Rediff Logo World Cup 99
April 21, 1999

The Prem Panicker column

Rahul Rajaram: Well said, man!!!! Can these guys at the board read these columns or something!!!!

Gautam Wagle: This is one of the most intense article written by Panicker and this is the best I have seen of him. Very well described the hype and showbizz around the world cup. What good does all this drama do on the Indian players morale than create tons of pressure knowing that first not to qualify for the supersix will make the team the most dreaded one. Then not winning the world cup will make them feel like having robbed the fans of all the tilaks and wishes they have offered on the players.
Winning the last world cup in England does not mean we are invincible there. Same would have been true about WI but then we defeated them. We have toured England since then and the last tour has been one of the most disastrous tours we have had other than finding some key players like Dravid, Ganguly and Prasad. So how do we expect that what we did 16 years ago is very much possible when we do not know a lot of the place and the conditions.
Yes we would all hope that the Indian team wins, infact we hope and wish the Indian team wins all of its matches whether played in the world cup or not, but this is not a way to prepare a team for success but it is like creating a big pressure pot waiting to explode in our very own faces.

Davis Varghese: Hi Prem, Sending 5 additional bowlers to england along with the team is really a good idea . Not only they can keep the energy level of main bowlers intact , they too can get a lot of bowling experience in conditions which favor pace bowling and advice form best batsmen in the world. if they send 5 we can make sure that at least one of them will find a position in the team in the near future . But unfortunately , BCCI will not be interested in it , just because they do not "gain" anything from it personally.

Ranjit singh Mahal: prem i'am from Toronto Canada i' was plannig to go watch world cup in England but when i read your artical about indian don't have extra bowler's for net practice i was shock and decided that i 'am willing to watch on tv and give away my tour money to a extra bowler from india can you please give me address and phone number of indian cricket board please do so phone number peferd please do so soon thanks

Prem Panicker responds: Dear Ranjit, save your money. The board has enough to send the entire nation to England if necessary. What the board lacks is the will to do the right thing, and the brains to think of it -- now if you could find a way to donate some brains, thinking ability, that might help.

Vijay: Typical Communist mentality. Cannot stand when somebody else is making money.

The Prem Panicker interview:
Anand Ganesan: Dear Redif, While I agree with some of the view points of Prem Panicket, I can buy the following points:
i) The idea of sending five reserve bowlers for net practice does'nt make sense to me. Now it is a "universal" fact that our top order is all at sea against quality pace bowling when it goes abroad (or for that matter even in our home ground, as we have seen recently here in India and in Sharjah. Then how the hell on earth can 15 days of preparation will make our tail enders "competent" enough against the likes of Waqar,Wasim or Curtley.Though the point that tail enders should face quality fast bowling in the nets is a valid one, sending 5 extra pace bowlers is not going to (at this point) make our tail "wag".They should develop this as a part of the net ethics, so to speak.First,let us see how well our much vaunted top order is getting accustomed to the English conditions.
ii) Prem pointed out about the amount of pressure which will be on Indian players because of all this hype. I was in India, when last world cup was played. Even at that time there was a lot of hype. As I read from the web magazines,this type this seems to much higher. But as modern day cricketers, these are the things which players are used to.Cricket is a big money spinner in sub-continent.If there is so much of hype, then it should enthuse our guys to play well, contrary to getting pressurised.
Anand Ganesan

Gobee-1: Ho Hum Prem. I sincerly wish some people associated with the powers that be thought as pragmatically as you do. Both, concerning the berieved widow Kim Lamba and about the darn hype. Right now SA is oiling their machine up, with some support from their country men. They know that evetually cricket will win them what they want not a recreational monies allocation by some corp appetite.
Lastly, Prem, there are a lot of garbage articles all over the place in regards to the WC99, therefore, please keep these views coming daily so that we dont have to succumb to that nonsense. Thanks Mate.

Thomas Mathew: Great article Prem!! I do agree wholeheartedly about your suggestion of sending backup bowlers to England. I'm not sure if the BCCI is going to do anything of that sort though.
Fore-sightedness has never been a strong point of our cricket administrators. It was also very insensitive on the part of the organisers to have called Kim Lamba on the stage and made a mockery of her feelings. On the one hand they do a good deed by helping the needy families, but on the other hand, they do not miss a chance to take full advantage of the spotlight albiet at the discomfort of the grieving.
I was very happy to hear that the cricketers gave their appearance monies to the families of Parkar and Lamba. That was a great gesture!
As far as the World Cup performance of this Indian team is concerned, personally, I have no illusions. I will be pleasantly surprised if this team manages to even qualify for the Super-Six stage, even with Tendulkar back in the team.
It's not that I have accepted defeat already, but keeping in mind the preparations of the other teams and the leadership of this team, I don't think we stand a chance this time. I'm looking forward to some great cricket - no matter which team plays. I love India and I love cricket!!

Aditya Natu: I have been a big follower of Prem's articles...this one is equally hard-hitting, and incisive. Prem often points out a lot of things...which are...well, plain common-sense, yet one wonders how things like these do not penetrate the thick-skulls of the selectors and the team management! Prem, ..a suggestion...I am sure that some Indian somewhere must have compiled a huge database of the matches played by India against various teams. Why not study those databases...and develop some strategies...about say how to dismiss one partcular batsman..and stuff like that? Has anyone thought about it?

Anand K: Akrishnamo: Insightful as always .. one more reason to send the five bowlers as well as couple of batsmen to England is in case of injury to the current 15, they will be used to english conditions if called upon to play

Alkesh Shah: GOOD Article Prem ,makes total sense, only if we could somehow get the board to read this article!! I have for long wondered why they cant think of such a simple thing as such, but have begun to believe that the board is incapable of such simplistic yet helpful decisions to make the life of the bowlers easier. As you rightly point out, no wonder the tail enders cant bat , its b/c they cant practise correctly, AS my dad used to say, perfect practice make perfect. No just pracitce by itself!!!!!!!!!1

Vineet Venugopal: I am in tortal agrement with you prem on the composition of the team > I feel that in his presnt form Ashar should be axed .. If others can be axed why not Azhar
But I guess they are keeing on with the exprerience of Azhar as teh Highest run getter
And about Mrs Lamba .. the board has never been known for its finesse or class .. and that is very much apparent in teh attitude of J Y Lele and Rungta .. so I am not surprised .. But sorry for Mrs Lamba that she had to deal with the board //
vikram: Interesting column. I agree with one point made by prem. We should give our tailenders more practice to play quality bowling. There are two ways to do that. Take bowlers like nehra, shukla et al to england, or get some local lads to help them out.
What i disagree to is removing azhar as captain. Just because he seems to have lost a few games(read pakistan) doesn't mean that you got to remove him. You dig out all the matches india played at home, you can see that india has won most of them against all the countries except pakistan. The reason for this is that pakistan has similar conditions as in india and india has kind of mental block aginst pakistan.
It is true that jadeja took india to victory as a captain but only once against pakistan and pakistan had played well below their potential.
About indian corporate pouring in money into cricket, there is one thing I can say, Cricket needs corporate sponsorship and corporates use cricket as a means of advertisement.

pg: Thats a question thats been troubling me for some time now. How is it that there is so much money going into the national team and its fortunes and almost nothing to the Ranji trophy level?
If the Indian people want more cricket, they should be given more local cricket rather than have the National team play more. I do believe this is a corporate/BCCI decision to be made. Television should lead the peoples interest.

rediff fan: Your suggestion about sending few more pace bowlers is extremely useful, Prem! But wonder whether these suggestions can ever be passed on to those who matter. Reading such good suggestions and then see them going unimplemented hurts more. so why don't you convey these ideas to someone who is in position to implement? It is good idea for sure but then is there any point in simply writing it here on website when none of the readers is going to do anything but share feelings?don't know what point it serves other than making us aware 'one more point lost'. Better idea would be to relay these ideas to someone who can implement.. hope this can be done.

Adnan Ahmad: One of the best columns I have read on this side so far. I am also impressed by your unbiased analysis of the matches between Ind and Pak.

P.V.Pratap: Sensible article for once, Prem.

Raja Sen: Prem: I really enjoy reading your articles.
While I agree to mostly what is written in the latter part of this article, I do not belive that the "hype" created by the media/public should harm the cricket team in the forthcoming World Cup. On the contrary, it may pressure them to shed their lackadisical attitude towards losing and instill in them a sense of competitiveness and the fact that IT IS NOT OKAY TO LOSE!!
These are professional cricket players and they are paid to win, not to lose!
This is the same philosophy used in football games in the NFL in USA, and every player of every team is psyched up prior to every game to give their 110% and going in with the attitude to WIN the game.
Maybe in time the Indian cricket team will realize that they owe to their fans to play to the best of their ability and surpass it, in every game that they play in the World Cup.
As Wasim Akram put it: the Indians are soft, and for them, it is okay to lose a match. But for the Pakistanis every match is a MUST win. It is this kind of an attitude that wins Championships!!
This is my two cents worth.

Ram Krishnaswamy: I think you are right in sending 5 additional bowlers to England. One more benefit to this is that if somebody in the original 15 needs to be replaced because of injury, then we have players already used to English conditions and who has been part of the team. I was thinking about this long ago but you and I know how our administrators are - no forethought.

Bipin Kaoray: Thumbs up for todays column.. I hope somebody pays heed to the invaluable suggestion of sending 4-5 extra bowlers to England where last 5 wickets have a crucial role to play...

arjun rajaram: the panicker dude is the most pessimistic bloke in the whle world.. Dude! do our country a favor.. shut up

Ravi Krishna: Prem,
I agree with you completely on both the first part about all the hype as well as last part about the hungama of giving over-sized checks to Kim et al.,
I am absolutely convinced now that with the kind of atmosphere that seems to be prevailing in India regarding the world-cup India is for sure going to lose pretty miserably.. There is no one in this Indian team except probably SRT, Kumble and to a certain extent Robin who can take this kind of pressure.
Till now, I was slightly optimistic of India's chances. Now, I am more than sure India will be out before the semifinals.
I can actually put my money where my mouth is!!!
krishna: A very "fact oriented" and "thoughtfull " article.Who else can do it than Prem.Great work Prem.Keep it up!!!

siva pochimcherla: Excellent Article. The Views expressed were very practical, Extremely thoughtful. Keep it up!

Manjunath Shanabag: Very True. Every bit written in this article is the same thought that circles in every level headed mind in India & abroad. If, after making so much money, being treated like Gods, if this bunch fails to win the cup, they should (& would) be banned for ever and evry penny that has been paid to them must be taken back. Only then will they learn to face up to the company of Wasim Akram and others.

sameer: I hope that selectors will read this article and apply to all the very good advices given by prem.

Amartya Bhattacharjya: Very, very pertinent. Excellent points and should be made available to all the cricket reading public. I hope these kinds of articles are read by the "authorities". What amazes me is their total apathetic effect to all this mess. Also, the public ought to react appropriately and not accept any more of this "tamasha".

Ujwal: very thought provoking article. the suggestions are noteworthy. but can you prem make bcci heed to your suggestions? if you can do it. and lastly, what a question to ask kim lamba. some stupid guy.. he who asked.

Hemant Jaswal: Prem, You have just re-iterated what I have been saying in your columns all along, tailenders need to have enough batting practice to hold their head over the ball.Any score achieved where the team (bats out the 50 overs) in an event of a collapse would be competitive in English conditions. That exactly happened in WC final of '83 when the last four added about 50 runs in the event India won by 43 runs. Also if you see the records of WC in England ,it is replete with instances of Roberts,Garner,Lilee,Thomson, Kapil,Imran,Sandhu not with their bowling ability but by their batting changing the course of a match . With good bowlers like the calibre of Pollock,donald, Gough,Mullaly,Vass, Olonga, Johnson,Streak plus seaming wickets licking their lips I would not be surprised to find invariably score reading 43 for 3 by 14 overs. What then is required is everybody else do their bit and score runs and play out the overs too . Applying tilak won't help definitely but oodles of common sense and backup bowlers of international class would do.

sandesh: : I agree with your each word in this article, all the team as well as the selection committe should be droped, build the entire team from scratch, guys who fears the indian crowd, these SOB's seems to be very cool guys, they play on our money, in our currrent country situation these people should contribute something with their victory over the rivals, insted these suckers happily lose and come back with the dignity, they did not beat Pakistan properly in last couple of years.
If you have read Akrams interview, I feel he is right, these guys have the slogan like "Chalo yaar aglibar dekhenge( Melice),but pakistanis say" HAme aaj hi jitana hai", where is that spirit in us Indians" I request you to please put this on the news, and let people know the indian cricketers, the boards "MANMANI" with the indians money.
Finally I urge Indians the great fans who worship some one whom they like, I request them not to leave the Indian cricketers as well as the board this time, if they lose the CUP, hang all of them.

Lnarayanan: thoughts r good both on additional bowlers and kim's coverage

Ashok Mittal: Sending 5 reserve bowlers such that not only other batsman apart from Sachin/Sarav/Dravid get better practice, but also the tail end, would be one of the best thing that can be done - would it be though remains to be seen ?
If you think about it, the trend is for the best bowlers of a team to start the inning and then they are held back for the death. Yup - you got it !! I think the tail probably will be seeing the better of the bowlers than, some other middle order batsmen.
For India's sake, I hope somebody is listening to all this.

Sam Khambadkone: Prem, that's a very perceptive article. But India and the corporate sector there does not learn from past mistakes.
ALthough the hype in the Us is much higher than in India. teams here do perform.

Murali Nanduri: Good Stuff. As you mentioned the team(including the captain) realizes that 900 million people are wating for them if they dont perform well.We do not mind loosing to a good team .At the same time we do not want to buckle up.We need some brave people in the middle. Support bowlers is a good idea.Also they can have a bowling machine bowling at the tailenders.

Arvind: : I like your idea of sending the 4 fast bowlers. Can someone approach the Tata's and Birla's with this suggestion ?

Anjum Rajabali: Very thought provoking as usual. Didn't realise what sustained net practice can do to bowlers; hence the suggestions of sending four-five additional bowlers along seems very sensible.
The hype is sickening, to say the least. Hollow jingoism at its best; foolish display of false hopes at its worst.
And Shekhar Suman and his ilk is a laugh at the best of times. How embarrassing.
PS. Did someone really ask Mrs. Lamba, "How does it feel, Kim?" Jeez! What are these guys?!

Mandar R. Joshi: This is one of the very best articles I have read in recent times. Panicker has done a good job in trying to shake the Indian Cricket fan awake and acquaint him with the bitter truth about the hype surrounding the world cup in India. Also, the idea of having the corporates sponsor 4 bowlers for the indian world-cup team makes sense to me ... but alas this is never going to happen.

Anand Boompog: Prem I agree with you Anand

Muralidharan: Hi,
I strongly agree with your point regarding the need for sending reserve bowlers for practise sessions.
I equally felt very angry with the words "How does it feel, Kim?" Bloody fellows!

cricfan: Good article. In the United States the baseball teams do precisely what you suggest. They carry loads of extra (pitchers) bowlers and these extra pitchers pitch to the batters. Furthermore, there are position coaches for each position. Now why can't the BCCI appoint multiple coaches. i.e. coach for opening batting, middle order and tail enders. Coaches for close in fielding, slip fielding, outfield positions, etc. Coaches for left hand batsman, right hand batsman. Coaches for slogging and coaches for defense. Coaches for fast bowlers and for spinners. OK, maybe what I'm suggesting is an overkill, but you get the point. And sending extra bowlers and fielders to England to help out the Indian team should be a no-brainer. I can't believe the BCCI hasn't thought of it at all. The basic problem is that most of the people in important positions in India are "reactionaries" and and not innovators. They can only follow other people's trends, not set their own trends. No wonder we are always behind the 8 ball.

vrishab sikand: Prem, You have exceeded yourself this time. Critizing the industry and board for pouring money into the game?? the likes of (journalist bemoan coroporate sponsorship in sport and if cricket gets it u scream its putting pressure on the players. Give me a break what are the sponsors supposed to advertise, ya we think you will be bundled out before the semi's. Off course they will like to support winner's and cash in on the sentiment of the indian people. they are not in it for charity. and your e.g of shekar sumon is deplorable too. what is is supposed to say at the the match "oh i wish u luck, but i really think rsa will win" and u will hold it against him if he says to a friend what he really thinks. i suggest u sound best when u r more positive, like giving a +ve suggestion about more indian fast bowlers being taken on tour. in fact better would be if they hire some county or club local bowlers, who know the conditions better. and the situation with azhar is also a case of media, ening detrimental to the interest of the indian team. just before the cup they r makin the team by pointing out the obvious. they can wait till the end of the cup when it will feasible and not demoralize the team as it is going to now

Pramod Kumar: Surprisingly, Prem Panicker mentions nothing about the one thing every Indian was anxiously looking forward in this match - the state of Sachin Tendulkar's back.

nandu: Nice article prem. You mention the not so obvious unlike others.The article just reminds me that we Indians are "like that only". Thanks Nandu

Prashant Waghe: Dear prem Tune to mere dilki baat kah dali ----waghe

Priya: Kudos to the Indian cricket fans for keeping faith in their heroes inspite of the fact that the team seems to be losing all the time, thanks to the advertising blitzkreig unleashed by big corporate names. It is a win-win situation for the hype-builders.

A A: Lately, I have read people criticizing Azhar and his captaincy. Isn't he one of the most successful captain we ever had?? Didn't we win six tournaments under his captaincy last year? (including record breaking chase against pak.) Suddenly, we loose a few matches and he is the bad boy. Change at some point of time is necessary but not at this hour. It is ironical that just in the span of two months (after the team selection for world cup), everybody started thinking otherwise about captain selection! Wouldn't it be better to improve upon what we lack than to cry about what we don't ??

krishnan narayan: There are some good ideas here. Is anyone in the cricket administration listening?

Manoj Nagulapally: Right on, Prem! If the peole at the helm had an iota of sense they'd heed to your advice. When will they realize that having a Sachin in the team does not guarantee success. After all without guts and gumption there's no glory!

KEtan: An xcellent idea that, about xtra bowlers going with the team, that would really really help the tailenders, esp u go by recent showing Prasad & Srinath have been displaying more grit as opposed to Azhar!! About time Azhar got into the nets & batted for about 3 hours at a stretch agst Ganesh, Srinath etc bowling at 18 yards!!! something if I remember correctly a certain Sunil Gavaskar used to do in his hey days!!

Prasad: Hello, Who ever added this comments are for sure used the brains needed most at this time Let not the Indian team be presurissed so much. Dont let them fell compelled and if they couldnt deliver the goods. Its really intersting about the way the bowlers are given the batting practice. Where will we end up speaking about all rounders. There lies no specific way or method for sucess. Common sense is the for each and every success. Really felt nice for the gestute towards the two families by the indian cricket team. They are always the heroes. They are always for us Let us prove that we are for them, and benifit of the sport in the country. Regards Prasad

sriram: Amazing review! I totally agree with you.

ram: the column on the 'tamasha' made interesting reading. the players too are under tremendous pressure and the captain isn't 'leading from the front'. and add to it the tiring schedule of playing the game throughout the year! the players action towards kim and the family of parkar is indeed hearwarming but india is awaiting the 'world cup' which i very much doubt is gonna come our way... maybe we should consider a ban kind of 'sanyas' from cricket and then stage a comeback like the south africans!!!

Subhendu Pradhan: I am fully agreed with you Mr. Panicker. Can you by any chance show your article to our cricket board President? We do need some extra bowlers for practice in England.

rc: : I dont think this analysis is worth it's space on the web. Rediff should avoid such junk in future

ashwin: excellent article. prem is damn good. just waits to be seen if any of those cricketers and administrators read this column. hope so......

Guruprasad: Prem,
I don't agree with your views on this column. Media hype is always there with sports. People who claim to be super stars need to live with it & in fact should be able to cope up with it also. I don't know exactly what's goin' on in India, but as an analogy, I can cite the hype that is surrounding the NBA players in the USA. They perform under lot of pressure (both from media as well as supporters). Real sporting idols know how to live with it. In fact, it toughens them up & they learn how to live up to their reputation. If that's the case of super stars of a sport in a country which has many idols to idolise from other sports apart from Basketball, we have all the more reason to expect our cricketers to excel in what they are supposed to do. I don't think there is anything wrong in this. In fact, we should learn to look at things in a more optimistic manner and get charged up with the fan-fare than claim it as a hindarance.
About our tail-enders batting, I think you are getting it wrong again. Normally whenever a country travels outside the country for matches, the local bowlers bowl to the visiting team batsmen to gain (and also give) valuable net practise. I remember T.A.Sekhar bowing to Clive Lloyd when Windies visited Chennai long time back. This is true with every country.
I have this feeling... Correct me if I am wrong... You tend to write articles always criticizing something or saying something is wrong. Is this a way to make headlines or to sell news ? Just wondering... There should be a better way to look at things...

chaan: It seems that when ever we talk of Indian games or politics, they always have an answer for everything.My question is why then India as whole suffer so much degredation around the world. Our politicians are laughed at, cricket teams play like school kids, hockey matches end up in a sour note. Why on earth we people can't do any thing right except extending corruption, keeping our airports, trains, buses, streets dirty. People in USA call our country like a garbage of the world. Chineese and Japanineese are respected over here but Indians get dirty looks.We are giving wrong image to the world. We have problems with the cricket team and haven;t been able to solve in last four years. How are we going to solve the immense problems facing India. In USA if the team do not perform they are history, but in India they get tillacks over their heads. Give them only Rs 100 instead of lakhs of rupees and send them home for good. 900 hundred million people and we cant find 15 good players. Shame on us. Dal Bhat khaw, pan, bidi pk so javvo.

Arvind Singh: Brilliant! You've got a great ideam Prem. Sending Dodda Ganesh, Harvinder Singh, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Ashish Nehra and a couple of others to Leicestershire, to help with the side's preparations will be absolutely fantastic. It will help the the world cup squad and bowlers like Ganesh, Shukla immensely. I think it's a wonderful idea and should be implemented right away. I have one more idea Prem, you should be made strategic consultant to the board and the team (no kidding). Time and time you have come out with terrific ideas and it's really sad that they are going waste. Arvind.

C.VlKannan: It is an excellent idea for Jadeja to lead & to send the extra bowlers for all the reasons mentioned.

Kalidas: Prem,
I echo your views on sending some extra bowlers, makes a lot of sense. I believe you should send the relevant portions of your article along with reader feedback to Mr. Raj Singh Durgarpur.
I am also sure that the BCCI is rich enough to send these extra bowlers on their own and they do not need the sponsership of Industrial houses.
Regards, Kalidas

sachin: GReat article!!!!! would luv to see India win... hey!!but would stand by the team irrespective of the outcome(except if pakistan wins)


Sanju John: Prem, Your article has completely criticized the event at wankhede. Let me point out my view points I guess the main intention of this was to give the industrialists an opportunity to capitalise themselves. Well World cup cricket occurs only once in 3/4 years. This is the biggest tournament as far as India is concerned. This is teh same thing in countries of Latin America where World cup Football(Soccer) happens. As far as Indian industrialists who are pumping loads of money to BCCI should get their fair return during the world cup. Then this was meants for families of lamba and Parker. As far as players are concerned they got to say 'Yes' to their boss. So having played in the tournament is not at all a bad thing. Indian cricket team might win or lose, and everybody knows that. I don't think more than 20% of our people who follow cricket would ever suggest that india is going to win. We will be very happy if India can get to Final 4. About captaincy issue. I guess Azhar should be retained and let him lead the team. It's too late for anything now. This was the same thing that happened to any captain. Now tomorrow When Jadeja becomes captain he too will face the same thing. Then there are media folks I dont want to pin point on you who blow up the whole thing. It is so surprizing that this happens only in India/pakistan nowhere else. Regards Sanju

Ravi Bhagavathula: it was a damn good article. it reciprocates the feelings that are prevalent in the general public these days.

Hansal Mehta: Prem sums it up very aptly. Given the dismal performance of our team and the apparent low-morale, this whole hoopla is destined to be an exercise in futility. One very important thing that the Indian Cricket Board with all its corporate connections needs to do badly - they must sponsor Azhar to a public speaking or a communication skills-building course like Nazareths in Bombay. Maybe then he'll stop mumbling and the Indian team will stop bumbling.

Ramesh: You have been a strong advocate of giving good batting practice to tailenders, for a v.long time. But are the dumb-heads sitting in the Cricket Board listening. Your idea of corporate people sponsoring three or four extra bowlers is a very good one. Since they get used to English conditions, they can be used as a substitute in case any bowler from the playing 15 is injured.
Is there any way we can pressurize the board or any of the sponsors to consider your valid points - like mass e-mail or letters? If so we should try to do it ASAP and am sure getting support from our reader friends, for a good cause, will not be a problem.

KIRIT JHA: Great article. Great Insight. Period.

Ravi Mohan: Bang on Target! I appreciate ur insight. Would love it if u continue ur attempt to educate the Morons running the show.

gaitonde: Hi Prem, I am sorry to say but under no circumstances Indian team is going to win the world cup. First of all Indian team needs good batsmen. (Here the definition of batsman is the one who walks out to the middle and scores runs and not the one who walks out to the middle with the bat pretending that he can bat). Moral and captaincy are the WORST at this time of Indian cricket. and about bowling less said the better. Well that is all..Let us not dream about something that is not going to happen but let us face the reality that we don't have any match winner (other than sachin ) in the team

manav agarwal: makes a lot of sense!

Venkat Chanjeevaram: Sending five extra seamers is a very good idea, which no one had thought of before. Definitely, this will do a world or good, especially to the frontline bowlers and tailenders.

srini: I think that the batting order should be as follows - Dravid, Ganguly, Azhar, Sachin, Jadeja, Ramesh, Srinath, Mongia, Agarkar, Kumble, Prasad. against a strong bowling lineup and replace Ramesh with Robin Singh against a weak bowling team. Ramesh should be sent at No.6! Azhar should be sent 1 down as he takes a long time to settle down.

Aashish Malhotra: Dear Prem,
I fully agree with your comments about what should be done so as to possibly try and win the world cup as far as the part of sending other bowlers to England. I somehow do not agree that we should not have Jadeja replacing Azhar as the captain. It is not so simple as 'What will Azhar do when he is not in the playing 11', it is about the spirit that Jadeja was able to inculcate in the players during the match against Pak. If the players feel charged up and are raring to go then why not have Jadeja as the captain. In the past, Kapil has mentioned that we need to have a 'killer instinct' in the team and if the Indian team is able to get that under Jadeja then that is the way it should be rather than think that what to do with Azhar. Agreed if Azhar was doing wonders with the bat but since he is not and is also not able to drive the team to excel then it is in the better interest of the nation (900 million) to let Jadeja take over the mantle. Believe me it hurts a LOT when one reads comments from Akram like "we have to win at all costs" and "Indian team is a weakling". If Dravid and Prasad were able to give back dirty glares back to the Pakistanis under Jadeja then it is a sure shot sign that the players had an urge to win and were striving for success something that is visibly not possible under Azhar's captaincy. So in the best interest of the largest cricket playing nation, I would say that it is better to let Jadeja take over the captaincy.

Nirmal Vuppuluri: My God, that was good!!!

Prakash Rao: As for the combinations of Azhar in or out as a captain and a player, why don't the think tank comprise of more than the captain on the team - isn't there democracy and team spirit on the field to devise strategies, gameplan and tactics to win against the opposition - or are the remaining 10 players mere followers ?

: good article should be more critical but damn azhar he is unproductive and can be a sure shot candidate for be tting, atleast his b atting indicates tha t

hasan: The response to suffering should be sympathy, empathy. Grief, however, should not -- if we really care, that is -- be seen simply as another photo op. U stole my words

Krishnamurthy: Idea of sending spare bowlers to England is superb, but our so called esteemed selecters won't go for such unconventional idea, let alone look out for financers. Putting Jadeja at the helm would have been a great idea but it is three months too late.

Rakesh Khanna: Prem,
Excellent thoughts and i wish we had more people sitting at the Top thinking like this. But...... Keep it up.
Regards, Rakesh

Jayaprakash: hi, your suggestion regarding, sending additional players along with 15 squad seems to be good and logical.It is very sad that the officials are more intrested in cashing on the event and not making a better effort to win it but ur discussion , regarding the change of captain seems very illogical. Its too late to even think about it keep aside of what need to be done. These discussions didnot come before th sharjah cup, and everyone felt that Azhar is ulimate choice. But most of them feel now Jadega is better option , who though had shown good abilities while captaning the side , but doesnot have enough experience to lead in a big event like world cup. So any discussion reagarding change of captain at this time is waste of time bye jai

Shashi K Rao: I have been a fan of prem for some time now ever since following him on rediff. The indian board is the (at least one of the) richest boards and should be able to finance the expenses for the reserve bowlers. Not only it will help the world cup team but it will help the bowlers also. also, the indian team is better off practicing seriously batting against left arm fast bowlers (of course no left arm fast bowler can match wasim akram) but still. i personally think the indian cricket team is made of over paid under achievers particularly srinath, Kumble, azharuddin. Ganguly and Dravid are on the borderline. I am not thrilled with Agarkar either. with Azhar back as the captain whatever hopes of winning (i know i am crazy even to think about it)are now totally lost (i am from hyderabad) and for god's sake dont ever open with jadeja ever again. as i said this is a team of overpaid underachievers that is going nowhere with azhar at the top. well nobody asked but my favourites 1) australia 2)pakistan 3)South Africa (no i am not crazy S A lack that experience to play in international tournament of this class. May be next time. Azhar do us a favor please retire immediately. Best of luck to the indian team Shashi

Kishore: Hi! Prem I had been a regular reader of your colums in redif. I would like to share some of my views regarding your article "with a view to the cup". I agree with most of the things you brought up in this article but on some of the other things i strongly dis-agree. Coming back to the captaincy issue i am very much worried why you people are making a real fuss of it at this juncture. It is defenitely going to have a bad effect on Azhar and the rest of the team. Time and again I don't understand why you guys are after Azhar. Adding to all the previous accusitions you have made against him today you came up with an idea of droping him from the team. I really don't understand what made you to come to such a decision. You said that he was not consistent in his form. I had a straight question for you. Is there any batsman who had been scoring consistently through out his career? Cricket is a game that is unpredictable and all that needed for an inform batsman to fail is one bad shot or a very good ball. i still don't understand the way you are backing up Jadeja to be appointed as a new captain. I wonder what your reaction would be if we had lost those matches that are lead by him. I am not saying he is a bad captain. But what i offend is the way media protrays these issues. You guys (media) is really powerful and you can really instigate a great deal of confidence in the players. But by simply going by the statistics of few matches you cannot put the committment of other playes to the side to sword. Today jadeja, Tomorrow???? Give Ramesh a chance to lead the side for a couple of matches. If those matches are won do you say he should be made the captain of the side. This is simply ridiculous. I did played some of those matches and i can say how the players feel when they are on the field. It is defenitely easy for you guys to express views about the events that had taken place on the field. Instead of making derogatory remarks help the other guy to figure out his mistakes and try to build confidence in him. Defenitely Jadeja is a bright future. That doesn't mean that he should replace Azhar at this juncture, create some mis-conceptions about Azhar within the team. This is defenitely not going to help the team in the World Cup. Does any of you guys think about the phase Azhar going through. I don't know if he should feel proud of leading the national cricket team or repent for being one. Have you got any concerns about the individuals? After all they are humans. What i would like to mention is that apart from the enormous pressure the team already had, the comments that you made will further increase the pressure on the captain and the team. Atleast form now on try to back our team and the captain. After all he didn't come in to the team just like that. He had gone through many hard phases and now in a position to lead our national team. You may or may not agree with me, but in my opinion he did a great job. I wonder why you treat a person as if he is God if the game was won and the very next moment you nail him to ground if he fails in a match. God only had answers to this.I defenitely agree with your other part of the article though. Finding some company to sponsor some of the bowlers to fly to ENgland and help the team. It was a real good idea. I am really happy that the players had made themselves available to play in a match that had a real humane cause. I appreciate their sincere contribution to their fellow team mates families. Prem these are the boys that have lot of talent in them and what all they need is 100% support from the rest of us. You being part of the media can really do magic and help build the confidence of the team rather than further complicate the situation at this important juncture. Let us all wish that the players give in their best in all their matches. UNITED WE STAND , DIVIDED WE FALL! Jai Hind! kishore.

Subhankar Nayak:
Frankly, Prem, although I have been reading your column regularly for the past couple of years, I found myself, in most occasions, agreeing with very little with what you had to say. But of late, I wholeheartedly agree with almost everything you've got to say. I completely agree with your comments/ opinions in today's article, and loved your article with the analogy to Leander Paes. Just hope that you slightly mellow down the tone in the match reports. --SN

boney john: Your observation has been excellent. I wish someone could convey this message to the authorities about sending extra bowlers.

boney john: Your observation has been excellent. I wish someone could convey this message to the authorities about sending extra bowlers.

Ram: Prem's article titled "With a view to the cup" was very interesting. I think the idea of sending five bowlers (especially those with potential) is an excellent one. I hope the BCCI acts on this suggestion. It will also give an opportunity for these fast bowlers to mingle with the team and may be learn a few new things. At the same time, this will give more batting practice to the batsmen and the tailenders... Great suggestion, Prem. Ram

: : Fantastic, simpy wonderful, stupendous... I do not have words... Good Job anyway. The team members could have spent their time in something that would have helped them in 'atleast PUTTING UP A BETTER SHOW'. Vinod

Kishore: i have in the past enjoyed and agreed with the Prem Panicker analysis most of the times but here i feel he has not got a few things right.
The reason why Indian fans are seen throwing anything they can get there hands on during spineless defeats of india is not because , they cant accept defeat. It is only because of the spinelessness, failure to raise to the occasion time and again that irks the public. All teams in the world have a suceess rate of around 50% only india is no different though ours is lower than that. It is like more than 90% sure that, if India were to chase more than 240 whether there is Tendulkar or not the parade is sure, all he can do is hold it for some time. It is not that India doesnt have the potential to stand up to the challenge , ex there successful chase of 315 against Pak in Dhaka, but these are only flashes in the pan. So on an average they dont play upto potential , fail to raise to the occasion , surrender meekly to the opposition without a fight.
It would be interesting to see statistics say since last world cup how many times have they won chasing? how many times chasing scores more than say 240 ? Also what we saw in the last 2 tournaments , the team without Tendulkar, how they approach the chase
from the very first over itself it feels as if they have given up and started thinking of the next match, so as if just to play out the 50 overs they start with run rates of 3 runs an over , it goes on upto 15-16 overs by then some how they will have managed 50 runs and also in doing so lost 2 wickets and panic has already set in. then the middle order comes in trying to save the match , they cant accelrate immediatelty so they play cautiously again run rate 3-4 an over and by the 20th-22 nd over another 1 or 2 wickets or gone.And from there there is no way we can come back with the kind of wicket keeper batsman and tail we have. If somebody fights for India its Sachin and Robin , the rest make money at Indias expense.
Dont we remember how Pakistan approached Indias total in the Quarter final in Bangalore , how there was pin drop silence in the first 15 overs when they were bashing indian bowlers to all parts of the oval. How do Sri Lanka approach there chase. India neither show the intent nor the substance in them to do it.
After having said this much about Indian team , now its time for something about Azhar our most succesful captain.Our captain whom the press calls laid back , i dont know what they are afraid of in telling the truth that hes IRRESPONSIBLE. i dont remember ever seeing this highly over rated man in situations when india needs him most when the chips are down , batting there with valour and courage (like Aravinda) insted he pokes on balls outside the off stump plays irresponslble shots , gives up his wicket without setting a price for it leave alone staying at the crease. GOD SAVE US ATLEAST IN FUTURE FROM PLAYERS LIKE THIS WEARING THE NATIONAL COLOURS.
How many more spineless displays will it take for our great men to realise this and for things to change, until then u can be rest assured to see , bottles, rotten eggs , tomatoes on the ground , which unfortunately for no fault of theres lands on the opposition , THEY ARE NOT THE TARGET BUT THE UNFORTUNATE RECIPIENTS OF THIS TREATMENT.
Another point where Mr Panicker is wrong when he says this "Today, they know that if they return without the Cup in their kitbag, what happened to the 1996 Pakistan team on its return to Lahore will be a stroll in the park compared to the reception awaiting Azhar and his team here."
that is where the problem is Indians only know to make Hereos out of these over rated, over paid UTTARA KUMARAS when they fail the public only shows there anger throwing things on the ground. If we start giving them the same treatment Pakistan gets for defeat, thats beating and broken glasses, death threats and all then we shall see there man hood re-surface and come back victories like what Pak showed us due to public pressure.
now all that the public does is make Hereos of Zereos but doesnt cut them back to size when they dont deserve the crown any more.So all the bottles didnt do nothing what they need is different treatment.
Countries like Australia, South Africa have professional non Business oriented board which doesnt let things go so far but for the sub continent , public is the best judge.
So i urge the indian public to take alternate action, and put an end to this repeated displays of ten UTTARA KUMARS and one sole LION among men.

Suresh C K: Excellent!!I would suggest our third line bowlers Ganguly Jadeja and Robin bowling more to Tendulkar and Dravid in the nets. And the Kim Lamba stuff pretty much shows the present condition of Indian culture taking all bad things from the Western culture. Anyway my Good Luck to the Indian team ....

sathish: dear prem, we in US are missing the frenzy back in India. but, i do support your view that people should not place to much importance on the outcome of a match. it is just a passing event i would say. we should treat a game as a game. well i need not say this b'cos it has been said countless number of times. just praying for india's win though. advance congratulations to that team that wins. sathish

Satish : Hi, I really appreciate your ideas on the "latest hype" that has been going on. Though i'm in the US right now, i am constantly in touch with the happenings of india through the net. Indians have always lived in an arena of dreams!! celebrating for something without putting due efforts for achieving it. Building castles in thin air has always been the attitude of most indians. I strongly believe such articles would awaken our citizens to come out of our dreams and face the reality. I really like the way in which the article is written. kudos! regards, satish

Ganesh: It could have been better if our team mates could have spend this time for fielding practice, than this function.

vani prasad vadoothker: hi,sachin my best wihes and best of luck to you to win in the coming world cup(1999)

Akshay Srivastava: Prem hits the nail on the head with this one; few sponsors/industrialists realise the kind of useless pressure the Indian team is under already. A whitewash at this stage would be disasterous for Indian cricket.

Ninad: I totally agree with the views about sending few pace bowlers rather medium paced like LakshmiRatan Shukla and dodda ganesh to England, well some business people should give some money on this cause rather than giving money in doing the tilak ceremony, well if only india needs to do well then all the players must be in prime form, well also if Azhar doesn't get into the grove then sideline him at the last moment giving the cause of the sharjah toe injury and they have enough the give if they want him to be sidelined, well if india wants to win the sup then it needs to rejuviniate itself like the pakistanis under Akram that helped then to the best bet for the world cup,well still the favourites being the South africans it reamins to see how the form for the Indians go, well it about time for Azhar to regain the form they had in the 98 season, well Best of luck to the Indian Team for it.

Abhijit: I am reading your analysis through out. I hope that in India all the leading newspapers are also putting up a same sort of analysis. But who will awake these selectors of BCCI? I agree with you that it is too late to change the captain, as it was a surprisingly early decision by BCCI. What I am unable to understand is why all of us still dream of something unbelievable, we should switch off our TV set, we should not see any match India is playing, may that make this Indian players think that they need to fight atleast in the field. We have compromised with everything outside field, we don't want to lose our pride.

Sriram Chitturi: Prem, more than anything else I agree with the last point of condemning the show put up with Kim Lamba. This hype should end if any good is to come to cricket in India. I think a little more pressure in the form of awarding only performance and less importance given to any losers should bring out the competitive spirit. More than idolising individuals the Indian crowd should learn positive criticism and credit or discredit performance.

Anurag Jain: I totally agree with your point of sending support bowlers for preparation. THis way tail end batsmen couls also get sime good batting practice .Why didn't anyone think of this before?

Abdul Hussain: "To add a disgruntled Azhar to the mix" Gee Prem, you really don't like this guy. I would put him amongst the top 7 Indian batsmen that have ever played cricket. You really think this guy would perform poorly in his last World Cup, and miss the chance to trow sand in the face of his critics, yourself included, just because he was removed from captaincy? I think the impact would be the opposite, I think, he'd go out there fight like hell, score a bunch of runs, and then regardless of the result walk away into the sunset.

Nagesh: Excellent article! Especially about the insensitivity towards Kim Lamba, and also logical views about the tail enders not performing well with the bat!
Keep it up! Hope you can change some decision making minds.

Rupin mohan: Three Cheers for Panikar! We guys should think practically, there is no way we can win this world cup, after all "luck" takes you only that far, after that, it's pure hardwork and planning. As far as presentation ceremony goes, hes damn right, these guys are insensitive, creeps who see all this as a big tamasha.

Vikas Mehrunkar: I agree with Prem's views 100%, including the cheque presentation to Mrs Lamba. Prem, we need more Indians like you, pointing out to general public what our cricket administrators are really doing.

Sandip Bhattacharya: This is one of the best analytical article I have read in the field of Indian cricket. Both officials and the Indian cricket fans should give up this kind of hype and think positively to bring out the best from our talented cricketers.And continuous playing, whther it is competition or a friendly/exhibition game,is creating havoc with our cricketers' performance. I only hope that our officials should read this article. But then, they are officials, isn't it?

CK: I agree.

Anindya Ghosh: Extremely well written and I think Prem Panicker's knowledge of cricket is much better than any damn cricket personel of BCCI and they should read this and take adequate arrangements before sending the team.

Santhosh Raghunath: The board should seriously consider sending the extra pace bowlers to help the Indian team to practise. More so to help the tailenders to practise batting against genuine bowling. At the professional level it is difficult to digest the fact that the Coach and Manager are bowling at the nets !!
Enough of the 'Tamashas'. Time to get into the serious act. Each individual player has to concentrate and work on his weak points.
Well, one question to Prem. What is the outcome of all this feedback? Does anyone convey some of the important feedbacks to the team or the board. Else all this is a big waste of time.
Best Wishes to all.

: : I think Prem has made up his mind to put down anything done by BCCI. What happened on sunday was a good thing. If you donot want to appreciate it then donot critize it. lately rediff has become an Indian Cricket bashing site. If this continues then u guys may loose all your readers.

Editor's note: When making a threat of that kind, wouldn't putting a name to it be fair? We notice there is no name, no email, no nothing... Arvind Ramakrishnan: This article is excellent and just goes about saying why Indian cricket is at its worst. Looking forward to read more...

suresh : this article is really good,i think the selectors should read this article once and the selectors should see that atleat 5 bowlers should be sent to england.

Harpuneet Singh: I really liked your views about sending extra bowlers to England. I hope they can do it.

JAYAKUMAR JANAKIRAMAN: U r right, People in India are crazy about everything, Lamba is dead which is a fact, but advertisements seems to swallow everything, the worst part is players cannont open their mouth in this frenzy environment.

Naveen: Excellent . Prem you write whatever you think . We spend hours reading and discussing your articles.

Gaurav: Great Article!! Agree 100% with everything out there. Mukul Golash: Hi, Though many of the things u had put should be considered, I must say ur attitude towards the "tilak ceremony" is not acceptable. Think of soldier who goes to a battlefield. We in Indian tradition put "tilak" on his forhead just to wish him the victory and hoing that God will help him. Now u would say that instead of putting tilak he should be provided with more weapons etc. Any person who is going to face a competition/war not only requires weapons but also requires courage, best wishes and most important if he feels that people expect him to win, he'll try his best to outperform. So wishing them Good luck through tilak ceremony is old Indian tradition and we should maintain such traditions. Any Indian would not like to lose our traditional values in this competitive world. Jai Hind Mukul

Janardhan: I liked your column very much. I hope this column is read by the BCCI officials also. Then really it could be a worth while to publish.

Vishy: Dear Mr. Panicker,
What you said makes a ton of sense...
But, how would you make the guys who make the decisions know about this?
In a way, I lost hope already...if I were to be Azhar, I would have a looong vacation in England before coming back home...your comments regarding the net practise and the way bowlers like Srinath are taxed are right on target..(just out of curiosity..I thought that Mr. Simpson would help us out in these things..wonder what he is upto?)
Also, the folks who organised the check presentation stuff need to be spanked for sure...yes, how about some empathy/understanding for the people who lost their loved ones?
Vishy Vipul: Very Good. I think the IBC should lerarn something from this. Love, Vipul.

Alok Mehta: Great reading! Yor idea of having those additional bowlers for the preparation in england, makes sense, especially if read with the fact u mentioned about how our players bat at the nets and more so how our bowlers bat!

Amazer: I think Prem's columns make a lot of sense .. I only hope that his columns are read by people (the 'useless' BCCI) who can make some changes ... maybe one of our favorite writers should become a consultant for the team .. just kidding !

sree kumar.c: thanks prem(for this article) U SHOULD PUBLISH THIS i thought of writing to the press sometime ago how the "world cup" unveiling ceremony went off at its time to share it with u.before i go to that.... prem u r damn right in what u've have written.i've been reading ur articles these days and they r really thought provoking and sensible.....but is anyone hearing(i'm worried prem).I believe in stopping this nonsense of hype.with so much hype the team goes to the WC and if they bow out the loss and disappointment is not small.the board should understand..... I firmly believe they lost their thinking capacity these days (how is it possible with madan lal,wadekar .. at the helm...!! disgusting) A month before,the "world cup" unveiling cermony sponsored by pepsi/MTV was held at bangalore . Being a good follower and ardent fan of cricket i went to witness it.....i felt shame was a mere mockery with just a non-sense,no worth music show(apart from usha uthup) using the name of cricket...i felt horrified the way the show went and was organised can professionals behave like this...!!!.they screened some cricket moments(for 5 minutes..!!) then the compere nikhil shouted sme slogans reg. cricketers and indian cricket then it was all masala show... no other artist except usha uthup(who i feel is spirited lady of being an indian and understanding that the event was organised around cricket) brought the spirit of cricket in her songs and speech....
All others performed for the money they got.....In a show of 3 hours cricket earned just less than 30 this the way to treat cricket and the reason for which the event was organised???is it fair to touch the most reputed "world cup" by aniada,nagma nikhil etc..... i felt shame they dont stand near anywhere in touching the cup itself.why is pepsi/MTV dragging cricket to shameless and disgusting low levels in order to widen and increase its market...??
someone should stop this.... prem i think u can try ur best with "rediff".
let the reputed pepsi/MTV stand to its level.that event should've been more on cricket than any non-sense shouting and jumping.....and the past cricketers(aptly who won the cup in '83) only have the right to touch the "world cup"(i feel so).srikkanth was just a drop ... he should have regretted the way the event went....(is it going stilll???) prem pl. reply

Amol: Its shocking!!!

pratik vaishnav: dear prem, u r a genius. ur column is terific.
but still, i think, if india wants to win the cup, azhar should be kicked out of the team.he is not needed anymore. maybe he can serve as a 12th man, as he is a good fielder.

Nikhil Shah: What a fantstic suggestion of sending the five spare bowlers.But believe me this is going to bounce off the ears of the people who take decisions. I feel extremely angry and sorry for the state of The Indian Cricket team.

Prashant Kesanur: Prem, you always succeed in making points that no other cricket writer does. The paragraphs referring to the Indians at net practice and how Kumble and Co. do not manage to get enough world-class bowling to play against makes one aghast. Tell me, if Anshuman Gaekwad is such a shrewed guy, why does he put up with this?

Saurabh Singhal: I think what Prem writes does make sense and BCI should understand that theie motive should be to help India win the world cup and not take it away but their poor policies and doings.

satish: I definitely endorse each statement of Prem

Mok: : Absdolutely disgusting the treatment of lamba's widow.But you see its our centuries old indian culture causing more pain to people.Wonder what this board will do next??Absolutely appaling.
I think as long as the indian team just gives 100% it doesn't matter whether they finish last.The world cup is not so important.It DOESNOT decide the best team in the world remember WI in 1983,SA in 1992?? I think if the indian team doesn't do well in the wc butconcentrates on winning test series abroad it will be much better of cource dalmia and his gang willing.

Sohag Desai: Prem,
I agree with the thrust of your arguments in this article. However, I have a minor nit to pick -- to the best of my knowledge "behind the eight ball" does not mean "in trouble" as you imply in the article. It is an American idiom, taken from the game of Pool, which means "to be on top of things". For example, "I thought getting all this responsibility so suddenly would overwhelm him, but he was behind the eight ball right away."
Another nit...the size of the window that I am typing feedback is rdiculously small. Can't you folks make it standard 80x24?
Thanks. Sohag
PS: Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy reading your articles tremendously!