Taken from The Newspaper today.
I liked his candor. I hope one day Vishunuji admits that he ran away
in 'that' match and other important matches.
RK- [ who noticed once again that Srinath didn't mention fire's name :-) ]
Srinath: I am not disappointed
New Delhi, June 19, 16:16
When Javagal Srinath announced his retirement from Test cricket
in order to concentrate on the short game, it appeared that he'd
got it all upside down. The only Indian quick bowler after Kapil
Dev to claim 200 Test wickets, Srinath's reputation as a crafty
operator had grown in the last couple of seasons with many predicting
a rich autumn for the man from Mysore. In England, his was expected
to be the calm hand to guide the rudder of the bowling attack in the
But just after he had barely returned from the West Indies, Srinath
said he had had his fill of Test cricket and was ready to give his
final burst to the one-day game and the World Cup. The selectors,
all a-grumble, would have none of it and didn't pick him for the
team that left for England on Tuesday morning.
According to friends, Srinath had been contemplating retirement for
the last six months and talked to the team management (captain
Sourav Ganguly, vice captain Rahul Dravid and coach John Wright)
and senior most team man Sachin Tendulkar regularly about it on the
tour of the West Indies. Ganguly tried one last time to get on the
phone and have Srinath change his mind about Test cricket; when he
didn't, ("though I felt bad to refuse Sourav again, I'd made up
my mind"), Srinath was let go into future that appears hazy and
ridden with hazards.
While the world writes their tributes, Srinath is dogged in believing
his international career is not yet over. In an exclusive interview with
TheNewspaperToday in New Delhi, he explains why he hasn't given up on his
dreams of playing one-day cricket and the World Cup again, why saying
goodbye to Test cricket came so suddenly, why India have failed to win
a series overseas in more than a decade and how rumours of raging
disagreements with Ganguly are grossly exaggerated.
Excerpts from the interview:
How have you received the decision that you had not been picked for
the one-day tri-series in England - specially after announcing your
retirement from Test cricket to concentrate on the one-day game?
It is not disappointing, discouraging or humiliating that the selectors
haven't considered me for the one day series in England. I have played
my share of cricket and like I said, I want to contribute in a more
objective manner towards the team. Having decided that Test matches
are off for me, I thought I would concentrate on the one-dayers which
would be very crucial for us with the World Cup coming up. That's
always a special event. The fitness required for one-day cricket
is pretty high and I'm working on my fitness. I need to definitely
grow a few years younger to find a place in the side!
But weren't you aware that you were taking a gamble by making the
announcement a few days before the one-day team to England was to
That risk was always there and I was aware of it. I know I just
can't play everything like a 22-24-year-old guy. I need to make
sure whatever I give from now on, at this age, has to be result-oriented
and it has to make an impact for the side. The signs coming out from me
as far as the five-day game was concerned weren't right in the West
Indies. With that frame of mind, it's not fair on my part to play in
the eleven. A few people in the team still insisted I could deliver
for some more time. But I know my body well and it is definitely not
a hasty or an overnight decision. I know it won't be easy from now on.
I need to be fit to compete with the younger boys for the one-day slot
but I am experienced I have played 204 games. If I'm fit I'll get my chance
When you say signs in the five day-game not being good what do you mean?
Have you been thinking about quitting for a long time?
It's been on and off for about six months now... I was injured in the
series against Australia, then I didn't have a great series in Zimbabwe,
had a streak of injuries again. It began crossing my mind whether I'm
doing the job or not and whether there was something I could deliver
to the team. When I missed the tour to Sri Lanka last August-September
I wondered should I keep on playing? Do I have the stuff to deliver for
some more time? Do I stop or do I space my cricket? Things like that.
The South African series was reasonably good, I was talking to my teammates
every now and then about it and I postponed taking a decision until after
the home series versus England and Zimbabwe. But results did also matter
quite a lot here. We won against England and Zimbabwe, but losing again is
a very de motivating factor for anyone. I'm at a stage where I need to
contribute to the victory of the side rather than just being in the
eleven and doing my bit. At the same time I need to see my body,
I need to understand it very well. The West Indies was really hard.
I fared well in the first two games I think I bowled the best in the
first two games but by the time the fourth and fifth Test came I found
I was losing steam very soon. My body couldn't respond to such amount of
work, playing back to back three Tests and on flat wickets.
Then I began to look for things that never crossed my mind usually -
looking for some kind of green patch on the wickets, help from the wicket,
thinking about what the guy at the other end was bowling. You always set
an expectation level for yourself which you work to reach regularly.
When you don't touch that line consistently, earlier you can work
towards it but now other things had begun to cross your mind; you
look elsewhere for an explanation. And that is the time I thought
it is not good for me to keep continuing like this. Once you set
an expectation for yourself you don't want to perform below that.
I realised then that I don't see my cricket beyond the World Cup.
I thought I should conserve my energy towards the one-day internationals
- if people feel I am fit enough to play that. I never wanted to drag my
cricket out. my presence in the team should be there to make sure there
is some result favouring India.
How much did the result of the West Indies series have to do with
your decision to quit?
Of late any defeats outside India were very depressing. It meant nothing.
There is no end to our losing abroad, come back again and go again as
a new team and lose again. If at all had we'd won Jamaica
(the fifth and deciding Test) I would have definitely played the
England Test matches... had I been selected. I take personal
responsibility for not getting wickets in that particular spell
on day one. Those are the wickets you look up to in Test matches
and I would take responsibility on my shoulders and say I didn't
do my job there. I wouldn't want to say if batsmen did well or
bowlers did well, I didn't do my part well that's what I see when
we lose the game. What was my contribution and where did I go
wrong? It looked like we could have broken our jinx, we were
1-0 up in the Tests - but again remained elusive.
How about the rumours that your decision to quit has to do
with a difficult relationship with captain Sourav Ganguly
and the on-field arguments we saw from the West Indies?
Not true. I think the best time I've ever had in the Indian
team has been in the past 2-3 years. I know Sourav for the
past 10 years I know him in and out and we know what we can
give to the side.
Emotional expressions on the field do happen and it's natural.
As long as we have the same objective on the field - of winning
- it really doesn't matter. Nowadays TV really exaggerates things.
We are pals, we share a laugh. We hold nothing against each other.
A little bit of expression does come into it on the field, that
only happens if we have transparency in how we deal with one
another... and our cricket. I know him through and through....
it is our frankness that makes us express things so easily on the field.
I enjoyed my last 2-3 years because of the youngsters we have to
work alongside, the way they play cricket, there's fitness-consciousness
and people work *** their cricket. Things have changed - we have a
good physio, a good trainer and people have start thinking cricket
professionally. These things count over a period of time. Guys are
more responsible. Every team is improving - we may be late but we
are also getting there. These are great guys to be around.
Do you think asking to be rested for one-dayers in the past has cost you
Now it looks like it has played against me. But not many people will
try and go deep and understand why I did this, asked to be rested.
Not many people will understand my state of affairs because not
many people are fast bowlers in India.
Do you think your decision to retire from Test cricket has been
People have misread me taking this retirement. A lot of people are saying
that I take cricket for granted and I pick and choose my games. And I
first gave up one-day cricket as and when I wanted to and played
Test cricket as and when I wanted to. A real cricket lover would
know what Test cricket is all about, it always has the best place
in cricket. One-day cricket is important too and it's high intensity.
One day cricket may be only 10 overs but we played a series of back
to back one-day tournaments at one stage followed immediately by Test
And the amount of bowling which I used to do in Test matches and in
one dayers at the time, I don't think any bowlers could have sustained
such kind of physical exertion.
If this was 3 years ago I don't think I could say or would say I'm
going to take a break from Test cricket and play ODC. The results
of Test cricket are so imporant for us - victories gave us a lift
but at the same time losing haunts you. It lingers. A Test match
loss will never be forgotten at the same time a Test ...
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