Thatscricket - News - Sachin only good at home: Barry Richards

Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai: South African batting legend Barry Richards says Sachin Tendulkar is a good batsman, but only at home, and observes that there is lot of politics in the selection of players in Indian cricket."Tendulkar is a good batsman but only at home. He has to perform more consistently on bouncy wickets in South Africa and Australia to lay claim to the best batsman in the world along with Brian Lara," he said.Richards said "in my book, Graham Pollock (South Africa) and Vivian Richards (West Indies) were the best batsmen ever".Richards, who was on a private visit to Dubai, told 'Khaleej Times' that India had not been able to produce a genuine swing or fast bowler after Kapil Dev because they were not making any serious effort. "The wickets there are slow and then there is lot of politics in selection. Talent alone is not enough. The guy is from Punjab or Mumbai or down south...All these things count."Asked how Pakistan was able to produce world class players, the South African cricket great said, "Yes, it amazes me quite a lot. Oneof the reasons may be the players out there use cricket as a vehicleto get out of the slums for better life...I really don't know."Richards said he was concerned with the widening gap between teams like Australia and South Africa and the rest of the world."Australia and South Africa are far ahead in the race and their series are fast becoming one-sided affairs. Australia are the best of the lot with South Africa not very far behind. "The two teams are good because they have a solid domestic structure. And each club has a long strategic plan and they work accordingly," Richards, who could play only four Tests as South Africa were barred from participating in any sporting events because of its apartheid policy, said. He said, "I think the South Africans are weakening their base now by increasing the number of teams in the league. It is a political decision to include more blacks. It may work in the long run but it is bound to effect the standard of the team in the near future."On the match-fixing scandal, Richards said, "We have seen just a little of the sordid drama: there is still more to come. We have to wait and watch how things unfold in the near future. Truth is still far away."He said, "I don't think all those who were involved in match-fixing will follow the example of Hansie Cronje and admit their roles in fixing matches. I am not trying to make Hansie a hero simply because he confessed to his crime."Richards said, "Hansie certainly needs to be punished for what he did but I am not sure about the life ban on him."He was of the view that administrators of the game were partly to blame for match-fixing and betting because they scheduled matches of no consequence in venues like Toronto and other places."Players hardly have a say when the administrators draw up the itinerary. Too much cricket is bad for players. In the absence of long-term contract, the players have no option but to play all matches. The fear of losing out the place in the team and cash rewards keeps nagging them," he said.Richards said, "I would like to see more transparency. Players should have a say when the schedule is drawn up. Moreover the respective Boards should offer a yearly contract to a pool of players, say 15 or 16. And all should be paid whether they play in a match or not. Most of the Boards get hefty money for TV rights and money, I think, should not be a problem."He said, "Australia paid handsome money to Glenn McGrath when he was injured. So did the South Africans to Allan Donald." But it was not the case with Javagal Srinath who was just paid expense for his shoulder operation he had in Australia and was not compensated for Tests and One-dayers he missed during that period.UNI

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