India's 5 biggest defeats under Rahul Dravid's captaincy
Upon taking over the captaincy mantle due to a major ramification of the infamous spat between Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid did not take too long before adapting himself to the rigours accompanying the top job. Having led India on a sporadic basis in the preceding years, the reliable right-hander vindicated his ascension by leading his country to plenty of memorable victories.
However, Dravid's captaincy career was also not without its fair share of defeats. Some losses, in particular, proved to be chastening experiences for the temperamentally unswerving batsman. Here are five such defeats which stand out as blemishes in what was otherwise a rewarding reign at the helm of affairs. Across both Tests and ODIs, these matches have not been categorised according to the margins of loss. Instead, they are listed on the basis of importance attached to them.
#5 Against South Africa in Kolkata (2005 ODI series)
During the early to mid 2000s, international matches at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata provided several reasons for its citizens to celebrate. The foremost among them all was the presence of captain Sourav Ganguly. However, when the skipper was ousted from the team, the 'City of Joy' responded by doing the unthinkable in 2005. On a venue widely considered to be the bastion of Indian cricket, the 'Men in Blue' were publicly booed by a raucous crowd who were still reeling from the exclusion of their local hero.
The beneficiaries of Eden Gardens' ignominious act turned out to be the visiting South African side. The Proteas watched on bemusedly as the crowd kept cheering them on for the entire duration of the ODI. They won a handy toss and inserted the home team (by nomenclature only) on a distinctly dicey track. India's formidable batting lineup came a cropper against South Africa's accurate seamers.
A fighting partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif could not prevent India from crashing down to a paltry total. Captain Graeme Smith's explosive century along with Andrew Hall's resolute knock propelled South Africa to a 10-wicket victory. India would go on to win the subsequent match in Mumbai to square the ODI series.
Brief Scores: India - 188 from 45.5 overs (Yuvraj Singh 53, Mohammad Kaif 46, Shaun Pollock 3/25, Andrew Hall 3/36); South Africa - 189/0 from 35.5 overs (Graeme Smith 134*, Hall 48*)
Result - South Africa won by 10 wickets with 85 balls to spare