Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have dominated the headlines over the last three weeks and they will continue to do so until a final judgement regarding the quantum of their punishment is reached. Now, in the wake of their suspension being provisionally lifted, former cricketer Rahul Dravid has opined that the cricketers can "certainly be role models."
Pandya and Rahul had been banned following the backlash they faced for their comments on a popular TV show called Koffee With Karan. Recently their suspensions were provisionally lifted by the CoA but they will face an enquiry and their punishment will be subsequently decided.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Dravid said that he is pleased with the CoA's decision, "I am glad the suspension has been lifted. There is an inquiry in process which must be completed."
Dravid continued saying that the players have faced a lot of public backlash and people must not overreact as the situation is not being brushed under the carpet.
"No one is brushing this under the carpet. The players have been the first people to admit that they made a mistake. They already have suffered a lot publicly. It is time to move on. We also need to ensure we don't overreact. At no stage are you condoning their action or the behaviour," said the 46-year-old.
Dravid, who has coached both Pandya and Rahul, said that the episode which aired on January 6 is not an apt representation of the players. He also said that both Pandya and Rahul are yet to explore their full potential and once they do, they could certainly be termed as role models.
"I somehow just don't feel that interview truly reflected the players. Hopefully, they will come back better and stronger from this. I will say honestly, I do believe that both of them have not yet achieved their obvious potential that they both have, and maybe this might be the catalyst that would lead them to reflect and help them reach the level and potential they can achieve in all forms of the game. If they can do that they can certainly be role models," Dravid said.
Dravid added that he watched only bits and pieces of the episode that caused the stir. He also said that sportspersons, like anyone else, can make mistakes. At the same time, he recognized that being a part of the Indian cricket team brings with it certain responsibilities. But the former India captain believes that with time, Pandya and Rahul will learn and grow up.
With the suspension being lifted, Pandya is due to join the Indian team in New Zealand while Rahul will play for India A against England Lions.