Sunday, April 22, 2007
No Kapil! Please Believe me! You wanted some Rest
The recent selection, and the associated 'resting' comment brings to memory the Sharjah tour in 1993-94. The darn Kapil Dev wouldn't call it quits. He was bowling slower than Kumble and finally with a lot of effort in Jan/Feb 1994 series against Lanka, he got to that 431 mark. Kapil had already adorned the front of my 'Natraj' geometry box for close to a decade and rust had begun to accumulate on his face and the photo of him holding aloft the 1983 cup. The board thought that Kapil would have the decency to know that he was a spent force and would quit both tests and ODIs after he got to 431. Srinath was already waiting in the wings with 'swing' bowler Manoj Prabhakar taking on the mantle of senior bowler. Kapil, I think, quit test cricket and people were unsure about his ODI plans.
However, Kapil decided to go on improving his ODI record and finances without quitting. For a month after we had returned from the NZ tour, there was heavy speculation that he might be humiliatingly dropped for this Australasia cup in Sharjah. The D-day came and our clever selectors walked into the media room. Surprise Surprise! They announced that Kapil wanted to be 'rested' for the Sharjah tour. They gave this as an excuse for not picking him. The news came as a "surprise" to Kapil Dev, who promptly claimed that he didn't want to be rested at all. The media-based battle began with selectors actually insisting that Kapil wanted to be rested and Kapil refuting the claim. I mean, at that point I felt 'dropping' him would have been a less humiliating option. 'Resting' a person like Kapil, who didn't understand a subtle 'please get out' message was plain stupidity. A stupidity which only our selectors were capable of doing. So they included him for the WI tour to India and he eventually retired after that tour. This over-stay is accentuated further by the early retirement of Javagal Srinath. he retired early not once but twice. His main reason for retiring so early was Kapil Dev. He explicitly said that he didnt want to inflict the pain - that Kapil inflicted on him - to youngsters waiting in line. A telling comment on superstardom that dominates Indian cricket. We still haven't got a replacement for Srinath.
P.S: Whats up with this Laxmipathi Balaji? Where is he? Its funny that this is happening 3-in-a-row. S. Ramesh, M.Karthik and L.Balaji were all performing really well in the last series they played for India. They were in fact among the top two performers in the side. Then an injury break comes. And then they are nowhere to be found in National/Domestic/Club/Road-sides. Meanwhile Ajit Agarkar stands a good chance of making his seven thousandth come-back for the England tour. There has got to be a name for this kind of thing.
P.s2: Still haven't begun my accounting exam. :-(