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Anil Kumble - Insight Edge

Only in sub-continent, senior players are treated like this, says Kumble

Thursday, December 24, 2021
'Sanath deserves a chance'

When a team is forced to change the captain mid-way through a series but copes with the change smoothly, the signs are clear that all is well with the team. It means that all the seniors have been on par beforehand when it comes to strategizing and things like that and it is simply about one of them taking over.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, thanks to the form with the bat was certain to be missed but that his absence as captain was smoothed over to a nicety, is a credit to the functioning of the side. It also shows that this is a successful team as with a losing team, such personnel losses means hitting further depths.

To the outside world a captain may seem to be on a pedestal but that is not normally the case within a good side, where everyone is treated equally. Also when you have senior players like Sachin, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Zaheer doing well enough, the captaincy tends to take care of itself, as Sehwag would have undoubtedly found out at Cuttack.

It helped too that young Jadeja joined the party. Yusuf Pathan, the man Jadeja replaced, is more of a batsman while Jadeja is more of a bowler but the latter’s technique with the bat is decent enough. He only lacks the brute power of Yusuf but the left-arm spinner is street-smart and has the ability to quickly adapt to situations. I am not sure whether it was the seniors who advised him to bowl slow and thus procure turn on the Cuttack strip or if he thought of it on his own, but either way the performance will stand him in good stead in the days to come.

As far as the Lankans are concerned, they will be aware that whatever the start, no team that loses nine wickets for 75 runs is going to be able to make a match of it. Here, the loss of Angelo Mathews perhaps told the most. He is just 22 but the all-rounder has displayed immense maturity with bat and ball and has certainly left a void. Mahela Jayawardene’s loss of form has only made it worse.

A team has also got to help itself and when you leave someone like a Sanath Jayasuriya on the sidelines, you are bound to suffer. It is only in the sub-continent that senior players are treated so. Why pick someone like Sanath and have him sit and watch the game. In any case, my guess is that after the Cuttack show, Sanath will figure in both the remaining games.

Whether I get to see Sanath at the Eden Gardens or not, I sure was sad to see the pictures of a less than majestic Eden. It was hard to digest that half the ground was down but stadiums in India do need upgrading and I am confident it will be back to its old imposing self soon enough. But whatever the state before the renovations began, my heart will always beat for Eden.