M.V.Narasimha ("Bobby") Rao was a leg-spin all-rounder in four Tests for India in 1978-79 and 1979-80. He captained Hyderabad during the 1980's, including their 1986-87 Ranji Trophy victory. Today he is batting coach for the Ireland team competing in the ICC Trophy in Malaysia. He was interviewed in Kuala Lumpur on the IRC channel #cricket on 31 March 1997 (just before the start of the fourth day's play in the Barbados Test between India and the West Indies). Rick Eyre was the moderator with Travis Basevi assisting Mr Rao at the keyboard.
travis: First question - anyone?
Ros: Where does the name "Bobby" come from?
Rao: Ros: "Narasimha Rao" is my grandfather's name. My mother called me Bobji, and when I started playing for Hyderabad, they started calling me Bobby
kamal: What do you think of the present Indian team?
Rao: It's a well-balanced team. Young, motivated captain. The only thing is that they are missing Srinath
kamal: Why cant India produce fast bowlers like other countries
Rao: They have! Srinath and Prasad are as quick as any other bowlers as they have shown. And we do have other fast bowlers in the Madras MRF academy
dodger: Mr Rao, The gap b\w test playing nations and the ICC countries is huge. How do you suggest bridging the gap, particularly when the ICC countries play many "old" ex-pats ?
Rao: dodger: In Ireland at the moment, we are drawing up a structure which enables the locally born youngsters to play the game, by which all of our 16 are Irish born and we are to hit the grass-root levels (schools etc) In future to experience other climates, we'd like to travel and play in the Test playing nations (SA etc) to improve the technique and mental strength of the players
kamal: rao: theres a lot of debate in India that our pitches are made to turn and not suitable for pace so it gives disadvantage to ppl who want to face fast bowlers as also doesnt encourage fast bowlers. What do u think of it. I mean does it matter what nature of pitch is in the kind of players we have.
Rao: kamal: it's not true, you can produce fast pitches. When I played in 1979 against WI they said it was the fastest wicket they'd ever played. It depends on how they produce their wickets
kamal: what Im saying is that most of our pitches are made to turn
Rao: Kamal: the countries now make the pitches to suit themselves. Possibly someine should monitor the grounds so they produce fair Test wickets.
M00N: Mr. Rao....What are your views about cricket test world cup? Now when all test teams are looking forward to it...do U think that ICC should approve it? And how long it'll take to shape up a world cup like event? And what kind of wickets should be approved for such events?
Rao: Moon: It's a good idea. For example, India for the past 2 years, have played too few Tests and too many ODIs. But if you have a Test World Cup with ratings then you'll have a proper ranking of nations
MegaPode: Mr Rao: as a general principle of selction - do you pick an XI and then make one of them captain or do you pick the best captain and give him 10 players?
Rao: MP: you pick the captain first, then with his consultation, you pick another 10 (IMO)
dodger: How would you go about marketing the game, in order to attract other countries to it ?
Rao: dodger: we have to take a leaf out of Malaysia's book. They have hosted the ICC Trophy and Ireland are bidding for the next ICCT, which gives 3 weeks of big publicity and marketed very easily.
Rick: Rao: which of the opposing teams in the ICCT have impressed you the most?
Rao: Rick: Kenya and Bangladesh
M00N: What do U think of Singaporean team in near future? Do they have any potential?
Rao: Moon: we played them yesterday. Spore got 100. We nailed themn in 10 overs. They seem to hqave a long way to go
M00N: Rao are they youngsters?
Rao: Moon: no not really
travis: What do you think about Ireland's chances in the 2nd round?
Rao: Ireland's crucial match is tomorrow v Holland. If we can win the one, we'll be set.
gitt: Rao : Do you support the idea of the third umpire over ruling the decision given by an umpire in case of a run-out or a batsman having got out of a noballl which the umpire didn't see ?
Rao: gitt: yes. As an example, I got out off a bad decision in my 1st Test v WI. I was given out caught off my pad. So I will approve the 3rd umpire. To eliminate bad decisions, I approve
Ros: Rao: what do you think the effect on Irish cricket will be of Hansie Cronje coming out to play in Ireland? What do you expect him to achieve?
Rao: Ros: it will be a promotional thing. Marketing cricket thru him. And the players playing alongside him will gain experience
travis: How did you come to be associated with Ireland?
Rao: Since 81 I played as a professional in a small town called Strabane in Northern Ireland
Rick: Rao: you played against the 1979-80 Australians. What impressions did you have of that Australian side?
Rao: Rick: It was led by kim Hughes and most of the top players were with Packer. But they had good players like Yallop, Hogg, Border
Rick: what margin of victory do you think India will win by today :-)
Rao: Rick: by 5 wickets!
Rick: two more questions before the test starts, kamal and wz
Rao sits forward as the Test starts
kamal: Who's the best batsman you've ever seen to date?
Rao: kamal: Viv Richards. We were 12th men in the same Test, before both of us played our debut match. Definitely SRT out of today's batsmen.
Rao: last q?
wz Mr.Rao: Sir, what do you think of Mohd. Azharuddin's place in the Indian side?
Rao: wz: I'm a bit biased. He played under me in his initial FC games for Hyderabad. He's a fine batsmen and can get runs at any time.
Rao: I think that wraps it up
travis: many thanks to Bobby Rao for the interview
Rick: thanks to everyone who asked questions today
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Date-stamped : 28 Feb1999 - 11:26