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The Rediff Cricket Interview / Chetan Chauhan
'Dravid has proved his ability as a captain'
April 09, 2007
Chetan Chauhan was one of the finest openers in international cricket in the late 1970s. He forged a solid opening pair with Sunil Gavaskar and gave India a brilliant start on many occasions. His sudden and shocking omission from the team for good after the twin tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1981, during which he overshadowed Gavaskar and others with consistently good performances against the likes of Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee, continues to remain one of the greatest mysteries of Indian cricket.
He, however, kept playing first-class cricket in the hope of regaining his rightful place in the national side and eventually called it a day. Later, he turned politician and got elected to Parliament on a BJP ticket.
A highly knowledgeable and respected cricket personality, Chauhan is always forthright in his views on any subject related to the willow game.
In an interview with Haresh Pandya, he expresses his views on the various decisions taken by the Board of Control for Cricket India in the aftermath of Team India's debacle in the ongoing World Cup in the West Indies.
What are your impressions on the many decisions taken by the BCCI following India 's disastrous showing in the World Cup?
The BCCI taking such decisions after India's poor performance in the World Cup was not entirely unexpected. They were always in the offing after a lot of noise made by the media, the public and many former cricketers.
Do you welcome the decision to retain Rahul Dravid at the helm of Team India despite the fact that it came a cropper in the World Cup under his leadership?
Yes. I am very happy the BCCI has shown faith in Dravid's leadership and decided not to remove him from the captaincy, which many thought it would. It is a very good and wise decision. Dravid has proved his class as a batsman and ability as a captain. The unexpected, shocking ouster from the World Cup should be considered an aberration. I am sure India will soon start winning matches under his captaincy.
How do you view the appointment of Ravi Shastri as Team India's coach-cum-manager?
It is a good decision, but I feel he should have been made coach only, and that also for a longer duration.
Do you mean to say there should have been someone else as a specialist manager?
Yes. There should be a professional manager who can take care of the administrative side and also handle the media. I think such a manager should be appointed for at least a year. You cannot expect a coach to shoulder extra responsibilities of a manager, too.
The BCCI has also gone for specialist bowling and fielding coaches. Your comments?
I do not agree with having separate bowling and fielding coaches. The point is accountability cannot be fixed in the event of the team bowling badly or fielding poorly. And when your main coach is an experienced former player, why you need separate bowling and fielding coaches? If required, he can always seek services of bowling and fielding experts. But having a bowling coach and a fielding coach despite the presence of the main coach makes no sense.
Are you happy with Shastri being chosen as the coach?
Yes, of course. He is a good, experienced and intelligent cricketer. He is very knowledgeable about the game. I am sure he will prove to be a successful coach. He has it in him to get the best out of his players. I am sure he will perform well and make the BCCI extend his tenure. Of course, I am not against having a foreign coach. What I am trying to say is that we experimented with two foreign coaches in John Wright and Greg Chappell for quite a few years. Let us try an Indian coach again. So I am happy that the BCCI has appointed an Indian coach in Shastri. Maybe we can again go for a foreign coach after a couple of years. It depends on the circumstances. But right now there cannot be a better choice than an Indian, all things considered, and Shastri deserves this honour.
What do you think about the new performance-based contract system the BCCI has introduced for the players?
Well, I am glad that the BCCI has done away with the present gradation for retainer. But I disagree with their decision to reduce the match fees of the players. I fear that this decision will hurt the players, shake their confidence and discourage them. I must say this particular decision was uncalled-for at this stage when all the players are already feeling demoralised.
How do you look at the BCCI imposing a strict limit to endorse not more than three sponsors or products for each player?
I totally disagree with this decision. It is ridiculous. There are not too many geniuses or stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. You have to give youngsters opportunities to make as much money as they can. After all, a cricketer's career tends to be very short. I do not agree, as many people believe, that players tend to go astray when they start making a lot of money at a young age. Age does not matter in such cases. If a person has to go astray, he is bound to, whether he is 20 years of age or 60. It is a matter of attitude. As long as it does not come in the way of their cricket and career, you should not try to prevent players from making money.
What are your views on the BCCI's decision to scrap the old method of having a selector from each of the five zones?
It is one of the best decisions taken by the BCCI. In the absence of zonal representation, India will be able to select and field the best possible team, too. The very idea that there will be no zonal selectors is very exciting. There will be only paid experienced former India cricketers irrespective of whether they hail from X zone or Y zone. They will be truly accountable and answerable. Considering these happy developments, we can always hope for a fairer selection of the Indian team.
The Cup: Complete Coverage