Sydney, Oct. 14: Being politically correct, offering a straight bat ' both qualities were on view during Rahul Dravid’s first interaction with the media (a select group) after being handed the Team India captaincy for the one-day series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Perhaps given the timing of his appointment ' hours before the Super Test where he’s the World XI vice-captain ' Dravid was reluctant for an across-the-table session.
After a rethink, he took questions for 15 minutes around 8.30 pm at the Four Seasons hotel.
What emerged is that wife Vijeeta is the one who informed Dravid of his appointment, when he called her in Nagpur early this morning. Owing to the time difference, it was only in the tea break that the board managed to contact him at the SCG.
Also, Dravid confirmed that the selectors chose the squad for the first two ODIs versus Sri Lanka without being able to get his views.
“The board secretary (S.K. Nair) and selection committee chairman Kiran More did speak to me, but the conversation was very general,” he said.
Asked if he’d been anxious in the lead-up to yesterday’s selection committee meeting in Mohali, Dravid replied: “Not really... If I was anxious about anything, it was about the baby ... The birth of our son (on Tuesday) is special and I felt emotional on seeing his e-mailed photographs.”
But, surely, he must be happy that his appointment isn’t just for one series'
“The tenure isn’t decided by me. However, it’s nice to captain for a certain length of time. One grows into the job. Right now, I’m only looking at the two series. I take things as they come and never look too far ahead.
“There’s never a good or a bad time to captain your country. For me, it has always been a privilege. Despite what may be said, I know that a lot of the boys want to be consistent and want to win.”
When someone asked whether he would be comfortable with an authoritative coach like Greg Chappell, Dravid responded: “People can have a perception about somebody being soft or authoritative, but such perceptions aren’t always a reality. There are bound to be differences in opinion and it’s through such differences that one learns.”
In keeping with his “dressing-room-is-sacred” stand, Dravid spoke of the need to keep differences away from the media. He declined to reveal whether he’d taken the initiative for one-on-ones with Chappell or predecessor Sourav Ganguly in the past couple of weeks (after Zimbabwe).
“I don’t need to tell the people,” he declared.
Later, in a chat with The Telegraph, Dravid said he “needed time” to think about how best to take advantage of the lessons learnt in previous stints as captain.
Footnote: Dravid declined to react when asked if e-mails would be the preferred medium of communication in his regime. “I’ll let the question pass,” he said.