When India's elder statesmen triggered a collapse

Elmo Rodrigopolle

Friday 19, December 1997

Irresponsible and insensible batting by India's elder statesmen Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammed Azharuddin triggered a collapse and made them succumb to the West Indies and in the process deprive themselves of a fling in the final of the Akai - Singer Champions Trophy final against England in Sharjah today.

Tendulkar and Azharuddin foolishly ran themselves out when the Indians were sitting pretty after a superb start by their openers Ganguly and Sidhu. Coach Anushuman Gaekwad would surely have used choice words in giving them a telling off, which they will probably not forget for the rest of their career.

The skipper of any team is expected to act with responsibility in everything he does and be an example to his men. But sad to say Tendulkar was lacking in this aspect, the way he set off for a second run that was not there. And his elder teammate Azharuddin seemed to have been bitten by that bug and gifted his wicket too in similar fashion.

India required to get 230 in 45 overs which was not beyond their reach considering the strong batting line up they have. They showed they were ready to chase any target by dropping all rounder Robin Singh and plonking for Rahul Dravid.

What was required in chasing a victory target was common sense batting. This was done only by the openers and Dravid. The less said about the insipid batting of those who followed the better.

Tendulkar once again showed that he has not mastered the intricacies of captaincy. It is apparent that his game is continuing to suffer owing to the burden thrust on him too early.

It is time that the Indian selectors told him so and relieve him of this burden and bring him back after giving him a couple of years more as a player. This will be a good learning process. It will not only help him tighten his batting, but help to learn all about captaincy and come back well equipped to serve his team and country better as a captain.

Tendulkar need not feel unhappy if he is relieved of the captaincy. It is done for his own good and let him take it in that spirit. He has many more years to serve India and a couple of years away from the captaincy should help him to come back firing all cylinders.

True the Indians threw away their chances of entering this final. But in the process of the batting comedy one cannot take away the credit from the men from the caribbean, who stood up better to the pressure and came out victors, a victory that was well and richly deserved.

Considering the fact the West Indians had the daylights knocked out of them by the Pakistanis in the Three Test series they entered this tournament as no hopers. But they showed that they are no easy knockouts as they fought back magnificently to enter this final.

England beat them easily in a preliminary game. That does not mean that England can do a repeat. The Windies now that they are in the final will go for the jagular and the Englishmen will have to be at their best to down them.

English cricket too has been on the skids for some time now and under new captain Adam Hollioake seem to be settling in nicely in the cowboy game. They are not a brilliant side. But what they lack in this aspect they make up with determination and do things right in this style of game. This is what has brought them success. Their fans will be hoping for a continuity in their good form.

In the final preliminaries do not matter, it is sudden death situation. Let's hope for an exciting final and may the better side win.

The organisers must certainly be disappointed that neither India nor Pakistan could enter the final. Friday is a holiday in Sharjah and it would not be a packed house that will watch the final, now that India and Pakistan are missing.

Source: The Daily News

Contributed by CricInfo Management
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:07