John Wright, India's coach, has come to the defence of Rahul Dravid, who was fined 50% of his match fee for tampering with the ball during India's victory against Zimbabwe in the VB Series match at Brisbane on Tuesday. Wright insisted that the transgression happened as a result of a careless error of Dravid's part, and wasn't a deliberate attempt to cheat.
Explaining the incident, Wright said that Dravid had been applying saliva to the ball when fragments of an energy lozenge he had been chewing stuck to his fingers. "It was an innocent mistake. He was applying saliva to the ball and what happened was the saliva was coloured with that sweet and he wiped it off because he knew immediately that it was only supposed to be saliva or perspiration. Rahul knew it straight away and that's why you could see he tried to wipe it clean - it's a silly thing but that's exactly how it happened."
Wright stressed that a stray incident should not take away from Dravid's reputation as one of the most honest players in the game. "He's one of those characters you want playing cricket. He's everything that the game needs. If anything with this day and age everyone knows what Rahul Dravid is all about and what he stands for. It was one of those things that happens, it's not as though he applied anything consciously to the cricket ball."
Dravid did not comment on the incident due to ICC regulations, but Sourav Ganguly stated that Dravid's act was "just an accident".
Meanwhile, Ricky Ponting had his own take on the incident: "I don't think you'll see us doing anything like that," he said pithily.