Just days after Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was suspended from bowling after his action was found to be illegal, Rahul Dravid has insisted that ‘chucking’ was not a crime but just a technical fault that can be corrected. The former India captain also admitted that he was happy with how strictly the ICC was enforcing the 15-degree rule and ensuring that bowling actions got a lot cleaner.
“When you overstep the line, nobody says you are cheating. You say, okay, come back behind the line. And here we are saying, come back within 15 degrees and play the game,” he said after delivering the Dilip Sardesai lecture in Mumbai on Friday. The former India captain added that even some of the most successful bowlers in Test history had bent their elbow beyond 15 degrees, but at a time when the rule hadn’t been enforced by the ICC.
“They reviewed a lot of the old footage and found that the elbow had bent to about 15 degrees was pretty normal and that is what everyone was doing. Glenn McGrath had a slight bend in his elbow up to 15 degrees. I am not suggesting that he was chucking. Murali went through every test possible at that time so you have to give him the benefit of doubt,” he explained. Even Ajmal had his action cleared by the ICC in 2009 after his doosra was reported in an ODI between Pakistan and Australia. But Dravid believed the ICC had become more vigilant of late.
“What they are saying is that if once you are cleared in 2009, you can’t be (not) checked again. ou have got to keep monitoring, watching it closely and they see bowlers developing new types of deliveries, then why not go into the lab and have it checked,” he said.
Dravid, who had spent a week with the Indian team as batting consultant in England, also played down the question of whether he was considering becoming India coach anytime soon. But he didn’t rule it out completely. “At some stage, I would love to work with young cricketers. Whether that’s with the Indian team, I don’t know. It could be as a coach of a Ranji team.
TIME & PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
There is time and place for everything,” he said adding that of the three formats, ODI cricket at present was largely irrelevant and struggling to survive and consequently there should be more tournaments like Champions Trophy or World Cup to give it a proper context.”I think one-day cricket is seriously struggling. One-day cricket, without a context, is struggling. One-day cricket, if you look at it from the point of view of Champions Trophy orthe World Cup, is relevant,” Dravid added.
On youngsters not ‘valuing’ Test cricket
The fact that I am involved with Rajasthan Royals for a couple of months every year gives me an opportunity to have conversations with youngsters. In that sense, the IPL is exciting because it allows me to have these sort of conversations with them. So when people say some of our boys don’t care about Test cricket, it’s completely wrong. They are only interested in knowing how we did in England and Australia. Virat Kohli keeps asking those questions all the time. They obviously care, but were found wanting against a really good bowling attack on a difficult wicket.
On the Sehwag-Pankaj Roy story
To be fair, after we got agonisingly close, people came up to me and asked, “How could he (Viru) play that shot and get out… you were just four runs away from breaking the record.” I said: “The reason we were close to breaking that record was because Viru kept playing shots like that. Out of 410, he had scored 253 and I had 130-odd. I knew we were approaching the record, but i wasn’t going to tell him (Viru) to change the way he played.”
On his best innings outside the sub-continent
The two innings that gave me immense satisfaction was the two fifties in the 2006 Jamaica Test match. The series was tied at 0-0, and as a captain, I was feeling the pressure and we needed to win the final Test. We went into the match and had to play on a terrible wicket. i got a double century at Adelaide, but scoring those fifties in really difficult conditions and winning the Test match for India probably gave me the most satisfaction.