CricInfo: You went to England in 1986. It is another remarkable series
because it's the last time India won a series abroad, but you didn't
play that series...
Shivlal Yadav: Not playing in the Test matches was a big disappointment for
me. Having got the highest number of wickets in the three Test matches
in Australia, I don't get a game to play. But the team did well and we
won the series 2-0, which is a remarkable achievement. But this is
part and parcel of the game.
CI: Allan Border came to India with a very young team in 1986-87. What
are your memories of the Tied Test match in Madras in which you were
very much part of the team?
SY: Well, actually the game started on a very slow note. It was a
good Test wicket. The wicket was helping the batsman initially for the
first three days and then on the last two days it was a slow turner
with the spinners able to get some purchase out of it. It so happened
that the Australians gave us a challenging declaration which prompted
us to go for the runs on the last day. The run chase started on a good
note though we kept losing wickets. So the chase was on even till the
last wicket. The biggest winner of the match was the game and credit
should go the game itself.
CI: In 1987 against Pakistan, you picked up your 100th wicket
at Ahmedabad in the same match that Sunil Gavaskar got his 10,000th
run. You seem to have this knack of being attached to the big
moments in Indian cricket.
SY: My 100 wickets was forgotten totally because getting 10,000 runs
for Sunil was a greater achievement and he did it in style. It
was a proud moment for me to be associated with that particular
Test match because getting hundred wickets is not that big a milestone. But It was a memorable match for me and I will always remember that.
CI: You finished your career with 102 wickets, did you think you
still had some cricket left in you at international level?
SY: When you give up, you always feel that you have some game left
in you. But one day or other you have to quit. It is a difficult
and painful decision but one has to accept the facts of life
amd make room for others. It was painful for me but I had to
take a decision.
CI: You had a long career and came across many different batsmen.
Who was the most difficult among them you bowled to?
SY: When it comes to batting, to me straightaway the most difficult
batsman to bowl is Viv Richards. Why I would say this is because he
never allowed the bowler to dominate. I remember in the fourth Test
match in Bombay in 1983-84, I think I had taken two wickets in two
balls and was on a hat trick. He came just before lunch and hit me for
three boundaries which goes to show his confidence. Though he could
have got out playing those shots, still he always wanted to dominate.
CI: Coming to modern cricket, things have changed so much in the last
twenty years. Australia is dominating today's cricket. You have
played them in the 70s and in 80s and played a total of
four series against them. What are your thoughts on Australian
SY: Basically, you see that right from Jim Laker's time to the
recent players, the Australians are a little suspect against off
spin, good off spin bowling. If you see, India's Erapalli Prasanna,
England's John Emburey and Geoff Miller have done well and I have
taken 51 wickets in 13 matches against Australians. So, basically I
feel that they are little suspect. I am sure if given a chance, in
the present team Harbhajan Singh should make use of their weakness
CI: You were the last Indian off spinner to take 100 Test wickets
for India. Why hasn't anyone achieved it since?
SY: One reason could be that far too many one day matches are being
played, so any bowler who tries to experiment doesn't have a
long life. But you can't think a batsman out by bowling tight
all the time. You've got to vary your line, length, flight, trajectory...
CI: You come from a place like Hyderabad which has produced so
many elegant players like Jaisimha and Azharuddin with whom you have played. What are your memories of Hyderabad cricket?
SY: Hyderabad cricket is absolutely on a strong footing. Basically,
our school cricket is very active and you are well aware that recently
we have had a AT Rayadu and Abhinav who are doing well and so also
Anoop Pai. School cricket is the supply line. When you have a supply
line like that, your future is definitely going to be good. You know
the players will keep on coming one by one. Sometimes you have
ordinary or average players and sometimes you have brilliant players.
But basically what we have to see is the supply is on. And as the
secretary of HCA, I feel that our cricket is on a very sound note.
CI: In the 90s, you turned to administration. There is always
the debate whether good players can be good administrators.? What are your thoughts on this?
Well It all depends on how much time one gives to the game. As a
player, you have to practice hard, may be four or five hours a
day. But as an administrator, you have to give more time to the game,
attend your duties and see that all matches are done. Again as a
player, you are only concerned about getting the opposition out as a
bowler and how to win the game, but as an administrator you have to
manage, you have to look after several things right from the arrival
of the team to the departure of the team, issues like conduct of the
match, transportation, lunch, accommodation etc. Therefore it's a
different ball game altogether. But if one is prepared to give time, I
am sure that you can do both job s with equal sincerity.
CI: You had a long stint as a national selector. How difficult is
the job of being a selector in India?
SY: Well, it is quite difficult mainly because India is such a
big country, you have to travel the length and breadth of the country
to look for talent. But luckily our system is so well organized. As
selectors we go and watch the Ranji Trophy games and the other
matches. Here you could find the right talents. I am a selector from the South and so I would know the boys from that area more easily. I can recognize them and spot talent. I can keep track of their performances. It was an interesting job and I enjoyed it. If it comes
to me again I would love to do it.
CI: In women's cricket, they have decided to scrap
selectors on the zonal basis and have gone in for three selectors.
In men's cricket, five selectors go around the
country. Should we stick to the zonal system? What is your personal
opinion on this issue?
SY: As I told you, India is a big country. Five selectors are not
able to do the job properly. Instead of five, you should increase
the number of selectors rather than making it come down. Because if
you are aware, even Tripura is playing cricket these days. Assam is
coming up and Kerela has done well. Therefore in a country like India,
even five selectors are not sufficient since they have to travel and
see so many matches. So I don't see the reason why it should be
brought down or changed for the five member selection committee has
produced players from Vijay Merchant to Vijay Manjrekar to Sunil
Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar. So bring some more junior selectors and
some more people who can be involved, so that they can give te
feedback to the senior selectors.
CI: There is a view that the zonal system should be changed.
SY: There is nothing wrong with the zonal system, the matches are
still being played on the zonal system, so I don't see any reason why
it should be changed.
CI: You son Arjun played in the Under 19 series against England.
He bowled a bit of off spin but he's more of a batsman, isnt
SY: He is a better batsman than me, that much I can tell you, but
with regards to bowling, he has to put in a lot of hard work. Even as
a batsman he has to work hard. He has just started his career and
success in cricket like all other sport doesn't come on a silver
spoon. One has to work hard and only then will you achieve something
and feel proud. In Arjun's case, I am there to support
and guide him. On cricketing matters, he has to achieve things
himself. You can take him to the boundary line but you cannot push him from the boundary line. Beyond that line, he has to work hard and he has to show his skill. So I hope that he works hard and comes up.