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A lot of Steve Waugh in Dravid: Shastri
August 28, 2006 17:03 IST
Rahul Dravid earned rich accolades for his leadership qualities from former India captain Ravi Shastri, who not only compared him to Australian legend Steve Waugh, but predicted he will become "even better in the years to come".
Shastri said that Dravid, like Waugh, has quickly undergone a metamorphosis from being a typical professional player to a leader with conviction.
"The one big difference in Dravid when he was a player and now is there is a certain change in his personality," the 44-year-old former all-rounder said.
"Before he became captain, he was the quintessential pro, going about his job meticulously. When he became the leader of the side he started taking stances and has allowed his personality to come through," Shastri said on Monday.
"I see a lot of Steve Waugh in Dravid now. Steve was very much a backroom boy when Allan Border or Mark Taylor was the captain. Once he became the captain, he announced himself in every way.
Shastri also said that Dravid has improved as a batsman ever since taking over the captaincy and is not afraid to bat anywhere in the order for the team's sake.
"Much like Waugh, Dravid will prove to be a tough nut to crack. You can see that in the scores that are coming from him," he added.
"He is not afraid of ruffling a few feathers. He may make a few mistakes but he will stand by it and learn from it. I think he is doing a very good job. He is a good student of the game. He will become even better in the years to come," Shastri said.
The player-turned-commentator said it would be unfair to compare Dravid as batsman with Sachin Tendulkar.
"He (Dravid) is among the top three batsmen in the world on current form," he said.
"If you evaluate Tendulkar's career and Dravid's career, then Tendulkar would be up there in the top three. But he has not played for the last six months and it is not fair to even bring him into equation."
Shastri said Team India has the potential to win the World Cup in the West Indies next year.
"I really believe they have the team to go all the way, subject to no injuries. Whatever time they had for making experiments, that should now be coming to an end.
"With three-four months to go, they should have a game plan as to what combination they are going to take to the World Cup. The fact that they went to the West Indies this year should be of big help."
He said clarity in selection was another factor that has contributed to the Indian team's recent success.
"There has been a lot more transparency in selection. I think the last six months has gone on really well. They have taken some hard calls, taken stances," he said.
On former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly's chances of returning to the team, Shastri said, "Get runs. Stop living in the past and accept reality.
"If he gets runs surely the selectors will look at him differently. To be in the best 15, fitness and current form is crucial. On current form, he doesn't pick himself."
Zaheer Khan, however, should not lose hope, he said.
"He has been taking wickets and that is the only way to keep reminding the selectors. With the amount of cricket being played today, there are bound to be breakdowns, loss of form and injuries. It is a case of self-belief."
Asked about Greg Chappell's performance as coach, Shastri, who was on the panel that appointed the Australian last year, said: "I thought he [had] set a template in place. With him, what you see is what you get.
"Being a foreigner and coming to India, he would be handicapped with lot of things that he is not used to. The fact that he never toured India as a player did help.
"One thing he has done is that he has made the guys realise that only if you are fit, hungry and passionate will you play for India."