In a statement that is likely to have a large bearing on the immediate future of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar has revealed that India's cricketers would be most disappointed with Greg Chappell, the coach, if he questioned their attitude.
In a rare public outburst, Tendulkar, not known to air his views on controversial issues, expressed his anguish. "Paani sar se ooncha ho gaya hai (Things have gone a bit too far to keep quiet). I've given my heart and my soul for 17 years. No coach had mentioned even in passing that my attitude was not correct," Tendulkar told Times of India. "Cricket has been my life for all these years and will always be."
His statements come in the wake of reports that many members in the team have rallied together against Chappell and Dravid and want Tendulkar to take up their case to the board. Cricinfo had reported on the crisis in the team , one largely owing to the rift between Chappell and the senior players, and Tendulkar's statements reinforce the players' stance.
"Tell me, the world has gone on talking about all this [our defeat and exit] but has anybody spared a thought for us?," asked an emotional Tendulkar. "Did they try to find out what we have been going through?
I am shattered beyond words and I feel helpless. I've never felt so bad in my entire career ... The World Cup was our passion, our collective goal, our dream and that has been shattered
"I am shattered beyond words and I feel helpless. I've never felt so bad in my entire career." he said. "No matter how many Tests or one-day series you win, nothing else even comes close to a World Cup triumph. The World Cup was our passion, our collective goal, our dream and that has been shattered. And we all are terribly disappointed over it."
Tendulkar took responsibility for the World Cup debacle but responded to what he perceived as a slight to his commitment. "Again, it's not that we are defending ourselves. We do realise that we played badly and, as a team, we take full responsibility for that. But what hurt us most is if the coach has questioned our attitude."
The Indian board's working committee meets on April 7, following the meeting of the review committee the day before. It is expected that Chappell's report, due to be submitted to the board before April 6, will be scathing in its criticism of the attitude of the senior players including Sourav Ganguly, Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh. The working committee meeting will be attended by BCCI's office-bearers and seven former captains, including Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri and S Venkatraghavan.