The captain’s cross – Frontline

Following India’s disastrous tour of Australia, captain Sachin Tendulkar relinquishes the recent seat. A take a look at the rights and wrongs of the cricket star’s abrupt step.


THE timing of the announcement caught everybody abruptly. Whereas Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar had sufficient causes to really feel dissatisfied following the Indian tour of Australia, few folks predicted his resolution to relinquish captaincy on the conclusion of the Check collection towards South Africa, now in progress.

And for a number of causes the timing was not proper. It put seeds of doubt in a single’s thoughts. Was it as a result of Tendulkar had acquired a touch that former captain Mohammed Azharuddin was going to be picked for the Mumbai Check? Within the occasion, the stroke-maker from Hy derabad opted out of the primary Check owing to a thumb damage.

On this context, Tendulkar’s press conferences quickly after the Indian workforce returned from Australia assume significance. He was defiant, confused the necessity to give the youthful gamers an extended run, known as for sporting pitches at house, and dismissed experiences about his batting having suffered due to the extra accountability of captaincy.

This was not the tone of a person going to surrender the highest job in Indian cricket. Definitely, there was no trace of the ‘ethical accountability’ issue, which dominated his resignation deal with.

What occurred, then?

Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 97 towards South Africa within the Mumbai Check.-N. SRIDHARAN

Though there can by no means ever be any clinching proof that Tendulkar opted out due to Azharuddin’s return, there are sufficient tips that could that route. The non-selection of Azharuddin is believed to have been a situation Tendulkar put ahead to th e selectors when he reluctantly accepted the captaincy the second time round. If that was certainly the case, then it actually is gloomy. It was beneath Azharuddin’s management that Tendulkar blossomed as an important batsman, and certainly private variations will be put aside within the pursuits of the nationwide workforce. Tendulkar, regardless of his superior cricketing means, has proven that he’s not above parochial issues.

THE Australian tour solely uncovered the long-term shortcomings within the Indian aspect – the lack of the specialist batsmen, except Tendulkar, to deal with the additional bounce and the lateral motion; the dearth of sting within the bowling, with strike bowler Anil Kumble shedding a lot of his effectiveness on international territory; and mediocre fielding in an period of tremendous athleticism. It’s no credit score to the youthful members of the aspect that Robin Singh, in his mid-thirties, proved probably the most dedicated fielder.

The Indian batting was ruthlessly swept apart by the scientific Glenn McGrath and the fiery Brett Lee, who type a deadly mixture. However a much bigger disappointment was the dearth of character proven by the Indians within the Check collection. They have been mentally overwhel med by the aggressive Australians; they appeared to lack the power that stems solely from confidence.

It appeared as if a few of them have been eager to not get injured in order that they weren’t dominated out of the triangular one-day competitors that adopted. The technical excellence and guts exhibited by males like Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath and Mohinder Amarnat h within the battles Down Below within the 1970s and 1980s, once they wore much less protecting gear, have been in stark distinction to the efficiency of the present lot, who surrendered meekly.

Tendulkar alone can’t be blamed for the debacle. He fought laborious with the bat – he made a lion-hearted century within the Melbourne Check – and was unfortunate to obtain a few unhealthy umpiring choices. To make issues worse, Rahul Dravid, from whom a lot was anticipated, appeared consumed by self-doubts for many a part of the collection. The usually stable Sourav Ganguly was unable to supply a giant innings within the Checks. V.V.S. Laxman, regardless of his blistering century in Sydney, was too inconsistent for a gap batsman .

For the likes of Devang Gandhi and Vijay Bharadwaj – from whom there have been excessive expectations – and Hrishikesh Kanitkar, it was a impolite awakening. However then, they’ve performed most of their cricket on the featherbeds at house and it was an excessive amount of to count on them to make the transition rapidly. The fault lies in an outdated system that refuses to alter.

India’s preparation for such a significant marketing campaign because the Australia tour was insufficient. Every week earlier than the tour, the Indians have been enjoying New Zealand in an inconsequential one-day collection on flat pitches, when they need to even have been practising on speci ally ready bouncy tracks in a conditioning camp with the intention to get accustomed to the type of wickets that awaited them Down Below.

Just lately a nationwide selector spoke about the necessity to elevate the ceiling on the variety of bouncers per over within the home circuit, however that will not change issues until there’s a radical shift within the nature of the wickets. Till then the Indians will c ontinue to reside in an illusory world, the place they might triumph on the ‘minefields’ at house, solely to get whipped in international locations similar to Australia and South Africa.

On a sporting pitch, India’s assault lacks the innovative, the presence of a genuinely fast bowler in Javagal Srinath however. Venkatesh Prasad, who has had his share of health issues, has misplaced fairly a little bit of his tempo. The injury-prone Ajit Agarkar is at finest a help seamer. A younger and keen paceman like T. Kumaran, somebody who will be efficient with the previous ball, one other space the place Indian bowlers have been discovered wanting in Australia, was not dealt with correctly by the think-tank, which, aside from Tendulkar, included the famous person coach, Kapil Dev.

To be honest to Tendulkar, with the restricted assets beneath his command, he has needed to lead India on some very tough campaigns overseas – the tour of South Africa and the Caribbean in 1997, and the latest journey to Australia.

A tough taskmaster, Tendulkar has been accused of pushing his bowlers too laborious, leading to a few of them struggling accidents. However the different aspect of the story is that anybody who’s picked for India must be keen to undergo the ordeal, and Tendulkar can’t be faulted on this rating. If Srinath seems probably the most penetrative bowler, the captain would certainly be tempted to present him that additional over in crunch conditions, particularly if the others don’t seem like getting a wicket.

Tendulkar, who made a vibrant begin as captain by defeating Australia within the one-off Check on the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi in 1996 after which successful the house collection towards South Africa 2-1, is yet one more sufferer of the ‘abroad syndrome’, which has show d to be the Waterloo of many Indian skippers, together with Azharuddin, who’s in any other case India’s most profitable captain.

Actually, India’s document abroad after Ajit Wadekar’s males registered these epoch-making collection’ victories within the Caribbean and in England (each in 1971) has been typically abysmal. On this interval it has managed simply two collection wins overseas – 2-Zero in Englan d (1986) and 1-Zero in Sri Lanka (1993). There have been a number of morale-shattering defeats.

THIS once more takes one to the massive query: does India actually have the standard to win in unfamiliar situations? The reply isn’t any. Sanjay Manjrekar made a pertinent level in a latest interview when he mentioned that really there was little or no real expertise within the nation regardless of the media hype. There have been good particular person gamers, however cricket is a workforce sport.

Take the Australian workforce. It has so many choices. If Mark and Steve Waugh fail, Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer ship. If McGrath has an off day, Lee does the job, to not converse of the large amongst bowlers, Shane Warne. India doesn’t have such depth.

It’s this lack of depth that allow India down on the 2 events when it had an opportunity to register a victory on international soil. Within the Johannesburg Check of 1997, the Indian spinners couldn’t end issues off on a turning wicket, and South Africa managed to carry out on the ultimate day with Darryl Cullinan and Allan Donald consuming invaluable time in a ninth wicket stand.

Months later, within the West Indies, India let slip one other golden alternative when it capitulated for 81 runs at a time it wanted simply 119 runs for a series-cinching victory, within the Bridgetown Check. One can not think about Steve Waugh’s Australians lacking out on such alternatives. Psychological power is clearly the important thing right here.

Sourav Ganguly, who succeeds Tendulkar as captain after the second Check towards South Africa in Bangalore.-N. SRIDHARAN

NOW that Tendulkar will not be within the captaincy, vice-captain Sourav Ganguly is the logical successor. He instructions a everlasting place within the aspect (in each Checks and one-dayers), is level-headed, has made essential contributions with the bat, and led t he nation astutely in Toronto final 12 months when each Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja have been out of motion owing to accidents.

Each time the selectors used Jadeja as captain for limited-over internationals, he didn’t do a foul job. However the chirpy cricketer has been a failure on the Check stage. It’s wiser to have Ganguly because the chief in each sorts of the sport, for the sake o f continuity.

In Toronto towards the West Indians, Ganguly gave the distinct impression that he loved the job, and though it could be too early to leap to conclusions about his management qualities, he’s properly value a strive.

The highway forward will not be straightforward and the soft-spoken Bengali, who was relatively rapidly labelled boastful when he started his worldwide profession within the early 1990s, should be at his tactical finest. Ganguly takes immense pleasure in his performances; he have to be dissatisfied together with his Check scores in Australia regardless of his two a whole bunch within the Carlton and United one-day collection. He may have loads of possibilities to make amends.

Nevertheless, a swap within the management alone will not be going to make any longstanding distinction if the system stays the identical. The necessity of the hour is to disregard the simple choices fuelled by industrial pursuits. India has to look forward.

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