Sadagopan Ramesh, the left-handed opening batsman from Tamil Nadu who has made such an impression in his first four Tests appearances for India, was interviewed on internet chat on 6 March 1999 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. S.Jagadish assisted Ramesh with the interview. Naren Arcot (sirius on #cricket) moderated the interview.

dime ( basking in Birmingham, USA asks: Hey Ramesh, Hearty Congratulations on your success. Do you think you will be a success in ODIs? I thought in the calcutta test, wasim akram was able to tie you down by placing fielders in your 'strike-zone'. your comments?

S Ramesh I think being a test match I was also waiting for a loose ball. In One dayers if the bowler ties you down for a few balls you can always score later. This is not the case in a test match, in a test match the wicket matters more. Definitely I'll be a success in One dayers. In my tests so far I have scored runs with a good strike rate. So I should be successful in One Dayers.

Arghya ( from Durham, North Carolina: What is your biggest dream being a part of the indian team?

S Ramesh My biggest dream is that I should get into the World cup squad. It happens once in four years, it is a big dream. My long term dream is to be part of the Indian team for a long time. People should remember you in the Indian team and be part of victories.

Suhael1 Hello Ramesh, fronm CricInfo-Pakistan currently at the Gadaffi doing the on going test match, congratulations on your recent performances.

nitewing ( in Princeton, NJ asks: How has being primarily a bowler in the past (w/ Tamil Nadu) helped you understand a bowler's mentality; and how has this, in turn, helped you with your batting?

S Ramesh It has definitely helped me, I think sometimes from a bowler's point of view. Basically its all about shrewdness, you have to think from the opponent's point of view. How he is going to attack. It has certainly helped me.

Jagadish ( in Chennai asks: In Sri Lanka you were in the nineties and you were involved in a close run out. How did you feel ?

S Ramesh I wanted to make sure it didnt happen again. I had come close to making 100s before, making 70s 80s and 90s. In Delhi I was looking for a boundary, this time I wanted to rotate the strike and make the runs in singles.
Jagadish As it turned out you made the runs off a boundary anyway.

S RameshYes I just played according to the merit of the ball.

Sami Magoon ( from Taipei, Taiwan asks: i'm a paki and I must admit that you thrashed our bowlers good! But I'm wondering, how did you feel when you got out on 96 against Pak at the second test?

S Ramesh It was one of the worst feelings I could ever have. It was just a matter of one ball and I could have got a 100. That was certainly in my mind for a day or two, I just took it as a lesson to make sure I got past 100 next time. Even when you are on 99, you have to make sure you score the run. Its all part of a learning process.

Srinivas in Chennai: how was your feelings when you are facing pak in your home ground

S Ramesh It was a great feeling, its a rare opportunity to make your debut on your home ground. Its a pressure situation anyway. On one side the fans expect you to perform. The other side is that the fans wish that you perform well. It was my first innings, and it was at my home ground. It was a big opportunity.

Timothy Glover in Australia: Q. Which Team did You More Enjoy Playing Against?

S Ramesh Definitely against Pakistan. Because I would say that the best test match is always between India and Pakistan. All matches have been nail biting finishes. Every day the test changes, sometimes India dominates sometimes Pakistan. There is a result too. The pressure is there from the crowd, media etc. I sincerely feel you have to perform under pressure. Everyone expects you to make a big score. I always enjoyed playing against Pakistan, especially this best bowling attack. Its a great challenge.

dime ( basking in Birmingham, USA asks: Ramesh, can you tell us a little bit about your diet & your exercise regimen? Do you think you need to improve on your current level of physical fitness?

S Ramesh We usually take lots of salad, juice etc. and avoid rice. The Indian team has been playing a lot of cricket. So we need to be fit to play more matches. We cannot train like say England, we have to preserve our energy. he demands of the game is so much that we have to concentrate a lot on keeping fit. from Pakistan and caze ( in NYC, USA: You've started your career well, but are you upset that India's chances at least up to this moment are getting limited to reach the finals? Plus which bowler is so far the toughest for you? is Shoaib Aktar is fastest bowler u have seen?

S Ramesh I would like to play lots of games for India. We do hope to make it to the final. If Sri Lanka play better they would make it. Wasim Akram is the toughest bowler I've faced. A challenge for every batsman, keeps the batsman guessing. Shoaib Akhtar is definitely the quickest.

Dr Panicker(Malaysia): Did you decide to be an opener or were you forced into it.

S Ramesh I didnt use to open in my earlier days. I've batted at all positions, even #9 I always thought I could be a good opening batsman. I've got lots of runs against the second new ball. I thought I'd try opening, started it in 1995-96. Got lots of runs and made it to the state side. In my first Ranji match, I scored a 100 and then I knew I would like to be opening batsman. Especially considering the success continued.

sirius: In your opinion who is the best opener India ever had. Who is your idol?

S Ramesh Undoubtedly, Gavaskar. 10000 runs, he faced the best bowling of West Indies without a helmet. I dont have any idols but I admire Tendulkar. At the age of 17 he showed everyone that if you have the willpower and hard work, you can succeed irrespective of age. Thats why I definitely admire him.

Jagadish in CricInfo Chennai: What kind of injury are you suffering from?

S Ramesh Its an injury to my little finger. I asked the selectors some rest so that I would be able to recover. I will be back for the next game. Australia asks: Do you ever try to protect your average or do you not think about it?

S Ramesh No I have never tried to protect it. I dont believe in playing for statistics. I believe in playing for the team. When you play for the team the runs will come. My natural game is to play for runs. I never thought about targets, they will come automatically.

dime again: Ramesh, I think you tend to play your shots with minimal footwork. Don't you think it could be a problem in England, South Africa, Australia? How do you rate yourself as a fielder? Do you consider yourself to be a 'bowling option' in one-dayers?

S Ramesh I think basically I'm not a person who stretches and plays shots. My strength is timing. I dont think too much about technique. Its all about being effective. I've seen lots of batsmen who have minimal technique and have scored lots of runs. I think I am a good outfielder. Yes I used to bowl a lot of offspin and now I am bowling a lot in the nets too.. Definitely I think I can be a bowling option.

sirius: That bring up the next question: What do you think is your best stroke? Your weakest?

S Ramesh My best stroke would be my cover drive. It is a special shot for any batsman, especially against Akram or Akhtar. My weakest stroke, I cant really say. Those who watch me have to tell.

sirius: many IRCers want to know your reaction to the Calcutta crowd and their behaviour... any comments?

S Ramesh I cannot blame the crowd, because the Calcutta crowd is emotional. It is just a game, incidents happen. It is more important to watch a good game rather than bother about who won or lost. Like the match at Chennai, like Akram said, Cricket was the winner. Ultimately the game matters.

Firaq (Toronto, Canada): If put into an ODI as an opener, do you think you can utilize the initial fielding restrrictions as effectively as SRT and Ganguly do?

S Ramesh Definitely, because like I said, I'm not a player who goes for big shots. I'm primarily a good timer. When field restrictions are on, all it needs is good timing and placement. So I think I can do well in the field restrictions.

sirius: What is your highest score in any form of cricket?

S Ramesh 207 made in TNCA 1st Division.

nitewing: What do you think of Laxman: his performance in the last few matches and his future?

S Ramesh I think he is a good batsman, he's in a bad patch. It happens for every batsman. I'm sure he'll bounce back and be a success.

U^92_GoPak ( in Richmond, Virginia, USA: How do you rate India's chances in the world cup? Are you confident of making the final World Cup squar and even play in the WC?

S Ramesh I think in this world cup, all teams have good chances. They have good sides. We have a very good side, good allrounders. All we need to do is play to potential. I'd like to be in the world cup squad. Its a matter of pride to be in the squad. If the selectors feel I'm good enough I will be in.

Mr Kashyappan, Chennai: Who is the best and most respected umpire in International Cricket.

S Ramesh I think Steve Bucknor would be the one. Players have lot of respect for him.

sirius: What do u think of the umpiring now a days ?

S Ramesh We cannot blame umpires, they are under pressure. They are human too. I think getting the third umpire is a good thing. Umpires job is easier. they can consult them for decisions. Especially in an India Pakistan match the umpires are under tremendous pressure.

dime: What sort of a captain is Azhar? A lot of people think he is too laid-back. that he does'nt talk to the players enough. Seems to wait for things to happen, instead of trying to *make* things happen. Wasim Akram seemed to be communicating more effectively with the players. Your frank comments?

S Ramesh Actually I think he's communicating with the players. You cannot comment from things happening on TV. Things happen in the dressing room too. He's a successful captain and is doing a good job.

Misty ( in Oregon, USA: Do you think that you can adjust yourself easily on the tracks of England during the coming world cup? Those tracks are totally different than Indian pitches.

S Ramesh Definitely. When I started playing Ranji and succeeded, and got to the next level, Its all a question of adjustment, In international cricket. I'm definitely optimistic about it.

Kwusty in New Zealand ( asks : Your thoughts on pakistan's 1st session batting yesterday?

S Ramesh I really dont know about this.

sNpR ( in virginia) asks: Do the players hang out after every day's play or just confine themselves to the room? also, how much team planning takes place before every game?

S Ramesh After a game, we are at the ground for an hour or so. We do things like running, batting, bowling practice etc. We make sure we're at the ground for an hour after every day We do plan a lot of things like opponents strengths, batting and bowling How to tackle bowlers or batsmen etc.

sirius: What is the current team moral after their recent losses to pak?

S Ramesh We are feeling quite bad Because we came close to a victory but didnt succeed We played good cricket, a good test match Ultimately cricket won. We played against Pakistan too. So it was a thrilling time.

S Ramesh Thank you for your questions. Bye.

On-line chat

Date-stamped : 08 Mar1999 - 02:45