Flexibility is key to good captaincy, says Gavaskar

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2002, 21:05 [IST]
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New Delhi: Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar on Wednesday criticised Indian captain Saurav Ganguly for not being flexible on the team's tour of the West Indies. "Being flexible is the key to good captaincy. And for that, the 'Prince of Kolkata' has to remember that he is the captain of India," Gavaskar wrote in his Wednesday's column of a leading English daily. Gavaskar criticised the team management for playing wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta ahead of Ajay Ratra and was also not happy with the Indian batting order in the drawn first Test of a five-match series. Hailing vice-captain Rahul Dravid's unbeaten 144 in the Guyana Test as a "courageous, capital knock", Gavaskar suggested that the stylish batsman should be promoted to number three.

Dravid rescued India with a gritty knock at number five after Ganguly had struggled against the West Indies pace attack and contributed just five runs at number three. "The captain must also have a rethink about his position in the batting order, especially now that Dravid has scored a classy century," Gavaskar wrote from Georgetown, even as Ganguly said he would continue at number three.

Gavaskar also felt India should have tried out more players in their only practice game before the first Test. "It may well be that with the next Test starting in three days time, the tour selectors wouldn't want to make changes, since the reserves have hardly had a feel of the pitches. "It is here that the folly of playing a full strength side against a depleted Guyana team becomes evident," said Gavaskar, who felt opener Wasim Jaffer should have been tried in the match. "If Wasim Jaffer had been played, the selectors would have had some idea of how he was adjusting to the pitches and conditions. Now of course, it will be tough for them to pitchfork him into the eleven - not at least till he has played in the three- day game between the second and third Tests." The former Indian captain said the hosts had more gains from the first Test.

"The West Indians gained more from this drawn game than the Indians, for it was down in the dumps and way short on confidence before the game began. "It had been hammered in Tests in Sri Lanka and by Pakistan on the flat pitches at Sharjah and its confidence was very low in spite of the return of Brian Lara to the ranks. "Lara didn't score a run and that the West Indies still got 500 is what will add to its confidence," Gavaskar said.

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