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Time for BCCI to get inspirational Dravid on board

Rahul Dravid

Calcutta: All of Monday was about bowing-out legend Alastair Cook. Late Sunday, however, the talking point had been debutant Hanuma Vihari's comment during the end-of-the-day Media conference.

Twentyfour-year-old Vihari, who got 56 in his first innings, said: "I called him (Rahul Dravid) the day before I made my debut. He spoke to me for a couple of minutes and that eased my nerves a little bit. He is a legend and his inputs, especially in the batting department, have helped. He told me 'you have the skill set, have the mindset and the temperament, just go out there and enjoy yourself'...

"I would like to give him a lot of credit, because my journey with India A was very important in getting here (Test cricket). The way he gave inputs made me a better player."

Having worked closely with the inspirational Dravid, it's no surprise that Vihari called him for comfort. After all, he impacts big and his stature is way above most.

Of course, Vihari did mention a few words on the "wonderful support staff." That, one assumes, just had to be put on record.

Prithvi Shaw, too, is indebted to Dravid. The latter was coach when India won the U-19 World Cup this year with Shaw at the helm.

Shaw got selected in the India squad for the last two Tests, together with Vihari, and many also expected him to be capped at The Oval. His Big Day cannot be far off, though.

Point is: Why not involve Dravid with the senior team? More so, as India's batsmen, with the exception of captain Virat Kohli, continue to largely flounder away from home.

Indeed, the procession back to the dressing room gets so very embarrassing and, to dwell specifically on the ongoing series, India look set for a 1-4 thrashing.

Fourteen months ago, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, recommended the appointment of Dravid and Zaheer Khan as consultants for overseas engagements.

It didn't come as a shock when no arrangement was worked out as head coach Ravi Shastri had his own team in place - Sanjay Bangar (batting) and Bharat Arun (bowling).

"It's apparent that Shastri wasn't excited about having Dravid and Zaheer on board, whatever their capacity," a well-placed source pointed out during a conversation with The Telegraph.

Strange that Dravid, placed by many in exactly the same bracket as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin, isn't considered good enough to work with the present lot.

Absolutely telling is Sourav's take on the Dravid issue.

Last week, Sourav told a TV channel: "Rahul had been asked to become a batting consultant and had even agreed. But, then, he spoke to Ravi and I don't know what happened after that...

"The Committee of Administrators (CoA) had added to the confusion with the head coach's selection. We, on the Committee, had been tired and just got out of it...

"So, it's difficult for me to say why Rahul did not become the consultant...

"When Ravi has been given the responsibility of head coach, after consulting Virat, then he has to fulfil that responsibility and improve this team."

Maybe, after the humiliation of dear friend and fellow-Bangalorean Anil Kumble, which preceded Shastri's appointment (for the second time), Dravid felt it better to stay away from an environment which could have raised his blood pressure.

Appointed by the Supreme Court, CoA chief Vinod Rai and colleague Diana Edulji keep talking of transparency, yet nobody in the BCCI has ever explained why Dravid, like Kumble a former captain of India, didn't come on board.

Time to set that right.

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