March 21, 2008
In a remarkable story that completely misses the point, Sharad Pawar says something quite surprising. Here’s the relevant bit:
Pawar said that it was on Tendulkar’s advice that youngsters were given an opportunity in the Twenty20 squad, which went on to win the World Cup in South Africa last September.
“I was in England when we were playing them. Sachin met me and suggested ‘I know you don’t interfere with the team selection but you please tell the selectors not to include players of my generation in the Twenty20 squad’. He said ‘my generation is not fit for Twenty20, so give opportunity to the youngsters’,” Pawar said.
This seems like a bit of legend-building by Pawar. If it isn’t, what’s Tendulkar doing recommending that selectors shouldn’t pick him, Dravid, and Ganguly? It completely contradicts what Vengsarkar said last year:
“I got a call from Rahul today morning who said on behalf of all the three players that they were opting out of the Twenty20 World Cup,” Vengsarkar had said.
And in an interview with the Hindu, Vengsarkar said:
“Rahul did not give any particular reason, but I presume they want a break and be fresh for the home international season and also for the tour of Australia,” Vengsarkar told The Hindu.
So was Tendulkar acting after speaking with Dravid and Ganguly? Or was he acting alone? If he was, this is shocking behavior. Pawar didn’t really have to talk about it, but as Prem suggested over an email, it might have something to do with the fuss over Dhoni’s comments about team selection (Fuss here. Dhoni’s comments here). Whatever it is, I think Pawar has inadvertantly put his foot in it, and got Tendulkar involved in a needless issue. Anyway, this should be fun.
And by the by, would you trust a chief of selectors who didn’t know exactly why three of his top players were sitting out a world cup, and would only presume they wanted a break?