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Wright, Ganguly defend Dravid
January 21, 2004 10:26 IST
India coach John Wright and captain Sourav Ganguly have leapt to Rahul Dravid's defence after the player was fined half his match fee for ball tampering in Tuesday's VB triangular one-day series win over Zimbabwe.
"ICC (International Cricket Council) match referee Clive Lloyd found Dravid guilty of a Level 2 offence and imposed a Level 2 penalty (of) 50 percent of his match fee for a breach of the code of conduct," Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement released on Wednesday.
The team's vice-captain was charged under clause 2.10 of the code of conduct which refers to changing the condition of the ball during the match at the Gabba ground in Brisbane.
"Dravid attended a hearing after the match and was subsequently informed of the penalty," CA said.
Close-up television footage during the match had shown an Indian player rubbing a cough lozenge on the ball.
"It was an innocent mistake," India coach Wright told reporters.
"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."
Dravid said he was prohibited from commenting about the incident.
Wright added: "He's everything that the game needs. It was one of those things that happens, it's not as though he applied anything consciously to the cricket ball."
Ganguly said: "(It was) just an accident."
India won the day-night match by 24 runs after Dravid had top-scored with 84 in their total of 255 for six.
Ganguly's side, who have 17 points after three wins from four matches, will play series leaders Australia (18) in Sydney on Thursday.