'Dravid fine not a case of cheating'
Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid's ball-tampering fine after a one-day match against Zimbabwe arose from a silly mistake caused by sticky fingers, not a deliberate attempt to cheat, Indian coach John Wright said on Wednesday.
Dravid was fined 50 percent of his match fee by International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Clive Lloyd after television pictures showed him rubbing a yellow lozenge on the shiny side of the white ball during India's victory over Zimbabwe in Brisbane on Tuesday.
Dravid was charged under clause 2.10 of the ICC's code of conduct, which deals with "changing the condition of the ball" but escaped the maximum penalty of a two-match ban.
Wright said the batsman, who has enjoyed an exceptional tour in Australia, had been applying saliva to the ball when fragments of an energy lozenge he was chewing stuck to his fingers.
"It was an innocent mistake," 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."
Wright said Dravid's reputation as one of the game's gentlemen should not be tarnished by the affair.
"He's one of those characters you want playing cricket," he said. "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 was unable to comment on the incident because of ICC regulations but his captain Sourav Ganguly described it as "just an accident".
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said his team was well aware of the issue of ball tampering and it was up to the ICC to deal with any such matters quickly and decisively.
"I don't think you'll see us doing anything like that," he told ABC radio.
A spokesman for the Zimbabwe team declined to comment.
Australia will meet India in the next match of the tri-nation series in Sydney on Thursday.