A typical stand off of Indian cricket

Written by: Suresh Parekh
Published: Saturday, September 16, 2000, 19:30 [IST]
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Rajkot: Indian cricket has witnessed many classic confrontations between players, players and administrators, selectors and players, journalists and players but the one that takes the cake would most certainly be the classic duel between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jayawant Lele and Kapil Dev.

Despite Kapil Dev having recently resigned from his post of Indian coach, the battle is going great guns. History of Indian cricket is full of such tales. Who can forget the 1936 tour of England and the clash between Lala Amarnath and the Maharaja of Vizianagaram, when Lala Amarnath was sent back to India.

The great Sunil Gavaskar also was drawn into many such controversies. Sunil Gavaskar, who became famous in the West Indies after his superlative batting deeds called their spectators fit to live on the trees, in precise words "a treat of monkeys".

It was Gavaskar again, who was instrumental in Kapil's 'outstanding' performance, when he was dropped after playing 65 Tests on the trot and at a time when he was playing at his vintage best.

India's first real stormy petrel Lala Amarnath's son Mohinder Amarnath was perhaps India's unluckiest son. He played his first Test in 1969 and the last Test in 1991, a career almost spanning a period of four decades.

Mohinder himself used to say that either the selectors don't like my face or my surname. He was the Indian cricketer who called the selectors 'a bunch of jokers'. Later he tendered an apology and was selected. But Imran Khan once commented "I keep laughing every time I find Amarnath not in the team".

But the clash between Mr Lele and Kapil Dev is indeed a delight to any novelist. It is said that truth is always stranger than fiction and the Lele vs Kapil stand off all started in the third Test at Ahmedabad against New Zealand last year.

Kapil Dev indeed was walking tall after getting the contract for three years. He had his players also, who he believed would support him blindly. But just on the eve of the first day Kapil Dev and of course Lele were drawn into controversy regarding Ajit Agarkar's presence in the nets though he was not at all in the chosen party.

Reporters as always kept on asking Kapil Dev about Agarkar. Lele made a comment that Kapil Dev hadn't taken the Board's permission to allow Agarkar to practice and to stay with the team.

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