Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who worked in close-quarters with ex-captain Rahul Dravid, has described why the latter was the ‘most underrated cricketer in the world’.
India has produced several high-profile captains in the form of Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammed Azharuddin, MS Dhoni and now Virat Kohli.
But, the Wall of Indian cricket, Dravid, is very seldom recalled for his brilliance as a captain. The ultimate ‘Yes Man’ has done everything in his career for the benefit of Indian cricket.
Also, he took over as captain during a tumultuous Greg-Chappell era and steadied the ship after his departure.
Pathan, who prospered under both Ganguly and Dravid, tagged the current head of NCA as a great captain.
‘Most, most, most underrated cricketer in the world. Dravid was 100 per cent a great captain. He was very clear on whatever he wanted from the team,” Pathan said on ‘Beyond the Field’ show on ESPNCricinfo.
“Every captain has their way – there are captains who think 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 said.
Ahead of the 2003 ODI World Cup, Dravid took up wicket-keeping so that Ganguly could include an extra batsman.
Even in Test cricket, where Dravid is one of the best number three batsmen in the world, he started opening, out of his comfort zone, to allow Yuvraj Singh in the lineup.
“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 say 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,” the former left-arm pacer added.
Recently, Indian batsman Suresh Raina also shared an amusing anecdote, revealing Dravid’s masterclass as a captain.
“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 concluded.