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The Rediff Cricket Interview
'Dravid was neither demonstrative nor flamboyant'
September 17, 2007
Like most cricket lovers as well as luminaries, former India all-rounder and captain Chandrakant Gulabrao Borde is also surprised by Rahul Dravid's [Images] sudden, unexpected decision to step down from the national captaincy.
Borde was the manager of Team India on its recent tour to England [Images] under Dravid.
In the following interview with Haresh Pandya, he expresses his views on Dravid's captaincy and Team India's performance on the England jaunt.
What are your reactions to Rahul Dravid's sudden resignation from captaincy of Team India?
It really came as a surprise to me. I don't know what to say. He never ever hinted about it to me or others even at the end of the one-day series in England. We never discussed this thing on the tour. But I know him to be a very thinking man and cricketer. So he must have thought a lot before deciding to step down. By all means it isn't a decision taken in haste. It's his individual, personal decision.
Maybe he was feeling the pressure of captaincy as it was affecting his batting to some extent. What do you think?
I don't think so. He usually performed brilliantly while leading the side. If he didn't score heavily as per his own high standards, I don't think the extra responsibility of captaincy was any factor. Such things happen to the best of players. It's just one of those things. But I'm really surprised by his unexpected decision.
How did you find him as a captain?
He was very good and very knowledgeable. As I said, he is a thinking cricketer and so a lot of thought process used to go in his decisions as a captain. Like in the earlier series, he led Team India very well on the England tour as well. Didn't we win the Test series on the English soil under him after two decades? Can there be a better proof of his leadership qualities?
Do you think he led from the front?
Yes, of course. In fact, he was very inspirational also. Unlike many other captains, he was neither demonstrative nor flamboyant, but that isn't what captaincy is all about. He went about his job with a quiet dignity and enjoyed full support of each member of the Indian team.
Who do you think should replace Dravid at the helm?
I can't say. I haven't even thought about it. It's up to the selectors now to pick the right man for the job.
What was the best part of the England tour?
Well, the combination of youth and experience in the Indian team shone through the whole tour. There was always a friendly atmosphere in the dressing room. Senior players were always seen helping their younger colleagues in whatever way they could. The players never lost their focus even in the tense situations on the field. The team spirit was excellent. And it reflected in the team's overall good performance, too.
Do you regret having not won the third and final Test at The Oval and with it the series 2-0?
No. We dominated the Test almost throughout and there was no reason to regret on any score. You should give credit to England for having played well and saved the game. But this doesn't mean the Indian players didn't try their utmost to win. They did.
Whose decision it was not to enforce the follow-on after the hosts fell way behind India's first innings total at The Oval?
Let me tell you frankly, it was a collective decision of the entire team and management. Dravid has been unnecessarily pilloried by the media for that. It's just that England managed to escape from the jaws of defeat. But if we had managed to win, the same media would have hailed our decision not to enforce the follow-on.
In your opinion, who was the most impressive Indian player on the tour?
I just can't single out any one in particular simply because there were too many who performed really well. I for one was very happy by the overall showing of Team India in Tests as well as ODIs. When you judge a player, you just don't do it on the strength of his statistics alone. You've also to take into account factors like how he copes with the pressure, how he responds to the needs of his team in a given situation, and so on.
Could you at least name a couple of youngsters who impressed you with their talents despite lacking in experience?
Well, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa and R.P. Singh, to name some, looked very good among the youngsters. They've a lot of potential. Chawla is a genuine spinner and his approach is very positive. I see a bright future for each one of them.
Have we at last found a settled opening pair for Test matches?
I think so. Didn't Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik do consistently well and gave India a good start more often than not? Their handling of the speedsters as well as spinners was excellent. They showed a lot of application and also a good understanding between them, which is very vital for the opening partners. I see no reason why we shouldn't continue with them as openers.