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Rahul’s vote goes to Dhoni

Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni is, perhaps, not one of the most popular men in Indian cricket at the moment. But former captain Rahul Dravid still thinks that Dhoni is the man to take the team forward as there is no viable alternative in sight.

“At the moment, I don’t really see a viable alternative. I really think Dhoni can be the man to take India forward if he has the energy, passion and the enjoyment to do it. That’s again the key,” Dravid told ESPNCricinfo.

“It’s really going to come down to a lot of these players actually sitting back themselves, once the emotion has gone back, and calmly reassessing where they’re at, and their roads to the future and the joy and enthusiasm they have to take Indian cricket forward. If Dhoni has it, I believe he is the right man to do it, but that’s really up to him to decide,” he said.

Dhoni's captaincy in the series, which India lost 1-2, came under severe criticism from former players such as Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth, who felt the time has come to replace him.

Another player who is facing constant questions about his future after failing in this series is senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid said the veteran would have to take a call after dispassionate introspection.

“He’s been a huge servant of the game and been fantastic for Indian cricket. He is a great player and this period has been difficult for him. He is a proud man and this would have hurt him. The thing is, people need to have a conversation with him and see what’s his state of mind, what he’s thinking and what his plans are.

“After that conversation, he himself will have to think about a few things, because I’m not sure there are many people who can take the decisions regarding Tendulkar,” he said.

“...If he truly believes that, ‘Yes, I can be around when India makes these foreign trips, I can be around in South Africa, New Zealand, England, playing at my best,’ then I think it makes sense for him to back himself and fight it out.”

“If he, at any stage, doubts himself and believes that he can’t, then he’s got to start thinking about his career, and what’s the future of Indian cricket as well. So it’s really going to be up to him,” Dravid added.

The former middle-order mainstay said whatever the decision taken by Tendulkar, it should be respected by all. “Look, it’s a pretty emotional time, he should take the emotion out of it, sit backů There’s time before the next Australia series, sit back calmly and reflect. And irrespective of whatever decision he takes, in the end we have to respect it.”

Analysing India’s meek surrender in the series, Dravid said the team is in transition but should have shown more intensity.