Dravid named as captain

The selectors have appointed Rahul Dravid as the captain of the Indian side for the two forthcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka and South Africa, a total of 12 ODIs starting on October 25. Dravid was put in charge of the side until November 28, when India will play South Africa in the final match of the five-match series at Mumbai.

The announcement was made by SK Nair, the secretary of the Indian board, in Mohali today. He clarified that the selectors' decision to appoint Dravid for two series, as opposed to the conventional system of naming a captain for just one series, was because they were being played back to back. The selectors, he revealed, felt Dravid deserved a longer run. Nair added that it was a unanimous decision by the selection committee.

One can only speculate about the selectors' future plans and whether this is another stop-gap arrangement where Dravid will be filling in for Sourav Ganguly. Ganguly, who was advised to rest his elbow till October 17, may not find a place in the squad for the opening two games of the series. His performance in East Zone's opening Duleep Trophy match, beginning on October 20, might hence be vital for his return for the rest of the one-day series.

This is the third time that Dravid has been appointed captain, apart from instances where he had to take over at short notice. In his last 17 games as captain of the one-day side Dravid has won seven and lost nine while averaging 30.2 when in charge. He has been in charge for two tri-series - the TVS Cup in 2003-04 and the Indian Oil Cup earlier this year - but has ended up losing the finals on both occasions.

The squad for the first two games of the Sri Lanka series is scheduled to be picked tomorrow but it is unlikely that Dravid will be part of the selection meeting (even through tele-conference) as he will be playing in the Super Series Test at Sydney which starts on Friday.