Of course only Dravid would know the real reason why. But there is nothing stopping us from speculating. So, here are a few theories –
- Captaincy has affected his batting: Statistics will show that his test average did indeed dip (44.51 compared to a career average of 60.12 when he is not captaining the side), but he has looked the same solid wall that we know even when he is captaining the side. Even his test strike rate has been good of late and his ODI average and strike rate have improved as well. Sometimes your batting form cannot be judged by statistics alone…
- The pressures of captaincy were too tough to handle: I don’t buy into this theory. Dravid is a tough character and I don’t think he would have found the pressures of captaincy too tough to handle. Before Tendulkar relinquished the captaincy a few years ago we could clearly see he wasn’t enjoying it – Dravid’s body language displayed no such signs. (For the record, under Dravid’s captaincy India have won 8 out of 25 games – a win ratio that is not too bad for an India team.)
- Dravid wasn’t getting the support of the seniors in the team: I would have believed this statement right after the WC debacle. But since Greg Chappell’s departure and the two test series wins, everything seems good in the dressing room.
So, if it is not all this, then what is it? I actually think that after the World cup debacle, Dravid wanted to quit the captaincy. He must have felt disappointed in the way the grand plans he had laid down with Greg Chappell for Indian cricket had come crumbling down. The media and public reaction would have hurt him even more. The only reason he stayed on was probably because Indian cricket was at cross roads and he didn’t want to desert it as a captain. With the England series win, he probably thought that Indian cricket is now at a much better position and it is time for someone else to take over. It also gives him a chance to concentrate on his batting with two tough series of Pakistan and Australia around the corner. By quitting the captaincy now, he also leaves on a winning note.
This might well be his reason, or maybe it was something else. But since India haven’t groomed anyone else to take over from Dravid, he could have stayed on at least for another year as captain. But once someone has decided that he doesn’t want the job, it is time to move on and pick a new captain.