India lacked strategy and planning, feels Azhar

Published: Saturday, December 9, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:While former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin advocates less experiment with the team, Barry Richards feels Greg Chappell's is in an overrated profession.

Some ten months down the line when the Chappell way of things are being clinically dismantled by a fiery pace attack in South Africa, Azharuddin said, during the launch of Neo Sports, ''Experiment is all very good when the team is doing well and we are winning as it covers up many things. But when the team is not doing well we should stick to our best team and line-up.''

''We should send the top five batsmen one after another. There should be no experiment. Just because Irfan Pathan is not doing enough at number seven, he is being sent at number three. So what does the batsman do who has been playing always at number three and doing well,'' Azhar asked, launching into an attack on the Chappell way of handling things.

''I don't think we have taken the right players for the right job. There is nothing bad in trying out the new players. But they have a lot to prove. I think we lacked complete strategy and planning going into South Africa. Ever since the West Indies tour we have not done well for ourselves and it shows on the team. The trick is to minimise the errors,'' Azhar, the most successful captain of India after Sourav Ganguly said.

On Ganguly's performance and how it could boost the morale of the team, he said, ''I am happy for Ganguly. He has gone and performed well. But I am not sure how it will boost the morale. Pathan's century is also an example. We need to play aggressively. That's the key word,'' he said.

''We need to dominate the bowlers. We need to out think them.

That is the key to success overseas. I think the batsmen need to be more aggressive and not be subdued and give in even before the battle has began,'' he said.

Barry Richards joined in by stating that the job of Greg Chappell is an 'overrated profession'. ''All you need is a strong captain. He can take charge of most of the things. The coach's job is merely supportive along with all the other support staff,'' he said in an oblique pointer to Rahul Dravid's meek captaincy that has toppled Chappell to the helm of affairs by default.

''I am sure when Chappell came to India he had come with a view to changing Indian cricket. But then the total lack of planning has been the bane of things and he can't do much,'' he added.

Aravinda D'Silva, the Sri Lankan Mad Max, who was present on the occasion talked about commitment or the lack of it among the players from the sub-continent.

''The focus is not so much on the game as on individuals. This is a wrong thing. See how Ricky Ponting has been performing for the last decade and still he is just a part of Australia,'' he said.


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