Published: Thursday, July 13, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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How did you cope up with the pressure when you went out to play?

The fans indeed expected too much from me every time I went out. It was not possible for me to perform to their expectations always. I still remember that when Tony Lewis' team visited In 1972-73, I could not find a place in the first Test and we lost.

In a three-day match at Indore, I scored 93 runs and took four wickets. I was picked for the next Test. I scored 64 runs and we won that Test. We lost the following Test at Delhi, but won at Madras. I injured my leg at Madras and couldn't play at Kanpur.

But in the last Test at Mumbai everybody demanded my recall. "No Durrani, no Test" banners were seen everywhere in Mumbai, I was included in the team but at that time (perhaps first time in my life) worried about my own performance and began asking myself, "Will I be able to fulfil the cricket lovers' demand?"

But by the grace of God, I scored 73 in the first innings and 37 in the second. The match ended in a draw, but we won the rubber. May be, I couldn't satisfy everyone, but I tried my level best.

To what extent has the game changed in the present?

It was cricket, lovely cricket during my time and today it is money and more money in cricket. At that time we had spectators, today we have viewers. We played for team spirit, sportsman spirit and for the love of representing our country.

I do not mean to say that the present cricketers don't play for the team or the country. During our days the money factor was not the dominating issue as it is the case today.

I don't mind if the present cricketers made money, but they should not forget that country always comes first.

Would you say that present cricketers are playing for the sake of money alone?

In our time, the quantum of money was very less. I wouldn't like to blame present cricketers for playing for money. Perhaps if I was playing today, I too would score 50 plus runs to make sure that I am there in the next Test or One-dayer.

Today's cricketers get huge sums of money. They should, however, remember that they are playing for the country.

How much did you receive for your first Test and how much did you get in the last Test?

If I remember correctly, I was paid Rs 250 on my debut Test and in my last Test I got Rs 3,000.

Bishen Singh Bedi claimed that the Board had cut one day's amount once as India won the Test in four days, is it true?

Yes that's true. But, nobody complained. I still remember those days the Board secretary used to ask us to bring a 20 paise revenue stamp on the final day to receive the Test match fees.

Your comments on the match-fixing issue.

I just feel sorry to learn that game has come to such a pass. I know Kapil, Azhar, Jadeja and the other top cricketers of the country well. Let us hope that the gathering storm will be cleared soon.

Are you happy the way Indian team performed at home and abroad?

There is nothing wrong with the team, but the selectors are not quite up to the mark. I just cannot imagine Anil Deshpande and Ashok Malhotra as national selectors.

Anil hasn't played any Test cricket and Malhotra has played only seven Test matches. Selectors should cricketers who have played more than 20 Tests. Such players would have an idea of who would fit the bill.

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