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Readers sound off on: Sachin sacked, Azhar back!

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January 3, 1998

From: Girish Ramamurthy <>

I think instead of you letting us know the facts about the BCCI, it would be appropriate to make those stupid selectors know this. Those few headless maniacs are bringing India's pride down to earth.
There was an article from Mr Pritish Nandy about the adverse effects that these defeats would bring on the minds of the kids of this generation. They will never be able to boast of India, but will start talking low of it (it will start from Cricket to Politics and proceed to the disintegration of our country). Sounds funny, but history tells us this. Sports is no more fun now. It is the mirror of any country's pride. You have done an excellent job in your article but make it reach those so called cricket thinkers. God save India, and its cricket, from these maniacs.

From: Arvind Singh <>

Why do these idiots keep on eating our valuable resources and time and disturbing the team at the same time? We don't need these jokers. Please do something to sack them, and we are all with you.
  Let the captain, manager (with possible help from other experts) select the team. Let everybody bear the responsibility, let compenasation be based on performance (double in case of win, half in case of defeat).
We put so much money, give so much attention to cricket. It's time we got its worth. Cricket should be our national pride not our national shame, which it now is.

From: Yogesh Patel <>

Why are we talking about a bunch of idiots who don't know zilch about being a captain? Can you tell me if anyone of these guys has ever lead any team in their lifetime?
What is a captain? A leader who is capable of getting the best out of each of his team members, and is respected by all his players. How can anyone lead an Indian cricket team when his hands are tied down by a bunch of clowns who don't know, or don't remember, what they have eaten for their last meal few hours ago?
Please try to organize some type of protest to remove these idiots from Indian cricket. They have ruined our reputation.

From: Sridhar Narasimhan <>

The sacking of Tendulkar and appointment of Azharuddin is myopic.This guy was lucky even to play the India versus Pakistan series in Pakistan. Now he is lucky to get the captaincy, and add to this luck the fact that there are no away tours coming up soon, for him to come up with fresh additions to "101 horrible ways of getting out to fast/ fast medium bowlers". Methinks it will be fun against McGrath and company -- though of course, he can later claim that captaincy affected his batting.
Sachin Tendulkar -- and Madan Lal -- were axed because of poor performance, but what about the fantastic selection committee that saddled them with such great players as Rathore, Sujith Somasundar et al? Of course, they will also determine the batting order, fielding placements and then axe the coach and captain for not performing.

From: Arindam Taran <>

I just finsihed reading your article about the sacking of Sachin. Here is a trick question. Can we collectively, as "Cricket Loving Indians", sue the selectors for bringing the game, and the country to disgrace? Just like a Justice was appointed to verify bribery allegations, maybe the courts would appoint a supervisory committee that will oversee the BCCI and/or the Indian selectors. This is just a thought.
I am so frustated with the way things are with cricket (in general) in India, that I would love to do something that will remove these money-grabbing, power-hungry, double-speaking, bumbling idiots from the selection committee.
From: Tushar <>

It seems like selectors are playing Russian Roulette, with the victim being the future of indian cricket. Is it possible for board president Raj Singh Dungarpur to step in and ask them to resign (or fire them) based on their past perfomance (selection, administration & money management)?

From: Karthick Rajamani <>

It clearly seems like it is the selectors that need sacking, rather than the captain. The ridiculous team changes (taking players arbitrarily, dropping them without reasons) in the last few months now culminates in yet another horrendous decision. If the selectors claim they know better than the people on the field, to indicate who to bat where etc, they should also accept the responsibility for the failure of the team they make up.
Why should the captain be the only person to be bear responsibility for the sorry state of the cricket team? Agreed, the selectors do not actually play the matches and so are less involved in the results of matches. But, they need to share the responsibility in the success/failure of the team -- as they decide who gets to play. Until there is a proper selection mechanism for the selectors (!), and a method of apportioning responsibility for the performance of the team to the selection committee, such antics would continue.

From: Jaffrey Ali <>

I enjoyed your piece on the subject. It was extremely well thought out, and touched on every point. However, I would like to add some thought to what you had to say.
I believe what the board fails to realize is that cricket is a team sport. Which means that 11 players must have the same objective, but more importantly must complement one another. This business of adding and removing players (let alone captains) does not allow a 'team spirit' to develop. All the great 'teams', both current and past, achieved much more than the individual talents of the players would have indicated -- look at Allan Border's Australian teams, the Indian teams that won the World Cup in '83 and the Benson & Hedges World Championships or even the current Sri Lankan team.
All these teams were not the most talented; but they played well together and were well led by a captain the team respected. The current Indian and West Indian teams are examples of 'non-teams'; a gathering of 12 or so players, where about half of them expect to be a captain in the course of the next year or so. I am sure history is littered with teams such as these -- we just don't remember them.
If the board does not respect the captain, then how do you expect young members of the team fighting for their place in the team to do so? How can a player make sacrifices for the team when asked by the captain, when he knows the captain has no say in the inclusion or exclusion of that player in the team? We do not lose matches because of poor captaincy, we lose matches because we fail to play well as a team. We will never have a successful team as long as the selectors believe that it is their team and not the captain's team. A captain must select his players -- end of story.
The current state of affairs is disgraceful to say the least. Appointing Azharuddin is a bad move; but if you think about it there is no one in the horizon that appears ready. Ganguly has yet to pay his dues. Elevating him now will be a mistake in my opinion. I personally think we should have stayed with Tendulkar; but probably he wanted out. I wouldn't blame him, would you?
Based on his performance, Azharuddin should be dropped from the Test side, but not from the one day side. I still believe that his fielding adds at least 20-25 runs to each innings. If only the rest of our lazy team would bother to field decently.

From: Sanjay <>

I have always enjoyed the articles on cricket by Mr. Panicker. I also have a very high regard for his abilities in understanding the finer points of the sport. But when I read the article on Azharuddin being reinstated as captain, I didn't believe that it was Mr. Panicker who had authored it. He seems to confuse the word "disinterested" with "uninterested". Unless the word now has a different connotation in India, I think being disinterested means to be impartial, and being uninterested is to be devoid of interest.
It appears to me that Mr. Panicker has in all probability written this article in a great hurry.
I know this is a very small error, and there are a lot of newspapers out there that commit far more worse blunders. But I have always felt that inaccurate language tends to lower the quality of a publication and eventually creates a psychological barrier in the minds of its readers that makes it hard for them to take seriously the views expressed therein.
Though I have never acknowledged, I really like your publication, and have have started to prefer it to The Hindu.

From: Kuruvilla George <>

That was a brilliant article. I think Rediff should start a public campaign for more accountability from the selectors. Mohinder's comment about them being a bunch of jokers keeps getting reinforced with each successive decision they make.

From: Sriram Duvvuri < >

After reading Prem Panicker's column on the ongoing captaincy issue, I have just one question that he should ask himself:
Why don't the South Africans remove Hansie Cronje from captaincy despite his lack of form?
The answer is obvious -- his leadership skills. When Azhar was removed in '96, he had problems that were seen in his commitment towards the team. They (the selectors) tried putting Tendulkar in his shoes, and failed miserably! Tendulkar lacked the leadership qualities or the experience to create successful results. The question is not how well the captain alone does in the series, it is how well the team performs as a whole under the captain.
It is the final result which matters, not the performance of a soloist. Teams like South Africa and Sri Lanka, which have strong records, have kept faith in their captain.
I feel that the selectors had realized their mistake a long time ago, but rectified it right now thinking that it is better late than never, after the string of frustrating losses. I feel that the experts like MAK Pataudi, Madan Lal or others should not speak until they see a difference in the results after the Tri-nation series or the Test series against Australia in February. Azhar's past record as captain itself stands testimony to his leadership skills.

From: Doug Fisher <>

I read the piece on the reappointment of Azharuddin. It is pathetic that the Indian selectors have stooped so low. They are bent on putting up a team under an 'unfit' captain. No wonder, with such people leading India, one can start believing the accusations of 'match fixing' by Manoj Prabhakar.
Shame on the Indian selectors. They are the ones responsible for India's dismal performance.

From: Fabio Nunes <>

To me, it seems that the writer of this article is strongly against Azharuddin and the national selectors. He should be reminded that Azharuddin is one of the most succesful captains in the history of Indian cricket. The writer believes that Sachin was unfairly treated by the selectors. I think Sachin was made captain prematurely, due to media pressure. While Sachin is one of the best batsmen (after Gavaskar), he needs more experience in Test cricket before he can be successful as a captain. Ganguly and Dravid are performing well, but like Sachin they do not have enough experience to become a successful captain. I believe Azhar is still the best choice for the captain. Over the years, Azhar has done a lot for his country. Some people believe that he does not deserve to be in the Indian team. In the end, I feel that Azharuddin deserves another chance and respect from the media.

From: Dave Westfall <dwestfal@BayNetworks.COM>

That's it! These 'bunch of jokers' have done it again. For how long will they continue messing around?
Why can't we have selectors for a period of 27 days, and at the end of that evaluate how the team they have picked fared?
The cricket fans in India and abroad are really disappointed at the way these idiots have been allowed to have their way.
Isn't there nobody who can set these jokers right?

From: Srinivas S Garre <>

I agree with whatever you wrote regarding this development. But a change of captaincy is essential at this juncture. It could be a nice break for Tendulkar to concentrate on his game and at the same time fine tune his captaincy abilities. If we take the positive side of the current development, I feel that this will do a world of good to him. He is going to be the future captain after all, and the job is bound to come back to him soon if Azhar fails in one to two series. Now Azhar has to prove himself both as a captain as well as player. This is his last chance.
I totally agree with the selectors' decision to give the captaincy to Azhar as he is the right alternative. This is the right decision at the right time. Congrats to Azhar and cheers to selection committee.

From: Hari <>

It is a sorry state of affairs. It is apalling to note that everybody else, but the group of jokers are responsible for India's bad performances.
The selection committee has taken nepotism to a new level. For starters, the committe has enpowered the likes of Sambaran Banerjee (who let alone not having played for India had a tough time keeping his place in the East Zone team). It is time the selection process is based on some rationale (and not on personal prejudices) by making the selectors accountable. If India performs badly, these bunch of fools cannot say that the team did not perform well and get away with it. It should be made clear that they were the guys who picked the team (and finalised the batting order).
Last but not least, if this goes on, players like Sachin, Srinath, Dravid, Ganguly, Prasad, etc. should simply refuse to play for the country which abuses them and their abilities.

From: Vivek Mehta <>

It is about time somebody sacked the Cricket Selectors. Can't they think radically differently? How about recalling Ravi Shastri as team captain?

From: Asha Raj <>

This mail is written out of sheer frustration at the things happening in Indian cricket. Our selectors have re-confirmed Mohinder Amarnath's statement. The same player they admonished 20 days back for his attitude is being given the chance to lead the country. Hats off to them.
Coming to Azhar, never can you see a cricketer who with single-minded devotion got his captaincy back..not on his merit, but by using his clout of having been in Indian cricket for 13 years and playing all sorts of games except cricket. Not only did he occupy a very important position in the batting order, but from there he ensured that runs were difficult to come by, leading to India's downfall time and again. Kudos to him. I am sure he will do yeoman service to Indian cricket.
As far as the selectors are concerned, Bedi should have include them in his list of pacific dumping.