India A v WI A, unofficial T20I, Bangalore September 21, 2013

Rahul pleased with comeback from drug scandal

Rahul Sharma, the India A legspinner, has said he always had the self-belief to overcome the drugs scandal that threatened to derail his career and prove he has plenty to offer with his bowling skills. Rahul took his maiden five-for in T20 cricket on Saturday, helping India A win the only T20 against West Indies A by 93 runs in Bangalore.

Rahul had been picked for the first one-dayer, when he took 2 for 57 but was dropped for the next two. He was recalled for the T20 and his 5 for 23 sent West Indies A packing in 16.2 overs while chasing an improbable 215.

"I am pleased to return with good performances after the IPL in 2012," Rahul said. "It was a tough phase for me and I used to feel bad about it even during this season. But I had the belief that I could come out of it quickly and do well."

Rahul and his Pune Warriors team-mate, the South Africa fast bowler Wayne Parnell, were among 90 people detained following a party at a hotel in the Juhu suburb of Mumbai on May 20 last year, a day after the Warriors' IPL 2012 campaign ended. According to reports, recreational drugs were consumed at the party. Both players were charged for consuming drugs in March this year but were allowed to play in IPL 2013.

Rahul took four wickets in the three-match unofficial ODI series against New Zealand A recently and was named in the limited-overs squads against West Indies A. On Saturday, he dismissed Kirk Edwards for a first-ball duck, getting him to drive to mid-off. He then had the innings top-scorer Andre Fletcher bowled for 32, trying to sweep. He gave the batsman a salute send-off to stir things up. Faced with a mounting asking rate, the lower order gifted away their wickets in pursuit of runs.

"The coaches, team-mates and captains believed in me. I had met Narendra Hirwani and he gave me some tips and shared his experience with me. I had a chance to speak to Anil bhai [Kumble] as well," Rahul said. "I'm looking to take this performance forward."

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on September 22, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    @mozoak: In full agreement with you. He seems to be an overrated guy, and his presence in A teams is an indication that India's spin cupboard is bare. And Rahul sharma rubs it in with his on-field mannerisms. The selectors should allow him to perform in Ranji before he can think of a comeback in any form of the game.

  • RK on September 21, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    As a year or two back someone wrote here (in cricinfo), someone in BCCI wants Rahul Sharma to succeed very badly. How else one can explain the numerous chances he alone gets every time? He's part of every possible team. Baba's success yesterday will be forgotten with his failure today and now that this bloke has taken 5, sportswriters all over will be directed to sing praises on him and his 'enormous talent'. While the board is `very strict' on erring cricketers, this "Dope Case" was let off just like that. Funny! one commentator was even commenting his 7.63 economy rate as "little over 7 runs per over". Days of paid journalism and media with vested interests.... it sucks really....

  • mau on September 21, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    Did he not say that he will quit cricket if it is proven that he took drugs? Well his bood sample did show that he did take them...well well, Rahul what are you doing on a cricket field?

  • Arun on September 21, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Watched today's match. Rahul Sharma bowled 20 odd balls in the match and 11-15 of them were rank half trackers. Anyone who saw the match today would know that his wickets were not earned but gifted by WI batsmen, who wanted to hit him out of the park. Have been following Rahul in the other games as well. He was dismal in the ODI against WI too. Not a good least not by what was on display these past few days...

  • karthik on September 21, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    It's good to see a great talent like him come back in this fashion.Hope to see him soon in Indian team and come out in flying colours.

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