London. Clearing the air over the seemingly desperate decision to recall Rahul Dravid for the T20 match and the ODI series against England, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni clarified in a press conference here today that Rahul had been picked to open the bowling, rather than batting, in the absence of a pace lead.
With Zaheer Khan down with a strain caused by excessive stress on the skin surrounding the abdominal region, and Praveen Kumar afflicted by a facial strain brought on by all the intense scowling that he does while bowling, the Indian team needed an experienced campaigner who could add some much needed fighting spirit to the attack.
“Rahul has always been there for the team when we needed him. He’s an intensely resourceful chap, and has always done everything asked of him for the team’s cause. This was just a natural step forward from batting around other more important batsmen and keeping wickets whenever I got a bit bored behind the stumps,” said Dhoni, clarifying that Dravid will play the role of a swing bowler in the limited-overs versions of the game.
When asked whether Dravid would be able to generate enough pace for an opening bowler, a broad grin spread across the captain’s face, until the reporter sheepishly realized how silly a question that had been.
When another reporter queried whether Dravid had been practicing for his new role in the nets, Dhoni said that they hadn’t really told him about his new responsibility.
“One of the remarkable things about Rahul is his ability to quickly adapt to whatever we ask him to do. I’d never given him even the remotest idea that he’d have to open in the first test, nor did I tell him that I was thinking of having a bowl, and he did perform wonderfully, didn’t he? You don’t fix what ain’t broke, mate,” he added, also subtly indicating that the preparations for the Australian tour were well on their way.
Sources suggest that BCCI too supports the Dhoni’s idea though the board is tight lipped about it, lest someone asked it questions under the RTI act.
“This is going to help Dravid in his IPL career. Yeah, he can surely bat the whole day to save a test, but if he does the same in a T20 match, it will be disastrous. The team owners want to see other batsmen at work too whom they have bought after paying big dollars. A bowling stint here would do wonders for his IPL career, wouldn’t it? And bowlers like Dravid is all that are needed to make IPL even more attractive! Sixes and fours all around!” argued a BCCI official on conditions of anonymity.
When contacted for comments, Dravid seemed to be pretty nonplussed with the whole thing.
“I guess I’ll ring up Anilbhai. Not many who bowled faster than him, so he should be a good place to start,” he said, turning around and digging in a short one to a startled Raina, who survives the beast of a delivery, also setting a new record of some sorts by getting the bowl to deflect off his bat, pad, helmet and gloves all in the same delivery.
“Told ya, mate – big deal!” signed off Dravid.