

@Gmale, don't expect spoon feeding on public forums. Go help yourself with statsguru.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (March 30, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

@GMALE: IN ADELAIDE , I IN HEADINGLY , I IN PERTH , KOLKATA 2001 , PAKISTAN 'S TOUR OF 2004 , WI TOUR OF 2006 , 2011 , JOHANNASBERG TEST IN 2006 . ALSO OUT OF HIS 35 CENTURIES INDIA HAS LOSE ONLY 4 TIMES ( 3 ON CURRENT ENG TOUR).

Posted by kirands on (March 30, 2012, 1:36 GMT)

Gmale, you are absolutely ignorant about cricket in general and about Rahul Dravid in particular. I do not know which games you have been watching all these years. Rahul Dravid scored 270 in a Test match in Pakistan in 2004 and won the Test for India. 148 at Hedingley in 2002, 180 in that famous Test in Kolkata, twin centuries in a Kolkata Test against England, a century in last year's Kingston Test against West Indies, 81 and 68 in a Kingston Test some six or seven years ago, 93 in the Perth Test in 2007-08...........the list is endless. Dravid has won more Tests for India than any other batsman in the history of Indian cricket. Period.

Posted by Meety on (March 29, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

Good luck India, but a leadership crew of "..MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.." should be a worry. With the exception of Dhoni who is a warhorse & Ghambir who seems to be a fairly well rounded guy, the rest have severe limitations in aspects of the required work ethic needed to re-build a successful unit. I don't particularly like Kholi much, (acknowledge his undoubted class as a batsmen AND fielder), but I think he must be a part of the leadership crew immediately. He seems to have great work ethic, if he can restrain the show-pony in him, he could/should be a great Ganguly-like leader for India. I think Kholi needs to be the Vice Captain of India straight away.

Posted by ajmal1988 on (March 29, 2012, 21:58 GMT)

Haleos : what about dropping the players? if the player does not want to retire,then he should not.The selectors should step up and take out the plug.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Posted by Gmale on (March 29, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

@screamingeagle - tell me how many of 168 matches did he help win? 1 in adelaide and then...

Posted by   on (March 29, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

My request to Jammy, to take permission from BCCI and find some players and groom them in your place at number 3 and this would give a perfect and sensible pictures to the future of Indian Cricket.

Posted by Nampally on (March 29, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

@ravi_hari: After a 4-0 drubbing both in England & Australian test series, it is insane not to review the overall Team situation. The real issue is the Indian bowling - the worst in all 10 major Nations. Yadev, Aaron, Ishant Sharma are promising in 140 KPH range whilst Irfan Pathan, P.Kumar are promising in 130 KPH range.They need intensive coaching to bring them up to Test standard. In the spin category Ashwin, P.Ojha & Rahul Sharma are the leaders. But the last 2 are constantly hi-jacked by Dhoni's favourite Jadeja!. Focus on all rounders has killed the Indian bowling development. India must play with specialists - 2 Spinners + 2 Fast bowlers. Captaincy candidates:Tiwary, Pujara & Gambhir (Tests)- Dhoni ODI, Kohli T-20. Pujara is an excellent young batsman & has the best potential for captaincy.In batting India has solid first 5 in Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, SRT, Pujara. Others competing are Rohit Sharma, M.Tiwary,S.Raina. In absence of Yuvraj, Ashwin or Irfan can fill in #7 spot

Posted by CrickFreak2012 on (March 29, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

@screamingeagle and raghoo1, I support what screamingeagle said.... raghoo1 must read the interview properly before making stupid comments!

Posted by Siva-The-Human on (March 29, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

@Kavindevan!!! You Greeting Dravid here ok its enough. then why you always nudge sachin each of your every comment here. It shows how you jelous on sachin fame.

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