With the 2019 World Cup in sights, Indian cricket team's preparations were jolted after all-rounder Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were suspended by the BCCI.
It all began with the duo's appearance at the chat show 'Koffee with Karan', the misogynist and sexist comments made by Indian cricketers came under severe criticism leading to their suspension pending inquiry by the cricket board. Pandya and Rahul, both of them, who were in Australia with the Indian ODI side, at that time, were called back.
Show cause notices were served to the cricketers while they wrote apology letters to the board officials.
Their ban was, however, recently lifted by CoA with an immediate effect pending an adjudication of an Ombudsman by the Supreme Court. While Pandya has been asked to join the national side in New Zealand, Rahul has joined the India A squad for ODIs against England Lions.
Reflecting on the news, former India skipper Rahul Dravid said he's "glad" the suspension has been lifted, in an interview with ESPNCrincinfo. Dravid added that the pair is not the first ones to commit a mistake an won't be the last.
“Sometimes we forget that mistakes have happened in the past. They will happen in the future. If you were to read the papers or if I were to hear comments it comes across as if it is only happening now. I can understand some of the anger, I can understand some of the reactions, but one has to understand mistakes will happen”, Dravid said.
The current India A and India Under-19 coach, Dravid, who has coached Pandya and Rahul in past, said the comments are not the true reflection of the players and hopes the controversy would push them to achieve their true potential.
"Absolutely. I have no doubt about it. I have coached both of them at various levels. I somehow just don't feel that interview truly reflected the players. Hopefully they will come back better and stronger from this. I will say honestly, I do believe that both of them have not yet achieved their obvious potential that they both have, and maybe this might be the catalyst that would lead them to reflect and help them reach the level and potential they can achieve in all forms of the game. If they can do that they can certainly be role models," Dravid said.
Rahul Dravid also said that instant fame and wealth are not the only reasons for a young cricketer to feel entitled as excessive parental attention during formative years could also prove to be equally harmful.
Dravid refused to agree when suggested that perhaps big money influences a player's character.
"I don't like to equate entitlement with wealth. Yes, it can come with wealth, but I don't think that is the only factor. It can happen from a young age. Sometimes in a lower-income family they see one of the kids is special in cricket so the entire energy of the family is focused towards him or her," Dravid said.
"If everything is sacrificed for that one person, then sometimes that can lead to a sense of entitlement as well. If that starts at a very young age, the kid could feel, "I am special and it is all about me," the former India captain said.
"If the player is going to feel a sense of entitlement irrespective of whether he is rich or poor, then you have a problem. We face that problem sometimes. At the NCA, a lot of coaches have told me sometimes the best bowlers and the best batsmen are the worst fielders or the worst runners between wickets."
Dravid said parents and coaches play a huge role in the shaping up of a player.
"There are two things that are very important. The first is what kids are taught by their parents and early coaches.
"If people have been told they can fudge their age, that is the start of a problem. You are basically telling the kid it is okay to cheat. For me that is not setting the right example to a young kid at an impressionable age," the India U-19 coach spoke about the age old malaise.
"If a parent is shouting at a coach and blaming a coach or umpire when things go wrong, to a young, impressionable kid, he grows up thinking that is the way things should be done.
"The second key point, I feel, that can help youngsters is the role a senior player plays. Seniors in cricket teams can play a huge role in guiding and helping a youngster - not necessarily with words but by setting the right example."
When asked how much responsibility rests with the BCCI for grooming the players when it comes to their public conduct, the former India captain said it starts from home.
"I don't think you can just pass on the responsibility to just the BCCI and state associations. Along the way there are many touchpoints for cricketers. Right from the time the boy or girl starts playing cricket, your attitude towards the game, what is it that you are taught, are very, very important," Dravid said.
"Because in a lot of ways they sometimes frame your personality, the way you approach and think about the game. Young players go through a journey - junior teams at the state level, junior teams at the national level, first-class teams, A teams, IPL teams. So there are many places where you can use the opportunity to support and help the youngsters."
Dravid said it is important to realise that sometimes these things can happen.
"Sportspersons and public figures can make mistakes. It is part of learning and growing up."
With inputs from PTI