The Indian team endured a disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid. Their group-stage exit from the marquee tournament left the cricketing fans and fraternity stunned while the dressing room had a gloomy look. The duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag contemplated hanging up their boots. But even as the atmosphere was grim, Rahul Dravid saw an upside in that as revealed by Irfan Pathan.
The men in blue lost two out of three games in the 2007 50-over World Cup against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh that forced them out of the competition. The loss to Bangladesh, especially, was received with ample criticism. This was the lowest point of Rahul Dravid’s captaincy career in his achievements of leading India to its first Test series win in England in 21 years and guiding them to their inaugural Test victory in South Africa.
Meanwhile, three days after the Indian team’s unceremonious exit from the World Cup, the 45-year old encouraged Pathan and MS Dhoni. Pathan revealed that Dravid called us and they watched the movie “300” Gerard Buttler. In some time, the right-handed batsman told Irfan that despite the defeat he and MS Dhoni would play a lot more for the national team. A few months after that, India went on to win the inaugural edition of the 2007 T20 World Cup under MS Dhoni with the Baroda fast bowler playing a crucial role in their campaign.
“Three days after we were out of the 2007 WC, we all were sitting in a room deeply dejected. That’s when Dravid called us and we went to watch ‘300’ movie. After some time, he said to me ‘Irfan, this is not end of the world, you played a lot of cricket and will play more in future as well. It was bad that we lost, you and Dhoni will go on and play a lot of cricket for India’. His words made us feel like we are not dead but still alive.” Pathan said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“There was proper communication under him”: Irfan Pathan on Rahul Dravid
Having made his debut in 2003 under Sourav Ganguly, Pathan went on to play under the reign of Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, and MS Dhoni. Even as he appreciated all of the above greats, the left-arm pacer loved being part of Dravid’s leadership since there was a clear line of communication between them. At one point, India won 17 games on the trot while chasing a target.
“Many know that Dada was my first captain and he backed me a lot. Anil Kumble could’ve captained a lot more games for India. MS Dhoni has achieved everything. But I loved playing under Dravid, because there was proper communication under him. Many don’t speak about Dravid’s captaincy, we created a world record while chasing targets under him.” the retired cricketer added.