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Dravid dropped, not rested - I was a party to the decision, says chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar

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  • Published 18.10.07

Mumbai: Expectedly, the official word was “rested,” but the reality is that former captain Rahul Dravid got dropped for the final ODI versus Australia.

The last time he’d been treated similarly was way back in September 1998, during the Sahara Cup face-off against Pakistan in Toronto.

“Yes, I was a party to today’s decision,” confirmed chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar in a chat with The Telegraph, dismissing talk that the move had been authored exclusively by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and vice-captain Yuvraj Singh.

Significantly, just over a week ago, after the win in Chandigarh, Dhoni had declared there were “no replacements” for the seniors. That they added much value to the team.

The decision to drop Dravid was taken during Wednesday morning’s team meeting and, so, he would have got the bad news in the presence of juniors. The night before, the former captain had been wondering where he would be asked to bat.

Indeed, while Dravid scored only 51 in five matches (he didn’t bat in the series-opener, in Bangalore), he got pushed up and down the batting order: No.5, No.4, No.5, No.3 and No.4.

Hardly confidence-enhancing for somebody struggling to regain the form shown as recently as the seven ODIs in England.

Ponting on Dravid
" Yes, I was a bit surprised at Rahul Dravid’s exclusion… He didn’t get too many runs in the series, but he’s such a class player and has won many matches for India… I don’t know what the future holds for him in one-day cricket, but I wish him well."

But while Dravid didn’t make the XI here, his services are bound to be needed when Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif arrive in a fortnight.

Some may cynically say “one down, two (Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly) to go,” but Dravid remains our most accomplished bat. Technique-wise, certainly. Moreover, in England, his strike-rate was 97-plus.

Both Sachin and Dravid are 34, while Sourav is a year older. On the face of it, then, Dravid’s omission has to be seen as a message for the Big Two. By the way, coming off an injury, Sourav had been rested in Hyderabad.

However, there’s no guarantee that the younger replacements will succeed. At the Wankhede, for example, Dinesh Karthik (who took Dravid’s place) failed to get off the mark.

“I’m amazed how Dravid’s form became such an issue… Had he been an Australian, there wouldn’t have been any discussion and the think-tank would have backed him,” remarked the iconic Barry Richards.

The Australian environment, though, is quite different.