Standard Bank Summer Spice Series

United Cricket Board of South Africa
Results & Scores
South Africa won by 6 wickets
India 183 (48.2 ov)
South Africa 187/4 (42.1 ov)

Tour Index
Points Table

South Africa

Spot the ball
Predict n Win
Tour De Cricket
Cricket Fantasy

Hercules Player
of the fortnight
Whatta shot
Third Umpire
Did U Know...

South Africa
Official Sites
Site Map
Cricinfo Home

African Safari: The tour diary
Ashish Shukla - 23 October 2001

Lessons from the master

Indian cricket needs youngsters who are consistent and have a better success rate than one match per 15 innings. Unfortunately, none of the new faces seem to have the temperament that will do justice to their talents.

The boys currently being tried out in one-day internationals do not appear to have the necessary mental make-up to make it to the Test side. Jacob Martin, Yuvraj Singh, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Harvinder Singh and Virender Sehwag are all set to return home after the tri-series is over. Even match-winning performances against Kenya at Paarl on Wednesday, in what is now essentially the semi-final of the Standard Bank triseries competition, will not change that.

Sourav Ganguly

John Wright and Sourav Ganguly have backed these men for the past year. Wright, in particular, is very impressed with Sodhi, as he is with Mohammad Kaif, and praises them no end for the attitude they show in the nets. But is attitude alone a guarantor for success in the international arena?

Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has strong views on the subject. He says the youngsters must yearn for an Indian cap; it shouldn't come free to them. Promotion to the highest level must be linked with performance. For instance, Kaif, in 40-50 first-class innings, has only three hundreds. A player like Martin, for instance, has 10-12 hundreds. Should Kaif be given a precedence only because his attitude is favoured by the people who matter?

"If attitude is the only key, then who needs cricketers?" asks Gavaskar. "A battalion might as well do the job." As always, Sunny is crisp and puts forward an argument which is difficult to refute.

Wright sought Gavaskar out for dinner before the game at East London, and it appears that the two men had a frank talk on a variety of subjects concerning Indian cricket, including the men who should make the playing eleven.

"I can understand if someone playing forward is beaten by the movement and edges the ball to the wicket-keeper or the slips," says Gavaskar. "But if batsmen are pulling to mid-off and steering catches to point and the cover region, they must be held accountable." It is why, he stresses, that an India cap should not come cheap to anyone.

Sunil Gavaskar
© CricInfo

Gavaskar reels off the names of batsmen who have slogged at the domestic level and then earned the national cap. People who have sweated for the cap seem to value it more. "Look at somebody like Laxman. He has had over 3,000 runs in domestic competition before he was recalled in his second innings."

Wright, who everyone agrees has moulded the Indian side into a composite unit, wants Gavaskar to come and speak to the boys. The legendary opener, though, is taking his time on the subject. "Frankly, I am more comfortable with youngsters, in the under-19 age group, who are flexible," says Gavaskar. The master batsman, who is now heading the National Cricket Academy based in Bangalore, as well as Wright, are two personalities connected with cricket in India who can make a lasting contribution to the team in days to come.

As for the youngsters who will definitely be heading home, it is not even worth hoping for a place in the Test side. There is a vacancy for an opener now that Sadagopan Ramesh has ruled himself out; Hemang Badani, too, will be missing from the middle order. Yet none of the young cricketers mentioned in this column could aspire for a Test berth. Yuvraj Singh comes closest to being given an extension on this tour, but even that looks very remote at this juncture.

The theories of Wright and Gavaskar could be put to test on the subject of Vinayak Mane. Mane is seen as a promising opener and one who might still make it to the Indian team for the Test matches on this tour. Wright has been making enquiries in India, and Gavaskar too has a favourable impression of the youngster.

But, applying Gavaskar's theory, Mane shouldn't be given a break right away in what is essentially a demanding tour. He must earn his cap.

"I stand by my opinion," says Gavaskar. "Perhaps it would be right to blood him on a tour, say in England, where there are a couple of first- class games and a youngster can ease himself in into the side."

Teams India, South Africa.
Players/Umpires Jacob Martin, Harvinder Singh, Reetinder Sodhi, Yuvraj Singh, John Wright, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Kaif, Sunny Gavaskar, VVS Laxman.
Tournaments Standard Bank Triangular Tournament
African Safari - Other issues
04 Oct | 08 Oct | 15 Oct | 19 Oct | 22 Oct | 23 Oct | 29 Oct | 30 Oct | 03 Nov |
05 Nov | 13 Nov | 17 Nov | 21 Nov



Spot the Ball Birla Predict N Win Crickquity - ICICI Tour De Cricket Contest Buy! India v Australia Test Series Travel Baazee Auctions firing squad StatsGuru Cricshop