The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Captain crisis, almost
- Sehwag out, but ‘feverish’ Dravid to play

Calcutta, Dec. 9: With Rahul Dravid “resting” at the Taj Palace and Virender Sehwag undergoing “tests” at the Gangaram Hospital, Greg Chappell represented Team India at the pre-match media conference in New Delhi this afternoon.

By the evening, however, captain Dravid had recovered from a “feverish feeling” to attend the team meeting (ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka) and announce he would play.

Hospitalised yesterday, Sehwag was discharged as late as 10 pm. Effectively, the vice-captain is out of the XI.

A peculiar situation has, of course, been averted with Dravid confirming his availability. But, what if the “feverish feeling” returns' Or, specifically, who would have captained if Dravid (too) had actually been unwell enough to miss out'

Coach Chappell was asked just that, but he replied guardedly: “It’s a hypothetical question and I don’t want to commit myself. If and when that happens, we’ll deal with it.”

Chief selector Kiran More didn’t take calls on his cellphone, while a “friend” kept answering the phone in his hotel room.

He’s the only selector who is already in New Delhi and is going to be present throughout. The others ' V.B.Chandrasekhar, Bhupinder Singh (Sr), Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal ' will watch the last two days.

With two seniors (Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly) having captained India both in Tests and ODIs ' and Anil Kumble, who has led in one limited overs match ' at hand, the selectors could have opted for anybody.

According to a well-placed source of The Telegraph, More and Co. “may not necessarily” have looked towards the last (and India’s most successful in Tests) captain ' Sourav.

“In pressing circumstances, my feeling is that the selectors would have offered the job to Sachin, the senior-most around. Had he declined, then alone somebody else could come into the picture,” the source pointed out.

More hasn’t been favourably disposed towards Sourav and it would surprise if the selectors thought of him unanimously.

Kumble, one assumes, would have been the favourite for what really is a stop-gap role.

For the record, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah simply said: “Dravid is playing and, so, the question of a new captain doesn’t arise' If both the captain and vice-captain weren’t available, then a tele-conference between the selectors would settle the captaincy.”

Adding that just “five minutes” would have been needed to sort things out, Shah indicated the BCCI brass wouldn’t have got involved in something so touchy.

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