Source: Sunday Times 22 jan'05
Personally, are you happy to
see a non-specialist opener doing the job on such a big
Well, it's not always the best
situation to be in. But in the end, we knew the options
that we had and what we were trying to do. It was the
best lineup, the most balanced one in the given
Did you do that to accommodate
somebody (read Ganguly) in the first Test?
Not really. We were just trying to get the
maximum out of the side that we had. We felt that the
best way to do that was to go in with a non-specialist
opener. Rahul decided that he would be happy to do it.
He made the right choice under the circumstances, and
did the job very well too. It's not something that I
would like to see as long-term thing though.
How do you rate Sourav on
current form and fitness?
I don't feel
comfortable rating anybody. They are all good players,
otherwise they wouldn't be in the squad. Over the next
few weeks, however, we will need to work out which
player is best suited for the various tasks that we have
in front of them and which ones fit into the model that
we see as the best way to move forward.
It's generally believed that
the yardsticks were different for different players.
Gambhir remained in the team even though he wasn't
scoring; Sourav was out despite making a few in the Delhi Test.
I am not prepared
to talk about the selection processes. We have to weigh
what's best for the present, and at the same time look
at the long term. After Delhi, we decided that was the
best squad to take to Ahmedabad. But when we were coming
on a tour, and needed to look at 16 players, we
obviously looked at things differently.
much do you involve yourself in the selection process?
Pretty much. We (the captain and coach)
don't have a vote so all we can do is talk about what we
want to achieve, and about players who we think we need.
We give recommendations where necessary and it is up to
the selectors to do the rest.
Is there any
pressure from outside, from the Board, to include
It's hard to talk about it in those
terms. Complications will arise as there are so many
players available for selection. There may be some
pressure but I learnt a long time ago, as a player, that
if I worry about things that are outside my control,
it's going to be harder for me to do my job.
Is this Dravid's team or
As far as I am concerned it's
Dravid's team. An awful amount of weight is given to the
role played by the coach but there's a limit to what a
coach can do. I can create an environment where players
can learn and hopefully get better as cricketers. But at
the end of the day, it's the captain's team.
Why the perception that you
are the villain in the Ganguly saga?
know. Maybe, it's just the way I look. But I'm happy to
be the villain of the piece if it's in the best
interests of the team happy. I suppose if you don't see
me 24 hours of the day, under all circumstances, it's
hard to get a true picture. I am sure my game face is
pretty stern too... when I am focused or concentrating
on something I am not laughing or joking very much. But
behind the scenes I hope I am a lot more lighthearted
Has the problem with Sourav been
As far as I am concerned it has
been resolved. But nothing is ever resolved forever. And
I am not just talking about Sourav. Circumstances change
every day. Demands change too. It might come down to
selection again but it might depend on what we might
need for the next match, the next tour. There will be
some players who might believe that because they are in
the team today, they will be there forever. But we might
decide we need to do something else.
he's back in the team, you try and make him comfortable.
I try and not make it a personal issue. Look
the player is like a commodity. It's sometimes the
hardest part of the job. You might like the players but
you have to make a call in the interests of the team. By
and large, I think I have done it and I hope I can do it
all the time. I have been in a situation when I had to
drop my own brother. I did it. It wasn't easy. But if
you can separate the personal thing from the emotional
thing it can be very easy.
Have you been fair to Sourav?
That's a tough call. From my side, I would
say, yes I was. But if you ask him, he might say no. I
think I've been fair. I've had to make calls on other
players as well. Everyone has the opportunity to come
back as a better person, as a player.
your job once a player is left out of the team?
When somebody is left out, they need some
counselling. And it's often the coach's job to do that
too. Of course, if there's a perception from the player
that the coach doesn't like him as an individual, then
it's lot harder to do the counselling.
did that with Sourav too?
Yes, I did that
with him too. And all the other players who have been
What did you tell him?
It's too long a conversation to repeat. But
yes, it's a combination of a number of things.
Technique, attitude and all those things that are
important components of a good team. Well yes, there was
some resistance from him to all that.
Did you think you might be
thrown out during that controversy in Zimbabwe?
No. I had to make
some decisions earlier on because I knew that was
important to make the team better. I also felt that I'd
be given the benefit of doubt for a while as I had just
started the job. I didn't have any concerns about being
thrown out though.
What is your final
I don't have any final
destinations. There are just stops along the way. Each
series is a stop. The 2007 World Cup is a big point in
that journey. If I can make the players better people,
better cricketers, I would get some job satisfaction. If
we can become the best that we can become, I would be
very happy. That may be No 1, No 3 or No 10. I have no
control over that. If we continue to work the way we do,
we will win our share of games. My goal personally is to
be the best coach that can be.... If we win the World
Cup that'd be fantastic.