Home > Cricket News, IPL News > Gives up top job to focus on batting

Gives up top job to focus on batting

NEW DELHI, September 14: Sharad Pawar was on a high on Thursday. The final little piece had fallen in place and he was ready to unveil his latest grand scheme – the Indian Premier League (IPL), BCCI’s Twenty20 tournament that could deliver a killer punch to the rebel Indian Cricket League. Pawar’s smile was, therefore, big. He was looking forward to making the announcement to the media, flanked by ICC chief Ray Mali and Australian cricket president Creagh O’Connor.

Then skipper Rahul Dravid asked to have a word with him. Pawar may have had an inkling of what was coming – Dravid had apparently brought up the subject before, including during the tour of England. Sure enough, Dravid came to the point straight – he wanted to quit as captain right away. He was ready to play under anyone, he added. But why, asked Pawar.

Personal reasons, sir, Dravid is learnt to have said. He added his batting was getting affected and he would like to focus on his game.

Pawar’s shrewd mind began ticking. If this news leaked out, it would steal his thunder – the IPL story would be a mere footnote in the Captain Quitting blockbuster. Don’t breathe a word about this, he urged Dravid. He himself didn’t share the news with many BCCI colleagues. He, however, told Dilip Vengsarkar. A new captain had to be found. And quickly, as the team for the ODI series was going to be announced five days later.

But why did Dravid quit? His record as captain wasn’t that bad. In fact, of all Indian cricket captains, his away-match record is the best. In the last couple of series Dravid’s batting might have been not so good, but otherwise he was playing well. So was it true that his batting was getting affected by the pressures of captaincy? Or, were there other reasons for quitting?

Dravid was incommunicado. He switched off his mobile on Friday, but a reporter with BBC claims to have talked to him.

Dravid told him the pressure of captaincy was getting under his skin and he was no longer enjoying the game.

A friend of Dravid told TOI: “Captaincy in India requires skills beyond the field. Things are always written about the captain, some of it informed, some uninformed. The captain needs to cultivate a set of journalists to whom he can give the real story. He needs to do this and much more. Frankly, Dravid wasn’t up to all this.”

When did he realise he wasn’t up to it? Quite some time back, said the friend. “But he didn’t want to be dubbed a quitter. After the England series, he thought he could announce his decision.”

Categories: Cricket News, IPL News
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