"Timid Dravid", the headline in a British mass circulated daily, sums
up the reaction to Rahul Dravid's decision not to enforce the follow-on in the
third Test despite a 319-run lead against England.
In the euphoric celebrations over 1-0 series win for his team, the Indian skipper's
inexplicable decision may be overshadowed, but it will long remain a topic of
Dravid may have been nervous and timid on the field, but he
was totally dismissive of cricket fans while defending his decision.
"I can understand the disappointment of the people in
their living rooms. But I have seen the bowlers from close quarters and could
read their body language," Dravid said after the drawn match at the Oval.
"I am aware of the public disappointment but at the end of the day I have
to take my decisions and (facing criticism is) part and parcel of the captain's
job in India. We came here to win the series and at the end of the day
that's what matters," he said.
Other than leading the team to a win, Dravid has had a poor
series with a batting average of 25.20 in three Tests during which he probably
made a slowest 12 runs off 96 balls in Test history. He also dropped a sitter
off his counterpart Michael Vaughan when the batsman was on 18.
Dravid's decision not to enforce follow-on not only came in
for flak in the British media but also evoked a sharp criticism from former
cricketers and fans back home.