The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Contrast of massage & nets
- Dravid Test captain, Sourav prepares for hard work

Calcutta, Nov. 22: Rahul Dravid was preparing to head for the masseurís table at the Chepauk, in Chennai this afternoon, when the national selectors anointed him the Test captain as well.

Hundreds of miles away, in Pune, Sourav Ganguly was readying to leave for nets with the Bengal squad when he learnt of his ouster.

Apparently, from the TV.

Quite remarkably, the contrast reflected exactly where they stand: Dravid can relax just a wee bit; Sourav needs to work harder than ever before.

That Dravid would get the Test captaincy (for the series versus Sri Lanka), too, became more or less clear last month itself when the selectors placed him at the helm for back-to-back ODI engagements against Lanka and the ongoing series versus South Africa.

That break with tradition was a signal and it coincided with Jagmohan Dalmiya being under choking pressure in intra-Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) politics.

The selectors wouldnít have given Sourav the hot-potato treatment had Dalmiya still been on a strong wicket.

According to The Telegraphís sources, the Test captaincy was put to vote and Eastís Pranab Roy found himself isolated as the other selectors 'chairman Kiran More, Yashpal Sharma, Gopal Sharma and V.B.Chandrasekhar ' supported Dravid.

The meeting at the Taj Coromandal ďdidnít take much longerĒ than half-an-hour.

Those opposed to Sourav gave no weightage to his being Indiaís most successful Test captain. Absolutely no weightage was also given to the series win in Zimbabwe ' Souravís last assignment.

ďIf you donít win against teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, then you shouldnít be playing,Ē is what More told the media.

He added: ďWeíre not happy with Souravís performance over the past couple of years. Rahul, on the other hand, has been performing consistently.Ē

Dravidís consistency is definitely worthy of envy, yet in the past couple of years Sourav has only had one poor Test series --- versus Pakistan, at the end of last season.

More, obviously, didnít do his homework.

He did emphasise that Souravís spat with Greg Chappell didnít have a bearing, but the coach is bound to have conveyed his thoughts to him.

Thanks to an e-mail which got leaked, itís no secret that Chappell has strong reservations about Souravís presence in the dressing room.

Chappell and More have reached a perfect understanding.

Actually, the Sourav-Chappell truce --- brokered by the BCCI on September 27 --- isnít going to be put to test as one is now sans authority.

As of late tonight, Sourav will figure in the squad for the first Test against Lanka (to be picked tomorrow), but being an ordinary player isnít the same as being the captain.

Sourav declined to comment on his removal --- ďRight now, Iím just looking forward to the Ranji match versus MaharashtraĒ --- and Dravid didnít say much either.

Chased by the media after the third ODI got abandoned without a ball being bowled, he merely said (at the team hotel and not the Chepauk): ďIím happy' Excited' Honoured'Ē

Sourav indicated he would either call Dravid or congratulate him via an SMS.

He has already gone on record saying talk of his possibly having misgivings about playing under Dravid was without basis.

Dravid has handled the Harbhajan Singhs superbly. However, a bigger man management role awaits him.

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