Patil sacked! Madan Lal is new Indian manager (25 Sep 1996)

25 Sept 1996

Sandeep Patil sacked! Madan Lal is new Indian cricket manager

Syed Firdaus Ashraf, Shailesh Soni and M S Shanker

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to sack Indian manager Sandeep Patil opened to mixed reviews on Wednesday.

Patil will be replaced by former Test cricketer Madan Lal.

"What I could not achieve as Indian manager, I hope Madan Lal is able to achieve," Patil told Rediff On The NeT, immediately after calling his successor in Delhi to congratulate him on his appointment.

Bishen Singh Bedi, the former Indian captain and another ex-manager, criticised the appointment, saying" "Madan Lal is from north India and most of the players in the Indian team are either from south India or from west India. It would have been better if the board had appointed Roger Binny or Anshuman Gaikwad as the cricket manager as they hail from south India."

Gaikwad, in fact, will replace Madan Lal as manager of the junior Indian team.

"Unfortunately in our country these stupid cricket officials go on for donkey years. They have no credibility to prove themselves. It is easy to sit and pass judgement, but it is a different scene on the ground," Bedi said. "I feel Sandeep should have been given at least two more years to prove his credentials."

Bedi, who was himself sacked as manager after the 1990 tour of England, felt the cricket manager has a distinct identity compared to the players. "I agreed with the Board when Azhar was sacked because he was given a long term as captain. But in Sandeep's case there was no reason to sack him."

Ajit Wadekar, Patil's predecessor as Indian manager, agreed with Bedi. "The Board gave me one more year as manager. I think they should have given some more time to Sandeep. The Indian team travelled a lot under his tenure. And to play in another country is totally different from playing in India. I donUt think it was a wise decision by the Board," he said.

Wadekar, who had a successful tenure as manager, felt "our players are getting stale. They are tired. Even in Azhar's case they should have allowed him to continue for some more period as captain."

On the other hand, M L Jaisimha, the former Test star, felt, "It's good the Board realised their mistake. Not that Sandeep is a bad man. But, unfortunately, he could not fit the bill. Whether it was his mistake or someone else's in the team, we suffered defeat after defeat in the Singer and Sahara Cups."

"His experiments of shuffling opening pairs frequently cost the team dearly. Moreover, what Patil failed to realise was that these decisions had adverse effects on the concentration of the top order batsmen, especially Azharuddin and Rahul Dravid besides skipper Tendulkar. By doing so, he only put more pressure on young Sachin," Jaisimha felt.

However, he was not sure whether Madan Lal would prove a suitable successor to Patil. "One thing is sure: He will give top priority to discipline in the team," Jaisimha said. "I feel he (the manager) should command respect from the players. His very presence should be a morale booster.''

Maninder Singh, the former Test leftarm spinner, also felt that Patil was given enough opportunities to prove his worth. "He did not prove his credentials. So there were reasons for him to be removed."

Maninder felt Madan Lal would make a good manager. Recalling his encounters with the new Indian manager, he said, "Madan Lal told me once that every cricketer must improve his fielding. It was only then I improved my fielding."

"He was a very hardworking cricketer. But I think what the Indian team needs at the moment is a good bowling side rather than a good manager. If we do that, we will be the best," Maninder added.

"I feel sad for Sandeep," said former Test offspinner Shivlal Yadav who was elected a national selector on Tuesday. "It is sad that Sandeep could not succeed. Madan Lal is a taskmaster,"Yadav said, pointing out that the Delhi stalwart managed the UAE national team before he took charge of the junior Indian cricket squad.

However, former Test batsman Yashpal Sharma felt, "It's not going to matter who the manager of the Indian cricket team is. The boys have to perform on the field and if they are not performing well, what can a manager do?"

"You cannot change a team's fortune overnight," Sharma, a member of the 1983 World Cup winning side along with Madan Lal and Patil,said.

Sharma felt Patil was not given enough time to prove himself. "If tomorrow they make Sunil Gavaskar manager of the Indian cricket team, will he be able to change the team's performance in such a short time?" he asked.

He felt the Indian team's performance in the Sahara Cup "was not up to the mark. Players are playing too much of an individualistic game to save their places in the side. This is not going to help the team. Players should be given time and confidence about their position in the team. Only then can you expect results."

Arshad Ayub, another former Test offspinner, felt the Indian team's planning had gone haywire. "To be very honest, there is no planning as far as the Indian team is concerned. In both the Singer and Sahara Cup this hollowness was evident."

Would replacing Patil with Madan Lal solve the side's problems? Ayub felt it is too early to comment. "I feel the manager should be someone who can care for every player as a fatherly figure or a guide and philosopher, to attend to every problem of theirs - personal or cricketing.''

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