Indian Cricket October 11, 2007

No one wrote to the Colonel

Dilip Vengsarkar has a habit of shooting his mouth off and indiscretion has been his watchword since he was appointed as the chairman of selectors
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Dilip Vengsarkar, the current chairman of selectors, has been in the news, most recently on account of his public warning to India's 'seniors' (read Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid) that they couldn't take their places in the team for granted, that they needed to earn their keep.

Vengsarkar has a habit of shooting his mouth off, but this statement was so unnecessary that it drew a double reproach: one from India's cricket board, asking him to stop making public statements about the team and another from the new captain of India's ODI team, MS Dhoni, who went out of the way to praise the performance of India's veterans, saying categorically that the team had no replacements for them.

And well he might, given that Ganguly's recent form and Tendulkar's, has been outstanding in the one-day game. Dravid's form in the four matches against Australia has been disappointing but he played a couple of outstanding innings against England in the limited overs series that followed the Tests, and given that he voluntarily gave up the captaincy in both forms of the game in the very recent past, he's scarcely the sort of player who needs to be told not to be complacent.

This is unlikely to stop the chairman from offering his opinions to the press because indiscretion has been his watchword since he was appointed to his present office. After his retirement from the game Vengsarkar wrote columns for a while, the copyright for which vested with a company of his devising called Dilip Data Syndicate. He could revive that company to sell his opinions to the newspapers, a sort of rent-a-quote service, so that the remainder of his tenure could be profitably used.

It's not unusual for national selectors to behave oddly. For many it is their return to the limelight from the shadows of retirement, their last reprieve from the obscurity into which all ex-cricketers disappear. Actually, that should read 'used to disappear'. Now, thanks to sports channels and news channels on television, all sorts of cricketers remain in the public eye long after retiring from the game. Nikhil Chopra and Syed Saba Karim, two cricketers with very modest international careers figure in a comic cricket show, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Arun Lal have successful broadcasting careers, Ajay Jadeja overcame scandal and retirement to become a fixture on cricket shows and to figure in celebrity dance competitions and Navjot Singh Siddhu is more than a mere Member of Parliament, he's a cult figure.

But perhaps it's unfair to compare Vengsarkar to these men, who are, after all, much younger than him, players who were still playing at the highest level when the great tide of globalisation came to lift cricketers to levels of fame and wealth unimaginable through the years in which Vengsarkar played his cricket. On the other hand, I can think of players of roughly his generation who remain more vivid in public memory than Vengsarkar. I'm not talking about Gavaskar, who as India's greatest batsman, is an immortal, with whom comparisons are odious. Nor of Kapil Dev, for the same reason. A good player to compare him to is Ravi Shastri.

Like Vengsarkar, Shastri played for Bombay. He was six years younger but he retired from international cricket around the same time as Vengsarkar did, in 1992. Like him, Shastri captained India occasionally without ever becoming captain of India in his own right. Vengsarkar led India for as many as ten Tests, played international cricket for India for sixteen years (as many years as Gavaskar did and five more years than Shastri) and was a part of the side through the glory years in the mid-eighties when it won the world cup in 1983, the so-called world championship of cricket in 1985 and the series against England in 1986, in which triumph Vengsarkar played a leading role.

And yet, the contrast between the current standing of the two couldn't be more marked. Shastri is arguably the most successful cricket commentator India has produced, earlier this year the BCCI was literally begging him to take over the team after the debacle of the World Cup and he has just accepted, on his own terms, the headship of the Board's cricket academy. Vengsarkar, on the other hand, vanished from the minds of the cricketing public for a dozen years and when he returned as chairman of selectors, he courted the attention of the media, something that Shastri accepted as his due. And the cricket academy Vengsarkar runs is is called, forlornly enough, the Elf Academy.





An elegant, pivotal presence at No. 3 in the '80s © Getty Images

It isn't just Shastri. Take Mohinder Amarnath. If Shastri is six years younger than Vengsarkar, Amarnath is six years older. Like Vengsarkar, he had a long career (nearly twenty years of Test cricket with gaps in between) and a Test average just above 42 which is better than good. But Amarnath pops up on television as an expert, as a commentator, as an actor in commercials: he is a figure in the world of cricket, whereas Vengsarkar, before his elevation to the chairmanship was not.

Perhaps the reason for this is that Vengsarkar is a self-effacing sort of fellow, not the pushy sort who courts the media. This is hard to believe given how keen he is to supply soundbytes to the press, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Even so, his post-retirement obscurity is puzzling. Gundappa Viswanath, the most modest, retiring cricketer this country has ever had the good fortune to produce, remains a presence in the cricketing public's mind despite his shyness, in a way that Vengsarkar doesn't. This might have something to do with the fact that Vishy was a genius, but if you look at his figures, he has a lower batting average in Tests than Vengsarkar does, fewer centuries, he played his last ODI a year before India won the World Cup in 1983 and he never experienced the adulation and publicity that Vengsarkar and his team mates did after the coming of network television in 1982. And yet Viswanath has a hold on the affections of Indian cricket fans that Vengsarkar can only dream of.

Vengsarkar's invisibility is puzzling because he was a first-rate cricketer. He scored seventeen Test centuries, many of them to win or save matches for India. He was, after Gavaskar, our finest player of fast-bowling in the '70s and '80s, he helped us win a Test series in the mid-eighties which was our last win there for twenty years, and through his career he was an elegant, pivotal presence at No. 3 in the batting order. He was affectionately called the 'Colonel' because of his organized, near-military bearing and he did score those three splendid centuries at Lord's. He was an unlikely contender for obscurity when he retired, and yet that was his fate.

It may be that India's cricket establishment took too long to call upon his services: the politics of the Indian cricket board are indecipherable to anyone outside its grubby structures. Or it might just be a function of personality: there are people who are instinctively liked and there are others who seem to have had a charm bypass. Whatever the cause of of Dilip Vengsarkar's long years in the wilderness, he would do well to remember that he was a fine player in his time. His reputation will be better served if he uses his past experience and his present eminence to pick the best teams he can instead of picking on great players and playing to the gallery. The regard of posterity should be a greater prize for a cricketer of his standing than fifteen minutes of 'fame'.

This post first appeared as an article in the Kolkata based Telegraph.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sam on November 15, 2007, 5:54 GMT

    Here are a few points to note : 1. It is perfectly fine to give a player a break when he is not in good form. However, the correct way of doing this is to talk to the player 1-1 and explaining the reasoning and reassuring him rather than talking to that player through the media.

    While there is lot of talk about emergence of new generation and selfishness of big 3, we should not forget the fact that the big 3 opted out of T20 championship on their own in the interest of the next generation. So, give them credit where it is due.

    3. While we need to plan for the future, the way to do it is for the BCCI to have a talk with the senior players on their career plans, their fitness level and expectations. Having a objective discussion and a mutually agreed upon plan would make it easier for everyone and would ensure that those who play for the country have a graceful end to their career rather than being pushed around and sent confusing signals at this juncture in their career. I am sure after a long career, a player, his teammates and fans would like to know when he is playing his last game rather than realize later that he already played his last International match.

  • S.R.SHANKAR, Scientist on November 14, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Mukul should be complimented for the right criticism on Vengsarkar But his admiration for his capabilty to face pace Bowling is misplaced. As observers of cricket from 70s & 80s would remember,he was not in the same league as Vishwanath,Amarnath, Gavaskar & Sandip Patil when it came to facing fiery pace bowling. His vocal interactions now are as scratchy as his initial tenure at crease. It is amusing when he gave certificate to the peerless Rahul Dravid by quipping" He is a great player-He can comeback" Nevertheless he succeeded in ejecting Dravid out of Indian one day team;-The loss is for the team as he is the best one drop bat in the world -be it oDI or tests For genuine knowledgeable followers, it is paining to see the observers' gallery today filled by arm chair critics, half baked media channels and 20-20 crazy infants. And add to it- The autocratic Western India dominated BCCI officials who have not even played tennis ball cricket; No wonder the seniors like Dravid have to stay withdrawn. The media is in the process of doing a great disservice to Indian cricket which will have catastrophic effects in near future

  • Azfar Alam on November 12, 2007, 10:30 GMT

    Anyone who followed Cricket in the 80's would agree with Mukul that Vengsarkar was a selfish cricketer, certainly not a team man.Hence he proved to be a flop captain also.Sandeep Patil in his book Sandy Storm gives writes about an incident showing how Vengsarkar duped him when they were in their teens. So that's a character trait with the colonel - hitting people below the belt. Mukul is also right that Veng went into virtual obscurity even though he has a good Test Record after retirement. So he is making up now even if that is at the cost of Indian Cricket.

  • krish on November 12, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    Vengsarkar has been getting a lot of flak-some deservedly though. But his comment on the need for seniors to perform or perish is quite appropriate in his capacity as the chief selector. He cannot call each one and warn them that there are rookies waiting on the wings. His ommission of Dravid may seem cruel, but may be a blessing in disguise for the batsman, so that he can concentrate on Test matches. To be honest, his tendency to be aggressive in one-day matches, has has not been timed to the needs of the team. Yet Vengsarkar has to be asked why he took the ageing, media-savvy Murli Karthik back in the team. He was last dropped for his uninspiring performance on the last Pak tour. He announces the surgery to be performed on his shoulder and then announces his readiness to play again! He has had a couple of successful matches on turning tracks- a rarity these days. In spite of that, he has only about 35 wickets in about as many matches, at an economy rate of over 5! We have always had highly rated, underperforming left-arm spinners for the last 3 decades, barring a brief appearance by Sunil Joshi- Maninder Singh, V.Raju and now Murli. What happened to the breed of Left arm spinning all-rounders like Mankad, Surti, Durrani and Ghavri? I don't think they are extict. For one there is promising one in Iqbal Abdulla.

  • Brigadier the boos of Colenel on October 23, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    I think because he stammers he is not that popular.

  • sridhar on October 19, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    I think it boils down to the kind of person you are. As chairman of selectors, the media is in the face of Vengsarkar all the time and does its bit to put words in his mouth! He is accountable for every move the board makes.

    As you say, it is probably a function of personality and just that!

  • rev on October 19, 2007, 9:47 GMT

    Avik - perhaps the TV didn't capture it because it's embarrassing to Indians? I've never seen racial vilification on Australian telecasts here but that doesn't mean I deny it happened. If you need proof, I suggest you do a few searches on Google, there are quite a few images of crowd members clearly acting like monkeys. It is apparent you have missed what I am getting at - I don't condone racism in any form and I'm well aware that in the past Australian crowds and players have crossed that very dangerous line. You'll notice though that Lehmann was banned, and following the 'kaffir' taunts, the ICC was called in for an independent investigation and CA admitted that there was a problem to be fixed. Now take a look at the BCCI approach - nothing has happened until the fourth (from memory) time of asking. I do put some of the blame for this at Ponting and CA's feet - they should have stood up for Symonds the first time it happened. As to your other points - 1) Aussie umpiring is now all but irrelevant, with Test matches appointing foreign officals and ODI's with one Aussie/one foreigner. And if you want to be picky, subcontinent umpires weren't that flash back in the day either - perhaps everyone just likes to have a whinge. 2) Never heard the hotel room issue be associated with Australia, but I do recall the BCCI stuffing Sri Lanka around with accommodation in the mid-late-90's, where's the hospitality? 3) Crowds are boorish everywhere. They boo they hiss - and I've been to sub-continent matches at both Mumbai and Hyderabad (sp?) and found little different to Australian crowds. 4) shoulder-before wicket, see pt 1. 5) Last but not least...'accidental beamers'. Mate, if you want to talk accidental beamers, do you happen to know a guy named S.Sreesanth? He oversteps the mark by a couple of feet to deliver those. Talk about turning a blind eye.

  • Avik on October 16, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    Rev, it is surprising that Indian media, and the live telecast of the matches repeatedly failed to record/notice these incidents of 'racism'; and it's only the Australian dailies, with presumably high command over Hindi, bringing the incidents into focus. Racism in all forms need to be abolished; Controlling crowd and player behaviour is a different thing altogether, if you haven't yet forgotten the 'Kaffir' taunts to Nel and the Darren Lehman incident. Offtopic here too, but we know what the Australian Cricket watching crowd is like, and as far as I recall, we never complained against the quality of Aussie umpiring or the crowd behaviour. But then again,since you'd like us to follow your example, we must start talking about the cramped hotel rooms, the boorish Aussie crowd, the 'shoulder-before-wicket' decisions, the regular 'accidental' beamers from Lee, and the like..

  • rev on October 14, 2007, 23:23 GMT

    offtopic I know, but I'm wondering when you and Kamran are going to write articles about the racism against Australia in India (Symonds in particular) and South Africa in Pakistan? God knows had the situations been reversed, every sub-continent dweller under the sun would be screaming the cry of 'racism'. Pathetic.

  • Santhosh on October 13, 2007, 22:05 GMT

    The overhyped reaction to the 20-20 victory is quite amusing. Let's put this in perspective - we have only won playing the peripheral format of a peripheral sport. The tournament itself featured countries with among the least sporting pedigree in the world - India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Mukul once said football is a game where men just chase a ball. Well cricket, any form of it, is not much more than throw-and-hit. Although people like Mukul might cling to straws and claim that having to make decisions about the pitch and declarations, makes Test cricket a "superior sport". Mukul and his ilk hardly watch the world's truly superior sports and should refrain from making comments about other sports. Distance brings perspective, Mr Kesavan, but too much distance may make your perspective hazy and distorted

  • Sam on November 15, 2007, 5:54 GMT

    Here are a few points to note : 1. It is perfectly fine to give a player a break when he is not in good form. However, the correct way of doing this is to talk to the player 1-1 and explaining the reasoning and reassuring him rather than talking to that player through the media.

    While there is lot of talk about emergence of new generation and selfishness of big 3, we should not forget the fact that the big 3 opted out of T20 championship on their own in the interest of the next generation. So, give them credit where it is due.

    3. While we need to plan for the future, the way to do it is for the BCCI to have a talk with the senior players on their career plans, their fitness level and expectations. Having a objective discussion and a mutually agreed upon plan would make it easier for everyone and would ensure that those who play for the country have a graceful end to their career rather than being pushed around and sent confusing signals at this juncture in their career. I am sure after a long career, a player, his teammates and fans would like to know when he is playing his last game rather than realize later that he already played his last International match.

  • S.R.SHANKAR, Scientist on November 14, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Mukul should be complimented for the right criticism on Vengsarkar But his admiration for his capabilty to face pace Bowling is misplaced. As observers of cricket from 70s & 80s would remember,he was not in the same league as Vishwanath,Amarnath, Gavaskar & Sandip Patil when it came to facing fiery pace bowling. His vocal interactions now are as scratchy as his initial tenure at crease. It is amusing when he gave certificate to the peerless Rahul Dravid by quipping" He is a great player-He can comeback" Nevertheless he succeeded in ejecting Dravid out of Indian one day team;-The loss is for the team as he is the best one drop bat in the world -be it oDI or tests For genuine knowledgeable followers, it is paining to see the observers' gallery today filled by arm chair critics, half baked media channels and 20-20 crazy infants. And add to it- The autocratic Western India dominated BCCI officials who have not even played tennis ball cricket; No wonder the seniors like Dravid have to stay withdrawn. The media is in the process of doing a great disservice to Indian cricket which will have catastrophic effects in near future

  • Azfar Alam on November 12, 2007, 10:30 GMT

    Anyone who followed Cricket in the 80's would agree with Mukul that Vengsarkar was a selfish cricketer, certainly not a team man.Hence he proved to be a flop captain also.Sandeep Patil in his book Sandy Storm gives writes about an incident showing how Vengsarkar duped him when they were in their teens. So that's a character trait with the colonel - hitting people below the belt. Mukul is also right that Veng went into virtual obscurity even though he has a good Test Record after retirement. So he is making up now even if that is at the cost of Indian Cricket.

  • krish on November 12, 2007, 6:45 GMT

    Vengsarkar has been getting a lot of flak-some deservedly though. But his comment on the need for seniors to perform or perish is quite appropriate in his capacity as the chief selector. He cannot call each one and warn them that there are rookies waiting on the wings. His ommission of Dravid may seem cruel, but may be a blessing in disguise for the batsman, so that he can concentrate on Test matches. To be honest, his tendency to be aggressive in one-day matches, has has not been timed to the needs of the team. Yet Vengsarkar has to be asked why he took the ageing, media-savvy Murli Karthik back in the team. He was last dropped for his uninspiring performance on the last Pak tour. He announces the surgery to be performed on his shoulder and then announces his readiness to play again! He has had a couple of successful matches on turning tracks- a rarity these days. In spite of that, he has only about 35 wickets in about as many matches, at an economy rate of over 5! We have always had highly rated, underperforming left-arm spinners for the last 3 decades, barring a brief appearance by Sunil Joshi- Maninder Singh, V.Raju and now Murli. What happened to the breed of Left arm spinning all-rounders like Mankad, Surti, Durrani and Ghavri? I don't think they are extict. For one there is promising one in Iqbal Abdulla.

  • Brigadier the boos of Colenel on October 23, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    I think because he stammers he is not that popular.

  • sridhar on October 19, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    I think it boils down to the kind of person you are. As chairman of selectors, the media is in the face of Vengsarkar all the time and does its bit to put words in his mouth! He is accountable for every move the board makes.

    As you say, it is probably a function of personality and just that!

  • rev on October 19, 2007, 9:47 GMT

    Avik - perhaps the TV didn't capture it because it's embarrassing to Indians? I've never seen racial vilification on Australian telecasts here but that doesn't mean I deny it happened. If you need proof, I suggest you do a few searches on Google, there are quite a few images of crowd members clearly acting like monkeys. It is apparent you have missed what I am getting at - I don't condone racism in any form and I'm well aware that in the past Australian crowds and players have crossed that very dangerous line. You'll notice though that Lehmann was banned, and following the 'kaffir' taunts, the ICC was called in for an independent investigation and CA admitted that there was a problem to be fixed. Now take a look at the BCCI approach - nothing has happened until the fourth (from memory) time of asking. I do put some of the blame for this at Ponting and CA's feet - they should have stood up for Symonds the first time it happened. As to your other points - 1) Aussie umpiring is now all but irrelevant, with Test matches appointing foreign officals and ODI's with one Aussie/one foreigner. And if you want to be picky, subcontinent umpires weren't that flash back in the day either - perhaps everyone just likes to have a whinge. 2) Never heard the hotel room issue be associated with Australia, but I do recall the BCCI stuffing Sri Lanka around with accommodation in the mid-late-90's, where's the hospitality? 3) Crowds are boorish everywhere. They boo they hiss - and I've been to sub-continent matches at both Mumbai and Hyderabad (sp?) and found little different to Australian crowds. 4) shoulder-before wicket, see pt 1. 5) Last but not least...'accidental beamers'. Mate, if you want to talk accidental beamers, do you happen to know a guy named S.Sreesanth? He oversteps the mark by a couple of feet to deliver those. Talk about turning a blind eye.

  • Avik on October 16, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    Rev, it is surprising that Indian media, and the live telecast of the matches repeatedly failed to record/notice these incidents of 'racism'; and it's only the Australian dailies, with presumably high command over Hindi, bringing the incidents into focus. Racism in all forms need to be abolished; Controlling crowd and player behaviour is a different thing altogether, if you haven't yet forgotten the 'Kaffir' taunts to Nel and the Darren Lehman incident. Offtopic here too, but we know what the Australian Cricket watching crowd is like, and as far as I recall, we never complained against the quality of Aussie umpiring or the crowd behaviour. But then again,since you'd like us to follow your example, we must start talking about the cramped hotel rooms, the boorish Aussie crowd, the 'shoulder-before-wicket' decisions, the regular 'accidental' beamers from Lee, and the like..

  • rev on October 14, 2007, 23:23 GMT

    offtopic I know, but I'm wondering when you and Kamran are going to write articles about the racism against Australia in India (Symonds in particular) and South Africa in Pakistan? God knows had the situations been reversed, every sub-continent dweller under the sun would be screaming the cry of 'racism'. Pathetic.

  • Santhosh on October 13, 2007, 22:05 GMT

    The overhyped reaction to the 20-20 victory is quite amusing. Let's put this in perspective - we have only won playing the peripheral format of a peripheral sport. The tournament itself featured countries with among the least sporting pedigree in the world - India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Mukul once said football is a game where men just chase a ball. Well cricket, any form of it, is not much more than throw-and-hit. Although people like Mukul might cling to straws and claim that having to make decisions about the pitch and declarations, makes Test cricket a "superior sport". Mukul and his ilk hardly watch the world's truly superior sports and should refrain from making comments about other sports. Distance brings perspective, Mr Kesavan, but too much distance may make your perspective hazy and distorted

  • santhosh on October 13, 2007, 13:26 GMT

    Umesh, you say that had the trio played for Australia their careers would be over by now - I will disagree - if they were Australian, they wouldn't be good enough to play for Australia.

  • Cricket Expert on October 13, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    Find put more about Dilip Vengsarkar and his attitude at indianpremiumleague.in,

    More news for indian as well as international cricket so do login to indianpremiumleague.in

  • VV on October 13, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    Mukul,

    Interesting but flawed piece. Pls note that good words and interesting phrases are no substitute for facts and good analysis. The howlers in your piece are: Shastri being arguably the best commentator !!! Pls Vengsarkar got the nickname because of all the sixes he hit against Pras, Bedi in CK Nayudu's home town in his first Irani trophy match Vengsarkar being the best player of fast bowling after Gavaskar. Vishy and Amarnath were in the same league as Gavaskar when it came to playing overseas. Vengsarkar, a fine batsman no doubt. however, barring his performances in england had a very modest away record

  • Prasad S. Thenkabail on October 12, 2007, 18:36 GMT

    The big 3 needs to be played based on a rotation policy.

    In many ways, India deserved to loose!. Australia has proved something very important: that India’s odd victory here and there does not make them World Champions!!. It is Australia which is the true World Champion team and let us all salute their excellence.

    India has learnt nothing in spite of humiliating defeat in the ODI world cup. For all their talent, they should perform better. There is a tendency for us to go over the top when we win and hardly anyone has idea on how to make India a consistent World beater. There is simply no point in speaking about the records of the big 3 when we can not win matches.

    First and foremost, not being able to get a coach after so many months shows how useless and pathetic BCCI is. It is sunk in money and choking badly. Instead of pursuing excellence, they have pursued chaos. That with few victories to say that we do not need a coach shows lack of knowledge and vision. Indeed, get Greg Chappell back. I think, he is the right coach of India.

    Vengsarkar is a strange selector. Has no guts to implement any plan. Make no mistake that Indian team is making zero progress because of 3 big egos called Sachin, Ganguly, and now Dravid. After the 20\20 victory without these “super-stars” on thought selectors and board knew better. They can so easily drop Kumble, but they can not drop (or rest) Sachin, Savrov, and Dravid. What is totally unacceptable is the pressure these 3 players put on the selectors (virtually threatening them) first through team manager, then in interviews by Ganguly and Sachin. Even Dhoni seems to be scared to speak on big 3. How can they do this?. How can anyone accept this?

    After 5 matches against Australia, one thought selectors will rest these 3 big players and choose a young team. Rather, they are held hostage to these 3 big egos. People will point out that Sachin scored, Ganguly scored, and youngsters failed. True, very true. But Sachin and Ganguly shamelessly go at the top and selfishly waste overs putting enormous pressure on youngsters. Actually, even when they play they should be sent lower down.

    The team for the last 2 ODI matches ought to have been (this is more or less the team you need):

    Shewag, Uttappa, Parthiv Patel, Yuvraj, Badrinath, Dhoni, Ifran Pathan, Sreeshanth, RP Singh, Harbajan Singh, Munaf Patel.

    Others in team: Zaheer Khan, Prajat Ohja, Rohit Sharma, Ishat Sharma, Dinesh Karthik

    Reserves: Sachin, Rahul, Tiwary, Appanna.

    Yes, I will easily drop Ganguly.

    For the tests the team ought to be:

    Shewag, Uttappa, Dravid, Yuvraj, Sachin, Badrinath, Dhoni, Ifran Pathan, Sreeshanth, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel.

    Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Dinesh Karthik

    Reserves: Suresh Raina, Ramesh Power, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla, and Appanna.

    If we play the above team, you will more or less begin to see the results. There ought to be rotation policy in ODIs and 20\20s.

  • Rahul Oak on October 12, 2007, 17:45 GMT

    Firstly, ALL comparisons are odious, not just the Vengsarkar-Gavaskar one. Secondly, I failed to grasp the point of this blog. If this was an attempt at a psycho-emotional analysis of a certain Dilip Vengsarkar, it probably does not have place in a cricket blog. Probably too much is made of comments made by current or ex-players, umpires, coaches and what have you. This is a classic case of the media giving too much attention to the media. Back to cricket please.

  • arao on October 12, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    Agree with Supratik. The "seniors" comment was really aimed at Dravid. Its obvious relations between Vengsarkar and Dravid had deteriorated considerably leading to the latter's resignation. Vengsarkar needed the first excuse to hit Dravid below the belt and I think he got it with Dravid's poor form in this series. I think Rahul should withdraw from ODIs, concentrate on test cricket and really cement his place as an all time great test player. For what its worth, I think Vengy has not covered himself with glory as a selector. The sooner he leaves, the better it is for Indian cricket.

  • Ashok on October 12, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    Vengsarkar as the chairman of the selection committee has full right to express his opinion but he should do so privately with each individual involved. Indian batting has been poor with Only Tendulkar showing consistency. There were some great innings from Yuvraj and Dhoni too. But with just 7 batsmen in the line up it is imperative that others contibute consistently whether they are "Big 3" or not. Dravid's performance has been consistently poor.Dropping of a spirited player like Sreesanth is totally unjustified. Team selection leaves a lot to be desired. We definitely need a replacement for the leg spinners of Kumble in ODI's. Why are Sehwag, Piyush Chawla, Tiwari not even considered? Vengsarkar should concentrate more on providing the best team with fighting abilities rather than criticize players (which he has selected) in public. If he wants to warn any player about his performance he should do it privately. The so called "3 Big" are all below 35. There are several Aussies in the present team who are older than our 3 seniors (e.g., Hayden and Gilchrist) and are outstanding performers. Hence performance not the age should be the criterion for selection, as Tendulkar rightly put it. We have no doubt that Vengsarkar was one of the best batsmen of his era. But he is wearing diffrent shoes now and has to behave in a manner fitting his position.

  • raja jayaraman on October 12, 2007, 16:07 GMT

    Dilip has played lot of tests, both on and off the field, and i feel what he said was correct, atleast that will motivate senior players to perform their best

  • madhusudan on October 12, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Too much is written about Cricket and the Cricketers the world over.It is very very easy to pass comments sitting in the gallery.Playing Cricket these days is a full time job.Think for a moment how many of us are consistent in performing our tasks-each and every item of work in our job arenas.If compared, we would be in a position to assess the greatness of these cricketers.Every ball faced by the batsman, ball bowled by the bowler, and a ball fielded by the fielder requires great amount of concentration. A split second exists between failure and success. Mr.Vengsarkar appears to have uttered those words with instincts-just the way timing a shot against a faster delivery! MK seems to have used those words to write an unnecessary lengthy blog. All of us, on the sidelines, form too many cooks- and we know the result.

  • Bhavin on October 12, 2007, 14:42 GMT

    Indian cricket board does not seem to be aware of the concept of giving feedback to anyone in private. Most communication seems to happen through media rather than on a 1-1 basis.

  • ashok on October 12, 2007, 14:27 GMT

    I think it's time everybody took their sport a little less seriously. Gopal is right - some of us would have us believe that Test cricket is rocket science. It clearly is not - far from it. Let's be a little bit sensible about the whole thing.

  • damodar on October 12, 2007, 14:09 GMT

    Somebody mentioned "ignorant cricket fan" - I think the bigger problem in India is the ignorant sports fan, who equates sport with cricket and is an arm-chair critic of other sports.

  • Chetan Asher on October 12, 2007, 13:56 GMT

    Mukul,

    This has nothing to do with what the big 3 have done in the past. I am only referring to what they can do today / in future.

    Dhoni's views about the necassity of the big 3 have just been belied by Sachin who chose to hand Australia Saurav Ganguly's wicket & with it, the 5th match of this series rather than run hard (Saurav Ganguly is one of the slowest men between wickets that we know & he still managed to stop, turn & almost got back, covering 3/4ths of the pitch length. So the argument - run was risky is just an attempt at making Ganguly the scapegoat for Sachin's limitations).

    The kind of single Ganguly attempted is something that has to be taken by a team which wants to win one-day cricket today.

    If Sachin feels he is not good enough to run those for his team, he should take a break, build up his own speed & stamina & then come back, rather than cling to his position in the Indian team in such a way that if he succeeds, Indians behind him are under a run-rate pressure & if he fails, Indians behind him are under a wicket-falling pressure.

  • Vijay on October 12, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Utterly pointless! Just creating a blog does not allow you to write some useless stuff Mukul. What's sacrilege did Vengsarkar commit by warning the BIG 3. We displayed pathetic performance all throughout the series boasting of GREATEST BATSMAN. If playing great some years back entitles a player to be in the team and not be critisised then we need to continue with the BORDES and HAZARE's of yesteryears

  • Nitin J on October 12, 2007, 12:56 GMT

    I completely agree with Vengsarkar. The senior players are taking their places for granted. Also they are poor fielders. The Indian team is already a poor fielding side. Having these 3 slow guys in the team is adding to the burden. Tendulkar especially appears to be a shadow of himself. He is a legend and him hanging on is only tarnishing his legacy (like Kapil Dev). The selectors dont have the guts to drop any of these. Whenever they are dropped for a series,it is masked as them being "rested". If they are dropped, it will be the best thing for Indian cricket. If they are that great, let them play in the domestic game and fight back for their places. They are promoting a culture of entitlement, which is bad for Indian cricket. We can never compete with Australia, where they only criteria for selection is merit. Wake up Indian board, selectors before it is too late.

  • Avik Roy on October 12, 2007, 12:34 GMT

    Sorry Mukul, this was a ramble. Not up to your usual standards in terms of riveting prose or compelling argument. This one sounds more like a diatribe, forcing a point that is neither here nor there... I shall look forward to better stuff.

  • Umesh Srinivasan on October 12, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    Had the famed trio had been playing for Australia their carreers would be history by now,why not adopt the same rotational policy,everyone gets a chance and the better suited are retained.The trio's achievements are never in question,age catches up with everyone and it is very glaring in their case. The chairman of selectors cannot be totally blamed for using the whip,it sometimes brings out the best.By the way, did you know that the chief selector of SriLanka Cricket is an in-law of the President (they are married to sisters)Politics has not spared even Cricket in SriLanka,the results are there for everyone to see.

  • Mohamed Abdul khader on October 12, 2007, 12:04 GMT

    Every one is running behind these 3. Please stop and let them continue there play as usual. don't put on any pressure to these 3, already they have done a lot to india as well they performance too is good. so please stop on commenting any statements.

  • Abhimanyu Mehta on October 12, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    Senior players are doing just fine, it just everyone is getting frustrated because India is losing more games than winning.

    There is just to much polities going on in the BCCI. That is why Indian is losing so many games.

    Anyway if India wants to win than, Irfan Pathan must be given a NEW BALL, he can swing the ball both ways and is currently bowling the right line and length, in order for him to do this, he has to be given a new ball not a 15 overs old ball.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently showing NO TRUST in Irfan Pathan. His, not so good captaincy is costing India big time.

    As you all saw in the 4th ODI, Rahul Dravid came before Robin Uthappa in the 40th plus over, when India needed a lot of power hitting to score quick runs, made NO SENCE whatsoever. Even though India won, you still can not hide Mahendra Singh Dhoni's bad captaincy. And even in the 5th ODI ater the 2nd power plays when India needed to stop the easy singles, he was still protecting the boundaries when Australia needed only a single run to win the game. That is enough to show that India needs a new captain.

    India need a captain like Ricky Pointing. You think it is impossible to find one ? Wrong, we all know what he is capable of ..... "Mohammad Kaif". Yes.

  • prat on October 12, 2007, 10:28 GMT

    Another charmingly inane post that is fast becoming your trademark :-)

  • Suresh Krishnamurthy on October 12, 2007, 9:16 GMT

    Mukul, This article is such a disappointment for committed readers of your column, many of whom may not even bother to write. Was this piece ghost-written? If some other person had written this article, you would have come down on him like a ton of bricks. At least for the sake of your fans you should publicly withdraw this piece.

  • Tubby on October 12, 2007, 8:59 GMT

    Mukul, Vengsarkar s comments now have got nothing to do with his past or his playing days and not even his comparison with his peers. Thats naive. Yes the statement he gave was rubbish, but thats it. No need to dissect him up down right from his career start to the end and pitching him against his peers. I hope you take the comments in their face value and dont show the eagerness to rip apart the person.

  • Mishra Prasoon on October 12, 2007, 8:43 GMT

    When does cricinfo stop listening to Mukul Kesavan?

  • ram,Singapore on October 12, 2007, 7:47 GMT

    It is a shame that Badrinath is not getting a game. he is in sublime form for the past 3 years but back door selections like R Sharma, Raina delayed his inclusion. It is hight time he is included in anyone's place. if they cannot find a place for him , one of the seniors have to make way, though Indian players are not known for graceful exits. ( I admire Nasser Hussain the way he bid farewell to the game after a match-winning hundred)

  • Dave on October 12, 2007, 7:18 GMT

    Why should the performance yardstick be used for the seniors only? what about the juniors? When australia were 8/2, they recovered to post 300+ in Kochi, but when India was 5/2, we could manage only 148 thanks to sachin, irfan, zaheer and RP. What did the so called youngsters like yuvraj and utthapa do? They played iffy shots and showed no application (unlike haddin, clarke,symonds when aus were in trouble). The only was they thick of playing is the T20 way instead of building an innings when the team is in trouble. And bloggers who say we should forget the stats of the "big 3" and focus on the present, then we should also forget that the youngsters have won the T20 and focus on their current performance. All the big noise made by the youngsters " we will fight fire with fire " and " if australia think they will beat us easily, they must be dreaming" sounds foolish as these guys have neither fought fire with fire or given a fight to the aussies. All they have done is made the noises, snarled and shouted and got thrashed while bowling and failed to deliver while batting. The only time the so called youngsters managed anything of note was when the Sachin and Saurav managed a partnership. Otherwise in the first 2 matches Gambhir was out of sort playing the ODI and the middle order just wilted. The other aspect is to look at the quality of the sides. When Aus had a bad day they lost by 8 runs, however when India had a bad day they lost by 9 wickets with 24 overs to spare !!! So its better to drop the "youngster" talk.

  • Gopi Rajagopal on October 12, 2007, 7:16 GMT

    "He was, after Gavaskar, our finest player of fast-bowling in the '70s and '80s,..." Really? Perhaps Mr.Kesavan has forgotten Vishwanath's 97 n.o. in Chepauk against a rampaging Roberts or his century in Port of Spain when India chased over 400 and won. The statement might be correct in the 80s. India's best players of pace in the 70s were (in no order) Gavaskar, Vishwanath and Mohinder. Vengsarkar might come in fourth.

  • Sanjay on October 12, 2007, 6:43 GMT

    I belong to a generation of cricketers who have grown up watching the Gavaskars,Viswanaths, Vengsarkars,Kapil Devs, Mohinder Amarnaths. These are some of the finest cricketers to have walked on the famed cricketing fields of this country and elsewhere.The point which I am trying to make is, why is Mukul so upset about Vengsarkar's view. Afterall, here is a person who has played for the country with distinction and is holding a position of great responsibility and is answerable for the performance of his selected team.Can he not question his players? Mukul needs to understand that it is performance alone that merits a place in the team, like in any other walk of life.A more broader view is expected from a person of your calibre. With Warm Regards, SANJAY

  • Sanjay on October 12, 2007, 6:41 GMT

    I belong to a generation of cricketers who have grown up watching the Gavaskars,Viswanaths, Vengsarkars,Kapil Devs, Mohinder Amarnaths. These are some of the finest cricketers to have walked on the famed cricketing fields of this country and elsewhere.The point which I am trying to make is, why is Mukul so upset about Vengsarkar's view. Afterall, here is a person who has played for the country with distinction and is holding a position of great responsibility and is answerable for the performance of his selected team.Can he not question his players? Mukul needs to understand that it is performance alone that merits a place in the team, like in any other walk of life.A more broader view is expected from a person of your calibre. With Warm Regards, SANJAY

  • sankar on October 12, 2007, 6:20 GMT

    Hello Friends, Cricket is a team game and at the end of the day only the result counts not the so called big achievements of sachin, he played a lot, scored a lot and earned a lot so it is time for others to earn something for themself and the country, he started his carrer by 16 and after after such long time he is definitely blocking some youngsters life and he is no more that attacking batsman and accumulate in the opening overs is not indeed the need of the hour. And build the team for 2011 world cup.

  • B G Krishnan on October 12, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    I think we have to accept that we are a people very sensitive to criticism - we would rather keep hero-worshipping people until one day we suddenly drop them altogether - no half-way house for us. Vengsarkar's mistake was in not recoginizing that `face' is very important in our country and speaking frankly to the point someone loses face is a strict no-no in our culture. Not different to the lesson Greg Chappel failed to learn about India in contrast to, say, John Wright, his predecessor as India's coach. If the Chairman of Selectors of the English team had said something similar about his own team, it might have just been all in a day's work. In India, it is different. Vengsarkar's problem is that he lacks the savvy in this regard that a Shastri or even a Dhoni seem to have naturally. Perhaps that is why the latter two are seen as natural leaders - yes, even Shastri though he didn't get too many opportunities to be captain of the Indian team. The article was overall disappointing in its lack of balance and maturity of assessment.

  • Muhammad Usman Aslam on October 12, 2007, 5:23 GMT

    As a Pakistani fan, i find this situation interesting enough to comment upon.... There's no doubt that the seniors like Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid are priceless cricketers, but still i think Vengsarkar was rite in what he wanted to say.

    Young players who've performed well at the T20 WC should be given exposure, though not all out of a sudden. India will have to bring in place the rotation policy, like the australians did and now even if they face the daunting prospect of so many awesome crickets like ponting, gilly, hayden.. they still hve managed to get more out of their youngsters.. Looking at the bowling performances of Shaun Tait and Mitchell Jhonson, it leaves little to dispute that with proper mgmt of playing talent, seniors and juniors both can contribute. on a different note, eagerly awaiting for Pakistan's tour to india... it will surely help us to win if all three seniors are dropped after this Australian series, which i feel will happen due to the 5-1 expected thrashing. PEACE.

  • Shuvendu Sen on October 12, 2007, 4:31 GMT

    Actually I see an uncanny similarity here: Mukul's entry into cricket columns and Colonel's baptism as a selector. It is possible that both are 'playing to the gallery'. The other possibility is that both are honest in their intentions but oblivious to their shortcomings.

    Sachin, Sourav and Rahul are all national treasures. They are dispensable only when adequately replaced. The whack of 20/20 has nothing to do with the art of cricket mastered by these great servants in Tests or a One dayers.

    There is a certain 'mob mentality' amongst us that is very disconcerting. An essential Indian trait that spares none. Be it aging cricketers in the form of selectors or vanishing writers in the garb of cricket columnists.

  • poor old bowler on October 12, 2007, 3:11 GMT

    i agree 100% with vengaskar india's older generation are overated and do the team more harm than good.

    i will explain why, ganguly is a selfminded scardy cat who likes to hide himself, any team with a decent pace attack finds him out very quickly.

    dravid is a blockaholic who doesent take on bowling attacks and plays for his average rather than results,bowling attacks can afford to go after dravid because you know he isnt going to go after you.

    tendulkar is the most overrated batsmen in the world, i wouldnt rate him in the top 5 batsmen in the world and his boring, all tendulkar has to is sneeze and india goes wild. tendulkar is a one shot wonder a check drive past the bowler for 4, if i were a opposition captain i would have my bowlers bowl straight hoping for a bit of swing and have my mid on and mid off very straight and force him to hit across the line through mid wicket where i think his a big chance of getting out lbw.he doesent dominate attacks like ponting,hayden,gilchrist,lara,pieterson,jayasuria,gibbs or flintoff.

    sewag is the best indian batsmen ive seen he takes on bowling attacks and gives his side a chance of winning matches with big aggressive scores in the first innings.

    at least the younger generation of indians are entertaining,exciting and have flair. they have a willingness to take on bowling attacks and a desire to win matches.

    i really like dhoni,uthappa and sreesanth.

    if i vengaskar i wouldnt pick tendulkar,ganguly or dravid to tour australia later this year the indians will have a better chance of winning without them.

    just one australians humble opinion

  • AG on October 12, 2007, 0:49 GMT

    I think that it is rather strange to expect that the chairman of the selection committee should keep quiet in the face of such horrible performance by the team. I think he should speak his mind even more, just to keep players on the toes, and to inform us fans about what may be going wrong with the team. In fact, I think that BCCI should go ahead and make public the minutes of each meeting, and especially the selection committee's meeting. I think that over the long run, the more information is out, the better it will be for the team-selection.

    I also think that the problem is not really senior players. It is really the inability of the fringe players to perform when needed. One can't expect the same 3-4 (senior) players to do well each time.

  • Sesh on October 11, 2007, 23:26 GMT

    If all you wanted to say was that Vengsarkar should stop making provocative comments about the "seniors" in the side, you could have said that in one line and saved everyone a lot of time. But you needed to write an article, and you didn't have much to write about, so you decided to spin that one sentence into a long article that sounds rather silly.

    So Mohinder Amarnath appears on some cricket shows - not many - but then so does Mandira Bedi. Big deal. There are many very good cricketers who perhaps have more self-respect and so don't want to make fools of themselves on TV all the time.

    There are two types of former cricketers: those who sound stupid on TV but know they sound stupid and therefore stay away from commentary (like Kapil Dev), and those who sound stupid but don't know it (like Atul Wassan or Vivek Razdan or Saba Karim). Maybe Vengsarkar just isn't good at commentary.

    Also, Viswanath "remains a presence in the cricketing public's mind despite his shyness, in a way that Vengsarkar doesn't"?? Really? How do you know? Did you conduct a survey to find out who is better remembered? Or did you just make that up and write it in order to make your article sound better?

    And what is the relevance of the name of Vengsarkar's academy?

    I normally like what you write, but this is a silly article, with no sensible argument in it at all.

    And by the way, Ravi Shastri sounds like a pompous fool on TV; Harsha Bhogle is much better.

  • Kumar on October 11, 2007, 22:25 GMT

    Mukul, leave the man alone...regardless of what he says now as selector he perhaps have a right to say it. He was and still will be remembered as a great Indian Player. I am West Indian from guyana and he is one of the few Indian players i admire, actually all the names you mentioned I admire. They were exceptional cricketers, it's just that when they played teh opposition were stronger...cricket teams back then were more balanced, Australia wins now because the test teams are not balanced...

    DOn;t pick on the man...leave him alone...god bless him as we all know being in any capacity in Indian cricket is not a CAKE WALK.

    If that's his way of letting steam off and getting the players he spoke up riled up to perform it was just that...as chairman of selectors eh had to pick them and they have to Justify their places...

    And for all of you that are gloating over the 20/20 win, it's just that 20/20...nothing big...when it comes to the real test of 50 overs and test cricket it's QUITE different.

    Now, may INDIA whallop the Aussies in the test series and make Ponting SHUT UP...they talk too much and cry too much when they get back the crap they throw at the opposition...they are the bullies that cry foul when they get a dose of their medicine...

    GO INDIA

  • rext on October 11, 2007, 22:13 GMT

    It's obvious your biography above is accurate when it says you "write fiction when you can"! The point is: A champion team will always beat a team of champions. Individual performances within the Australian Team are relevant only in what they contribute to the team effort. Prima donnas have no place. India and Pakistan overflow with individual talent but sustained success evades them because they appear to not understand, or won't sacrifice their personal ambitions for, the basic notion that cricket, like Nation building, is a team sport. Somewhere in there I believe, is the essence of what Vengsarkar was saying and all you can do is criticize the means in which he said it! Attacking the postman for bringing mail you didn't want makes no difference to the content of the letter.

  • Nishant on October 11, 2007, 20:52 GMT

    Mukul, this is a great piece of writing, compact, incisive and urbane

  • Ash Zed - Saudi Arabia on October 11, 2007, 20:34 GMT

    After a long time I have seen a piece of writing from you without Pakistan bashing... at last you have started showing sign of maturity.

    Coming back to the main topic, I think the main reason why Vengsarker said so and why Tendulkar reacted sharply is all because of media hype. Both are correct at their own place.

    Another reason is that India, as expected, is back to earth after a brief honeymoon period following their lucky triumph in the T20 WC. I do hope Indian will show more maturity after any wins or defeats and take everything like a game rather getting too emotional and carried away.

    Take my words, more defeats to follow for India.

  • vidooshak on October 11, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    Uncalled for diatribe against Vengsarkar. First of all he didn't plunge into obscurity. He has been very active in Bombay cricket with his academy (Elf is the sponsoring company - Mukul, the joke's really on you). Plus, he has been active in the Mumbai Cricket Association (losing and winning elections). What's funny is I don't see any analysis of the performances from the seniors anymore that's objective. These guys are bringing test match batting to ODI cricket. Very soon I fear that Gavaskar's record of slowest innings will be broken by one of Tendulkar or Ganguly.

  • Sanjay on October 11, 2007, 19:42 GMT

    What is wrong in giving honest assesment of our senior cricketers?Do we want to live in the world where individual opinion ,even if selector,should be curb?Do we want to live in democratic way,where you can debate right or wrong?Or just we want to live in a Taliban way where no one allowed to say anything.People should be grown up not narrow minded .You should be able to take criticism when you perform well and people adore you like T20 Championship.I think everyone should allowed to say anything as long as it is constructive.

  • venkat on October 11, 2007, 19:38 GMT

    figures do not necessarily reflect the merits of a batsman Gavaskar stood above others in terms of figures but how many match winnings came from compared to G.R.Visvanath. Mohinder never got a settled slot in the beginnings so do't be fooled by figures.

  • Steve Smith on October 11, 2007, 19:24 GMT

    How can everyone here be so fickle and forget about Dravid just like that? He has always been under the axe and always under pressure. Even though, he is considered a great, the Indian public is always ready to pounce on him at the slightest flutter. His record in both ODI's and Tests is impeccable and only a slight slump in recent form (I think the first real mini slump for a real long time) has got people dogging after him again. Infact he would be the captain right now, if it wasnt for his resignation. Lay off Dravid! He is one of the greatest servants of Indian Cricket.

  • Jamie Dowling on October 11, 2007, 19:16 GMT

    Interesting stuff. Administrators (and let's face it, that's what Vengsarkar is now) who bleat and rant to the media do themselves, their administration and their team no favours. Major General is right about Trevor Hohns, the chairman of the Australian selectors - he only speaks to the media when he has something worth saying.

    In terms of comparisons with other peers, Mohinder Armanath seems to be regarded as a gentleman and a scholar. The same can be said of Ravi Shastri. Is DV jealous of his peers? Is DV jealous of the records of the Big Three?

    There's a world of difference between spouting off to the media and having the guts to tell someone face to face that they need to reach a target and they're not doing well in reaching that target. I could not respect a person who lacked the courage to tell me face to face and preferred to pass their message on via the media or a subordinate.

    I was always taught that to make progress on large tasks (and let's face it, Indian cricket's fan base is the largest in the world) you had to shut up and buckle down.

    These last two points are worth considering, whatever your job in life.

    And congratulations to India on winning the World Twenty20 championship.

  • ram shankar on October 11, 2007, 19:14 GMT

    Mukul, your biased mind just can't accept the fact that Australia are too good. Don't read too much into anything. There are better writers of prose on the BBC than we need here in India.

  • Iyer on October 11, 2007, 18:17 GMT

    Yesterday was a classic example of how youngsters fail to deliver in a crunch situation. When Ganguly was unlucky to be dismissed run out, the gates were opened and the stage was perfectly set up for yuvraj and uthappa to perform. But, they were badly exposed. Yet again they failed to deliver when it matters the most. So with this dismal performance I just hope sanity would return back in Indian media and all those noise makers wud remain silent for a year at least.

    Cheers,

  • Shankar on October 11, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    So the chairman of selectors does not have a right to comment on players in the team? Too much is made of this!! However, Vengsarkar has been known to be a churlish man - he was upset when he didnt win the Man of the Match award against SriLanka in a test at Cuttack in 1985-86 (Kapil Dev won it), huffing away from the podium and accused Gavaskar of running his partner's runs slower during a partnership at the MCG in 1986! So, perhaps there is a reason to him not being the most dear of players

  • Nizam Khan on October 11, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    As a descendant of Indians who left those shores more than 150 years ago, I can view with some objectivity and detachment, the manner in which the Indian press and public interact with their cricketing heroes. I'm constantly nauseated when words such as god,immortal, as in this article, supreme etc. are used liberally when describing or referring to India's cricketers.It is this relationship which lies at the core of this article.Many of India's cricketers are exceptionally talented and are extremely well compensated for this talent by an adoring public.They are no more and no less, full stop. Stop the deification of India's crickers, past and present please.It invites only ridicule from the rest of the world.This is clearly evident in many of the comments from the current Australian team which, by the way, is whipping the Indians' asses.

  • Sanjeev on October 11, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    If the Chairman of Selectors cannot comment about selection issues, who should? People who have never played cricket -- like Niranjan Shah & Lalit Modi or the politicions at the helm?

  • Rajesh on October 11, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    Well, Youth for the sake of youth is never going to take Indian Cricket anywhere. If Australia talk about youth and the need to build for the future it's because they have such a strong base and the young players that get picked for the national side are well equipped to handle international cricket. And this could be because of the high standard of domestic cricket in Australia.

    Whereas in India there has been a blind obsession with youth without actually doing anything constructive. These days with the advent of so many television channels the media hypes everything and this obsession with youth is something in which the media's role is undeniable.

    Even in a country like Australia where they plan everything very well selection is mostly on merit and performances rather than age. The selections of Michael Hussey, Stuart Clark and to an extent even Brad Hodge and Brad Haddin is testament to that. They pick the best players available and thats one of the secrets of their outstanding performances over the years in international cricket.

    Indians should first learn to appreciate and respect what the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have done for cricket in India and try to build a team for the future with the guidance of those stalwarts rather than throwing abuse at them and calling for their heads at every possible opportunity. If only they learn to do that, Indian Cricket would sure be much better for it....

    The problem is not with Vengsarkar or his comments but as a whole with how we look at Cricket in India.

  • Shyam on October 11, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    I agree with Siva. This was a pretty long and meandering and pointless article. All Mukul wanted to say was "Vengsarkar, please shut up and pick the best 11 who can the win the match". But then again, he might be getting paid by the word.

  • Aadit on October 11, 2007, 16:55 GMT

    hi everyone, i am in certain agreement wid mukul because these comments were needless,pointless and more importantly useless..well if u see gambhir and uthappa as replacements bcoz of their 20-20 perfomance it's useless because u just had to flash there and when it comes towards application under difficult conditions both don't even come close

  • K.R.Sai Prasad on October 11, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    Dear Sir, One thing is clear vengsarkar is not against Sourav Gangully or Sachin Tendulkar he is against only Rahul Dravid.He is also instrumental for Dravids decision to resign from captaincy. He has un - necesasarily commented about Dravids Captaincy and he is always targeting Dravid from the day he took over selection commitee. Generaly the indian fans dont realise the selflesh contribution of Rahul Dravid to Indian Cricket. After Gundappa Viswanath he is the gentle man Cricketer. The media is also against Dravid which is absurd. Whenever Dravid has pulled the team out of trouble it is not highlighted properly. In 2006 Dravid should have been awarded Khel Ratna award. But the BCCI sent the recomendation very late and he could not be awarded that award. Where as Tendulkar was awarded and the BCCI has also recommended his name well in advance. Khel Ratna award should have been awarded at least in 2007 but it was not awarded. BCCi has not given any explanation about this. This shows BCCI shows partiality. Likewise Mr. Vengsarkar aslo does not like Dravid as he is from South India. we need not be surprised if Dravid is dropped from one day international in future and he might be treated like Marvan Attapattu of Sri Lanka. This shows that good, honest and selfless person like Dravid will not be recognized by the BCCI as well as indian Fans whose only theory is if the ball is bowled it hit and not technical aspects of the game. While concluding i wish to state that a player like Dravid is very difficult to get in Future. Goodluck Dravid.

    Regards,

    K.R. Sai Prasad

  • Sriram on October 11, 2007, 16:50 GMT

    What kind of a hatchet job is this? I know a lot about paid hacks, and this seems like money thrown at Mr. Kesavan to pan any opposition to the Big 3.

    The sheer amount of money riding on them means that cutting their careers short would hurt their corporate sponsors, so they pay a hack like Mukul to do do an odious character piece on Vengsarkar.

    If it isn't fresh in everyone's minds, let me refresh it.

    The big 3 were the most over-hyped set of players way past their prime, and it showed, in the World Cup this year.

  • me on October 11, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    If Aussies can sack Steve,Hayden Y not Indians do that to nonperformers? Place in the Team should purely be based on the performance not by the Name or "Once upon a time there was a performace which save India blah blah ".. I like Tendulkar,Ganguly and Dravid or whoever only when they play tough cricket...You get out for a duck but let that be by a thrashing shot caught near the boundry line..I dont mind seeing that but I puke to c when some one goes for first ball duck by lbw..play with bat plzz...

  • sudeep das on October 11, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    Mukul Mohinder Amarnath was the best Indian player of fast bowling (both in technique and temperament) in the era that you have mentioned. There is no argument about that. Do not see how you missed that point.

    Sudeep Das

  • Aditya on October 11, 2007, 16:07 GMT

    Mukul you have been talking about why Vengsarkar has been off the limelight a bit in the last few years . I am from mumbai and he has done a pretty decent job in coaching youngsters at his academy. I would say his achievements are better than Shastri. At least he preferred to go at the grassroots level and work rather than the glamor of the commentary box.

    On another note, Vengsarkar wasn't called colonel because of his military bearing or his 3 100's . He first came to limelight in an Irani trophy match in 1975-76 when he smashed 110 against an attack of Bedi , Prasanna and Chandrasekhar. repeatedly coming down the pitch and hitting aerial shots. since the match was in CK Nayudu's hometown Nagpur, It was said that the "colonel" has been re-born and hence the name !

  • Cricketfreak on October 11, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    Hi All, I do agree with Dilip's comments, which may have not been phrased the right way. Not just the seniors, I am talking about. Any one who can't play or perform as a team can't be guaranteed a place in the national side. I can say with pride that the current national team has outstanding players like Sachin, Rahul, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma, etc. With players of such caliber why we still keep failing? Winning Twenty20 world cup was a great news for us, but winning the world cup 3 times in a row is not a great news for Australia, coz they know they deserve a win and they did. What makes a team a winning team vs champions is champions perform when they have to. I believe we should learn some playing ethics from Australia, the team feared by every other team in the world. Winning against pakistan may be, say 5 out of 10 times we do. Winning against Australia 1 out of 10 times is what we are looking at now. When it comes to a do-or-die match it should be a team effort and not like seniors lay the foundation and the younger minds capitalize on that. Play as a team and perform when its crucial are what the selecters expect and I feel there is nothing wrond about the comment Dilip gave, may be he didn't give it the right tone and touch.

  • balaji on October 11, 2007, 15:43 GMT

    A well articulated article, i want to also let everyone remember that Vengsarkar is the leader of the pack which actually "anointed" Mahi for three games... annoying since thay had no choice and the only good candidate is on probation... very similar to informing that narayanmurthy will head Infosys in the absence of nandan nilkan but only for 1 week!!!

    I think this warped thinking is more VASTU-- the occupant is behaving irrationally..?

    any takers?

  • Macjoubert on October 11, 2007, 14:58 GMT

    Whats your point? You started chastising him and then meandered onto praising him then hove east to delve into his career which we all know all too well was during the bland phase of the Indian economy. So was your point, that he's plain old fashioned jealous?

  • moiz on October 11, 2007, 14:52 GMT

    i think the writer is on someones payroll.. also these words reflect the politics and the mentality of indian cricket structure which still adores personalities rather then performance. but things have slowly started changing. the management and sturcture is moving towards professionalism. thanks to some Australian mindset inputs in the system like former coach Gregg Chappel.

  • Deepesh on October 11, 2007, 14:41 GMT

    What's further amazing is the quality, or the lack of it, of Indian bowling? Compared against the Aussies, in the last 4 matches, it seemed as if the 2 sides were bowling on 2 different pitches. The bowling has never looked worse. But why should it more so when Prasad's the bowling coach ? There's something seriously wrong with our opening attack in their failure to get wickets in the initial 10 overs.Maybe a Munaf in place of Zaheer ? 3 for 60 in 9 overs is better than none for 57 in 9.

  • Tyche on October 11, 2007, 14:00 GMT

    Hi Mukul,

    This article is verbose and utterly incoherent. If you had a rationale that linked the cricketing performances of Vengsarkar's contemporaries to his most recent comments, that rationale did not come through at all. This is easily one of your worst creations.

    Also, I take issue with your statement that Vengsarkar was the best player of pace after Gavaskar in the 70s and 80s. To me, the two best players of both pace and spin are Gundappa Vishvanath and Mohinder Amarnath.

  • Dilan on October 11, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    I really don't understand what the fuss is all about concerning Vensarkar's comments.He is trying to show that he is not afraid to take tough descisions for the betterment of the Indian team.I doubt that there are many who have the guts to tell the Big 3 that performance is the only motivation to be included in the team and not the seniority of the individual

  • Major on October 11, 2007, 13:23 GMT

    Come on guys, whats the fuss about. So what if a selector tell's the 'BIG 3' to pull up their socks. Whats is wrong with it. Dont we all need a little jolt once in a while to get th ebest out of ourselves. Getting emotional over nothing is a trademark of all we Indians. We either go head-over-heels over our Cricketers or we boot them.

    I personally see nothing wrong in Mr. Vengsarkar's comments and commend him for that. Everyone has to perform or get the hell out. AND please lets stop gloating over the facts & figures of the 'Big 3'. Every ODI/Test is a new match played on a new day.

    Way to go 'Vengy'.

  • sudharsan on October 11, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    I think we are being unfair to Vengsarkar as chairman of selectors here. I think Vengsarkar & Co have done a good job in picking youth and making them travel with the senior team. They have persisted with youth. I do not think his comments on Seniors should be seen in isolation. All along we have been saying that seniors should start shouldering responsibilities and allow youth to play freely. I think he has the guts to call spade a spade. Further it is not fair to compare Vengsarkar with Shastri & Gavaskar. I think the contributions of Shastri and Gavaskar to Indian cricket post their cricketing era is questionable. If at all they have contributed it was Greg chappel fiasco.

  • Naval Patel on October 11, 2007, 12:49 GMT

    Mr Kesavan is utterly wrong that Vengsarkar disappeared from public awareness between his retirement and appointment as Selector. Vengsarkar started and organised the Elf Academy on the Oval Maidan in Bombay which did a wonderful job of providing development to a host of young children, and he conducted this process for numerous years with sincerity. The Bombay public were certainly aware of his devoted work, as a responsible correspondent should also have been. Thereafter on the National scene Vengsarkar led the teams of talent spotters who roamed the lesser publicised cricket playing centres and identified really talented youths for entry to the various academies. Today we gloat that many members of the national and the 'A' team are from small towns - would these men have been recognised if it had not been for the talent-spotter teams, and if Vengsarkar had not then emphasised their merits at higher selection levels? Mr Kesavan has absolutely not given credit where it is rightly due. When discussing talking out of turn, the greatest culprit for this in Indian cricket is Niranjan Shah. His position as Secretary of the Board gives him no latitude to sound off on whatever topic he chooses; in many instances his utterances have been inaccurate and contentious. Mr Shah should restrain himself to revealing only such news which the Board chooses to announce about its decisions. Even such announcements should in rectitude be made by the Media Manager, not by the Secretary. Please institute a campaign to silence this menace to seemly conduct of the game in India.

  • ross on October 11, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    Mohinder was arguably the best player of pace bowling during the era you are talking about.Unfortunately many average players are in the media spotlight today due to their ability to speak english while greats like Mohinder and Vishy are not in the spotlight.

  • mehneez on October 11, 2007, 12:28 GMT

    once again,this is a clear case of over reaction!!.whats wrong in saying ,players cannot take their places for granted!after all ,he is the chief of selectors and this shud serve as a source of motivation for the seniors to lift their socks and do well n prove that he is wrong!!

  • Rajesh on October 11, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    The column was not written in the right mindset. Talking about obscurity after retirement, one can only laugh at his comparisons to Shastri, Amarnath, Vishwanath et al. The fact that Shastri and Amarnath have made many wrong observations during their commenting career is well known. I believe Vengsarkar was very right in mentioning that no player should take their places for granted. Look at the record of the Big Three before and after Vengsarkar's time at office. It was clearly evident that the group such as Tendulkar, Sehwag, Ganguly, Harbajan etc. felt it was enough to play one or two good innings in a series to maintain their averages and records. Now they feel the heat and take extra pain to contribute in every match. I don't think this would have been possible without a firm hand such as Vengsarkar. Give this post to Bedi or Amarnath and you will really understand how best Vengsarkar is in that role. Kudos to you Vengsarkar for being open-mouthed/hearted.

  • Joseph on October 11, 2007, 11:55 GMT

    Dravid is not playing well, and should take a break. So too should Tendulkar or Ganguly if they do not play well. It is time for youngsters to come and fill their shoes. Seniors should not take their place in the side for granted and should perform. There is not point in blaming Vengsarkar as someone had to bell the cat.

  • Hugh on October 11, 2007, 11:05 GMT

    Congratulations on a well written article Mukesh. Vengsarkar has obviously been schooled in the "talk first think later" tradition. Remember the incident in Sharjah in the early 80s when he was deported to India almost immediately after his arrival for the Sharjah Cricket tournament. What precipitated his deportation was his loud comment he made about the standards of the Sharjah immigration officials.Old Vengsarkar still can't help himself!

  • deepesh on October 11, 2007, 11:05 GMT

    Maybe the Colonel's remarks were meant for a certain non-performer in the Big 3, who has'nt been scoring significantly since the South Africa tour itself. True, a few knocks here and there in the ODI series against England, but put together the slowest Indian batting in recent Test memory as well as an abysmal form in the series, it seems the shackles of captaincy, now removed, haven't done much to contribute to Dravid's batting. A string of single digit scores, wasting deliveries, and a failure to last even an over, are becoming alarming repetative trends. Maybe a Badrinath in Dravid's place, if the series were to be salvaged ?

  • srivathsan on October 11, 2007, 10:51 GMT

    SUPRATIK I agree with you.It was against dravid only & not on sachin which he dare not.In short a conspiracy is being hatched to remove him from ODIs in the first & then from test also.Who is the loser ? The country & not vengsarkar.It is all the more desirable to kick him out as chairman of selector.Had they not picked agarkar in england ,we would have won the series.In 20/20, only after dropping him the team started doing well.All this because of bombay lobby forced on captain by vengs.He has played some good knocks but never a great player.KICK HIM OUT RIGHT NOW.THERE IS NOTHING WRONG IN MUKUL WRITING THIS BLOG & IT ENABLE PEOPLE TO VOICE THEIR VIEWS.

  • Major General on October 11, 2007, 10:41 GMT

    I think selectors, chairman included, should remain in the background and not be seen or heard, preferably. Who cares what Vengsarkar thinks? His job is to convene a group of men and choose a team. Do you hear of Trevor Hohns, the Aussie Chairman, talking to the press? Have you ever heard of Hohns as a cricketer? But he seems to do his job well. Mukul is right in a way. The point he was making was that it is precisely because of Vengsarkar's obscurity after his retirement that he tries to get into the limelight now. During the matches in England, the TV would often pan to the dressing room and there you'd see Vengsarkar lurking in the background. Why does the chairman of the selection committee hang around in the players' dressing room? What business has he there. He can certainly watch the match but from somewhere else. So this is definitely a return from obscurity with a vengeance. And, yes, Mohinder Amarnath was several classes above Vengsarkar when it came to facing genuine pace.

  • Deepak Shah on October 11, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    I do not agree with some above comments that Mukul's article need not have been written. There is a place for every opinion. In my opinion, the crux of the matter is: was there any need for Vengsarkar to say anything? He is the chairman of selection committee. He can enforce a selection change, can't he? It would have been best if he had taken seniors to a corner and said what he said in public. As a chairman of selectors it was extremely irresponsible to "talk shop". If he were in office in a white country, he would have been relieved of his job due to this incompetency. Great player or no; he simply lacks the skill to communicate. And remember he has not been chosen as a selector as BCCI. He was chosen as a selector by his association and since it was west zone's turn to be a chairman he heads it. If he had to get a job by applying he would have probably not got it; notwithstanding the fact that he may actually be a good selector. I recall him being a junior talent scout for BCCI for a while before he came on to the national selection committee. Perhaps he is good at doing at his job as a selector rather than fronting the press where he does not have skill to tackle the sharp barbs..

    The fact of the matter is, Indians (and all subcontinent people) are never well trained in communication. For us, good public speaking skill means a refined posturing. After living in Australia for some time now, I am amazed at how well composed young players are against live camera in any sport. I have seen under 12 boys give excellent speech even after loosing the final game. This is a training given by the society, which is not available in India. Till some cultural change occurs majority Indians in public life will continue to suffer from "foot in mouth" disease... Cheers. Deepak Shah, Newcastle, Australia

  • s.ramanathan on October 11, 2007, 10:39 GMT

    mukul's article is worth reading since he has spent lot of time analizing former great's- instead of going into the issue.

    As far as I am concerned

  • dilip on October 11, 2007, 10:12 GMT

    whats happening to you,mukul.aren't you also courting a few hours of fame by piling on poor vengsarkar.i absolutely disagree with him in putting the seniors on notice.but why do you have to write such a long disquisition on it.i am a great admirer of your writing but this seemed to be a little overboard.why all those odious comparisons.seemed more to be an exercise in word filling than bringing any clarity to bear on the subject.

  • Varun on October 11, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    In India it is regular choir of "Minding" other's business than one's own. The article shows it all. If Vengsarkar(or for that matter who ever from cricketing background) as a chairman of Selection said that, he meant it. And earlier he said there was no real talent in the country and that the cupboards were bare. It is true. I remember my days when I played for Baroda and there was this paanwaala who used to give comments on our play, our strategy etc. After reading the writer's article today, I feel my paanwaala was better commentor. Simply because he did not dug the past and the 'sychic' behind any comments. Long live Cricket.

  • KC on October 11, 2007, 9:29 GMT

    Typical India. Short memories and stupid reactions. Vengsarkar was instrumental in bringing back Ganguly. He was the one who said experience counts at the highest level.The atest statement must have been a response to someone asking him if the big three could take their places for granted. He just said they needed to perform consistently to stay. And for the trivia buffs, Vengsarkar was nicknamed the colonel because he broke Colonel C.K. Nayudu's record of 13 sixes in a first class innings.

  • Darren Thompon on October 11, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    To be honest, after inital hesitation i think one would have to agree with Vengsarkar's comments. India's batting has been simply diabolical and pathetic at best, through out this tournament. Only one game was there any fight and that too it came courtesty of the umpire(Giving many live's to Tendulkar and some of the other batsman). India's Golden trio should look at making a Graceful exit sooner rather than later. The longer they are wasting opportunities in the team, the worse off Indian Cricket will be in the long run. We have all seen what they have done in the past, Tendulkar bludgeoning attacks, Ganguly sumptiously driving through the covers and Dravid on his day can really step it up. The problem though is India need's to look to the future, but they can't if they got one foot stuck in the past. The equation is simple the Golden Trio have start delivering or ship out, sooner rather than later.

  • KKR on October 11, 2007, 9:10 GMT

    "He was affectionately called the 'Colonel' because of his organized, near-military bearing" - not really. During his early days (especially in the Irani game ton which led to his international selection), his sixes against our famed spinners evoked comparisons to Col.C.K.Nayadu. That nick-name stuck ....

  • Supratik on October 11, 2007, 8:49 GMT

    I'll wager to disagree with a few of your observations here, Mukul. Firstly, with Vengsarkar's comment. Although it has nowhere been said, but I get the sneaking feeling and at the risk of being hypothetical, I feel that the 'seniors' comment was more aimed at Dravid than it was on Sachin and Dravid. Simply because, Sachin and Ganguly have been in fine form, individually and in tango. Further now with the Bombay lobby working overtime, coupled with Sachin's stature Vengsarkar wouldn't have dared make a comment on the champ. Same with Ganguly. In case memory is falling short, it was in Vengsarkar's tenure that Ganguly made this semi-glorious comeback and when he made that comment, Ganguly had not even batted once during the series! However, when it comes to Dravid, all media has been abuzz with the breakdown of relationship between Dravid and the BCCI and its selection committee and then he had been in poor form in tests and apart from a couple of fine fifties in the NatWest he has not been the usual Dravid we know. And having watched this series it is plain for all to see that Dravid has looked a pretty lonely figure in the field, probably submerged in his own thoughts. Add to this the fact of the 'juniors' issue. Where are all this youngsters like Uthappa,Sharma,Badri,Tiwary,Raina going to fit into? Obviously, the middle-order (a spot which Dravid occupies). Hence a mix of all these factors, convinces me even as i write that it was more of a barbed attack on Dravid than it was on the 2S's. Further, where is a new combination at the top? Gambhir has been an iffy batsman in the longer versions of the game and will remain so till he doesn't improve his gross inadequacies. Sehwag has not had half the success of the great duo and is anyway out of favour. Who will handle a candle to them? And frankly speaking Dravid is not irreplacable in the one-day format as Ganguly is not in the context of test matches. So the easy way out! It would be better if the selection committee stops playing this barbed wire games with the 'galacticos' and chalk out a clear cut succession plan. Playing 2 of them at a time could be a solution but that is hardly how they will go about it. On your later comments on Vengsarkar, i beg to differ that he was the best player of fast bowling after Gavaskar who was obviously the giant. In the 70s it was Vishwanath who was no.2 and in the year 1983 it was Amarnath (contrary to what one of the respondents say here). Vengsarkar took a long time graduating and it was only in the Calcutta test against Windies in 1978 when SMG handheld him to a 100 did he go on to become a good player. But it was only in the mid-80s that he went on to become a great one. His performances IN Australia and West Indies are way below acceptable levels and were more sporadic in output. This is the reason why he along with Azhar will always go down as 'almost great' players rather than actually great ones. But all this doesn't give him or the BCCI to hit Dravid or the other two below the belt. But I couldn't agree more that the earlier this non-sense stops, the better.

  • Sriram.J on October 11, 2007, 8:31 GMT

    'Colonel's' diatribe will not put pressure on the big three as they have experienced enough of it in their long career. It could, instead, put needless pressure on budding stars, and this could become counter-productive of the selectors' effort to build up a competetive team for the future. 'Colonel' himself should take a pause and contemplate on his own performances during the last leg of his long career. During the period 1988 to 1992, in 21 test matches, he could score only 917 runs at an average of just 30+. This included 2 centuries and 6 fifties and he was the captain in the first 10 of these 21 matches. In fact he could add only 480 runs in his last 15 test matches spanning over 3 seasons and he was nearly 33 during this climb down phase started. To be a player is one thing and to be a selector is another thing. The latter calls for more maturity and tact as the role is responsible for creating the next generation. Hope 'Colonel' will remember this well before he shoots off his mouth next time.

  • Rishi on October 11, 2007, 7:42 GMT

    Mukul, Frankly, There are ways to go about arguing against Vengsarkar's recent comments. The one you chose, seems little bit out of order, IMHO. Are we going to argue whether someone needs to appear in commercials or be fresh in our memory, to be the next coach of Indian cricket team? Certain functions are orthogonal to certain abilities. I am not saying that there are some serious neurons in BCCI, but the matter of argument put forth compels me to say that Vishy may be fresher in our memories and have better respect, Vengsarkar's comments are not totally uncalled for. I am typing these words with half a bottle of wine.. Did you manage to do the same? :-)

  • Ranajit on October 11, 2007, 7:38 GMT

    I wonder whether MK has followed Shastri's track record closely. Barring that Tournament in Australia, where he got the Audi. He quite honestly doesnt deserve to be classified a a great.

    Glib talker he is. Hence a communicative guy. But he was never a great cricketer.

  • srivathsan on October 11, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    I Fully endorse your views.The only change is that he should not at all be heard.Iam surprised as to why that fellow is sent along with the team.Nowadays TV relay is available & he can watch it for asessing the performance ,if needed.For the embarasment caused ,he should be kicked out as chairman of selector.He spoiled the career of dravid forcing him to stepdown thro'undue interferance in all the matter.In all other countries the selector role ends after selection but only in india,these b------s wag their tail.Media should highlight his undoings so that the whole country knows what he is up to.I BELIEVE THAT PERFORMANCE SHOULD BE THE CRITEREA FOR SELECTION.LET HIM COME OUT OF REGIONAL BIAS & SELECT THE TEAM BASED ON PERFORMANCE .WE SUPPORT IT BUT DONT HUMILIATE THE SENIORS ,WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH FOR THE GAME.THERE IS A WAY OF HANDLING THE MATTER & NOT PUBLIC SPAT.WHAT HE WOULD HAVE FELT HAD HE BEEN TREATED LIKE THAT BY SELECTORS ?

  • sekhar chintalapati on October 11, 2007, 7:14 GMT

    What is the point that you are trying to make? That you have to be in the limelight after you retire, otherwise your career is no good? Shastri may have a good career, so what? Amarnath may pop in on TV shows, and Vengsarkar may not.. So what? What does that prove? Nothing. These are just apples and oranges and how can you come to the conclusion that he is just thirsting for sound bytes from this?

    Has it ever occurred to you that people playing 300 - 400 odd ODI's lose their edge if they are not constantly challanged? Why cannot one take it in the right spirit and pull up their socks?

  • matz on October 11, 2007, 7:12 GMT

    vengsarkar is forgetting he is the selector and if he has to share some threat he has to do with his bunch of cricketers and not with the public. its obvious he is playin to the gallery. when india wins all is forgiven, loses we thirst for thier blood. unless our attitude changes, players start enjoying cricket like the aussies, WI pl;ayers do, we will never get consistency, we will always be unpredictable. first our guys, selectors need a crash course in attitude next tey can learn cricket and play at the competitive level, otherwise we will continue to be the way we are

  • Sharath on October 11, 2007, 6:55 GMT

    Wow, a peek into the mind of the Chairman of Selectors. How fascinating (Yawn)!

  • Yogesh on October 11, 2007, 6:51 GMT

    Vengsrakr "after Gavaskar, our finest player of fast-bowling in the '70s and '80s"??? Is it because you are rate M Amarnath as even better than Gavaskar as Imran Khan did?

    Vengsarkar average 42.13. Away 32.73 Amarnath average 42.5, Away 51.86

    Away averages are pretty representativeof a player's ability to play fast bowling, won't you agree?

  • Karthik on October 11, 2007, 6:44 GMT

    Well said Mr. Aiyar Subramani, it all boils down to resentment at not being able to achieve the fame and glory the Indian seniors have achieved (Sachin, Dravid & Ganguly). Please note that these induviduals have achieved all the fame and glory via hardwork, consistent world class performance and skill. They have not just got into the media band wagon like some of the so called indian youngsters. So Dilip seems to think that Suresh Raina is a great talent, all i can say is "my foot." This fellow's performances have been appaling and it is no secret that he got a "C" Grade Contract thanks to someone pulling the strings. He made one decent innings and the next thing you know he was appearing in commercials and being claimed as the poster boy of India. Now if this is the best India can produce as replacements for the Big 3, i would rather see the big 3 play into their fifties. There have been one too many poster boys created by the media all with the hopes of creating a stir in the publics mind to reject the Big 3. Goodluck. There is no doubt that the Indian public loves flashes in the pan. They have been a very uneduacated public at large that is only at time matched by the pakistani crowd. Were else in the world do you find jobless idiots who probably have no clue even about the rules of cricket burning efigies and stoning houses of cricketers. Dilip should shut his trap and do his job at least now properly.

  • shashank on October 11, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    Dilip Vengsarkar has been one of the few ex-cricketers to try and take the plunge into administration of cricket.Everybody says more cricketers should get into administration but not many do.By and large in his tenure so far he has rewarded performance( he brought back saurav ). What he said about the seniors must be seen in the light of other facts like a certain Badrinath has been topping batting charts for three years(domestic),he hasn't had a look in.There are several others Tiwary , Patel,Sriram,Chopra etc. This is not to say that these guys will out perform Sachin Tendulkar, but by the weight of their performance they just can't be ignored ,for otherwise why do these guys waste their time playing domestic cricket. What is so wrong about a frank statement from a selector.And if his statement puts pressure on seniors then it is representative of the state of affairs.There is pressure and they will have to perform.

  • Rock on October 11, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    I feel it was a fair comment by Vengsarkar (thought not mentioned explicitly) on the 'big three' cricketers that India has ever produced. Being a chairman of selectors he can crack his whip for once and hog the limelight, there is no wrong and he owns that right. BCCI was saying, it was an unfair comment by Vengsarkar in the middle of the series. But, what is the use in commenting at the end of the series, which we all know what the end result would be like, 4-2 Australia for the eternal optimists, as I see the online scorecard produce a dismal reading at 121/9. All we die-hard Indian cricket fans do agree that, despite the averages, that the 'big three' boast of performing consistently in the last couple of series, I still feel they have to be shown the door in the alphabetical order. Running is bad, strike rate they make up towards the end of the innings to 75 - 80 %, they still dont know how to approach a 280 plus target if they have to go for their shots, when all it matters is single run a ball, but totally in the laws for Vengasarkar to get flustered.

    If you were just a passing charm in your cricketing career you cannot make it big by mouthing of now. You would still be a ignored charm and Dilip knows it pretty well. Quite late for Vengsarkar to even think of starting a career of any sort in the sports channels as the reporters themselves knew that there would be no audience to watch their shows. It was a huge post by Mukul digressing from the point, with irrelevant comparisons to Vishwanath, Amarnath and goading about careers of lesser known cricketers in the media, though ending it up with a deft touch.

  • shwet awasthi on October 11, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    I think the problem with Mr. Vengsarkar is his comical control over the queen's language. He normally stutters and fumbles whenever a question is asked in english. I believe sometimes he gets in a tangle and then his statements are blown out of proportion. However I do believe that some of his statements like 'there being no talent in the country' have really caught him on the worng foot.His is a classic case of 'foot in the mouth syndrome'.

  • Krishna on October 11, 2007, 6:15 GMT

    subramani,

    i am was a fan of Azhar when he was playing. I have one defence against the bais of Vengersarkar, it was also him who said that Azhar would have been the best batsman of his generation if he had played the short ball better. Azhar's failings against short ball are well documented.

  • Sumit Ghosh on October 11, 2007, 6:12 GMT

    Isn't it ironic that a national selector is being told to shut up for speaking out on the very players he has chosen?

    The only major tournament India has won in the last 22 years has been without these three senior players. Which selector with integrity towards his job wouldn't be tempted to encourage a team entirely made of youngsters. Today we are saying that without a solid start by Sachin & Saurav, India cannot put up a decent score. Won't Dilip have this in mind and be yearning to give another pair - maybe an Uthappa and Gambhir - a decent run to find an alternative before the current openers become indispensable?

    And why does Lalchand Rajput have to shoot off his hip in public? Is it a case of trying to garner player support for a bit of longivity in his role?

    Most importantly - Doesn't the national chief of selectors have a right to chide his players, the very ones that he himself has chosen, so that they are motivated into performing better? In India, we people are motivated by these things. It is a well-known fact.

    I hope my point is taken.

  • aiyar subramani on October 11, 2007, 5:15 GMT

    Vengsarkar was indeed a fine batsman during his prime. But for some reason was grudging when it came to acknowledging others who were equally or more gifted than himself and who were also more successful than him in terms of performance. No comment made by him can be more eloquent about his selfishness than the one he made about Azharuddin. Vengsarkar is purported to have once said that you could see whether the wicket was bouncy or not by the amount Azhar hopped about when facing the fast bowlers. This was said at a time when Azhar was captaining India and smacks of a prejudice that is too deeply embebbed in him. That real cricketers only came from a particular part of India.Incidentally, Azhar has more hundereds than Vengsarkar and was perhaps treated with greater awe than Vengsarkar ever was, Lord's notwithstanding.More recently, soon after assuming charge as Chairman of selectors he said that there was no real talent in the country and that the cupboards were bare. Our victory in the World Cup Twenty20, was achieved without any of the big names. This would show the lack of substance and merit in someone who was niether a good captain nor a real team man. Therein perhaps lies the reason why he had almost lapsed into obscurity before he was brought in as Chairman of the selection committee. I wish he would as Mukul Kesavan says, be seen more and heard less till he continues in a job he does'nt deserve to be in.

  • Siva on October 11, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    Mukul! I've been a fan of your column for sometime. But I have to tell you this is one meandering, pointless article that need not have been written at all.

  • Brigadier on October 11, 2007, 4:56 GMT

    An exercise in subtlety relative to your other blogs, charmingly and wittily written. Sample: "It's not unusual for national selectors to behave oddly".

    Now, you can say that again... and place the Chairman of the Sri Lankan Selection Committee on notice.

    He is another one who has had a "charm bypass" (not surprisingly I suppose, he is a Vengsarkar contemporary to boot). The Lord knows... he might even want to start his own rent-a-quote service.

    Or, may be, they can even start a joint venture...

  • zermelo on October 11, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    Dear Mukul, perhaps the colonel was just trying to irk Tendulakr in to playing an innings from the past? Unrelated, Jimmy Amarnath was inarguably a better player of pace, especially abroad, in the period you write about.

  • Praveen Tyagi on October 11, 2007, 4:30 GMT

    I think Vengsarkar felt that he should do that posturing because this is increasingly becoming a demand within India. I don't think he believes that India is ready to do without the 3 as yet. By the way there was no need for the writer to get sarcastic. And nobody needs to know what Vengsarkar's career was like. Most people already know him well enough. However I agree that Vengsarkar should focus on selecting a Team which he thinks is best for Indian cricket. Also its never good to pass on comments in the middle of a series. This article is a poor read and an exercise in sarcasm.

  • nizar dinani on October 11, 2007, 4:02 GMT

    As a pakistan I can say that ganguly,dravid,sachin and other sr are doing good job. This kind of statement by vengsarkar will create more problems and all sr will play with under presure.

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  • nizar dinani on October 11, 2007, 4:02 GMT

    As a pakistan I can say that ganguly,dravid,sachin and other sr are doing good job. This kind of statement by vengsarkar will create more problems and all sr will play with under presure.

  • Praveen Tyagi on October 11, 2007, 4:30 GMT

    I think Vengsarkar felt that he should do that posturing because this is increasingly becoming a demand within India. I don't think he believes that India is ready to do without the 3 as yet. By the way there was no need for the writer to get sarcastic. And nobody needs to know what Vengsarkar's career was like. Most people already know him well enough. However I agree that Vengsarkar should focus on selecting a Team which he thinks is best for Indian cricket. Also its never good to pass on comments in the middle of a series. This article is a poor read and an exercise in sarcasm.

  • zermelo on October 11, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    Dear Mukul, perhaps the colonel was just trying to irk Tendulakr in to playing an innings from the past? Unrelated, Jimmy Amarnath was inarguably a better player of pace, especially abroad, in the period you write about.

  • Brigadier on October 11, 2007, 4:56 GMT

    An exercise in subtlety relative to your other blogs, charmingly and wittily written. Sample: "It's not unusual for national selectors to behave oddly".

    Now, you can say that again... and place the Chairman of the Sri Lankan Selection Committee on notice.

    He is another one who has had a "charm bypass" (not surprisingly I suppose, he is a Vengsarkar contemporary to boot). The Lord knows... he might even want to start his own rent-a-quote service.

    Or, may be, they can even start a joint venture...

  • Siva on October 11, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    Mukul! I've been a fan of your column for sometime. But I have to tell you this is one meandering, pointless article that need not have been written at all.

  • aiyar subramani on October 11, 2007, 5:15 GMT

    Vengsarkar was indeed a fine batsman during his prime. But for some reason was grudging when it came to acknowledging others who were equally or more gifted than himself and who were also more successful than him in terms of performance. No comment made by him can be more eloquent about his selfishness than the one he made about Azharuddin. Vengsarkar is purported to have once said that you could see whether the wicket was bouncy or not by the amount Azhar hopped about when facing the fast bowlers. This was said at a time when Azhar was captaining India and smacks of a prejudice that is too deeply embebbed in him. That real cricketers only came from a particular part of India.Incidentally, Azhar has more hundereds than Vengsarkar and was perhaps treated with greater awe than Vengsarkar ever was, Lord's notwithstanding.More recently, soon after assuming charge as Chairman of selectors he said that there was no real talent in the country and that the cupboards were bare. Our victory in the World Cup Twenty20, was achieved without any of the big names. This would show the lack of substance and merit in someone who was niether a good captain nor a real team man. Therein perhaps lies the reason why he had almost lapsed into obscurity before he was brought in as Chairman of the selection committee. I wish he would as Mukul Kesavan says, be seen more and heard less till he continues in a job he does'nt deserve to be in.

  • Sumit Ghosh on October 11, 2007, 6:12 GMT

    Isn't it ironic that a national selector is being told to shut up for speaking out on the very players he has chosen?

    The only major tournament India has won in the last 22 years has been without these three senior players. Which selector with integrity towards his job wouldn't be tempted to encourage a team entirely made of youngsters. Today we are saying that without a solid start by Sachin & Saurav, India cannot put up a decent score. Won't Dilip have this in mind and be yearning to give another pair - maybe an Uthappa and Gambhir - a decent run to find an alternative before the current openers become indispensable?

    And why does Lalchand Rajput have to shoot off his hip in public? Is it a case of trying to garner player support for a bit of longivity in his role?

    Most importantly - Doesn't the national chief of selectors have a right to chide his players, the very ones that he himself has chosen, so that they are motivated into performing better? In India, we people are motivated by these things. It is a well-known fact.

    I hope my point is taken.

  • Krishna on October 11, 2007, 6:15 GMT

    subramani,

    i am was a fan of Azhar when he was playing. I have one defence against the bais of Vengersarkar, it was also him who said that Azhar would have been the best batsman of his generation if he had played the short ball better. Azhar's failings against short ball are well documented.

  • shwet awasthi on October 11, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    I think the problem with Mr. Vengsarkar is his comical control over the queen's language. He normally stutters and fumbles whenever a question is asked in english. I believe sometimes he gets in a tangle and then his statements are blown out of proportion. However I do believe that some of his statements like 'there being no talent in the country' have really caught him on the worng foot.His is a classic case of 'foot in the mouth syndrome'.

  • Rock on October 11, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    I feel it was a fair comment by Vengsarkar (thought not mentioned explicitly) on the 'big three' cricketers that India has ever produced. Being a chairman of selectors he can crack his whip for once and hog the limelight, there is no wrong and he owns that right. BCCI was saying, it was an unfair comment by Vengsarkar in the middle of the series. But, what is the use in commenting at the end of the series, which we all know what the end result would be like, 4-2 Australia for the eternal optimists, as I see the online scorecard produce a dismal reading at 121/9. All we die-hard Indian cricket fans do agree that, despite the averages, that the 'big three' boast of performing consistently in the last couple of series, I still feel they have to be shown the door in the alphabetical order. Running is bad, strike rate they make up towards the end of the innings to 75 - 80 %, they still dont know how to approach a 280 plus target if they have to go for their shots, when all it matters is single run a ball, but totally in the laws for Vengasarkar to get flustered.

    If you were just a passing charm in your cricketing career you cannot make it big by mouthing of now. You would still be a ignored charm and Dilip knows it pretty well. Quite late for Vengsarkar to even think of starting a career of any sort in the sports channels as the reporters themselves knew that there would be no audience to watch their shows. It was a huge post by Mukul digressing from the point, with irrelevant comparisons to Vishwanath, Amarnath and goading about careers of lesser known cricketers in the media, though ending it up with a deft touch.