Until Wednesday,the Rajasthan Royals were grabbing all the IPL headlines for being the unfancied team scripting major success in the T20 tournament this year. On Thursday,the same team found itself being dragged into the gutters after three of its bowlers S Sreesanth,Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested by the Delhi Police for alleged spot-fixing.
The rest of the Rajasthan team landed in Hyderabad on Thursday to play their crucial next match against the Sunrisers. Upon arrival,captain Rahul Dravid delivered perhaps his sharpest address to his distressed side at a team meeting.
He urged his teammates to talk without inhibitions about the three arrested players be vocal,so that all the anger and emotions of the team came out in the open. Dravids own speech was not long,but it was reassuringly direct,sources in the team said.
I am shocked,disappointed,and distressed by the events that have resulted in the arrests last night and this morning. Rajasthan Royals is a special team,where we have always operated like a family so this is particularly devastating, the captain said in a press statement that was released later.
The team meeting was never going to be a routine affair,and the agenda was far from discussing team plans or reading opponents strengths. The burst-out session encouraged players to talk openly,and they were even allowed to abuse.
One source said Dravid and team coach Paddy Upton decided that each one of them would speak out their mind. They wanted to ensure that all the pent-up fury was out before they resumed their campaign
The whole team morale was down after this and Rahul decided that instead of talking about this daily,in bits and part-outbursts,everyone should come forward and talk about it openly once and for all in a burst-out. He didnt want to drag this issue when they played the next game, the source said.
One medium-pacer is learnt to have abused the three team-mates and said they deserved to be severely punished if found guilty. What hurt the most was the way they seemed to have betrayed Dravid,the players felt.
He has served the country for so many years and look at what he is getting in India. Its so sad to see that this has happened during his captaincy, one player said.
Sources said barring team manager Sushil,none in the team bus to the Mumbai airport early on Thursday morning knew why the three bowlers were missing. They learnt about their arrests during the 45-minute drive and many players could not believe it to be true,they said.
Speaking to The Indian Express Wednesday morning,Dravid had said that Sreesanth had to figure out what he wanted out of his life,especially at this stage in his career,where he wanted to go and what legacy he wanted to leave.
You can only guide him, Dravid had said and stressed that only Sreesanth could decide for himself.