Spot-fixing was very tough on the team: Dravid
New Delhi, May 23, 2013
Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid can be proud of his team as they stayed in the hunt for their second Indian Premier League (IPL) title amidst tough times.
Rajasthan beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets here in the eliminator and will now face Mumbai Indians in Kolkata on Friday for a spot in the final.
Dravid said dealing with the spot-fixing allegations surrounding his team has been the toughest part of his career, that too after he had retired from international cricket.
"The win is important irrespective of whatever has happened off the field. It is a knock-out phase and if you don't play well, you pack your bags and go home," Dravid said at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
The arrest of three Royals players -- S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- for spot fixing has marred what has been a great season for Rajasthan as they replicated the success they achieved in the inaugural season in 2008.
"I won't lie. It was very tough on the team. It is something I have never experienced in my life. It was like a bereavement. There were so many emotions of disappointment, anger and sadness. The two days in Jaipur before this game were fantastic. We were in Hyderabad right after the incident and the boys were left in a daze," said the former India captain.
"We got that time we needed in Jaipur. There were some open and honest conversations amongst the players and the coaching staff. It was amazing for me to see the way cricketers came out and expressed their feelings. Paddy Upton (coach) and staff slowly planned this campaign to let the emotions go. I can't thank the support staff enough for their effort."
Dravid was all praise for Brad Hodge, who single-handedly took them to a memorable win against Sunrisers Hyderabad here after they were left struggling at 57/5.
"We were dead and buried. We needed something special and Brad Hodge provided that," said Dravid.
Dravid said the arrest of spinners Chavan and Chandila have affected the team composition abd they were forced pick an all-pace attack against Sunrisers.
"We were short of spinners. We did not have much to choose from. It was not the ideal combination for this track but it again shows our resilience. The bowlers did a great job to restrict Hyderabad to 132. Whenever we were in trouble, somebody stood up to perform. I would like to believe the youngsters have been comfortable because we don't have a lot of stars in the team. Each one of them has clarity on their role," added the skipper.
Dravid said that at the start of the tournament he would have been satisfied at just reaching the play-offs.
"I feel there could be two more good days for us and then it would be a fairy tale end. Mumbai Indians are a very good side, full of stars. We will try to have some fun as we have nothing to lose," he said.