London: Team India captain Rahul Dravid, who’d borrowed Sun Tzu’s Art of War from the then high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Nirupama Rao, on our 2005 tour, took tips from Nasser Hussain during the just-ended Test series.
Tzu wasn’t of much help, as India lost to Sri Lanka in the tri-series final. Hussain, though, proved a better teacher: England got beaten 0-1, a result which ended their six-year undefeated run at home.
“I’m not going into details... It wouldn’t be proper to talk of specifics, but Dravid did chat about fielding positions and the use of bowlers (in certain conditions)... He has a good attitude and wants to learn,” the Chennai-born Hussain told The Telegraph.
More than one interaction took place, apparently during the warm-up sessions in the mornings, when Hussain would be out on the square for TV assignments.
Among the finest of captains in the modern era, Hussain was the only one (among one-time captains on the TV) to defend Dravid’s no-follow-on decision at the Brit Oval.
“Dravid’s a very good captain... I’m a fan of his... Sourav Ganguly was fantastic in his time and the selectors did the right thing by elevating Dravid... I like his calmness... He’s so much like Michael (Vaughan)... Whatever the results in other series, your selectors should persist with him,” Hussain added.
For the record, Dravid’s appointment is till the end of the ODIs versus England. Unless he’s himself not keen (which is unlikely), the selectors are bound to give him a longer run.
Dravid completes two years as full-time captain in October. Hussain did the job for four years, starting from after the 1999 World Cup.
According to Hussain, who has admitted to having a “soft spot” for India, he was “very disappointed” with the first-round exit of Dravid and Co. in the last World Cup. “Dravid, I think, deserved better...”
Clearly, such words will add spice to Dravid’s private celebrations.
DRAVID AS CAPTAIN
Matches 25; Won 8; Lost 6; Drew 11
Matches 71; Won 38; Lost 29; No result 4