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   For the tour of New Zealand, I think Ravi Shastri... (May 1, 1990)

For the tour of New Zealand, I think Ravi Shastri should be appointed captain, though, as things stand, he is in danger of being dropped from the team. What Shastri lacks at the moment of motivation, responsibilities of captaining the team should bring that back to him.

Thirty per cent of any cricket team's success depends on the qualities of the captain, and, for the coming tour, with the likehood of a large number of eager but inexperienced youngsters included into the team, I would say that 50 per cent would depend on the captain.

That should automatically eliminate Srikanth, friendly soul but no leader of men. In fact, with his poor form, and, more important, faulty batting techniques, Srikanth himself is in danger of losing his place in the team. The amazing part is that like the rest of the players who went to Pakistan he has rested himself from domestic cricket. It was imperative that he played in domestic cricket and regained his form, apart from proving to the selectors that he can still make runs. Because it is a long, long time, long before Srikanth broke his arm, that he made runs.

Consider Vengsarket on the other hand. He has gone back to domestic cricket, regained his form and his zest for the game, and has been scoring 50s and 100s with clockwork efficiency. Bravo. He should go to New Zealand, and bat at No. 4 if he insists, but not as a captain. He is too inhibited and complex a person, and a captain needs a cool and efficient mind.

And speaking of number four, suddenly India seems to have an embarrassment of No. 4 batsmen: Azaruddin, who seems to have regained his batting confidence, though I am not too sure, and Manjrekar, of course, he should be a permanent fixture now, though, if the risk is not too great, he could be sent in to open the innings, and little Tendulkar, and even Sidhu, who, I am sure, would be more comfortable at No. 4. And there is also Amarnath do not forget.

Eventually, it will be for the captain to decide who should bat at what number. Therefore the need for an intelligent and cricket-wise captain.

Kapil Dev, naturally, qualifies. Over the years he has picked up more cricketing knowledge than anybody else. He has also other qualities of good leadership: leading from the front, leading by example (in bowling and batting), and the ability to get on with all the players, new and old, or young and old. But Kapil Dev has just started enjoyed his cricket. I would not like to burden him with the cares of captaincy.

Which once again brings us back to Ravi Shastri. I would appoint him, unhesitatingly.

 
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