Ravi Shastri traces a bullet.
What he said:
Ravi Shastri, the Indian head coach, can’t stop gushing about latest boy sensation, Prithvi Shaw, and his exhilarating debut against the West Indies at home.
What he really meant:
“Shaw bats like a dream. He’s a kaleidoscope of the bright colours of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Brian Lara. He’s my rainbow.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Why did I omit Viv Richards in this comparison? Kohli wouldn’t permit me. That’s why. He insists that sobriquet’s exclusive to him.”
Thakur termed the erstwhile swashbuckling batsman and coach “unethical” for revealing the deliberations around Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement and MS Dhoni’s continuance as India skipper.
“Let me make it very clear. Sandeep being a former chairman should not have made these comments. When he was the chairman, he replied differently to the same questions. But after that (his tenure), it was different. It was totally unethical of him to do that.
One should refrain from making such unethical and unwanted comments in this area (selection matters). It is because he has been trusted to become the chairman, because he has played enough cricket. There were four more selectors with him, they did not say anything. He (Patil) should have avoided that.
…Right people in the BCCI will speak to him soon.
…Any organisation, if they hire him (Patil), will think 10 times that after leaving the organisation, he will speak about the organisation.”
Patil appeared to have been disillusioned with his tenure as the chief selector.
He first stated he had lost friends as a selector.
After picking the Indian side for the New Zealand home series, he confessed:
“The only sad thing about being a selector is that you end up losing some of your friends.”
Later speaking to Marathi news channel ‘ABP Majha’, he revealed:
“On December 12, 2012, we met Sachin and asked him about his future plans. He said he did not have retirement on his mind. But the selection committee had reached a consensus on Sachin… and had informed the board too about it. Perhaps Sachin understood what was coming because at the time of the next meeting, Sachin called and said he was retiring (from ODIs). If he had not announced his decision to quit then, we would have definitely dropped him.”
The bearded ex-cricketer contradicted himself on the same channel’s website, saying:
“As long as I remember, it was December 12, 2012, Nagpur. Sachin got out and the selectors decided to meet him and ask him about his wish. I was the one who staged the meet, being the chairman of selectors, and it was purely to understand what was running in his mind. It was a good thing to do. It did not happen in one day, one month or one year, it took two long years. Sachin retired in 2013. The meeting in Nagpur was just to ask his plans. Sachin wanted to concentrate more on Test cricket. So, it was decided that he would retire from One-day cricket. He called me and Sanjay Jagdale (then BCCI secretary). Then it was collectively decided that he would retire from ODIs.”
It was Patil’s disclosures about current ODI and T20 skipper MS Dhoni that set the cat among the pigeons.
“Things didn’t move in our favour, and in that backdrop one of your senior players decided to hang his gloves. That was shocking, but in the end, it was his decision (to retire from Test cricket).
…We, of course, had a brief discussion about it (sacking Dhoni) on few occasions. We wanted to experiment by shifting the baton but we thought the time was not right as the World Cup was fast approaching. New captain should be given some time to set things right. Keeping in mind the World Cup, we chose to go with Dhoni. I believe Virat got the captaincy at the right time and he can lead the team in shorter formats as well. The decision rests with the new selection committee.”
Patil also asserted that Dhoni had no hand in the dropping of either Gautam Gambhir or Yuvraj Singh.
“I feel disappointed when I read reports about Dhoni’s relation with Gambhir and Yuvraj. Dhoni never opposed their selection.
It was completely the selectors’ decision to drop them and Dhoni did not have any say in dropping Gambhir and Yuvraj. Both the captains never opposed any player.”
While Thakur may be miffed at Patil’s forthrightness to the media soon after quitting the selection panel, he can hardly comment about taking any action against him or on his employment chances in the future in the absence of a non-disclosure agreement with a stated cooling off period of a year.
Anything more than a year might be excessive. And why should selectors be hog-tied when cricketers, past and present, publish freewheeling accounts of their run-ins with their teammates, coaches, selectors and sections of the media in their multiple best-selling autobiographies.
Are they to be held less accountable?
The BCCI has (rightly) opposed the opening up of selection of the Indian team to public scrutiny (via the RTI act) stating that appointed selectors are more than qualified to do the job and that choosing of the Indian cricket team cannot be done by a majority vote of the public. Would you let public opinion decide what the justices of state and national courts have been appointed for?
There has to be a balance struck. Where do you draw the line?
Should selectors and administrators be continually vilified in the court of public opinion long after their tenures have ended? Are they not to be allowed to state their version of events past? If not to defend themselves, then to promote transparency and debate.
National governments have a cut-off period after which classified documents are to be made public for historians and buffs to discover the inner workings of past decisions.
Aren’t public bodies like the BCCI not to provide the same courtesy to the sports loving public of this nation?
Shobhha De’s series of ‘well-timed’ tweets deploring Indian athletes’ performances at the Olympics was roundly castigated by the Twitteratti with Abhinav Bindra and Sachin Tendulkar joining the discordant chorus.
“The athletes give their best in their efforts to win a medal. All the Indian athletes in Rio 2016 have my support. They work for years and years but when you miss out narrowly, you obviously feel bad.
When the results don’t go your way, that is when you need to support them.
The first half didn’t go our way but you have to support them when the chips are down.”
But there can’t be smoke without fire (not unless it’s dry ice, of course).
Five days into the Games and the medals tally still shows nought against India’s listing.
The shooters have disappointed sorely with only Abhinav Bindra coming close to a bronze and Dipa Karmakar making the vault final in gymnastics.
The archers continue to keep Indians back home waiting for their maiden medal despite years of selection and training to promote this ancient art and its modern avatar.
The London Olympics saw India claim six medals—two in shooting, two in wrestling and one each in badminton and boxing.
The expectations were that the Indian contingent of 119 would clinch at least seven this time.
That’s less than a six per cent chance of a medal for our sports-persons.
Is that what’s to be expected from our competitors—that 94 per cent of them are to be no-hopers and just make up the numbers and soak in the sights?
Admittedly, the qualification marks have been made stiffer in recent times and for most Indian athletes from sports other than cricket, a chance to participate in the Olympics is the highlight of their low-storied careers.
But surely we can and should demand more from them. Surely at least 25% of them should be realistic medal contenders and the rest should be earmarked as talents for the future sent to assimilate the ethos and pressure of the Games so that they are not overcome with stage fright the next time around.
The qualification marks too could be made a lot more stringent than the minimum needed.
Yes, De’s remarks were ill-advised and probably nothing more than a publicity stunt. It’s a wonder whether our Indian athletes would worry too much about a socialite columnist otherwise.
Perhaps, it’s time Ms. De penned a novella on the state of Indian sport and its heroes (and heroines) rather than her much-beloved Bollywood which conversely draws significant inspiration (and box-office success) from the annals of Indian sport in recent times.
Should we sympathise with Virat Kohli?
I mean, come on, the guy’s been performing like a maniac over the past few months—first for Team India and then surpassing himself and everyone else with his mind-blowing feats in this year’s IPL.
Almost single-handedly taking his team to the knock-out rounds and yet so near and yet so far.
He cut a forlorn figure at the prize-distribution ceremony post the final.
The Indian media and fans have compared Kohli to that all-time great, Sachin Tendulkar.
The comparisons sometimes seem apt, sometimes odious, but it’s been about the statistics, the numbers and their stature in their respective sides.
Longevity will tell—it always does.
But what Virat has recently had a taste of is what Tendulkar and ,to an even greater extent, Brian Lara, experienced throughout their careers—their inability to carry and inspire their sides across that intangible finish line
That kind of frustration, that kind of heartbreak where you have to stand alone among the ruins requires a special kind of resolve.
Virat has it and that is what’ll make the man truly great.
Not the numbers alone, not the glory alone but the losses—the losses that hurt, the losses that build.
|Player\Statistics||Runs||Average||Strike Rate||100s||50s||Conversion Rate|
Kapil Dev has either put his foot in his mouth or has been remarkably perspicacious.
Last week, Wisden’s greatest Indian cricketer of the last century made some outsized comments about India’s all-time greatest cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
Speaking to Khaleej Times in Dubai, he said:
“He (Sachin) got stuck with Bombay cricket. He didn’t apply himself to ruthless international cricket. I think he should have spent more time with Vivian Richards than some of the Bombay guys who played just neat and straight cricket. He did not know how to make double hundreds, triple hundreds and 400 though he had the ability, and was stuck in the Mumbai school of cricket.”
Coming in the wake of Virender Sehwag’s retirement, India’s only triple centurion, the remarks raked up debates both about Sachin’s comparative contribution to Indian cricket and the continuing North-South divide in the country.
While Tendulkar, ever the gentleman, refused to respond to his former skipper’s barbs, Mumbai cricketers were up in arms.
Ajit Wadekar responded to the apparent dislike for Mumbai cricketers in the all-rounder’s observations thus:
“Yes, in a way, I can sense that dislike. I have been experiencing it since my University cricket days. A lot of Northern players disliked us. They enjoyed staying in Mumbai, but not playing against Mumbai.
In the final analysis, Sachin scored the maximum runs and is a true legend, and where Mumbai cricket is concerned, – we always – everyone including Sachin and Sunil Gavaskar – played for the team and not for ourselves. That’s why we won the Ranji Trophy 40 times. We knew how to win.”
Former Mumbai captain Raju Kulkarni said:
“I find Kapil’s comments absurd. It’s also very unfair to Sachin and Mumbai cricket. He’s talking about centuries of a man who has scored 100 international tons. We were brought up with our seniors telling us that when you get a hundred, go on and get a double and a triple, but don’t give your wicket away.I was at a function recently where Sunil Gavaskar was talking to a group of ex-cricketers. When he saw Chandrakant Pandit (Mumbai coach) leaving the room, Sunil left the conversation and went up to Chandu. I overhead him telling Chandu that Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer should look to get 200 after his 100 and if he can’t get 300, he should not get out. That’s the kind of cricket upbringing we had.”
Dilip Vengsarkar, vice-president of Mumbai Cricket Association, quipped:
“That’s his (Kapil’s) opinion. What can one say?”
Tendulkar has 51 Test hundreds to his credit. His highest score, however, was an unbeaten 248.
The ‘Mumbai cricketer‘, as an archetype, is renowned for his khadoos (cussedly never say die) attitude.
Hemant Kenkre writes:
“The answer lies not just in the many maidans of Mumbai – the breeding grounds for its cricketers – but in the psyche of the city; one that lures millions of people from all over India, whose life is ruled by the time-tables of the railway ‘locals’, traffic snarls, unending queues, crowded tenements, and many more hardships that the city dishes out to the worker ants that flock there in search of gold. After commuting for two hours in a crowded Mumbai train, no cricketer is ever going to give it away on a platter to the next one waiting in the tent. The city breeds the khadoos attitude in its cricketers. Mumbai, like cricket, does not give you a second chance.”
Kenkre also formulates a theory for the decline in Mumbai’s fortunes in the Ranji Trophy and why fewer and fewer local cricketers are donning national colours.
“From the glorious fifties and the sixties, Mumbai’s domination has waned. The team may have won the Ranji Trophy often enough in recent times – and 39 times to date – but the current side, though competent, doesn’t resemble the ones of the past that dominated the tournament. The analysts attribute that to the rapid strides made by other states, but if you ask any former Mumbai cricketer, he will ascribe the decline to the lack of loyalty to clubs, and commercial distractions like the IPL. In the past it was very rare for a player to switch clubs, no matter what incentives were offered. The pride of wearing the club and state/city cap meant a lot more to the ‘amateur’ generation – and so it was when they wore the India blazer as well. It would seem the days when a Mumbai cricketer was fiercely loyal first to his club then to his state/city and the nation are behind us.”
Shamya Dasgupta voices similar thoughts:
“Khadoos cricket, yes, that’s what distinguished Mumbai. A team of players who refused to cede ground; a team that knew not only how to win, but more – how not to lose. That great Mumbai element – it seems to have vanished.”
Lalchand Rajput, in an interview in 2012, said:
“Earlier players never used to go to other associations, so they used to be here and try to retain their place in spite of not getting into the team. So they used to be more determined to get in to the team. But now they have options to play for other associations. That’s why that khadoos nature is a thing of the past. “
Ajit Wadekar, speaking to the Tribune in June this year, said:
“Mumbai cricketers’ ‘khadoos’ approach is missing. I am afraid to say that, but the rich legacy of Mumbai cricket hasn’t been carried forward by the younger lot of cricketers, for whom, the loyalty has shifted from representing the country to first securing an IPL contract with a franchise.
There’s no loyalty factor involved. The players are missing out on that wonderful feeling of playing as a unit, be it representing the Mumbai domestic side or featuring in the Indian team. These days, players don’t necessarily work on their basics. They experiment with their shots quite often. Also, the coaches at the academies tell the trainees that they are the next Sachin Tendulkar. This illegal mushrooming of academies is harmful. It’s a big money-making racket. These coaches promise the trainees of landing them an IPL contract and thus encourage them to play more like a T20 specialist.”
“What is required in Mumbai is advanced coaching. IPL has started the mushroom growth of coaches. I don’t know whether they give the right kind of inputs to the young cricketers. Mumbai cricket has fallen a great deal over the last 2-4 years. Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy for 16 straight years. I hope those days would come back. We have to revive it.”
Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma are the latest stalwarts from Mumbai representing the country at the highest level.
Sharma has yet to make his mark in Test cricket whereas he has slammed two double hundreds in ODIs and another in T20s. He is only the second Indian cricketer after Suresh Raina to have international hundreds in all forms of the game. While that seems impressive, the records are deceptive. Raina has failed miserably in Tests and is considered an ODI and T20 specialist. It is feared that Sharma might go the way of the hugely talented Yuvraj Singh who mustered just 20+ Test appearances in an otherwise stellar career.
That begs the question: Is Tendulkar Mumbai cricket’s last khadoos?
Kapil’s comments about Tendulkar cannot be easily brushed aside as northern chauvinism.
It would be interesting to see in how many of the centurion innings by Tendulkar, Sehwag, Richards and Lara, did any of their teammates cross 75? If few, that would imply that these greats were performing at a much higher level than their contemporaries during those epochal stays.
Rather than trying to deduce the answer myself, I’ve simply decided to Ask Steven.
If you know the answer, you can comment below.
Thanks to Arnold D’souza, who answered my query on Facebook, I have the answers:
BC Lara (WI) – (17/34) — 50%
SM Gavaskar (India) – (15/34) — 44.12%
SR Tendulkar (India) – (14/51) — 27.45%
V Sehwag (India) – (8/23) — 34.78%
IVA Richards (WI) – (12/24) — 50%
DG Bradman (Aus) – (6/29) — 20.69%
By the above yardstick, the two West Indians are head-and-shoulders above the rest. Lara’s performance does not surprise so much; he was part of a much weakened West Indian side in decline. It’s Richards’ figures that are outstanding. He towers above batsmen of the caliber of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Alvin Kalicharran, Clive Lloyd and Richie Richardson.
Sehwag edges ahead of Tendulkar on the basis of this criteria. Of course, this does not factor in the Little Master’s longevity.
But it’s Gavaskar, the most technically accomplished batsman of his era, who is India’s batter to turn to when you wish someone would bat for your life.
The list would be more complete if I added Rahul Dravid, Allan Border and Steve Waugh to the mix.
Tweeted reactions to Kapil’s comments:
Kapil Dev has since clarified his statements about Sachin terming him an “underachiever”.
“Gavaskar used to say that I should have scored 5000 runs more than what I did. In hindsight, I agree I should have taken my batting seriously. But importantly, I didn’t take Gavaskar’s remark in the wrong sense. He challenged me and I accepted it.
Needless is the word. Sachin, I’ve always said, was a fabulous cricketer and more talented than Viv (Richards). He had the calibre to be as ruthless, or more, but did not deliver as much as I had expected. He got 100 international 100s but his potential was greater.
How else could I have described him? He was an underachiever and that I maintain was a compliment. He could have done better. Am I wrong?”
“Sachin was clearly ahead of his time but he did not grow as I wanted him to grow. I loved the Sachin of Sharjah 1998 when he clubbed the Australians. His dominance was complete and stroke-play so imperious. He made good bowlers look ordinary, could hit boundaries at will but that Sachin was lost somewhere as his career progressed.
He was worth much more and that is what I meant.”
Does he not call me Paaji? Can an elder brother not say what he feels about his younger brother? I did precisely that.”
On Mumbai cricket:
“I respect Mumbai cricket and cricketers. They laid the base for the growth of Indian cricket but the game has changed and it is time we all realised and accepted it.
We also need to rise above petty regionalism. Mumbai is mine too. We would like to see Mumbai cricket and cricketers to move on. It is not about Mumbai, Haryana or Delhi.. It is about Indian cricket… Also, (Ajit) Wadekar Sir should please understand that I am a true Indian and Mumbai is part of us. I am a Bombaywalah too.”
As long as the Indian team keeps winning, Dhoni, the skipper, is inseparable from Dhoni, the player.
But once the side starts losing its moorings, Dhoni, the player, comes under the microscope.
The Indians lost the T20 series 2-0 to South Africa. A fair result would have been 1-1.
And the questions about Dhoni’s place in the squad start cropping up all over again.
This is not a new phenomenon.
The very same doubts were raised earlier this year when the Indians were outclassed in the tri-series Down Under.
A semi-final finish at the ODI World Cup and all doubts were swept under the carpet.
The victories have dried up; Mahi has lost his magic touch.
Dhoni’s batting record in ODI’s over the past year has been 485 runs at an average of 44.09 and a highest score of 85 not out.
This is against his career average of 52.24.
His T20 record is insignificant since he has batted in just two T20s this year.
While critics may be baying for his blood, his performances with the bat cannot be held against him—yet.
It is his position as skipper that is under threat especially given the new-found aggression Team India have discovered under Virat Kohli.
It is always going to be difficult for team-members to adjust from one leader’s all-out attacking instincts to another’s more laidback, restrained approach.
It is results that matter though and that’s where Dhoni will have to take charge in the upcoming ODI series against South Africa.
His leadership is being disputed.
His treatment of Ajinkya Rahane baffles cricket connoisseurs.
How can Team India’s best batsman over the past two years be left out from the ODI and T20 sides?
Does Dhoni really prefer Ambati Rayudu, a player more in the Dhoni mould?
Rayudu is no slouch with the bat in T20s as his exploits with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL prove.
Does he really need to warm the bench?
Dhoni does not feel the need to change his mind.
Talking about Rahane’s chances of selection for the first ODI at Green Park in Kanpur, he said:
“I think four is the number for Rahane. Even four is quite low for him I would say. Opening fits him really well. Take the example of Rohit Sharma for that matter. In domestic cricket he bats lower but in international matches he opens for us. Our openers more often than not are who bat in the middle order in first class cricket.
So it is tough for him as of now. If am looking for someone to bat five or six I don’t think he is the person. His strength is top of the order. If given a chance, we will try to feature him in the top three, if not then we would find it tough to place him in the playing eleven.”
Speaking about his own performance in the T20 series, the Indian skipper characteristically remarked:
“I personally feel that I used too much brain in this format.It’s very important I keep myself free and go and play my strokes. Depending on that I play a bit slow initially. In this format, I believe I should play the big shots from the word go irrespective of whatever the scenario is because that’s what this format is all about. A lot of time when I go into bat, be it the 16th or 17th over or in the fourth or fifth overs when wickets have fallen down, I have the tendency of like let’s go to 130, that will be good score.”
Former India bowler Ajit Agarkar has sounded the warning bells about Dhoni’s place in the side.
“The selectors need to have a closer look at what Dhoni is doing, not just as captain, but as a player as well.He has been a great player for India, but you don’t want him to become a liability for the team. And he needs to perform a lot better than he has (been). Just because he has done it over the years, doesn’t mean it’s okay for him to fail.”
Agarkar feels that Dhoni’s moving up the order is simply to give himself chances to keep his place in the side and not in the best interests of the squad.
“I’m not convinced he should bat at four. Just after a World Cup, you’re now trying to develop your team for the next World Cup. Four years is a long time, but for Dhoni, towards the end of his career, to put himself up, I’m not sure about it. You can understand if there are batsmen who can’t bat 3 and 4. But there is Ajinkya Rahane, who has been one of your best players in Test cricket and I don’t think he can bat lower than four in ODIs yet, unless he changes his game over his career.
Dhoni seems to have lost that ability of going out there and smashing it from ball one. He obviously takes his time. But he batted up the order in Bangladesh, and India still lost the series. All his career when people wanted him to bat up because he is so good and has that destructive ability, he has always maintained that he wants and needs to bat at No.6, where he can handle the pressure.
It’s a hard job batting at 5, 6 and 7. I’ve seen Yuvraj and MS himself do it for so long, but that doesn’t mean that it changes at this stage in his career. You’ve got to have guys who are good at certain numbers. And at the moment MS by promoting himself, is getting a Rahane or anyone else who bats there, into trouble. I would still have Raina and Dhoni at 5 and 6, so contrary to what a lot of people have said, I don’t think Dhoni should be batting at four at this stage in his career.”
Agarkar believes that Dhoni may not be the future when it comes to ODIs and T20s, specifically when it comes to leading the side.
“Looking at the results, India have generally been good in ODIs, but you’ve lost the World Cup semi-final, then you’ve lost in Bangladesh where Dhoni was captain twice, and you’ve now lost a T20 series. Yes, the T20s can go either way very quickly so you don’t want to judge someone, but for Dhoni this is a big series.
The selectors maybe need to look at where the Indian team is heading because Virat Kohli has done well as captain in Test cricket so maybe the selectors need to make that call after this series.”
Sachin Tendulkar, meanwhile, batted for his former skipper and teammate.
Speaking to Gulf News, he said:
“Cricketers like Dhoni have played for a long time, over ten years, and he understands himself, understands his body and mind-set better than anyone else.
The best thing one can do is move aside and let him take decisions [about his career] rather than taking decisions for him. You have got to give that respect to the player who has done so much for the nation and I would leave it to him and let him be the best judge. He has served Indian cricket in the best manner and let him be the decision taker.”
Dhoni, skipper and player, has been written off before; he has always proved his detractors wrong. He believes in going by gut instinct whether it is handing the last over in the T20 World Cup final to a rookie like Joginder Sharma or quitting as Test skipper midway through a series Down Under. The timing of these moves has been impeccable. The unorthodox acts may no longer work as expected but he is still capable of surprising scribes and fans alike.
This series could either be his swan song or the beginning of another golden chapter until the next T20 World Cup.
Whatever his fate, Indian cricket will always cherish ‘Captain Cool’ and his formidable achievements in the shorter versions of the game.
It’s extraordinary when one looks back that this is Dhoni’s 11th year as an international cricketer. It seems much longer. That’s the kind of impact he’s had both as captain and player. It’s also a tribute to his supreme levels of fitness that he has rarely missed series due to injury. He will be missed.
Go well, MS.
Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne have launched a Legends T20 Cricket League to be held in the USA in August-September.
Shah Rukh Khan has gone a step further and extended the Kolkata Knight Riders brand by buying Caribbean T20 team Trinidad & Tobago. Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler are other actor-owners of Barbados Tridents and Jamaica Tallawahs respectively.
This confluence of acting and cricketing giants to promote the sport overseas is welcome.
The more the merrier.
Ageing superstars and retired cricketers have much more in common than their age. They enjoy a hold on their fans way past their expiry date.
The Legends T20 League will test this theory. More power to them.
Much has been made about Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s unceremonious ouster from the West Indian side. The veteran left-hander was left out from the Caribbean outfit for the series against Australia following a poor run of scores against England recently.
Was it the right thing to do? The southpaw is 40+ and is not getting any younger. Age should never be a criteria and rightly so. Form and class play an important role. Australia are a top side and playing an out-of-sorts Chanderpaul, however, would not have been fair to the rest of the side.
Sachin Tendulkar was given a farewell Test series by the BCCI against a weak West Indian side at Mumbai; he was able to go out on a relative high. Many would have preferred if the great had called it quits after the 2011 World Cup. The Master Blaster lingered on. It is a human failing fans have witnessed in so many wonderful sports persons. They do not know when to bid the game goodbye.
Ironically, the first Test saw the resurgence of a wonderfully talented Australian batsman Adam Voges making his Test debut at 35. Australian selectors are ruthless when cutting out-of-form or aging players to make room for younger champions.
Little credit is given to them for their bravery in choosing older players who would be considered journeymen in countries in India or Pakistan.
Thus, Matthew Hayden made a comeback at 32. Look where he finished!
Michael Hussey made the best of the chances that came his way the second time around. Adam Voges is probably another of this breed. Team coach Darren Lehmann himself was a beneficiary of the selectors’ long memories.
Should Chanderpaul have played and contributed a ton à la Voges, he would have been lauded by one and all. But, alas, that is wishful thinking reflected upon by the mawkish.
Sports, like business, has no room for sentiment. Winning is serious business; so is modern sport.
IPL 2015 is finished, over, done with. The champions have been crowned. The champions are Mumbai Indians.
Three teams have now won the IPL twice. Chennai Superkings (of course), Kolkata Knightriders and Mumbai Indians. The other winners are Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers (now defunct).
Is Rohit Sharma, on the basis of IPL results, a better skipper than Virat Kohli? Has captaincy led to a new-found maturity in the cavalier—yet immensely talented—Mumbai batter? Is Sharma a better candidate to lead the Indian Test side?
Recall that Saurav Ganguly was appointed skipper only after Sachin Tendulkar refused the crown of thorns for the second (and final) time. The rest, as they say, is history.
Meanwhile, the French Open beckons with a tantalising glimpse of possibly history in the making.
Can Novak Djokovic become only the fourth man in the Open era to claim a career Grand Slam?
For once, Nadal does not ride into Paris as the overwhelming favourite on his favoured surface—clay.
The Mallorcan has feet of (well, you said it, not me) clay.
In the women’s draw, the top two contenders are Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Both have claimed career Grand Slams and Sharapova—interestingly—has two French Open titles; it is her least liked surface.
(My cable operator is not televising the French Open; it is not among the default options offered. So I guess I’ll be following it mainly via the net or the print media.)