Dravid says he 'enjoyed' the captaincy
A thoughtful, intense cricketer has handed back the Indian cricket captaincy because some of the enjoyment had been leached out of his game.
As befits a quiet, dignified man, there was no fanfare. Rahul Dravid wanted to announce his decision on Thursday, then realised it might take some shine off the launch of the Champions Twenty20 League, and instead spoke privately to Indian cricket board chief Sharad Pawar and that was it.
As he said to this writer on Friday evening: "I enjoyed the captaincy, I loved it, but it can get tough after a while and some of the enjoyment can go away. So I thought it was the right time to
Surrounded by his team, or in the dressing room, Dravid found the ultimate contentment, but like most Indian captains it is the off-field demands/politics/chaos that wearies the mind and greys the hair. Leading India ages men before their time. In some ways, ironically, perhaps a thoughtful man was guilty of taking his job too seriously.
Fair time to leave
So buried in cricket was he that even the smallest pleasures seem to have escaped a rounded man.
When this writer, aware of Dravid's fondness for browsing bookshops, inquisitively asked mid-summer what he'd bought, he said he hadn't even had time to get to a bookshop. (It tells you
something about Dravid that when he eventually did, 10 days before he left England, he bought Ramachandra Guha's India after Gandhi).
It is a fair time for Dravid to leave for many reasons. Victory in the Test series in England has been his redemption song after a dismal World Cup. Some hours after India exited that tournament, a phone call found him in his room in the West Indies, a man alone, sounding like death must. He briefly contemplated his future as captain
then, but pride and resoluteness have been the signatures of his career, and he soldiered on.
His resignation is a challenge to the young men in the team to take responsibility. It also means in his remaining cricketing time, Dravid will concentrate on matters limited to the crease: it is where India requires his skills, and where he is happiest.
A 'generational change' is needed in Indian cricket
Dravid won series and Tests abroad as captain, but no consensus is to be found on his ability as leader, as tactician, as communicator. Forever it will be argued whether he let Greg Chappell go too far. One person will not care: his son, Samit, will be pleased to have more time with his father.
'India cannot go backward'
Young men have not pushed persuasively for the captaincy, yet a young man must get it. Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj and Kaif have not convinced us completely of their Test qualifications in recent times, yet one of these men must lead, slip, fall, learn. India cannot go backwards and rely again on its older men. They have done enough. Now they must be on-field tutors during Test matches.
If anything, a generational change is required and it should not halt with Dravid's relinquishing of the captaincy.
Unseemly as it sounds, especially since they were three of the four top scorers in the England one-day series, Dravid-Tendulkar-Ganguly should be given a wall clock with a nice inscription and a collective hug by the nation, and sent into one-day retirement.
In Tests, we will pull them out of the moth balls, dust them off, and thrive on their experience. In the shorter form, we can't afford them.
Fielding is scarcely the cause for it's not as if India's young men are athletic warriors, nimble of feet and strong of arm. Ramesh Powar, for instance, is an improving spinner, and an inspirational tale, but no man with such a physique should be playing one-day cricket for India. Blocky we understand, paunch we don't.
Youngsters like Dhoni must take on more responsibility
India displayed flashes of competitiveness in the one-dayers, and while spirit can take a team some distance, it cannot make a good team a great team. Only disciplined talent, admittedly armed with spirit, can. And India lacks this talent. What it has, is greying.
As it stands this precise Indian one-day team cannot get better.
Confronted with the two tests of cricketing greatness it would fail, for this team cannot beat Australia on a consistent basis, and it cannot win the 2011 World Cup. Change, thus, is mandatory.
Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar will not that play in that World Cup, and that is the issue. It might not matter so much if currently they played minor roles in the team, but on the contrary these well-worn Musketeers remain the talent in this one-day team. Pointedly no young Indian player dominated the one-day series, though Robin Uthappa's cameo dazzled (still, two matches was inadequate evidence of anything).
To replace the finest one-day opening partnership of the modern era, and a finisher whose cool steadiness allowed our heart rates to settle, is a trying job.
It is a substantial vacuum, requiring a careful search. For the trio to retire with only, say 18 months left for the Cup, would instigate a panic. In a country where glaciers flow faster than cricketing decisions, there is not much time to waste. Young men must be tried, and captains must be tested, and the quicker India moves, the better chance it gives itself.
Yuvraj has been fully convincing in his Test performances
One might argue that retiring the trio is hasty, that no such similar call has gone out in Australia about Gilchrist (36 in November) and Hayden (36 in October) and Michael Hussey (32). But there are substantial differences.
Firstly, the rules for winning teams are always different. Second, Australia's keen bench (at most times) ensures vacancies are not just swiftly filled but adequately. In India, the hole Pathan left is yet to be plugged. Imagine the chasm Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid will leave?
It is an unfortunate moment, proof of sports' unending cruelties. It is no good trying to placate Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid by saying you have earned enough money, you've played so much, the one-day rest will elongate your Test careers.
Nothing can camouflage the truth which is that wonderful cricketers, who deserve to be in the team now, need to retire for the sake of the future. Maybe they, who've faced so many of sports' harshest truths with dignity, will understand: sometimes to find victory, sentiment has to stand aside.
This debate is closed. Here is a selection of comments you sent
I agree its time the team moved on. Youngters should take on the captaincy job, and Saurav, Sachin and Dravid enjoy their game more.
Siva Karupaiah, UK
In fact there is no reason to panic. Yes - individually the Big Three have 10,000 plus runs each. But as Dravid said, if one plays for 300 plus games it is a natural summit ! There cannot be a worse situation without these three in a one day side. After all there can't be a worse situation than getting back home without a super-eight slot/without a series victory. Even in tests, after all we won an away test series after 21 years (without Harmison, Flintoff and Jones). I think we over-react to cricketers and make them demi-gods.
A great and player with solid rock defence is leaving the captaincy scene with grace. It was high time to leave the politics of leading the team and concentrate on the stuff at the crease. The cricket world want to see more of the legend.
Umar Farooq, Pakistan
It shouldn't be a surprise or heart break for anyone to see Sachin, Saurav and Rahul go and make way for the younger players. Hats off to them for serving India so well.
Vishal Srivastava, Christchurch, New Zealand
Rahul Dravid showed as good a timing as his cover drives in deciding upon his retirement. After the recent undignified leaks and cloak and dagger politics of the recent past, this dignified exit of Rahul as Indian captain exemplifies the highest traditions of cricket. However, I do not believe that the retirement of the big three will create a vacuum.
Dev Srivastava, UK
I agree with Dravid's decision to stand down because you play a game with the intention of enjoying it and if the captaincy is restricting him from doing so then he has made the right choice. I do not agree however with the view that the Big Three should all be retired at the same time to allow for younger players to come through. The young players will have to prove their worth and prove that they can do a better job than players on the current team to get their place. You cannot simple just go the these three players because of their records and achievements, they need to be treated as well as there last performance dictates.
Jordan, Northern Ireland
Yes, it was a good decision to make in need. Dravid has done is job as a captain and a player for the team. And it is right for him to think that their will a change for the team if some other young and talented to lead. Well done Dravid and thanks for the wonderful captaincy.
Vinutha Srikanth, New Zealand
There is no doubt that Dravid has been a fine leader, the same with Ganguly and Tendulkar, but they are close to retirement. I don't think it will be wise for the Indian board to hand the captaincy to Ganguly or Tendulkar, but they should wait after the 20T World Cup and see how Dhoni and the youngsters go, but for me there aren't that many people who could take over from Dravid. My possible nominees - Yuvraj Singh but he doesn't look like his best since his injury, Sehwag - if he has a good 20T may be an option, Dhoni perhaps but I think all the supporters will be expecting too much from him, someone mentioned Kaif who was a fine cricketer but hasn't performed well for the best part of three years, another could be one of the bowlers maybe Zaheer or Harbhajan but I don't feel that they have the skill of being a good captain. So the board will have a tough challenge of finding a good quality captain and replacing the great trio.
I feel Dravid took the right decision. The pressure being a captain of a team representing the country where cricket is the only game that makes sense and gives pride (at least sometimes) is a very difficult task. And only the tough (Ganguly) can do it (but not again). It sucks all your energy and contribution in other departments get worse (like Dravid's batting particularly in Tests).
I believe Dravid resigned because of the pressure, politics, and chaos within BCCI. I wont be surprised if Sachin becomes captain again. It is Mumbai thing with Sachin, Pawar, and Vengsarkar. Anyway, if India does not groom at least two good captains within next two years then it will take years before India becomes a strong team once again. BCCI should quit politics and get serious about the future of the game and the players.
Ajit K, USA
Could India do without a captain for a brief period, just as they are (and doing quite well) without a coach?! After all, as long as senior players are around on the field (for a brief period), every batsman would know when to bat, bowler when to bowl, and fielders where to field. With no apparent natural successor, the best candidate could potentially come out of such chaos. Then again, BCCI's irrationality would prevail, not mine, so why bother!
Vijay Raman, UK
Dravid is one of the most sober and gentle cricketers the cricketing world ever seen. He along with Tendulkar and Ganguly have contributed immensely to the glory of Indian cricket over the decade and more. I wonder why Rohit raise the question of sentiment when the trio, the pride of India, were still giving lot to their country to rejoice. This is unfortunate a calling right now. Dravid is a quiet person and its quite natural that he resigns as captain of India quietly! As a captain, I found Dravid more enigmatic than enthusiastic, vibrant and emotion-charged. Ganguly is the best captain, no doubt. Tendulkar is still performing excellently. While supporting the further stay of the trio in the team, I would however love to see a new captain instead. Because India need to create a good captain like Ganguly and Azharuddin and the process of moulding should start now.
Shahidul Islam (Bachchu), Bangladesh
Why should Dravid, Ganguly or Tendulkar retire? They are playing well and that is all that matters. Has no one heard of examples of Gooch, Jayasurya, Ponting, Warne, etc of playing well past their early thirties and even into their forties? Ganguly should be made captain for Tests and let the trio play based on performance. It will be a mistake for Tendulkar to take on captainship as that will ultimately affect his batting.
Dravid made some mistakes as captain, and for those his captaincy will always be criticised. But overall I think he did a great job...
But it is time for the younger players in the Indian team to have responsibility thrust upon them. The older players may be 'tried and tested' but young minds can offer a different perspective, and they also have the benefit of having the experience on field whilst the 'big three' are still around. A time will come when those three will retire, the captaincy decision must strike a balance between one taken for immediate success and one taken for the long term scope of the Indian team. I would very much like to see Dhoni taking on this role...
Yuvraj Singh should be appointed India captain. He is young,agressive and sets high standards on the field. His approach to the game is similar to Australia and its seems given a long rope can mould India into a successful unit. Giving captaincy to Sachin/Sourav sure are retrograde steps. Laxman is also in his last legs and cant find a place in the one day team. Dhoni seems too flamboyant for the job. Yuvi is the man.........
Reshma Daniel, US
So what? Dravid has retired and someone will replace him as the Indian captain. You can only select from the bunch that you have, unless you follow England's example when they chose Mike Bearley as a captain only, without taking much into account of his playing ability but realising his great notion of leadership. Have you got someone like him in India, at present? So let us cut this drama short and get back to the core of cricket and do our best to play the game and move forward. Select a captain from the squad and get on with it, and go with the flow.
Amiya Bhattacharjee, United Kingdom
It is indeed a "dignified" exit for Dravid. Hats off to him. I hope people here in Pakistan do the same. Inzi was a sorry case.
Yousuf Hussain, Pakistan
Ganguly is the logical choice to take over the captaincy. Throwing a youngster into the role against the Aussies could destroy his career. Ganguly on the other hand has already had a fair deal of success against Australia and will handle the situation, regardless of the result.
A well written and thoughtful piece. I have nothing but admiration and regard for Dravid. A true professional and ambassador for the game. But what about the future of the game? Where will the talent come from, after all without the big three we really are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
I wonder how much the absence of a coach cost Dravid this summer? At times his decisions appeared baffling but nothing will take away the Test series win against England. It is the right time for him to quit the captaincy as a very busy workload lies ahead and his dropping batting averages must have alarmed him. The selectors could do worse than to appoint Ganguly as the captain with an understudy. India are unquestionably at the crossroads and some unpalatable truths must be faced like dropping the seniors steadily from the one day game with none playing in the Twenty20 format.
Very very beautifully written article, but Dravid's decision isn't unexpected. It has been coming for a while. I was surprised he wasn't sacked after the World Cup fiasco. But I suppose Dravid had made up his decision then. And just waited for a dignified moment to exit.
Why does everyone keep forgetting Sehwag? For heaven's sake, India started winning abroad only ever since Sehwag and Harbhajan came in (South Africa, Australia, Pakistan etc). You force a middle order batsman into an opening batsman, and then drop him when he doesn't get runs there! He was never never ever an opening batsman. Play him in the middle order and see the difference. Our esteemed selectors chose to send him packing instead. I hope his confidence is not dented. I hope Veeru has a good T20 and make a strong comeback. And yes, Kaif absolutely needs to be brought back. He is a darn fine batsman, just needs to be a given a little dose of confidence.
I completely disagree with the argument that SRS (Sachin-Rahul-Sourav)should be planning retirement. Let a youngster dislodge them on sheer ability to perform. Lara (37), Inzamam (37), Jayasurya (38), Gilchrist (36), Hayden (36), Steve Waugh (39) are only some examples of good cricketers carrying on well past the age of 34 (current age of SRS). This article depicts the typical Indian mindset of trying to pull down a performer due to traditional mindsets (age barrier). What is required is performance. and as long as SRS (or anybody for that matter) perform at the international level, no one has any right to pass opinions on their retirement. A younger captain, without sufficient grooming, is likely to loose a couple of matches in his early days. At that time, this same writer is likely to call for his head.
Rohit's idea of retiring the big three from one-days and letting them play the tests is a disastrous idea. This idea will open up 3 spots on the one day team but those 3 spots will stay full in tests. Therefore, the new players will get international experience at a much slower pace, hampering their performance and skill improvement. This will lead to useless one-day experimentation of new players without any improvement in one-day game. Thus, India's one-day performance will suffer. Case and point - the partial retirement of Kumble. Currently we do not have a single reliable spinner on the one-day side. (Harbhajan is sidelined and there has been no effective permanent replacement). There is no need to end careers of the big three prematurely. Let their careers run their full natural duration, especially when they are delivering fantastic performances.
Amar Dave, USA
This is perhaps the time to split the captaincy. Dhoni is probably the right choice for the limited overs side, where captaincy is potentially less of a drain than the leading of the test side. It will also allow time for both Dhoni and the selectors to assess his abilities to captain India in the longer version. For test matches, I can think of none better than VVS Laxman, who has an astute cricketing brain as well as flair to bring to the captaincy, and who will also bring considerable grace to everything he does on and off the field.
Ramesh Narayan, India
I disagree with Rohit over the timing of Dravid's exit. It is neither professional nor worthy of a leader. The incident proves just one truth- "It is difficult to live in the image of a leader propped up by the media". It is time the media calls a spade a spade. A leader has the responsibility of grooming his successor. A captain's duties go well beyond that of a top batsman's. Dravid has realised that he does not have the aptitude for it. I respect him for his honesty. But, also feel sad that very senior, experienced player like him did not have it in him to hold on till Dhoni or Yuvaraj stabilise. If you call his resignation dignified then I do not know what cowardice is. A brave batsman does not necessarily make a brave captain. Let us hope and pray Dhoni takes to captainship like Saurav took to it.
Please stop drumming the same beat that Sachin, Sourav and Rahul should quit and pave way for youngsters. Without their contribution over the last one or two decades, Team India would've been in the same category as Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, which are known only for their sporadic performances.
Ravi Kalaga, USA
Captaincy is an unthankful job in sub-continent. Earlier this year Younus Khan declined the role for Pakistan.
Kamran Syed, Connecticut, USA
Dravid made his decision probably after contemplating about it a lot. I think he left the job because of some internal politics. He is not the kind of guy who shuns away from hurdles ahead of him. His past actions show that. I am glad that he gave up the job and suggested that somebody young should take up the mantle. Tendulkar is playing well. He is 33. How many years do you expect him to play? its simple common sense to make a young guy as captain. Just Like Graeme Smith was made captain for SA somebody like Yuvraj Singh should take up the mantle. We will struggle i accept. But i think we should think ahead in order to reach the final destination.... a good future for Indian cricket rather than short term ideas of falling on to Sachin or Saurav. Its imperative that we think forward rather than backwards. Give more chances to youngsters like Raina, and Kaif.
To be fair the future does not belong to Sourav, Sachin, Dravid. It is a sad end to a sordid saga engineered by Greg Chappell through his divide and rule policy, whereby Indians were deprived of a Team India challenge under the leadership of Sourav to Australia led by Ponting in the WC07. If Greg Chappell was not allowed to run amok by Dravid and the duo of Sourav-Sachin not insulted unlike WC03 this time Team India might actually have beaten the ageing Aussies (their average age was more than Indians). I still feel Indians were guilty of not supporting Sourav in the only hour of his life when he needed their support. Let Indians learn a lesson for the future on this too if we want to back ourselves to win.
Kaushik Pal, India
Rohit Brijnath himself makes the argument against retiring the Big Three, while saying that they should be retired. In Australia, in spite of an excellent system that has produced a strong bench, they still persist with people on the wrong side of thirty. In India, as Brijnath himself says, we are tottering around looking for an adequate replacement for Irfan Pathan after close to a year. And in the same breath, he says that we should retire three top batsmen who still steadily contribute half the runs of the team. You have no clue about how to fill a small hole, and you want to create a crater!! Build the foundation well first, put a good system in place that identifies and prepares a steady pool of talent - then you can afford to take all the dramatic decisions you want to. At this juncture, removing the Big Three wouldn't solve a bit of the problem of rebuilding the team; it wouldn't be a long-term solution, it wouldn't even be a solution for tomorrow - it would just be the act of the moment.
R Mahadevan, India
I think India should learn from South Africa who dared to appoint a 20 year old youngster G Smith as captain of a struggling team, with all the seniors around supporting the decision. The bold decision has paid off well and Smith now looks a rock solid captain leading from the front. I would say cheers for Dhoni if he is elected.
Nikhil Dave, UK
Rahul Dravid is a great batsman, a great man and was a good captain with some great results in his reign but India need a captain who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and make decisions at the right time. The next captain has to be young enough to lead India to the next world cup. The present team has young players who are not yet mature enough to take over the captaincy and the only other alternative now would be to give Ganguly the captaincy on short term basis until a youger player is groomed.
A Mahey, UK
I have never been a big fan of cricket, but I have always admired Rahul Dravid as an individual and hold him in high esteem. In a country where politicians and other public figures are only interested in holding onto their positions in eternity, here we have a gentleman who has shown us grace, dignity and above all maturity. He can now focus more in the game and deliver better cricket. Good luck Mr Dravid. Way to go!!
Haresh G Keswani, Muscat, Oman
I don't think it's a timely decision. He is on the threshold of his career as captain. He has been leading the team better than any of his predecessors. Stepping down the captaincy is rather selfish and a cowardly act. He knows there is vacuum, when he leaves, which cannot be filled up easily. The younger players are not fully convincing to take up the mantle and the seniors are not very keen on accepting the job. They have already made reservations on it. The soft-spoken statesman of the game has lot to offer for the nation. He shouldn't have succumbed to the pressure. He could enjoy the support of the every cricket lover from every corner of the nation.
A captain is only as good as a team. Dravid's performances as a captain are better than Ganguly/Sachin purely because he had a better batting/bowling attack. When Sachin was captain, India had one match winning bowler when it travels abroad, which was Srinath. And Srinath was injured for a couple of abroad tours when Sachin was captain. Now, India has 6 good fast bowlers (Zaheer,Srisanth,Munaf,Pathan,RP,Agarkar) and two great spinners (Kumble/Harbajan), which can help the next captain. So, I don't think Yuvraj or Dhoni will do badly if they get the captaincy.
While it might be true that India need to find replacements for the trio before WC2011,I honestly do not think their retirement will help that process greatly. As long as they are the best possible batsmen/players to fill those positions, I see no reason for them to make way for players who have half the talent and ability.Sanath Jayasuriya for instance, is playing as well as he ever has at the age of 38.The process of finding replacements for them must be ongoing. The more senior amongst the younger bunch do indeed need to step up as well. Experiment and groom youngsters through the T20 format is in my opinion the best way to find fresh faces who can also do well for India in the 50 over game.
Arjun Rangarajan, India
Dhoni should be leading India as he is a regular in both the formats of the game. Yuvraj is another good candidate, however he is not a regular in the Tests
Sharon Sequeira, India
I agree that Dravid's exit is a dignified one. I don't think Dravid has received his due as a captain from the fans and media, though in my opinion he is still the best man to lead the current Indian team. I always felt that Dravid has been the ultimate team man and many of India's success is due to his contribution. Whoever is appointed as the New Indian captain, I am sure that Rahul would give them his full backing. There is a certain integrity about him that is worth admiring. I do hope that a younger member is elected as captain as that would allow the seniors to contribute better and play more freely. They do not need the added pressure of captaincy. Hope India cricket moves forward. The best to them.
Ashlesh, India, Bangalore
Rahul's decision is entirely logical and one that will definitely set the cat out amongst the pigeons. People might brand this decision foolish but the same people will be singing his laurels when he makes his willow speak! We have to respect his decision (I know him quite well being his erstwhile neighbour in Bangalore) and it is not a decision that has come hastily. Whilst no denying the fact that he is arguably the best batsman to have come from India in the last decade, as a captain his natural flair for batting was being let down tremendously. Let us utilise Rahul's batting skills to win us more tests abroad and leave him to be a valuable part of the think tank that will support the on-field decisions of the new captain. Ganguly and Tendulkar along with Rahul have been the pillars of Indian cricket for the past ten years and it will be a huge void to fill. But time does not stand still and new people will eventually fill the deficit. We have survived and won tests abroad without the famed 'spin quartet' once considered indispensable! We have weathered the absence of the legendary Gavaskar and Kapil Dev among a host of other talented cricketers. Its definitely time to move on. Congratulations Rahul, you have made Bangalore, Karnataka and India proud and you deserve to be relieved from the stress that is tearing at the very essence of your life which is excellent batsmanship! Three cheers to The Wall.
Dr Raj Gopal, Kenya
Sad day for Indian cricket. A great sportsman with his heart in the right place has been beaten back by a culture that he had tried to overcome and change. He may have cited 'personal reasons' as the official reason for his resignation but there can be no doubt that Dravid did not carry on because the change for excellence that he had envisioned had stalled. It may be a dignified exit but a wrong choice. At this hour, India needed her captain to stay the course more than it needed her best batsman to regain his touch.
Neville Kavarana, India
Thank you Rohit for such an eloquent and considered assessment of Indian cricket. I wish more journalists and commentators were as fair minded.
Bryson Hall, United Kingdom
That Rahul Dravid has to take this decision is a reflection of the poor structure and system that we have in the country. Appointment of Tendulkar will be a continuation of poor and short-term thinking. I also think that nobody (may be barring Anil Kumble) can be a better team man and ultimate professional - qualities that are paramount in Australian system but not in our country. I am sorry to see him resign but not surprised at all. In my eyes, he is the greatest cricketer the country has produced and a man of tremendous integrity and self-pride. He'll resign or retire much before he'll get a pat on the back in the tradition of Sunil Gavaskar. Hats off to you, Rahul. You are my role model.
Satish Kumar, India
Its not fair!! Dravid shouldn't have resigned as captain, he had great leadership qualities and knew how to bring the team forward - whereas now he'll have more time to spare and so i can't wait to see him in action in the next game to come. Hopefully Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly will still be in form for the next World Cup but if not good luck to all the youngsters coming forward. Dravid is such wonderful and he should be the captain of India in the next World Cup too.
Mukhtar Niazi, Afghanistan
Dravid saw the writing on the wall that his days were numbered so he resigned to save his reputation merely few days before the upcoming series against strong teams like Australia and Pakistan.
We really have to look to the future, and groom not only a great captain, but also a selfless, thinking cricketer who will serve the country for a long time to come, with distinction. I feel Kaif should be groomed for this task for tests, and Yuvraj or Dhoni can fill the slot for now in the shorter version(s).
Ganguly is the logical choice to take over the captaincy. Throwing a youngster into the role against the Aussies could destroy his career. Ganguly on the other hand has already had a fair deal of success against Australia and will handle the situation, regardless of the result.
Dravid had realised in his brief stint at the top that there was no way to satisfy the rapacious monster of the expectations of the Indian public. He made his peace with it and walked away.
G Krishnamurthy, India
Dravid's decision to retire is the best thing he has done for Indian Cricket. There's no doubt that he has been one of the greatest batsman of his generation - maybe a bit better than even Sachin Tendulkar and miles ahead of Sourav in Test cricket at least. But as a captain he was no inspirational figure and he lacked leadership qualities and the aggressiveness needed to be a winner. His best contribution to Indian cricket was with the bat and that's what he should continue doing till the day he feels he can do no more.
Jaideep Bhandarkar, India
If Dhoni is given captaincy, as is the word going around, it will burn him out very quickly. He is already doing so much as a wicket-keeper-batsman! Appoint Yuvraj as captain right away or ask Dravid to stay for a transitional period to bring Kaif in!
The days of Mike Brearly are long gone. A captain today has to be able to hold a place in the side on his own ability as a player. None of the current crop has cemented a place in the side and for that reason the captaincy should be handed back to Tendulkar. In a year or two hopefully someone who has guaranteed his place in the team and shown leadership qualities will be ready to step into Tendulkar's shoes. We could also be seeing the end of the Tendulkar era by that time. I for one will be sad to see that day having been mesmerised by a 17 year old hitting Mustaq Ahmed for three sixes in an over and following up that by hitting another three sixes of Abdul Qadir. But it is up to Tendulkar to accept the responsibility if he is asked to do so.
Dennis Rego, Canada
I believe that Sourav Ganguly should be given the captaincy for a year or so to gel together these youngsters. He did a fantastic job in the past to create a fighting and tenacious bunch of young cricketers, and a second stint from him would create a good launching pad for the future of Indian cricket.
Deb Jena, UK
As much as I see this as a glorified formality, it comes no closer to an ideal change of guard, so implicitly practiced by the Australians. The cricketing world, for that matter the whole sporting world, is missing and losing the concept of evolution. The key behind evolution is change, it does not and cannot happen overnight. It never did. There is a clear absence of roll-over management, which a lot of professional teams world-over actively practice. Ideal roll-over situation: Rahul expressing his desire to leave the captaincy and continues passive-active handover to two or three candidates that he and the team and selectors collectively identify over a period of time to be under-studies. Rahul may have made, what he thinks, a dignified exit, but the manner of exit must not be interpreted as anywhere close to being professional.
Nagesh Danturti, The Netherlands
After Dravid, Saurav is the best option to lead India.
The captaincy has to go to a player who is worth his place in the side. Dhoni and Yuvraj have not cemented their places (yet) in the team. Additionally, for a keeper to captain is difficult enough without having to do it in the hot conditions of the subcontinent. India have to look at Ganguly or Tendulkar. Ganguly had a difficult tenure and may not be the people's choice. Tendulkar resigned from the post eight years ago but perhaps its time he took up the challenge again.
Rajiv Radhakrishnan, UK
Yes it is a dignified exit befitting a dignified player. But this author is the same person who wrote the article on "Is the time up for Sachin Tendulkar" !! After eating his own words, he has not shown the integrity to acknowledge this. So I don't take what he writes seriously anymore.
Mathew Kuriakose, India, living in England
It was a sad but timely decision by Dravid. The trio of Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly have given so much to the Indian cricket and Indian fans that no one can ever forget, however we should not make noises about them getting old and they should retire. If they are contributing to the team as well as any one else they should continue as long as they can. The opportunity is for any one to take up the responsibility and prove that they are better than Tendulkar, Dravid or Ganguly. The three have delivered and we all should as fans, as team mates, as media persons, as cricket manager etc should create an atmosphere that when they retire it should be as graceful as they would have ever expected.
Vikas Jain, London, UK
Thank God he relieved us of his bad decisions. Probably the worst captain India ever had. Brilliant batsman. I appreciate his professionalism.
He could not make good decisions in South Africa, cost us the whole series. Comes to England, decides to let go of the follow-on, ends up drawing. Loses the one day series miserably. World Cup, lesser said the better.
I cannot agree at all with the sentiment that Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar have to retire. Ganguly has proved beyond doubt that you have the mental toughness you can still make a comeback and hold your position within the team on performance. Having watched Tendulkar and Ganguly this summer in the UK, I do think Dravid has couple of more years in him yet as does Ganguly and Tendulkar. Please do not write them off, let them play and entertain us for a while.
I would say its better for Indian cricket that Dravid decided this at this point of time. Someone young should take over and show the courage to lead India. Well done Dravid for all that you have done for India. And thanks for deciding this yourself.
It was a sad but timely decision by Dravid. The trio of Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly have given so much to the Indian cricket and Indian fans that no one can ever forget, however we should not make noises about them getting old and they should retire. If they are contributing to the team as well as any one else they should continue as long as they can. The opportunity is for any one to take up the responsibility and prove that they are better than Tendulkar, Dravid or Ganguly. S, R and S have delivered and we all should as fans, as team mates, as media persons, as cricket manager etc should create an atmosphere that when they retire it should be as graceful as they would have ever expected.
Vikas Jain, London, UK
I think Mohammad Kaif is my choice for captain, He won the under 19 cup for India He can repeat it for the senior team as well. I miss him in the 20 -20 game, for his fine fielding and the encouragement he provides while on field
Jayesh Bhagat, UK
Its not fair!! Dravid shouldn't have resigned as captain, he had great leadership qualities and knew how to bring the team forward - whereas now he'll have more time to spare and so i can't wait to see him in action in the next game to come. Hopefully Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly will still be in form for the next world cup but if not good luck to all the youngsters coming forward.
Ria Joseph, Kuwait