Calcutta: The possibility of a change at the Team India helm was being hotly debated over the last few days. The selectorsí decision on Thursday to name Rahul Dravid as captain wasnít unexpected. What surprised many was the announcement that he would lead the country in both ODI seriesí ' versus Sri Lanka and South Africa at home.
The Telegraph spoke to former India cricketers to gauge their mood.
The general view is that the decision was driven by the circumstances. While welcoming the change of guard, some opted to adopt a wait-and-watch policy before passing judgment on whether it was curtains for Sourav as a player and captain.
The following is what the experts had to say:
AUNSHUMAN GAEKWAD: I reckon the situation provoked the decision' Sourav was injured and there was a question mark over his availability. I think Dravid is a worthy choice considering the fact that he is a certainty and an experienced customer' itís the right decision. Sourav still has lot of cricket left in him. Itís definitely not the end of his career. The selectors will have forthcoming matches to assess Souravís form. Itís certainly also not the end for Sourav as captain' otherwise, Dravid would have been appointed till World Cup. Likewise, itís also a clear indication that the selectors want to assess Dravid over a longer run.
SYED SABA KARIM: This has been driven by circumstances. Itís been a well thought-out move' a bold decision. The selectors have been right in giving Dravid an extended run. It will help the team members to understand as to where they are heading and who is the captain. The team management will also be better placed to plan ahead.
Souravís future as a one-day captain seems bleak. But thereís no reason to drop him from the Test side. Heís just got a hundred in an away series against Zimbabwe. As a player, he is capable of staging a comeback' after all, heís a man of strong character.
S. MADANLAL: The selectors have made the right choice. Good move. The onus is now on Sourav' to prove himself again as a batsman. It all depends on how he manages to motivate himself. Letís see how the new captain fares in the two series.
ASHOK MALHOTRA: All of us were expecting this since Sourav was unfit. It could well turn out to be a blessing in disguise for him. Everybody was gunning for him without realising what all he had achieved in the past five years. You can never write off Sourav. Just look at his success' Heíll obviously relish another chance to prove his critics wrong, especially with the captaincy pressure off his shoulder. If he bats well and his elbow holds good, thereís every chance he will bounce back.
Dravid being appointed for two consecutive series is not a surprise. Remember, all 12 are back-to-back matches. There was a possibility he wouldnít have accepted it again if he was given another stop-gap opportunity, say for two/three matches. These 12 matches will be a yardstick for both Dravid and Greg Chappell to prove themselves.
AJIT WADEKAR: This was due for a while. Three factors went against Sourav. Firstly, his injury and how long heíll take to recover. Secondly, his form in Tests and thirdly, Gregís (leaked) e-mail to the Board.
I feel Sourav should have continued to lead in one-dayers while Dravid could have been tried out in Tests. This would have allowed the selectors to assess Souravís form. Sourav is always ideal to lead in one-dayers, his arrogance will be missed. Dravid is more suited for Tests because of his cool nature.Sourav can still play for another two/three years. He still has enough fire left in his belly. Heís also the best captain the country has produced' He can come back with a bang.