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The Cricket Interview / Rahul Dravid
Captaincy in India has shelf life: Dravid
September 17, 2007
The 34-year-old batsman, who has not said a word in public since his resignation was announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Friday, said captaincy "takes a lot out of you".
The thought of stepping down crossed his mind after India's early exit from the World Cup in the West Indies [Images], for which he felt responsible, said Dravid, adding, "but I still felt that I had the strength and energy to do it then" in the hope that things could be turned around.
However, towards the end of the ODI series against England [Images], which ended earlier this month, he started considering resigning.
"But I did not want to take any decision there without first speaking to my family and wanted to give it a few days back home to see if I felt differently before taking a final call," he said.
The decision was "personal and based on my observation of whether I would be able to give it my very best like I have always tried to", Dravid said.
The former Indian skipper was of the view that "there is a shelf life to captaincy in India in which you can give it your best".
"May be the shelf life is becoming shorter as time goes by," he commented.
Dravid, who characteristically chose his words with great caution, refused to comment on the issue of his successor when asked if Sachin Tendulkar [Images], Sourav Ganguly [Images] and Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images], whose names are being mentioned, would be able to handle the job.
"I obviously will not like to comment on it and it is a decision best left to the selectors," he told Sutram Suresh, a day ahead of the selection committee meeting in Mumbai to choose his successor.
Is it true that the feeling of quitting from the captain's job started with the World Cup debacle?
No. But definitely after the World Cup I felt responsible for our early exit and I had also said so then and the thought did cross my mind. But I still felt that I had the strength and energy to do it then; and though the World Cup was disappointing we were not that bad a team and things could be turned around.
The suddenness of your resignation has surprised everyone. When did you first think in terms of resigning?
Towards the end of the England ODI series I began to consider it. But I didn't want to take any decision there without first speaking to my family and wanted to give it a few days back home to see if I felt differently before taking a final call. This was the reason I couldn't tell even the players because it was a decision I did not want to take lightly or without being sure.
What prompted you to take the decision?
I had done the job for two years and they have been pretty eventful couple of years. Obviously, it takes a lot out of you and I felt that I was not enjoying it. The decision was personal and based on my observation of whether I would be able to give it my very best like I have always tried to.
Finally, you have to be comfortable yourself that you will be giving it your best and not going through the motions which will not be fair to the team.
You have been a committed player and a fighter who would do anything for the team. Observers are surprised that you should throw in the towel just before the tough series against Australia and Pakistan, leaving the Indian team without a leader. Your comments.
Every series is tough in international cricket and we are playing constantly all the time. So it's not as if there is any break or period. There is no real right time for decision like this except for the fact that you must truly enjoy the job and be committed to it and know that you can give it your all. There is a shelf life to the captaincy in India, in which you can give it your best. Maybe the shelf lives are becoming shorter as time goes by.
What were the most frustrating and joyous moments of your captaincy?
I haven't had much time to sit down and analyse the last two years and I think it will take a while being away from it to give me a better perspective of things.
On the top of my head in terms of results, obviously, the World Cup was a disappointment as was the last Test match at Cape Town; while Test victories in the West Indies and England and the really good one-day run we had last year were the highlights.
Who do you think should succeed you? The names being mentioned are Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Do you think they can handle the job?
I, obviously, will not like to comment on it, and it's a decision best left to the selectors.
Was the pressure of captaincy really affecting your batting? Do you think the media has been unfair to you?
Like when I was a player I had some good series and some bad ones. And it was the same when I was the captain. No, I dont think the media has been unfair to me personally, but in today's times, with the explosion in the media, there is a lot more pressure on players, captains, selectors, everyone. So I never felt it was personal.