April 17, 1999
India and captaincy
With three terrific performances, Ajay Jadeja has made a moral claim for captaincy. You know everybody claims Azhar is a lucky captain and so should remain -- but this is getting us nowhere.
We don't need a lucky captain, we need someone who can lead the team from the front. Is Azhar doing this? The answer to this question is no. At the time I am writing this, India was stuttering at 82 for 7 in the Sharjah finals -- and when India was on 16/2, Azhar had got out slashing outside off. That is not what a captain is expected to do, that is not what is meant by leading from the front.
Azhar does not try to win matches, he just lets them run their course. Then he says we didn't do well. In most of the countries and most of the sports, one bad season can see major changes. Azhar has to do some introspection , before the World Cup, and has to decide whether he is cut out for captaincy and whether he should continue as captain.
In this World Cup, India is pitted in a tough group and there are 5 major contenders for the 3 slots. There is no way, India is going to reach the super league without a good captain. India has one of the best bowling line ups with Srinath, Prasad, Agarkar and Kumble. The fifth bowler could be Singh, Ganguly and Sachin. These bowlers have to be marshalled properly, if India has to have a good outing.
Azhar is not one of the best cricketing brains, and we may be seeing the last of him, after this World Cup, if it proves to be a disastrous campaign for India. Jadeja is not a great player, neither is he in Azhar's class as a batsman. But he has got good cricket sense, and motivates the players. He should be India's ODI skipper, till the time Sachin is ready to take over.
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