Monday, May 20, 2024

Tendulkar himself would concede he wasn’t good as captain: Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is a prodigious writer, speaker and Social Media enthusiast and his subjects are eclectic from politics to history to geopolitics to international relations. No less is his interest in cricket and he often draws attention with his forthright views on the game and its star performers. It also interested him once to initiate a Kochi team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) though it didn’t turn out well in the end.

It’s not often though that Tharoor submits himself to a live interview on the game as he did with Sportskeeda and its star interviewee Indranil Basu this week.

Touching on a range of issues, including the St. Stephen’s College which the two shared as students, Tharoor and Basu made an engaging pair in the interview which could be viewed here. Tharoor recounted the kind of cricketers not just his college but others such as Hindu and even Khalsa College produced in the Capital. He mentioned that Mohinder Amarnath, in fact, turned out for Khalsa after he had already donned India colours.

The standout moment though was Tharoor holding forth his views on Sachin Tendulkar as a captain which played out contrary to what he had imagined.

“I thought Tendulkar was the best possible captain of India before he became captain. Because when he was not captain, he was so active—he was fielding in the slips, running up to the captain of the day, giving advice and encouragement,” said Tharoor.

“I said let’s make this guy captain because he really is there in every way. When he became captain, it didn’t work out. He had a not terribly strong Indian team in the days of captaincy, but he himself would admit that he was not the most inspirational, motivational captain.”

Tendulkar was captain of India in 25 Tests and 73 one-day internationals. His win percentage in Tests was abysmal: Just 4 wins out of 25 games. As a ODI leader, he won 23 and lost 43 matches for a poor win percentage of 35.07.  He was again offered captaincy in later years after he had quit but the master batsman has had enough.

“This was partially because he had his own batting to think about. And in the end, he happily gave up captaincy and refused to take it when it was offered again later,” said Tharoor.

Tendulkar was replaced by Sourav Ganguly as India’s captain who helped stem the tide, not just for a dispirited squad but also out of the low of the infamous fixing scandal which had clouded Indian cricket’s horizon. Ganguly helped India’s rise to the extent it reached the 2003 World Cup finals in South Africa. He later teamed up with Tendulkar to be a legendary opening pair in one-day cricket.

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