Veteran Indian batsman Rahul Dravid was on Saturday named captain of the Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals, filling up a post left vacant by retired Australian spin legend Shane Warne earlier this year.
The 38-year-old Dravid was bought by the Royals for $500,000 in the players’ auction this year after playing three seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Dravid, who is being bestowed with the ‘Polly Umrigar Award for India’s best cricketer of 2010-11’ by the BCCI, has had a great year in which he has scored 1,258 runs in 15 Tests, including six centuries.
“I am honoured to lead the Rajasthan Royals. I hope to live up to the confidence shown in me by the franchise and give our fans an exciting season of cricket. I look forward to the valuable inputs from my team mates who are already leading their national sides and clubs,” Dravid said after the announcement.
“My aim will be to get the best out of a very talented squad and invoke the same team spirit that won the franchise the first IPL and has been a hallmark of the Rajasthan Royals ever since. I am confident that by doing so we will have a great chance of doing well in the tournament,” he added.
Dravid was congratulated by outgoing captain Shane Warne on his appointment.
“I would like to congratulate Rahul Dravid on his appointment as the captain of the Royals. He is not only one of the world’s best batsmen, but a leader par excellence.
“The Royals Squad is a bunch of extremely energetic and talented players who know their roles perfectly well and I am sure they will thrive under Dravid’s inspiring leadership. I will be keenly following the Royals and Dravid and would like to wish them the best,” he said.
Rajasthan Royals co-owner, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, hoped that Dravid’s appointment would give a fillip to the side which lifted the IPL trophy in its inaugural season in 2008.
“…gotta make another huge announcement, The New Captain fr Rajasthan Royals..Proud 2 have RAHUL DRAVID head the Team this season. Yipee,” Shetty had tweeted.
“So its Official now! The “WALL” it is;)Congratulations Rahul, am sure u will make us all very proud at RR..Go Royals,” she added.
The fifth edition of the Twenty20 league will be played from April 4 to May 27 next year.
Rajasthan were without a captain after Warne announced his retirement from the IPL in May this year.
The 42-year-old Warne, who coached and captained Royals since the first edition in 2008, is currently playing in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 Tournament for the Melbourne team.
Dravid was reasonably successful in his debut season for the Royals this year, scoring 343 runs at an average of 31 in 12 matches.