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Sachin Tendulkar: Skipper under seige

Date: Friday, 10 Oct 1997 16:49:21 -0500
From: Venkat <>

It might be hard for you to believe that I predicted something like this was going to happen, sooner or later, and told my friends about it. But they scoffed at me saying I am too much of skeptic. My optimism grew as Sachin's figures got blotched (not that I wanted that to happen). It is a simple philosophy based on the fact that it happened to Gavaskar, Kapil, Azhar, and now Sachin. In our cricketing history, Azhar is credited with the best figures as a captain -- however, we all know it did affect his performance to a great extent. Similarly, the stress of making the right captaincy calls is getting onto Sachin and is hurting his batting efficiency.

In American sports, unlike Indian ones, the captains are not vested with complete responsibility of the gameplan. That lies mostly with the coach, who in that sense is the 'boss'. And this reduces a lot of stress on the captain and allows him to concentrate on his actual play.

In future, if you make Jadeja the captain and later, Ganguly, the end result is not going to change. Everyone succumbs to the nerves!

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 11:25:50 -0700
From: Brajesh Upadhyay <>

It is very true that captaincy has had a negative effect on Sachin Tendulkar as a batsman. Add to it the overall failure of the fledgling team, and one can imagine the kind of pressure Sachin is under.

Sachin himself, and his supporters in the press, will for sure deny the facts. But one hardly sees Sachin the batsman of 1993-1995 in action nowadays. He is more subdued and chary while batting, which leads to his dismissal through badly conceived strokes.

Nothing would be more execrable than having a batsmen of the calibre of Sachin lost in oblivion. But then, the damage has been done. What could the solution be? Azhar at present has bounced back after the recent jolt. What effects returning the captaincy to Azhar would have on Sachinis unpredictable. Other options include Jadeja, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble. Each of these, for reasons quite different, in my opinion are not suitable for the job.

However the decision has to be made now. A quixotic solution could be returning the captaincy to Azhar and hoping that Sachin wouldn't be perturbed by the same. However, a pragmatist would say the above cannot be the solution since the cause of the deteriorating scores of Sachin is pressure which has increased due to poor winning percentages, which more often than not has in turn been due to the inept, innocuous bowling (as far as one-dayers are concerned ).

The people in charge of the betterment of Indian cricket need to concentrate on the poor standards of bowling in the country. The bane of Indian cricket in the recent past has been the bowling. Once this is done, the team as a whole will be able to up its performance and that, in turn, frees the captain, whoever he is, of much of the strain.

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 13:21:33 -0400
From: Srinivasan Iyengar <>

Regarding the averages, just looking at the differences -- 45.27 and 54.92 in Tests and 36.18 and 39.37 in ODIs -- I dont feel the desperate need of sacking him from captaincy. Also, when I further look at his Test performances, the averages are increasing. So he seems to be getting comfortable, one feels. The ODI performace has dropped, sure, and that is only because he opens the innings and has the added burden of stepping on the accelerator at risk of his wicket. So, I would say, chill out, take it easy and I'm sure he will be back to his best. And his captaincy has improved, which is a plus.

Even in the ODIs, if you take away the Sri Lanka ODIs, Sahara and Wills Challenge ( the last three entries) -- the average is roughly 38, close to his natural average. So it seems like his ODI performance has fallen since the Sri Lanka tour, that is not sufficient reason to strip him of the captaincy.

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 10:38:57 -0600
From: Rajiv Marar <marar@crd.GE.COM>

There has been a lot of talk going on regarding this matter nowadays. I would like to share my thoughts with you.

First of all, it is absolutely necessary that the team should have a captain, and a vice captain. I would emphasize on the second as more important right now -- and the vice captain we find should be someone who is being groomed as captain for the future, with good match exposure being given in events like warmup matches, Challenger Series, etc. Currently I dont think the Indian board has such a plan whatsoever, because the trend is to suggest the name of the best player rather than the best captain -- in fact, these days, Saurav Ganguly is being hailed as a future captain even in some sections of the media.

I dont even have an idea whether he captained even in Ranji Trophy. I remember Ajay Jadeja was a key member (I think he was captaining a successful Indian Junior team when they went to Pakistan, correct me if I am wrong). I dont think he ever was considered Indian captaincy material , or groomed as one. Now, just because of a coincidence that there is no Kumble in the team, its Jadeja's turn.

My suggestions are:
1. Players groomed for captaincy should be identified at the age of around 21-25, making them lead the state they represent in the domestic matches.
2. Team atmosphere should be in such a way that the VC should be able to contribute, to gain more experience in international matches.
3. Form an India A Team with the VC or the to-be-VC leading it, and schedule some tours with other International A teams and countries for gaining exposure -- surely India has sufficient talent to have an A team on a permanent basis?

Basically the point I am making is that captains should be groomed for the future -- it is not logical to say, one day, that X is not doing a good job, so to look around, pick the name of the player who at that time is in top form, and give the job to him.

Regarding the captain losing form this term, I feel it is upto the captain, coach, VC and the team to share the load depending on the situation, to come up with and implement various plans like giving the captain enough room to play his natural game, either bowling OR batting. Sachin may have the tendency to take all upon himself in case of defeats. That will do more harm than good on the long run.

Agreed, this is much easier said than done, and mostly involves giving more authority and responsibility to the captain from the selection process itself. It needs a cultural change altogether in the Indian cricket scene.

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 11:12:06 -0500
From: Theuns Botha <>

The statistics shown in this article definitly tells a story, or as the writer thereof states, at least half a story. Our reasons for this however will differ. The missing half as I see it is quite simply a man by the name Javagal Srinath. What would be interesting is to rerun the statistics of Tendulkar before and after Srinath's injury. (Remember, he allready had this injury when he arrived in South Africa, so even there the team's performance was affected by it.)

I believe that in India, Srinath's performance and his value to the Indian team's success is totally underrated. He is the finest bowler in world cricket, much better than our Allan Donald. Yes, Donald is quicker but Srinath is quality and perfection.

The problems in Indian cricket does not lie with its batsmen, but with the fact that Srinath and Prasad have not really had the chance to prove to the world how they can destroy a batting lineup. Yes, individually they have done just that. But not as a partnership. The reason for that is that when Prasad was ready to start producing after his own learning curve in international cricket, Srinath got injured.

Watch my words......a fresh and fit Srinath and Prasad as a partnership is going to be too hot to handle for all batsmen in the world. When they are both firing, and that is going to be soon, India will be on top of world cricket. This partnership, performing, will give your batsmen the confidence to score runs and to know that they will virtually never have to chase to big a target or to know that even a moderate target will be enough to win.

How about an article about Prasad and Srinath --- the partnership? Write it now, as you are all going to have to write about this partnership in the months to come.

Note from Prem Panicker: Guys, this forum thing seems to be snowballing like crazy -- and guess what, the folks at Rediff love it! Catch being, as the number of letters increase, we are having to struggle to cope -- and this explains any delays you might see in your letters going up there in the appropriate section.

To add to which, we are in the middle of an office shift.

However, all mails sent in are being processed, and the remaining voices from your side on the three topics thus far will all be up Monday. And there's some real strong stuff in there, both pro and con, on all three issues, so watch for it.

Meanwhile, hey, keep them coming...