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'Don't go gaga over Piyush'
Deepti Patwardhan in Mohali
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March 10, 2006

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, who Piyush Chawla [Images] overtook as the second youngest cricketer to play Test cricket for India, said the Uttar Pradesh teenager should be given some time to prove himself.

"He is a very good prospect. But we should be looking at what he will be when he is 22-23 and not go by his performance right now," said the former India leg-spinner.

"I made my debut at 17 and played my last match when I was 22. I don't want that to happen to any youngster. There are very few Sachin Tendulkars."

Siva said Piyush is a very good prospect and, more importantly, had a very good support structure and coach behind him.

"Maninder (Singh) and I didn't have people to guide us. But it's not the case with this Indian team. Greg Chappell [Images] is a very good coach and I don't think he messes too much with the basic technique of the players. He only fine tunes it."

The former Tamil Nadu player also stressed that it is important for Piyush to be eased into the side while Anil Kumble [Images] is still around.

"Piyush will be all right if you and I don't spoil it for him," said Sivaramakrishnan, "We shouldn't go gaga over him and expect too much of him right now; and then when he doesn't perform pull him down.

"I would've been a better bowler if the media would've told me my technical deficiencies rather than just saying that I failed."

Sivaramakrishnan played nine Tests and 16 one-day internationals.


Reigning in the rain

The craze for cricket in India cannot even be dampened by rain.

Even as bad light and steady drizzle delayed play on the second morning of the second Test between India and England [Images] in Mohali, people queued up at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium to get into the stands.

With nothing happening on the field, the spectators cheered the Indian team substitutes -- Mohammed Kaif, VVS Laxman, R P Singh and S Sreesanth [Images] -- who had a knock in the practice nets.

Ian Frazer, the bio-mechanics expert with the Indian team, after supervising the nets, was engrossed reading the book 'Peak performance', while Virender Sehwag [Images] analysed his batting clips.

Though the dark clouds didn't seem like relenting, the umpires hung in to see whether any play could be squeezed in. Australian umpire Darrell Hair admitted the prospects didn't look very good for the day, but play was not called off till 3:20 in the afternoon.

Interestingly, the three selectors, Kiran More, V B Chandrasekhar and Bhupinder Singh Sr. were among the first to leave the ground.


Gower's wisdom

It was David Gower the captain taking over from David Gower the elegant batsman.

Though he is of the opinion that VVS Laxman is one of the rare touch batsmen in world cricket right now, the decision to drop him, he believes, showed that India are willing to take tough decisions.

"We all sympathise with good players," said Gower, taking a break from his commentating duties, as persistent showers allowed only 15 overs in the morning on day 2 of the second Test.

"Most of us have been there at some point. It is an interesting decision, but I'm sure it [dropping Laxman] was taken to fit in the plan for this Test."

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