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More flexibility needed from Ganguly: Manjrekar
September 01, 2004 19:38 IST
India's cricket captain Sourav Ganguly needs to be more flexible with his ideas if India is to do well in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy, former Test batsman-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said on Wednesday.
"The time has come for [Sourav] Ganguly to be a little more flexible with ideas, especially the batting order. He needs to see outside the inner ring, look at fresh talent. People whom he backed have let him down because of injuries," Manjrekar told a press conference in Mumbai.
The former middle order batsman was hinting at some of the fast bowlers, Zaheer Khan in particular, breaking down frequently and upsetting the team balance, as well as the seven-batsmen formula that served the team well in the past.
"Lack of good bench strength is India's great weakness," he said, adding, the batting order also needs to be looked afresh.
"Someone like Mohammad Kaif has not been able to play a significant role for a long time. It's time to promote him to number three or four and see the difference," Manjrekar said.
Supporting him was his former captain Krishnamchari Srikkanth, who remarked that his co-commentator on SetMax channel, which is to telecast the ICC Champions Trophy live from September 10 to 25, was actually hinting at giving a chance to new wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Kartik at number seven.
The two former Test players were part of a promotional campaign uncorked on Wednesday by the channel ahead of the mega event in England.
"Dinesh Kartik should be played at number seven. Sanjay has been more diplomatic," the one-time dashing batsman butted in and said.
"India are lacking a good bowling all-rounder and a wicket-keeper who can bat. Now Kartik is available and including him (in the playing eleven) would be the first step forward," Srikkanth added.
The former opener said he is in favour of 100 per cent use of available technology and not something in between, like say 50 or 70 per cent use of technology to assist umpires.
"I am not in favour of 50 or 70 per cent of technology being used. Either it should be used in totality or there should be the human touch throughout," he said.
Manjrekar, while agreeing partly, said he is not sure how technology would be entirely error-free when the field umpires are wired to the stumps as well as the TV room to hear no-ball calls as would be the case during the Champions Trophy.
"What happens when there's a simultaneous shout of no-ball into the field umpire's earphone by the third umpire sitting in the TV box and at the same time a snick, picked up by the stumps microphone, also relayed to him through the earpiece. He would get confused," Manjrekar said.
"Also, as a batsman, I would like to take advantage of a no-ball call, especially against a spinner, which may not be possible in this tournament," he added.
Two captains, Ricky Ponting of Australia and Tatendu Taibu of Zimbabwe, have said they are not in favour of the International Cricket Council conducting the experiment during the Champions Trophy.
Srikkanth, however, predicted a victory for Ganguly and his team in the mega event, saying he is not basing his optimism on any single factor but on gut feeling.
"India had done well in one-day tournaments held in England in the past, winning the World Cup in 1983 and the NatWest Trophy a couple of years ago. This Champions Trophy could turn out to be a case of third time lucky for India.
They lost to New Zealand in the Nairobi final (in 2001) and had to share it with Sri Lanka last year.
"We will win it this time. The conditions should suit us and our bowlers bowl better in England. It's what I feel within myself," he said.
Manjrekar, on the other hand, was averse to committing himself on the tricky issue.
"It's dangerous to predict India's chances. They have not done well of late, but they had a similar bad run in New Zealand before going on to reach the 2003 World Cup final in South Africa," he pointed out, adding, "fitness would be the key factor."
Manjrekar was referring to India's injury woes in the run-up to the event. The team has been hit hard on the fitness front by Sachin Tendulkar's tennis elbow which ruled the master batsman out of the tri-series in Holland as well as the three-match Natwest Challenge series against England which commenced today at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
Ajit Agarkar suffered a side strain during the preceding tri-nation event in Amsterdam, but has recovered fully now. A bout of viral fever laid Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh low in The Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the channel announced it has also lined up former Test cricketers Ian Chappell, Michael Slater (Australia), Barry Richards (South Africa), ex-England captain Tony Greig, Ian Bishop (West Indies), Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka) and Rameez Raja (Pakistan) as commentators for the Champions Trophy.
The channel's Brand ambassador Kapil Dev, Arun Lal and L Sivaramakrishnan are the other former Test cricketers who will provide the Indian touch along with Manjrekar and Srikkanth.