Allan Donald was one of the most feared fast bowlers in his playing days. There were two reasons for that. The primary one obviously being his menacing pace and secondly, the glares and the occasional mouthful he used to give to the batters. Former India captain and current head coach Rahul Dravid was at the receiving end of the latter in an India vs South Africa ODI in Durban way back in 1997.
25 years later, Donald, who is currently the bowling coach of Bangladesh, issued a public apology to Dravid and also invited him for dinner.
Both Donald and Dravid are currently in Chattogram as part of the coaching staff of Bangladesh and India respectively. The two countries are playing a Test series. Donald, in an interview with Sony Sports Network, the broadcasters of the series, said he had overstepped the line while sledging Dravid during that ODI in Durban.
"There was one ugly incident in Durban that I don't wanna talk about. He (Rahul Dravid) and Sachin were smoking us to all parts. I overstepped the mark a little bit. I've just nothing but massive respect for Rahul. I would like to go out and sit with Rahul and say sorry to him again about what happened that day. I just had to do something silly that brought his wicket actually. But I still apologise for what I said that day. What a guy, what a great bloke. So Rahul, if you are listening. I would love to have a night out with you," Donaldo said.
Dravid was shown Donald's message in a separate interview. He was asked to respond to Donald's invitation and the legendary Indian cricketer gave a classic response. "Absolutely, I look forward to it, especially if he is paying," Dravid said with a laugh.
India and South Africa squared off in the final of the tri-nation series in Durban in 1997. The other team involved in the series was Zimbabwe. After the scheduled final was washed out due to rain, it was pushed to the reserve day. Batting first, South Africa posted 278/8 thanks to half-centuries from Gary Kirsten (51), Daryll Cullinan (60) and crucial contributions from Jonty Rhodes (41) and Jacques Kallis (49).
Rain once again intervened and India got a revised target of 252 in 40 overs. The visitors lost Sourav Ganguly early to Donald but Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar launched a no holds barred attack on the famed South African pace unit. Dravid, who was not known to be the aggressor, took the front seat and smashed the likes of Shaun Pollock, Donald and Rudi Bryson to all parts of the ground.
It was then that Donald sledged Dravid. It was never revealed what exactly the 'white lighting' said to Dravid but the latter was left fuming. He even hit the South African for a big six over long-on.
India fell short of South Africa's target by 17 runs but Dravid was adjudged Player of the Match for his 84 off 94 balls.
Notably, this is not the first time Donald has expressed regret for his behaviour that night. In an interview a couple of years ago, he had revealed that he wanted to speak to Dravid after the match and apologise but the Indian team was so miffed that refused.
Both the great cricketers have put that incident behind them.