June 4, 2002

Ganguly hopes to convince Srinath out of retirement

Special Correspondent

Javagal Srinath might have announced the reasons for his sudden and surprising retirement from Test cricket but Sourav Ganguly is not having any of it. The Indian skipper firmly believes that the Karnataka speedster must lead the Indian attack on the very demanding tour of England that is set to follow.

"I shall definitely try and make him understand that the team needs him in England. I was surprised more since he didn't tell anything about it (his plans to retire) when he left for India. I'll try my best to convince him and take him to England," Ganguly said before leaving the West Indies.

Knowledgeable sources say that it was his omission from the one-dayers that prompted Srinath to make the decision. When told about this, Ganguly said, "I had absolutely no idea. This is the first time I am hearing about it. But I failed to understand what he meant by saying that he would not be playing in the Test matches any more.

"Does he want to say that he would continue to play in the one-day matches? Once the selectors know that he will not be available for Tests, will they pick him only for the one-dayers? I've to discuss all these things with him and then only will I be able to say anything more on this subject," he added.

The tour of England will begin with the Indian team's involvement in a tri-nation tournament including Sri Lanka and the home team. After this they would be involved in a four-Test series against the Englishmen. The Indian skipper was convinced that the team needed Srinath to do well in the Test matches.

"We are developing into a team. Although we are yet to win a Test series abroad, we have shown that we can win Tests overseas. And Sri was an integral part of this team. He is our best bowler and can guide the young fast bowlers," the Indian skipper observed.

Srinath also seems to have been frustrated by the fact he could not bowl as well as he would have liked to in the last two Tests in the Caribbean. In fact, before leaving the West Indies at the end of the Test series, he indicated to some of his teammates that he was seriously considering retirement. But they did not take him seriously as this was not the first time that the star speedster had voiced such thoughts.

"Yes, he told me that he could not bowl at the pace he was used to and that he was not enjoying playing. But I told him that with age, every great fast bowler lost a few yards of their pace but they made up for it by concentrating more on variety which assisted their team in a big way.

"Marshall, Roberts, Akram, McGrath were all very fast at the beginning of their careers, but later they developed greater variety and became more dangerous. I told him to follow in their footsteps. He is too nice a bowler to be retired now," Ganguly said, before signing-off.