On May 15, 1999, at New County Ground, Hove (England), Rahul Dravid made his World Cup debut against South Africa. It was a good start for him as he struck a half century but that memorable moment as soured later in the day when an intoxicated fan attacked him on the ground as the team lost.
Dravid scored 54 runs off 75 balls with 5 fours and India posted 253/5 in 50 overs after winning the toss. But the Proteas chased down the target in 47.2 overs to hand India a loss in their World Cup opener.
As Dravid, captain Mohammad Azharuddin and other players were walking off the ground after South Africa had won by 4 wickets, an angry fan got on to the playing arena and attacked both Dravid and Azharuddin.
"I tried to ignore him as he seemed intoxicated, but he came up and pushed me,'' Azharuddin had told then about the incident. (All the WC records)
Following this, the Indian skipper had called for tighter security for the players. (Team India guide)
"We need to take these things very seriously. We need more security. This sort of thing has started happening more and more. We need to look very seriously at the increasing security for the players. Surely the security and policing of rowdy spectators must step up.
"It was most unfortunate, and what is really upsetting is the man in question was of Indian stock. I do feel this must stop and authorities must look into it," Azharuddin had said.
Dravid went on to become the highest scorer in the 1999 edition of the World Cup. He finished the tournament with 461 runs from 8 innings with 2 hundreds and 3 fifties. India failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
This year's ICC World Cup begins on February 14. It is jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. MS Dhoni-led India are the defending champions.