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    August 01, 2006

    If it isn't transparent, someone else needs to shed some light on it

    Having read far too many news articles/comments which punned on John being Wright etc., i.e. on the former India coach's name, I desist from doing the same thing :)

    John Wright was the subject of the first ever post here. That, and of course his successful partnership with Sourav Ganguly, mean that I (and I dare say, Ganesh as well) rate him quite highly.

    Now, with a huge controversy brewing over parts of what he's written in his chronicle of his five years as India's coach, he felt the need to chat with Cricinfo about it.

    Naturally enough, the juicy bits from the book are being leaked on a daily basis. First, it was about the zonal selection policy and Gavaskar being brought in as a batting consultant on the eve of India's opening test against Australia at Bangalore in 2004. Yesterday, the revelation was about Tendulkar's reaction at being left high and dry on 194 when Dravid declared at Multan against Pakistan in 2004.

    This is what I wrote then.
    Sachin Tendulkar's comments on being surprised at the timing of the declaration, with him just 6 runs short of a double century, were jarring to hear on such a good day for Indian cricket. Tendulkar needs to understand that the team goals are always more important than individual goals. My understanding of the situation is that the management (presumably Dravid and Wright and perhaps Ganguly) conveyed to Tendulkar and Yuvraj that the declaration would happen around an hour before stumps and if a wicket fell around that time, then it'd be immediately enforced to save as much time as possible and avoid a new batsman walking out and taking time to get set. On a wicket as flat as the one at Multan, the Indian bowling would need as many overs as possible to get Pakistan out twice, in succession, over three days. Past Indian teams have been guilty of being obsessed with individual achievements. For e.g. Ganguly poking around in the 90s during the 1999 World Cup game against South Africa and ultimately not getting his 100, a few occasions in the recent past where Tendulkar has scored quite slowly between 80 and 100 and Tendulkar's persistent public comments on him wanting to open rather than bat in the middle order, even though for nearly a year the Indian team was experimenting with Ganguly and Sehwag opening with Tendulkar in the middle order.

    Contrast this with Dravid coming off after being hit when he was in his 90s in the Sydney test to save time when he could have taken some medication/treatment and gone on to make a century, Ganguly coming in the middle order in onedayers even though he prefers to open, Dravid keeping in onedayers even though he hates it, Ganguly coming in at the fag end of the day's play at Melbourne, ahead of Tendulkar who was having a lean patch. All of Tendulkar's double hundreds have come in drawn games. So it may not be a bad idea to see if the decision turns out to be a good one in the end!
    Shortly after that game, MTV India featured it as part of a spoof. A Sanjeev Kumar look-alike, in the role of the 'Thakur' character from Sholay, goes to an textile shop to buy trousers. A Sachin Tendulkar look-alike is also found there. Now since 'Thakur' has no hands, he realizes that he can't try out what he plans to buy. 'Tendulkar' guffaws loudly at his discomfiture. 'Sanjeev Kumar' responds with "194 not out! Ha ha ha!". 'Tendulkar' is shown sobbing. Superb!

    The reaction from many quarters, especially within the BCCI and past selectors, has been fairly predictable, that of denial and Ad hominem. Why Wright didn't register his dissent or even resign isn't for me to know. But the fact is that the BCCI's selection system needs a revamp. The fact is also that the BCCI needs to become far more transparent with its functioning. As of now, I've not heard any reactions in the context of Wright's writings from those who played for India when he was coach. Maybe these administrators aren't that thick-skinned after all!

    If you've followed Indian cricket especially closely over the past half-decade, this is one book you ought to lay your hands on. The other one of course will be Sourav Ganguly's autobiography!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 8:51 AM |
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    3 sledge(s):

    Probably Greg Chappell's version of the story is also worth waiting for

    By Anonymous Anonymous (01-Aug-2006, 9:44:00 PM)  

    I gotta mention one thing here. Althou' Sachin 's comments about he disaapointed not to get to the double hundred was uncalled for, Dravid declaring at 194 was even more stupid. He could have declared well before that.

    John wright was spot on.

    Wright says had he been the captain, he would have declared a lot earlier, allowing Pakistan to face about 25 overs and with Tendulkar on about 170.

    By Blogger Sesh (01-Aug-2006, 10:03:00 PM)  

    anonymous: That too. But I suspect we'll see a Sourav Ganguly chronicle earlier :)

    sesh: My understanding of the situation then was that given that we lost a wicket (Yuvraj?), it made no sense to bat on since there was the distinct possibility of wasting balls by either losing another wicket or the new batsman taking time to settle in. Ideally, Dravid ought to have declared earlier, rather than with Tendulkar on 194. Ideally, perhaps, Tendulkar should have got to his 200 quicker :) In any case, enough justice was done the next day when he bowled a superb googly to get Moin out :)

    By Blogger Jagadish (02-Aug-2006, 12:42:00 AM)  

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