When cricket lovers generally talk about the best Indian captains, they tend to take names of Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly. It doesn't happen very often that many praise Rahul Dravid for his brilliance as a captain. Under Rahul Dravid's captaincy, India won a Test match and ODI series in Pakistan, a Test match in South Africa and Test series in England and West Indies respectively.
In fact, there was a time when Rahul Dravid led India to 17 straight ODI wins while chasing. Besides this, Rahul Dravid captained India in 79 ODIs, out of which India won 42. In 25 Tests as a captain, he helped India win eight. Rahul Dravid was renowned for having an exceptional cricketing brain for making effective captaincy decisions.
Recently, the out of favour India batsman, Suresh Raina revealed how Rahul Dravid plotted the dismissal of Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal during India's tour of Pakistan in 2006. While speaking to Kapil Dev in an interview for ABP News, Suresh Raina said that he remembers the catch against Pakistan which he had taken at point. Suresh Raina added that Rahul Dravid was the captain of the team, Irfan Pathan was the bowler and Kamran Akmal was batting.
Suresh Raina went on to reveal that there was a rule at that time to keep catching fielders in the 15-yard circle. So Rahul Dravid asked Raina whether he would stand at point. Raina agreed once Dravid asked him to lean forward and be prepared to take a catch.
Suresh Raina further said that the moment Irfan Pathan delivered the next ball, Kamran Akmal smashed it hard and he just saw the ball and it came straight into his hands. Suresh Raina reckoned that the thing that impressed him most was that Rahul Dravid knew that a catch might come there and it came on the very next delivery. Suresh Raina also said that the reason for him remembering the catch clearly is that the captain, bowler and the fielder were involved equally in that dismissal.
(VIDEO CREDIT: Prahallada Reddy T/YouTube)
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has revealed that the World Cup-winning skipper liked to control his bowlers when he started his captaincy stint back in 2007 but eventually trusted them by 2013, a phase during which he also became a calmer leader. The 35-year-old Pathan, who played under Dhoni as part of both the 2007 World Cup-winning team and the 2013 Champions Trophy-clinching side, said the years, as they went by, changed Dhoni the captain in more ways than one.
In the interview, Lalchand Rajput hailed MS Dhoni’s leadership by saying that the veteran Indian wicketkeeper-batsman always used to think “two steps ahead of the opponent”. He described the former skipper as someone who was very calm in his approach. Rajput believes that MS Dhoni was always a “thinking captain” and stated that he was a “mixture of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid”.
Lalchand Rajput also said that much like Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni also gave opportunities to players if he ever saw potential in them and had his own style of aggression. He further stated that the 2011 World Cup-winning skipper helps his players in giving their best performance on the field. On the other hand, Dhoni's calmness, reasoning and structured style of leadership very much resembled Rahul Dravid's, according to Rajput.