Ganguly should have taken over for second Test

Written by: Sunil Gavaskar
Published: Monday, February 28, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Four consecutive Test defeats and the last two in under three days is the sorry tale of Indian cricket. Morale is so low that even a high-powered crane may not be able to do the job of lifting it.

There has been a change of captaincy for the one-dayers to follow, but honestly, the better option would have been for the new captain to lead in the second Test as well. Why wait when it has already been decided that the reins will be in the hands of the Prince of Calcutta? Tendulkar has just not been able to get the same intensity of purpose and commitment from most of his players.

Unfortunately, the cheapening of the India cap which in recent years has been handed out to all and sundry has taken away from the pride of playing for the country, taken away from the feeling of being the lucky, select chosen eleven in a country of one billion.

And because there is no guarantee that pressures apart from cricketing performance will keep one in the side means that players are not sure whether they will get another chance. Some players know that however brilliantly they perform in the domestic competition, they will never get a look in because of bias built over the years, while some players know that even if they fail, they will be 'babied' in the team.

But that's Indian cricket for you and nothing will change, as it hasn't for the last 70 years. So when somebody asks "What will Indian cricket be in 2050?" the easy answer is: Like it was in 1950.

So what should be done for the Bangalore Test? Considering the failure of the batting, it is important for that to be strengthened, but there is no point playing seven batsmen so it might make sense to dispense with a newball bowler and bring in Chopra who can bat a bit.

The pitch at Bangalore has helped spinners in the past, so having three spinners does give the captain a chance to rotate all of them and give them the end that suits them the best.

For once, India will have regular openers in a Test match after the line of makeshift openers that have been tried out. Ramesh may take time to get back into the groove, for he has hardly played any competitive cricket after his injury, but his biggest plus is his temperament.

Jaffer, whose technique has impressed a few, actually showed poor judgement of the deliveries around his off-stump and the manner in which he got out in both innings without really moving his feet does not augur well for the future. India need the openers to click, for that will take the pressure off the middle-order to a great extent.

Even God could not have stopped Mohd Azharuddin making a comeback to the Indian team after the debacle in Australia, and though he delayed it by a Test, he has ensured that the comeback is on a pitch much more benign than at the Wankhede Stadium wicket. Does that mean God is with Indian cricket? We will soon find out.

Professional Management Group

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