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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


Ignore fan violence at home: Dravid

N.Ananthanarayanan | March 20, 2007 14:07 IST
Last Updated: March 20, 2007 16:10 IST


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India captain Rahul Dravid has called on his players to stay strong and ignore the boorish behaviour of their supporters back at home.

Irate fans in cricket-mad India pelted stones at a house being built by wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni and burnt effigies of Dravid and the team's Australian coach Greg Chappell following India's shock opening Group B defeat by Bangladesh.

India crushed debutants Bermuda by a record one-day margin of 257 runs on Monday after Virender Sehwag's rapid 114 powered them to a World Cup record score of 413 for five.

They still need to beat Sri Lanka on Friday to ensure they qualify for the next round.

"We should be used to it, effigies get burnt every day," Dravid told reporters after the Bermuda win.

"You don't lose sleep over somebody shouting 'Dravid, hai, hai' (down, down)," he said. "People should get on with life and be resilient. We have got some important games coming up."

Dravid said players were mainly concerned about their families.

"The worrying thing is the safety of our families, we have some young families out there.

Indian cricketers face adulation like movie stars, but face regular criticism from fans who often react violently if the team flops.

MEDIA SCRUTINY

Dravid blamed the media for whipping up expectations, referring particularly to the blanket coverage provided by India's numerous TV channels.

"Obviously, there is a huge exposure in the media," he said. "They compete with each other for space, eye-balls.

"It is probably a trend which is going to be there and is probably going to get worse. It is not for me to say whether it is right or wrong.

"There are people who make these decisions on what to put on air, what to write or what sort of lines to take. We have to accept it and learn to cope with it.

India has a history of boorish fan behaviour.

During the last World Cup, crowds attacked batsman Mohammad Kaif's house after India's loss to Australia in a preliminary match.

Leading batsman Sachin Tendulkar had to read out a statement condemning such actions and urging fans to support the team.

At the 1996 World Cup, a violent Eden Gardens crowd forced the semi-final against eventual champions Sri Lanka to be abandoned with hosts India on the verge of defeat.

Three years later, Pakistan beat India in front of stands at the same venue after rioting fans were ejected during an Asian Test championship match.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer died in a Jamaican hospital on Sunday after he was found unconscious in his room, the day after his team were knocked out of the World Cup after losing to debutants Ireland.

Dravid said it was not fair to discuss whether Woolmer had to deal with excessive pressure in his job, lavishing praise on him as "a man of cricket".


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