I love Indian ex-cricketers.
Navjyot Singh Sidhu left the team in a lurch in England on the basis of a petty tiff and today lectures others on commitment.
During World Cup 2003, Venkatesh Prasad (whose batting skills rescued many a match for India at No 11)looks at the camera with his dolorous bovine eyes and says that one of the main problems India has is that none of the bowlers can be expected to contribute much with that bat.
Krish Srikkanth. During his tenure as captain in Pakistan, his form had plumbed such abysmal depths that in one match (ODI) he got out to Wasim Akram (he wasted ball after ball unable to touch his ferocious outswingers) by nicking one behind—-so happy was Pakistan to have him at the crease that Akram actually took back the appeal ! And Sri continued his tortuous ploddings unabated much to India’s detriment.
Many years later , during the World Cup 2003, this “selfless” ex-cricketer (now a pundit) opines that Ganguly’s ideal batting position is as the 14th man and hints , rather bluntly, that Ganguly is hanging onto his captaincy’s chair and should relinquish it asap.
And now here comes Srinath , shamelessly canvassing for the job of the Indian bowling coach, but not being honest enough to accept the fact.
Nothing wrong with some self promotion. But then this plug raises my heckles.
The fast bowling department in India has been orphaned,” said Srinath, speaking at a symposium, organized by the Sports Journalists Federation of India in Mumbai, on Wednesday.
Orphaned? Orphaned because presumably you left the Indian cricket team eh Srinath ? And now here is an opportunity, as good as any, for the lost-in-the-woods lambkins to have their daddy back.
Technology is here to stay. It has a lot of advantages and can throw light on many hidden aspects of the game.”
Yes we got that one too ! We remember that you are an engineer and hence will be the ideal person to give “technological” inputs to the team (unlike Fair and Lovely Amarnath who brought his brother-in-law to give a laptop presentation). Granted that was subtle.
I may be being harsh, but in my opinion Srinath represents all that was wrong with Indian cricket is the 90s.
To give the devil his due, he was the best fast bowler in the country in the 90s. He bowled some terrific spells and had a few outstanding performances. He was unlucky too—-he frequently did not have support at the other end, Indian batsmen never posted decent totals on foreign soil and so he never had runs to play with.
Not his fault.
So what’s wrong with him being the bowling coach?
Firstly, because he never showed much of bowling acumen. Prabhakar, a man of very mediocre talents and even more mediocre morals, had much more chutzpah. Not that I am saying he should be the bowling coach. (Maybe the “betting” coach. Ok PJ.)
But the main reason why Srinath’s legacy is fundamentally flawed is that whenever the country needed him, he was found wanting. Srinath threw in the towel too easily.
This makes him a wrong role model for the new generation of Indian bowlers because Srinath can never teach anyone mental toughness. Cause he himself lacked it.
Many bowlers have shoulder injuries—only Srinath believed in throwing underarm or roundarm for a major part of his career.
Time and again, when guts and gore were needed, Srinath wilted. In the WC final under relentless attack from the Aussie blasters, he gave in meekly and was reduced to bowling slow legspinners with the resignation of a lamb to the slaughter.
McGrath gets hit for a four. He stands, stares at the batsman, mouths a word or two and comes back, hitting a perfect line and more often than not getting his man.
Srinath gets tonked for four. He lifts up his hands as if it was the fielder’s fault, shows disgust at everyone except himself—-his shoulders droop, he does not make eye contact with the batsman and stutters in like a headless chicken for the next delivery. We all know what happens next.
But even this could be forgiven. What definitely could not be was the way Srinath would pick and choose the games he wanted to play.
One day he is retiring from one day cricket, and then oh no sorry next day he is retiring from Test cricket but is available for the one days. But not this one day series—-he shall play the one after this one.
Ganguly pleads with him publicly to stay with the team. Srinath says “nothing doing”. And then on “public demand” comes back for the World Cup 2003 . Then when again his experience is needed on the Australian tour, he starts playing prima donna again. Sourav gives up on Srinath’s “new bride tantrums” and the Indian team leave without him.
The Indian team succeeds in Australia and Srinath , in his Rediff columns, tries to take the credit. Yes the credit for the success of those same bowlers whom he now says are orphaned without him.
Despite a bad loss to West Indies and not withstanding what Imran and Akram says, Inzi has done the right thing by saying “no” to Shoaib Akthar who , like Srinath, plays matches according to his wishes.
It’s too late to do anything to Javagal Srinath but the last thing the Indian team of 2005 needs is to be saddled with the relic-of- the -90s ” don’t stand up and be counted instead lie down and be mounted” attitude which regrettaby will be what Srinath will bring to the table.