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Rahul Dravid has resigned as India captain with immediate effect. In a letter written to the Indian board, he has asked to be relieved of the captaincy before Australia's forthcoming tour of India, beginning later this month.
"I enjoyed the captaincy, I loved it, but it can get tough after a while and some of the enjoyment can go away," Dravid told BBC. "So I thought it was the right time to step aside.''
The board president, Sharad Pawar, said Dravid told him of his wish to step down, with immediate effect, when they met on Thursday. "He said, 'The selectors have placed faith in me to lead continuously for two years and I'm grateful for that'", Pawar said. "He said he would like to concentrate on his batting and the opportunity should be given to a new person to lead the side."
"He has discussed the issue with me twice. I think we need to respect his decision," Pawar said.
Dravid had opted out of the ICC World Twenty20 currently on in South Africa and the captaincy of that team was handed to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Shah told Cricinfo the board would meet within the next two days to appoint the next captain. "We will take a decision very soon." Australia arrive in India on September 25 and the first of seven ODIs is in Bangalore four days later.
Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, said a decision would be taken on September 18, when the team for the Australia ODIs is to be picked.
Vengsarkar, who was in New Delhi watching the match between India A and South Africa A, appeared unaware of the news until told about it by journalists. Asked for his reaction, Vengsarkar said: "I can't even be shocked because [officially] I haven't heard anything."
Dravid, 33, has captained India in 20 Tests and 62 ODIs since taking over the captaincy from Sourav Ganguly two years ago, following India's tour of Zimbabwe.
Under his captaincy India won eight Tests, including series wins in West Indies, Bangladesh and England. However, his ODI record was patchy; he began on a winning streak, where India set a record for 16 consecutive successful chases. More recently, though, the team had a first-round exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean and lost the NatWest series to England 4-3.
As captain, he averaged 51 in Tests and 44 in ODIs but his Test form had dipped of late; he averaged 25 against England recently and 21 on the South Africa tour last year.
His decision comes as India is preparing for a busy season including a home series against Pakistan and a full tour of Australia.