India news November 2, 2014

Tendulkar reveals captaincy despair


There was a phase in Sachin Tendulkar's 24-year international career when he felt so "scarred" and "devastated" by the Indian team's ineptitude under his captaincy that he wanted to completely move away from the sport.

In his autobiography Playing it My Way, to be released on November 6, Tendulkar has dwelled on the frustrations he faced during his tenure as captain. He led India in 25 Tests between 1996 and 2000 - losing nine, winning four and drawing 12 matches.

"I hated losing and as captain of the team I felt responsible for the string of miserable performances. More worryingly, I did not know how I could turn it around, as I was already trying my absolute best," Tendulkar writes in the book. "I confided in Anjali (his wife) that I feared there was nothing more that I could do to stem the tide of defeats. Losing a string of very close matches had left me badly scarred. I had given it everything and was not sure that I could give even 0.1 per cent more.

"It was hurting me badly and it took me a long time to come to terms with these failures. I even contemplated moving away from the sport completely, as it seemed nothing was going my way."

Tendulkar specifically mentions the tour of West Indies in 1997 as a low point of his leadership. After drawing the first two Tests, India needed to score only 120 in the fourth innings in Barbados to win the third match but were dismissed for 81.

"Monday, 31 March 1997, was a dark day in the history of Indian cricket and definitely the worst of my captaincy career," Tendulkar writes. "And yet it had promised so much. In fact, over dinner at a restaurant in St Lawrence Gap in Barbados the night before, I remember having a joke with the waiter, who was predicting a West Indian win. He was confident that Ambrose would bounce India out the next morning.

"Now, in the first innings of this match, Franklyn Rose had bowled me a bouncer and I had pulled him into the stands for six. So I reminded the waiter of the shot and jokingly said to him that if Ambrose tried to bowl me a bouncer, I would hit him all the way to Antigua.

"I was so confident of our chances that I pointed to the fridge and said he should immediately chill a bottle of champagne and I would come and open it the next day and pour him a glass to celebrate winning the match. Instead, we collapsed for a miserable 81 all out, handing West Indies a 38-run victory. Frankly, there can be no excuses for such a poor batting effort, even though it was a difficult track. I certainly don't want to point fingers at anyone for the defeat, as that's not my way. In any case, I was part of that team and as captain it was my responsibility to steer us to victory. I did not get the feeling that we were over-confident, yet none of the batsmen apart from Laxman even reached double figures in the second innings and it was one of the worst batting displays I have been part of.

"I myself got out for just four. In my anxiety to get a feel for the ball I got a tentative edge. I should either have left the ball alone or tried to counter-attack. The defeat left me totally devastated and I shut myself in my room for two whole days trying to come to terms with the loss. I still feel the pangs of that defeat when I look back at the series."

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  • Anuj on November 3, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    @Rasheed Khan: yes and the ideal prep for world cup is going on the lively pitches of UAE I guess, where even the likes of Johnson looks mediocre and spinners are having a gala time. Time for some introspection.... isn't it ???

  • balaji on November 3, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    @Babu22.... Incorrect, I know you picked up Dravid's career period and within that peroid, Dravid scored 13288 runs and within the same period Sachin scored 13292 runs. Please look at correct stats and comment. To add to that Dravid played 286 innings to score those runs and Sachin played 272 innings which means, Dravid played 14 more innings and scored 4 less runs. Hence even from stats perspective I rest my case that both are equally good, if not one better than the other. This is also because both have their own strengths that other doesn't have. Dravid is more strong technically and temperamentally where as Sachin is more strong when it comes to consistency and when it comes to scoring against stronger bowlers and tougher pitches, like SA, Australia and England and his ability to dominate attacks on his day..

    Buddy, it is how we build the argument as we can always build different views to same set of data points based on the position we want to take.

  • Anuj on November 3, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    @yacoob nakhuda: yes indeed, "bowlers win matches" that's why your team has 11 bowlers in their lineup and not a single batsman. @tommytuckersaffa: pretty much like Kallis who threatened CSA to include him in T20 squad or else he'll quit all formats. Very much a team player Kallis.

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    Tendulkar's autobiography will be a must read for all fans. Its interesting how the world's greatest ever had his darker moments. Goes to show that cricket is a team sport and one person, even the very best cannot pull the team through. Some people are born leaders ( like Dada or MHD or Smith or Misbah or Inzy) and they never fail to inspire the whole gang. Superstars like Tendulkar have a problem. Their presence can sometimes intimidate rather than encourage lesser players. The latter than fail to play to their full potential. Not easy being a superstar, it seems.

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    I remember , it was Lara who took a blinder at slip...

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2014, 2:07 GMT

    Sachin salvaged everything in his career by being part of the team which subsequently reached No.1 in test cricket ranking and winning the World Cup for India in one-dayers. He got everything he deserved and he could do that because he had so much passion to hand over the feeling of win to the nation he represents so prouldy. Thanks!!! Sachin

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2014, 2:00 GMT

    Lol at people comparing Sachin and Dravid. It's a lot easier when you have to focus on just one format of the game. Not only did Sachin play 200 Tests, he also played 463 ODI matches. That does not only require a lot if physical stamina, but also a lot of mental strength. There is a reason Sachin was selected in the national team at the age of 16, whilst others like Dravid and Ganguly were competing to get into the state teams. Going and scoring a century at the old bouncy WACA (batsmen feared surviving there) at the age of 18, and saving his team the match - there is a reason why only Sachjn was able to do so. And he maintained that level of consistency till the age of 38, and managed to average more than the likes of Test Specialists like Dravid

  • Bishnu on November 3, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    It only makes me laugh when some people say "Sachin was a selfish player". He has dedicated his whole life for India and Indian cricket to hear this utter nonsense. How funny!!

  • abhay on November 3, 2014, 0:26 GMT

    We all have opinions and all have valid reasons to believe what we believe in. On better batsman - my thoughts are Rahul was better than Sachin. Reason being - when Rahul came one down. Openers were not as stable and solid for India so Rahul had to play new ball or ball which is 10-20-30 overs old. He played in different condition. Rahul played solid so Sachin mostly had to play balls which were 20-30 overs older. He played similar condition. So who played tougher. Rahul clearly in my opinion.

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2014, 22:41 GMT

    I saw the match and I think chandrapaul got his first century in it. I also knew India would never get that 120 runs. Only a few hours ago I told a friend about the nonsense they did today. They scored 365 on a batting paradise in preparation for the world cup on quick, bouncy and seaming pitches of Australia and New Zealand. I think they should have prepared lively tracks in these build up matches so as to get a feel of what to come. No shame in losing or producing low scores in these practice matches.

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