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'Putting Sachin's reputation in this position is unworthy of the BCCI'
Geoff Boycott on Tendulkar's future, Dhoni's form away from home, and why the Indian board should do the "right thing" (24:38)
Producer: Raunak Kapoor
September 11, 2013
Bowl at Boycs
'Putting Sachin's reputation in this position is unworthy of the BCCI'September 11, 2013
Excerpts from the discussion below.
Geoff Boycott: No, they should be a bit worried with the World Cup just a year and a bit away, but we have rested five players. remember. We are interested more than ever to beat Australia in Australia and the international schedule now is very complicated, too much cricket going on.
The players can't complain, because they always opt for Twenty20 to earn a lot of money. And it's too much cricket so we've given people rest. So our results against Australia in the one-day series is not a big deal. Some people will say you've rested players - is that fair to the public? I think they have a good point. But the only way the administrators will get that is if people stay away. But we're still getting full houses here.
So if people keep coming then administrators will say what's the problem even if we're resting key players, but until they find that the crowds are down, then maybe they'll change their mind.
RK: Let's move on to the questions for this edition. The first one comes from Shayne in the United States. It's a question on MS Dhoni.
Shane asks: Dhoni continues to be supported as the Test captain, his technique is far from sufficient for a Test batsman overseas in South Africa, Australia and England. Is it all right for the captain to be struggling overseas due to lack of technique? Although he wins Test matches at home and in and around the subcontinent, doesn't the captain need to perform overseas as a batsman and set an example? What are your thoughts? Also, in comparison then, wasn't Ganguly the better Test captain overseas?
GB: A lot of questions within a question. Technique is important. But the only thing that matters is how many runs you make. Nobody should ever make technique their god. That's too idealistic. Technique is a tool to help you do the job. And with regard to team results, captains around the world have always been judged by them. But that doesn't take into account the quality of the team's players, or in many cases the lack of quality in a team.
I'm a personal friend of Sourav Ganguly and I'm a big admirer of his captaincy. But you have to take into account that he had some great batsmen in his team. Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar - all fantastic batsmen. And on top of that he had Kumble and Harbhajan at his best, both genuine match-winning bowlers. So as much as I'm a friend and admirer of Sourav's captaincy, you've got to take these things into account. Then, on the other hand, you've got a captain like Michael Clarke. I think he's a brilliant captain but he hasn't got the batsmen to make the runs, does he, and his bowlers keep breaking down, they can't stay fit. So you can't blame him.
I like Dhoni. He's mentally very strong. And he has a good record certainly in ODIs. Now what many people do is try to split his ODI captaincy against his Test captaincy. That's picking fault with the captain, and India haven't done well in Australia and England for many years. So you have to be careful not to blame Dhoni because India can't win everywhere and in all formats of the game.
I think Dhoni's a good captain. Is he perfect? No. Is anybody perfect? The last man who was perfect - they crucified him, so the others have no chance! And I would always pick Dhoni for his leadership qualities. Theoretically if you can get 5% of ten other individuals then you've done 50% of your work as captain. So then he needs to only perform another 50%. Probably that's what Dhoni does then abroad. He brings out the best in the others.
RK: All right, let's go to the next one then. This comes from Rahul Krishnan in India. It's not an on-field question but I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, Geoff.
Rahul asks: Who are the kind of people that make great observers of the game? Is skill and experience the only way to read the game meticulously? I'll add to that, Geoff: do only cricketers make great observers?
GB: There's no "only way" for anything. I don't think there's only one way for anything. Most things, there are various ways to do it. But I do think as a personal observation, that if you've experienced playing at the highest level, it does help. It gives the observer an insight, a feel that you can only get if you've played at the first-class level.
You use the experience and situations that you've been in, it helps you after you've retired and you're an observer watching the game. That is a very helpful tool. I'd never say it has to be an ex-player. I think it just gives you an insight at the highest level.
|"When you put one man, whoever he is - it's not his fault remember, Tendulkar didn't ask for this - above the game, that's not right"|
RK: Let's go to the Boycott question of the week and it's from Ravi Ray in Hong Kong: Is it time that Tendulkar moved down the order to No. 5 as many other great players, such as Viv Richards, did towards the end of their careers in order to extend his Test career? If I can add to that, Geoff: do you believe he still has something to offer this Indian side, or should he now hang up his boots?
GB: Batting at No. 5 is not much different than batting at No. 4. Now Viv Richards dropped from No. 3, which is a much different position. That No. 3 position in any team often has to face the new ball when one opener gets out early. But four, five and six, I don't think it makes that much difference.
Now then, Sachin has been an iconic batsman. I pick my words very carefully. He's been a truly great player. He's been a credit to cricket with his batting and the way he has conducted himself in the public spotlight. He and Lara have been the best in the last 30 years, by far.
Very few people are going to tell him to go, because it could be construed as disrespectful. And in India there will be hell if you start belittling or disrespecting Tendulkar in any way. Now I'm not going to get into that debate. I'm not stupid.
But the tour coming up to South Africa has already been caught in a storm because of Tendulkar, but really it's not his fault. But it's about him, because the BCCI want to curtail a three-Test match series in South Africa and play only two matches so that India can come back home and play a Test match in India and make it coincide with Sachin's 200th Test Match. [The West Indies are scheduled to
There's nothing wrong with that when you've got someone who has played 200 Test matches. It is enormous and he's been a fantastic player, but here's my point about this: when you put one man, whoever he is - it's not his fault remember - Tendulkar didn't ask for this, above the game, that's not right.
When the BCCI gave their word to play three Test matches in South Africa, I don't think it's ever right to go back on your word. Whatever the reason, I don't care what it is. How would the Indian public react if it was done to them? You've always got to turn things around the other way.
And I don't think it's good because India is the power of world cricket and they should use that power wisely and be seen as a country that can be held to its word. Had they kept their word, they would have been looked at as the powerhouse of cricket but with integrity.
I believe India have to fulfil their obligations. South Africa have sponsors. They've already said where and when they're playing. What about their public and their players? Their cricketing public have a right to see India.
Putting Sachin's reputation in this position is unworthy of the BCCI. Sachin is a good guy and a great batsman and he doesn't deserve a row between two cricketing countries to spoil his big day.
RK: In longer terms, Geoffrey, do you still think he's got something to offer India? Can he go on for a few more years in Test cricket?
GB: I think there are three things that matter. One is desire - you've really got to want to play. When you've played all these years, you've still got to want to get up and practice. I've done it myself. I played Test cricket till I was 41 and first-class cricket till I was 46. I got up in the morning and I wanted to bat. I wanted to play cricket. I loved it and I was passionate about it. If he's still got that desire. That is vital.
Secondly, it's fitness. As you get older, you can't run as fast, you can't bend the same, you can't dive. Everything just goes a little bit, even your judgement of the ball. But you've got to stay fit. I did.
And thirdly, it's about ability. Now whether you like it or not that weighs. I found later on that I couldn't hook. You just don't quite get in the position quick enough. It creeps up on you, it's just like age. And you realise that what takes over is experience and knowledge of playing those 200 Test matches and you try and play a little differently and more sedately and a more careful way of playing.
Now if he can make all that experience and knowledge, the desire, the fitness, the ability he's had for 20 years, if he can use all that as he gets older then he can make some runs, but he'll never be the same again. And only he will know. But he will be tested in the next few months, especially if they go ahead with South Africa.
RK: Thank you very much Geoffrey Boycott for your time. Big few months coming up for Indian cricket: West Indies coming over, then the potential tour to South Africa, they also go to New Zealand. Don't forget to fill in our feedback form and Geoffrey will be back in two weeks' time, just before the India-Australia ODI series, to answer them. Thank you very much.
*As at the time of recording, early on September 11, 2013
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