Rahul Sharad Dravid is one of the finest gentlemen of the game. He played the sport in the right spirit. Dravid was aggressive in the way he approached the game even though his actions were never over the top. Matthew Hayden, the former Australian opener had once famously remarked that if you want to see aggression on the cricket field see it in Dravid’s eyes. He is one of India’s finest batsmen and arguably one of the best Test batsmen the world has ever seen. No matter how hard he tried to shy away from the limelight, he couldn’t really escape the pitfalls of stardom.
We at Stumpsandbails bring to you 5 major controversies of Rahul Dravid’s career:
#5 Dropped from the ODI team soon after leaving captaincy
Rahul Dravid resigned as India captain post-India’s historic tour to England where we won the Test series after 21 long years in 2007. While the ODI series was a closely contested one with India narrowly going down to England 3-4 in the 7 match series. But post an average showing in the home ODI series against Australia, new ODI captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni dropped Dravid from the ODI squad. He was twice called as a stop-gap arrangement in ODI’s, once in 2009 and once in 2011. But putting an end to this, Dravid called quits on his limited-overs career in late 2011.
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#4 Ball-tampering incident
During the Triangular VB series in 2004 featuring Australia, India, and Zimbabwe, Rahul Dravid was found guilty of changing the shape of the ball in a match against Zimbabwe. While the on-field umpires, Steve Davis and Rudi Koertzen did not find Dravid guilty of any suspicious activity but the match referee Clive Lloyd charged Dravid under clause 2.10 of ICC’s code of conduct. But the then Indian coach John Wright stood by Dravid saying his act was completely unintentional.
#3 Sourav Ganguly questioned Dravid’s role in the Chappell era
Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell’s fallout episode was one of the darkest days of Indian cricket. While Chappell was hell-bent on ousting Ganguly from the Indian team, Ganguly made a stellar comeback into the team. Ganguly had gone on record post his retirement saying that the Indian dressing room was divided during Chappell’s coaching regime.
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Ganguly acknowledged that Dravid wanted everything to operate smoothly even while knowing there is dissent in the camp. But Ganguly stated that Dravid did not dare to question Greg Chappell and this interview instantly exploded in the media. But both Ganguly and Dravid have put this incident behind them to take Indian cricket forward.
#2 Declaring the innings when Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 194*
Rahul Dravid was the stand-in captain when Sourav Ganguly missed the first Test against Pakistan in Multan, 2004. India were in a position of great strength having notched up 650 plus runs thanks to Virender Sehwag’s 309 and Sachin Tendulkar’s big century. When Tendulkar was batting in the 190s, the team had sent him a message to accelerate the scoring and reach his double hundred in the next 2 overs. But soon after Yuvraj Singh was dismissed, Dravid declared the Indian innings leaving Sachin Tendulkar stranded at 194 not out. This did not go down well with Tendulkar but he soon put this incident behind him and his friendship with Dravid still stands the test of time.
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#1 Rajasthan Royals caught in the spot-fixing scandal
Rahul Dravid was the captain of the IPL team Rajasthan Royals from 2011-2013. He led the side admirably with complete honesty and integrity. The likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Steve Smith, and James Faulkner flowered under his leadership. Dravid took the RR franchise to the playoffs in 2013 when the ugly truth of spot-fixing reared its head.
S. Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan, Ajit Chandila, and co-owner Raj Kundra were accused of being involved in the spot-fixing fiasco. This episode came as a jolt to Dravid who couldn’t believe that such things were happening behind his back in the IPL. It was a dark end to a glorious chapter of Dravid’s captaincy and cricketing legacy in the IPL.