Rahul Dravid has been appointed captain of the Indian team for the forthcoming three-match Test series against Sri Lanka. The five-man selection panel met in Chennai on Tuesday ahead of India's third ODI against South Africa and made the decision.
"It's time for us to look ahead," Kiran More, chairman of the selection panel, told reporters after the meeting. "Rahul [Dravid] has done wonderfully well for us whenever given the opportunity including in Pakistan last year. Given how well he has done recently [as captain in the ODIs] it is important that he be given the opportunity [in Tests]."
This announcement follows widespread speculation on whether Sourav Ganguly, who has been missing from the Indian ODI team, would retain his position as Test captain. In the last Test series India played, against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe, Ganguly was captain and led the team to a 2-0 win over a depleted opposition. Dravid, a long-time deputy to Ganguly, has led India in five Tests in the captain's absence, with mixed results. Under Dravid, India won and lost a Test each against Australia and Pakistan last season, while the fifth against New Zealand was drawn.
The selectors would have given Dravid a longer term but left the decision to the new committee that will be in place after the Indian cricket board's elections on November 29. The gruelling season till July includes home Tests against Sri Lanka and England and tours of Pakistan and the West Indies.
The selectors will now meet on Wednesday, in consultation with the newly-appointed Test captain, and coach, and pick the team for the Test series which begins on December 2. They also picked the Board President's XI team that will play a warm-up match against the Sri Lankans. Y Venugopal Rao was named captain of that team. Parthiv Patel was included in the squad as wicketkeeper and vice-captain. There were also opportunities for the likes of Dheeraj Jadhav, Robin Uthappa and Gagandeep Singh to push hard for a place in the Indian team.
Board President's XI squad Y Venugopal Rao (capt), Dheeraj Jadhav, Shikhar Dhawan, Robin Uthappa, Munaf Patel, Niraj Patel, Sreedharan Sriram, Parthiv Patel (vice-capt, wk), Kulamani Parida, Amit Mishra, Ranadeb Bose, Gagandeep Singh.