The former England captain's take on the fortnight in cricket

Sehwag needs to be free of captaincy responsibilities

The rise of Jesse Ryder, issue with Sehwag's captaincy, players strike in Windies and a discussion with the fans (20:40)

March 30, 2009

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The Tony Greig Show

Sehwag needs to be free of captaincy responsibilities

March 30, 2009

'I have been impressed with Sehwag's leadership on the few occasions I have seen him do the job but it may just be that he is a wonderful vice captain.' © Associated Press

News of the Week:

When Jesse Ryder was first selected to play for New Zealand there were mixed emotions expressed by former New Zealand players. Richard Hadlee was excited about Ryder's potential to provide an explosive start alongside Brendon McCullum at the top of the innings in both forms of the game. Adam Parore, on the other hand, hit out at the selector's decision to pick Ryder, claiming that he is "too fat" and not in a fit state to play for New Zealand. Then there were the behaviour problems - Ryder badly cut his hand trying to break into a toilet at a Christchurch bar at 5:30am the day after New Zealand had won the one-day series against England. New Zealand Cricket warned Ryder that his behaviour was unacceptable. Since then Jesse Ryder has not looked back, he has been in phenomenal form in the Test series against India so far and judging by the confident way he goes about his business he is already battling with Brendon McCullum for the title of New Zealand's best batsmen. I just love watching him bat because he combines brute force with style.

I have often mentioned how impressed I have been with the captaincy of MS Dhoni but it usually when he is absent that one appreciates just how good a job he is doing. Mind you I think it's a little unfair to criticise Virender Sehwag who along with the rest of his Indian team mates are at the time of recording having a nightmare against New Zealand. To be honest I have been impressed with Sehwag's leadership on the few occasions I have seen him do the job but it may just be that he is a wonderful vice captain. Often batsmen who play the way Sehwag does, need to be freed of the responsibilities of the captaincy. With this in mind, I was surprised to hear a normally conservative former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe criticising Sehwag for his poor leadership. There is no doubt that India's performance in the second Test in Napier has been sub-standard and more performances like this will see to it that they never become the world's number one team. Crowe said Sehwag's leadership was one of the prime reasons for India's desperate situation He blasted Sehwag for his tactics and termed the Delhi dasher's decisions as "unfocused thinking". There was worse to come, Crowe went on to say he has never seen captaincy so bad as that of Virender Sehwag….very harsh!

At the close of play on day four in Napier, India in their second innings, are 252 for 2 and still trail by 62 runs with 8 wickets remaining. Gambhir has 102* and Tendulkar 62* and India have played themselves into a position where they could now save the match

It seems that the Duckworth-Lewis gaffe by John Dyson, Chris Gayle and the West Indies team in the 1st ODI has spurred them on to greater things. In the 2nd ODI they bounced back as Shivnarine Chanderpaul rounded off a week of personal honours and awards with his 10th one-day international hundred to lead West Indies to a series-levelling 21-run victory which I am sure helped ease the memories of the first match farce. His unbeaten 112 enabled the home side to post a challenging 264 for 8 on another slow surface and despite Andrew Strauss's third ODI ton, England pulled up short.

England produced a pitiful batting performance in the third ODI to crash to a humiliating eight-wicket defeat. Batting first, they were bowled out for 117 on a good wicket, making their lowest score against West Indies since 1986. Windies skipper Chris Gayle then put the pitch into perspective by smashing eight sixes in a stunning display. His 80 from 43 balls helped get his team home in just 14.4 overs for a 2-1 lead in the series with two to play. All this despite their ongoing row over contracts with the WICB. News has broken that the West Indies are considering a boycott the fifth one-day international against England due to this dispute. Chris Gayle has confirmed that pay talks between the West Indies Players' Association and the WICB have been inconclusive and that a boycott of the final match of the series in St. Lucia was being seriously considered

England seem in a bit of a state, acting coach Andy Flower surveyed the wreckage of England's Caribbean tour on Saturday and cancelled the players' day off, ordering 'naughty boy' nets ahead of a match that could define his future and that of some of his players. If England lose to the West Indies in Bridgetown on Sunday not only will they have lost yet another one-day series but their winter will officially be an unmitigated disaster, and Flower will be the man most likely to suffer the immediate consequences. Kevin Pietersen is also inviting problems he and the team don't need. West Indies captain Chris Gayle has hit out at England batsman for comments about Chanderpaul. Pietersen was quoted as saying that Chanderpaul "never fields" after making a big score and "plays for himself". At the time of recording the match in Barbados is about to get underway.

Both Australia and South Africa will be very happy with the way one of their bowlers has come on in the current series. Mitchell Johnson has definitely taken over as Australia's leading strike bowler and now that he has started to swing the ball into the right handers he is even more dangerous. The fact that he is also being talked about as an all rounder is a further feather in his cap and one that is thoroughly justified. Johnson is a superb striker of the ball and all he needed was a little time to acclimatise to the big time. He has done this superbly and is now one of the most valuable five cricketers in the world game. South Africa on the other hand has struggled to find a spinner and Paul Harris has more than stepped up. Harris will now be picked in every South African team because he is not a spinner who will only succeed when the ball spins, he contains well and is also an aggressive bowler…what good news for South Africa.

What's eating Tony Greig?

The IPL has been forced by politicians to move its second edition to South Africa and every cricket fan should be hoping it's a huge success. So far, the IPL has been good for cricket and cricketers and we need to find out how popular similar tournaments will be around the world. There is no doubt that all the major crick playing countries will want a form of IPL at home in an effort to ensure they get a slice of the pie. There is however one worrying trend and it is to do with the IPL TV rights. Recently the BCCI sent a notice of termination to MSM, formerly known as Sony Entertainment Television, citing an alleged breach of contract. This is serious when one considers the size of the deal but times are tough and the word is that many companies associated with the IPL are frustrated with the losses they are incurring. Then out of the blue, the BCCI sign a new TV agreement with Sony which they proudly say is even more lucrative for the IPL than the previous one. The new contract said to be worth in the region of $180 million a year compared to the previous deal's figure of $103 million. Despite growth in India predicted at 5% this year, I just can't see how this deal can do anything other than lose money for the rights holder. There is an old adage that should be implemented in cases like this - leave a little in the deal for the other guy.

Talk to Tony:

Tony Greig discusses with Rohit Dwivedi and Ranjit Madgavkar whether the current Indian team is the best ever that Indian cricket has seen.

Please email your queries to Don't forget to mention your name and the place where you're from. I will pick the best question and answer it in show next week. Thanks for your company.

Posted by Sushrut-Cricketcrazy on (April 2, 2009, 5:39 GMT)

It is highly unfair to criticise Sehwag, the way its being done. The unfortunte part is that these critics are not really closely looking at what the man is doing what his thought process and neither is their criticism based on stats. Sehwag is an out an out aggressive player, who sees every ball as a potential run scoring opportunity. Not many realise that the reason sehwag was trying to launch into Vettori and Patel early in their spell was to unsettle them from the outset, so they cannot settle into a rhythm and the job would become easier for the batsmen to come. The fact that it did not pay off is a different matter altogether. Also as far as his captaincy goes, on another day one of some 12 boundaries taylor scored through the third man region would have gone to hand. And Tony please leave the IPL alone. IPL was a huge success because of the quality of cricket. So please as cricket lovers lets stick to the cricket aspect of the IPL.

Posted by KrishnaDatta on (March 31, 2009, 20:00 GMT)

Isn't it harsh on Sehwag to judge him/his leadership skills/ his cricketing skills in one match? What if Sehwag had clicked in the second innings and made a quick 150+? That would have put India in a good position and may be India could have pressed on for a win ! Sehwag has been playing cricket in his own way and it is good for the team if it stays that way.

Posted by kalyanbk on (March 31, 2009, 15:14 GMT)

Sehwag would have learnt the difference between aggression and recklessness the hard way. At his best he has produced innings like Adelaide and in Sri Lanka and at his worst here he tried to slog every ball. I also detected a hint of regionalism in how he singled out only his state mate Gambhir for praise while ignoring the fact that Dravid, Sachin and Laxman were all equally responsible in a team effort. Dravid got out to a bad decision while Laxman stayed unbeaten. I feel Laxman should be given a leadership role in Test Cricket for his contribution to Indian Cricket. Gambhir's effort was tremendous but as Ian Smith pointed out, India remained behind for far too long. Gambhir should look at Laxman to see how he not only defended but also kept the scoreboard ticking with minimum risks.

Posted by Vilander on (March 31, 2009, 5:49 GMT)

Growth rate of 5% ( ? 6.5 pc is the latest estimate for next fiscal) for india, 180mil( ? over a period of how many yrs pls) contract, ipl sponsors are cutting losses( ? have you been part of the costing team when is the expected break even)...Tony lets stick to cricket shall we, you are not a financial expert. Let the guys in business decide what their ad' spending should be...

Posted by ramjays on (March 31, 2009, 4:03 GMT)

may be , Martin Crowe's comment on Shewag's captaincy may sound a bit harsh, but the fact is that Sehwag had not realised the seriousness of the Indian's plight when he came to bat after NZ enforced the follow on. It gives the impression that he is still not matured enough to handle the intricacies and the responsilities that go with the captaincy of any game. more so on Cricket and that too for India.This brings forth the immediate need to lookk for some body else. Here the pertinent question that comes to my mind is why VVS Laxman who has done time and again done so much for Indian cricket has not been bestowed the honor of leading the indian side. He is considered one of our batting stalwart but he is the only one among all the stalwarts who has so far been deprived of leading the Indian team.He is quite a recognised captain for his state Hyderabad and also for south zone. Tony, your comments on this

Posted by ILoveTestCricket on (March 30, 2009, 11:31 GMT)

In the end Gautam Gambhir,Dravid,Tendulkar and of course Lakshman did compensated for Sehwag's reckless innings and captaincy. Sehwag is known to play his brand of cricket in any situation. But I found him utter disrespectful towards national duties and game of cricket.He wanted to show the world that he will bat in same fashion in whatever situation.But he forgot that he needed to stick to basics of the game at the same time. He can't pull the ball which wide of the off stump.I agree that same approach of his won India test in Chennai against England, but then he was hitting balls which were meant to be. It wasn't the case at Napier.Again during NZ batting we could see Indian captain missing. He was uninspiring and was content in blaming the pitch at the end of day.Indian selectors should relieve him of any captaincy responsibilities with immediate effect.We need to perserve with him but bring him to descipline.He should thank these 4 for saving him further ignominy.

Posted by Raj_pandian on (March 30, 2009, 10:29 GMT)

Jesse Ryder--- hum! he is not only a good batsman... he is a very good fielder and a partnership broker... this kid has got a very good talent.... it's just a beginnning for him.. he need to carry throughout his career to consider as a great NZ batsman ever.....

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (March 30, 2009, 9:13 GMT)

Of late I am noticing that Tony Greig's remarks seem to be less balanced and more "sensational". I am referring to the phrase he used " never become the world's number one team". Does that mean that the world's best team for many years now, Australia "never" had a bad day in office? Agreed India did not exactly do justice to their terrific batting talents in the first innings,but in the second innings they showed why they are serious contenders for the No. 1 spot today. Frankly not much separates the three teams at the top today and it is a matter of time when the top spot will rotate around these three.

Posted by Sheela on (March 30, 2009, 8:48 GMT)

This is written after end of II Tst at McLean Park. The pitch was equivalent of "Seetaram's Sleeping beauty" pitches of Feroz Shah Kotla at Delhi and Green Park in Kanpur during 60s except for slightly higher bounce. Even on 5th day it was a sleeping beauty. It is all right to say that pitches throughout the world should be somewhat similar but this has been carried too far and all the pitches are graveyards of the bowlers. We should rememebr bowlers are also part of the team and they also deserve some help in the pitches.

Posted by KidStyles on (March 30, 2009, 5:08 GMT)

Finally we(NZ) may have a GREAT batsmen in Jesse Ryder. Just a couple weeks ago i thought Ross Taylor was going to take that mantle but the way Ryder has been playin this summer i might have to go with Ryder. Who knows maybe both of them might end up as nz greats, Since they were playing together as school boys. I know its only early days for Ryder but anyway here's to Ryder, Taylor and Mc Cullum!!!! Make Nz proud in the future!!!!

Now we just need a 20yr old shane bond and who knows?lol

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