Indian legend Rahul Dravid’s name went down in the history books as one of the most humble ambassadors of the game. However, even “the Wall” had some shaky moments in what was one of the most illustrious careers of all time.
Lets take a look at 5 moments from Rahul Dravid’s career in which the legendary batsman got involved in controversies.
Choosing to Bowl first in the 2006 Mumbai Test
As skipper of the national side, Dravid was known for his bold experiments. He showed one of his most costly experiments during the 2006 Mumbai Test against England.
It was the third and final Test of the series against England at Wankhede Stadium, where the hosts India were leading by the 1-0 before that Test match. Although the pitch was flat dry, captain Dravid chose to bowl first.
India ultimately failed to put a strong fight as England won that Test match by 212 runs and drew that series by 1-1. In the fourth innings of that match, India were bundled out for just 100 runs. It was England’s first Test victory in India since 1985, and it was also their largest Test victory margin (by runs) against the hosts India.
Dravid allowed coach Greg Chappell to take most of the team’s decisions
Former Australian cricketer Greg Chappell took the Head Coach role of the Indian national cricket team in May 2005. His two-year coaching tenure (till the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007) was known as one of the most controversial stints in Indian cricket history.
Soon after Chappell became the Head Coach of the team, he first had a rift with Sourav Ganguly. While Rahul Dravid became the next captain of the Indian team, Chappell continuously dominated the Indian team with his decisions, and Dravid never stopped him.
While Dravid believed everything would be right in the near future without his massive action, the situation became more worrying in the team with the time progress. As some more players came in Chappell’s blacklisted, it was hugely hampering the team spirit. In the end, Chappell-Dravid’s Indian team was eliminated from the first round of the ICC Cricket World cup 2007.
Dravid Declared the innings when Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 194 runs
Remember this match? Its the same 2004 Multan game against Pakistan where Virender Sehwag became the first Indian batsman to hit a triple-century in red-ball cricket.
It was the first game of the three-match Test series where Rahul Dravid led the Indian team in the absence of injured captain Sourav Ganguly. After India decided to bat first, Sehwag dominated the Pakistan bowlers. During that first innings, Sehwag put the mammoth third-wicket partnership of 336 runs with Sachin Tendulkar.
While Sehwag returned to the pavilion after scoring 309 runs, Tendulkar was carrying that innings very well. When Yuvraj Singh lost his wicket on 59 runs, India were batting on 675/5 and Tendulkar was still in the crease on 194 runs. But very surprisingly, Dravid decided to declare that innings without providing an opportunity to Tendulkar to complete his double-century.
Though India won that match by an innings and 52 runs, Tendulkar was disappointed on that surprising declaration. The legendary cricketer admitted his disappointment during the press conference.
Rahul Dravid was part of the 2004 Ball-tampering Incident
Among many great offences in cricket, ball-tampering is arguably one of the biggest. Believe it or not, Rahul Dravid got involved in the ball-tampering incident during an ODI match in 2004. It was a fixture between India and Zimbabwe at Brisbane on 20th January 2004, where Dravid was charged for deliberately ball-tampering by the match referee Clive Lloyd.
During the second innings of that match when Zimbabwe were batting, Dravid was busy to shine one side of the ball. The match video was showing a yellow spot on the ball. Dravid was fined for 50% of his match fees for breaching clause 2.10 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct. According to that ICC’s Code of Conduct, players are not allowed to apply substances to the ball other than sweat and saliva.
However, Dravid denied the claim of intentional conduct. Then-Indian Head Coach John Wright also defended Dravid by claiming, “it was an innocent mistake.” According to him, while Dravid was trying to apply saliva on the ball, a part of the lozenge stuck on the ball, which Dravid also tried to remove from the ball.
Rajasthan Royals were found guilty of Spot-Fixing during Dravid’s Captaincy
As Dravid was the captain of the team during the infamous Rajasthan Royals spot-fixing saga, the veteran batsman had to face alot of backlash. Dravid was shocked and felt cheated by those players as he earlier did not doubt those players.
It ultimately destroyed the team’s image who were later suspended for two years (2016 and 2017). In the IPL 2013, RR finished as the third-placed team. While they qualified for the playoffs of that tournament, they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the eliminator but suffered defeat against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Qualifier 2.