Do you know Indian cricket’s man in crisis, Rahul Dravid played his only T20 international just to facilitate the plans of MSD and go against his own wish? This is in fact true!
The match I am talking about was held in Manchester and it was the only T20I of that series between India and England. India was down and out in that series having lost all 4 Test matches earlier and the batsmen were finding it extremely hard to cope up with the swing and pace of the England fast bowlers. Before the T20 match at Old Trafford, captain MS Dhoni and the team management had approached Rahul Dravid to play that T20 international for the sake of the team as Mahi wanted to play that match with seven batsmen. Rahul Dravid, who earlier had decided that he will not feature for Team India in the T20 format had agreed to play that match for the sake of the team. Though India couldn’t manage to win that T20 but Dravid played a brilliant knock of 31 runs off 21 deliveries.
There’s a prelude to this story that dates back to 2007. India was fresh from the first-round exit at the World Cup cricket in West Indies and the cricketers were preparing for the one-off ODI against Scotland. The seven-match series against England was coming up and the cricketers were in a devastating mindset. The three most senior cricketers of the side Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Rahul Dravid were chalking out a plan for the revival of Indian cricket after the shock exit from the World Cup cricket. They had a firm belief that they had some good years of cricket left in them and they still can fulfill the dream of winning the WC for India.
Sourav once in a conversation with me had spoken about this incident which took place in 2007.
It was a breakfast table meeting and a consensus was reached between the three Indian legends that they won’t feature in the shortest format of the game and leave it for the youngsters while continuing to play in Tests and ODIs. They reached that consensus as they felt T20 is a format that suits the youngsters.
Sachin earlier had featured in a T20 for India in Johannesburg in 2006.
Though IPL came later and all three of them played for different franchises but Sachin never played a T20I for the country again. In 2010 when Mkhaya Ntini played his farewell match for South Africa at the historic Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban and had requested Sachin to play but the master blaster didn’t agree to feature in the playing eleven. He came and witnessed that moment and wasn’t a part of the playing eleven.
Since the trio decided to stay out of the T20 format the legends never featured for Team India again in the shortest format of the game until Dravid agreed to play one for the sake of the country in Mahi and team management’s request in Manchester.