When discussing successful India captains, one often mentions the name of Kapil Dev who led India to the World Cup win in 1983. MS Dhoni who three ICC trophies as captain, Sourav Ganguly who redefined an entire generation of Indian cricketers, and even Virat Kohli, who is seen as the mastermind of the modern era, are some of the other names that are thrown in the discussion. Captaining a team is not an easy feat, especially for a team which has seen greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin taking the mantle of a leader. But Rahul Dravid did that quite efficiently, during what is regarded as one of the toughest phases of Indian cricket.
Dravid captained India in 79 ODIs out of which India won 42 matches, and lost 33 games, with a winning percentage of 56. He also captained India in 25 Tests in which he won 8, and lost 6, with a winning percentage of 32.00. He also led India to 17 straight ODI wins while chasing as captain at one point. And yet, Dravid’s name is often missing when talking about successful India captains.
In an Instagram Live video chat show ‘Beyond the Field’ with ESPNCricinfo presenter Raunak Kapoor, former India pacer Irfan Pathan was asked to describe Dravid during a rapid-fire round. In his response, Pathan said. “Most, most, most underrated cricketer in the world.”
On being asked to elaborate on Dravid as a captain, Pathan said: “Dravid was 100 per cent a great captain. He was very clear on whatever he wanted from the team.”
“Every captain has their way – there are captains who thinks differently, and Rahul Dravid was also one captain who thought differently, but he was very clear in his communication. He would tell ‘this is your role and you have to work accordingly’.
“He wanted you to do everything. He has played cricket like that as well. He has donned the wicketkeeper’s gloves, he was ready to open, he was ready to bat at no. 3. People would says he is not a great ODI cricketer, but he has scored 10,000+ runs in 50 overs cricket as well. He was such a great team’s player. His style of captaincy was also for the team,” Pathan added.
“Whenever there was a problem, he was always there. Sometimes it gets difficult to communicate with a captain, because they are always surrounded by things. But Dravid was one such captain, that you can even approach him at 2 am at night with a problem. A captain’s role is to keep communication with all the players, and he did that,” Pathan further said.