Selector Dilip Vengsarkar prefers performance to reputations

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WORDS OF WISDOM: Players like Mohammad Kaif and R.P. Singh will strive to meet the expectations of Dilip Vengsarkar.
WORDS OF WISDOM: Players like Mohammad Kaif and R.P. Singh will strive to meet the expectations of Dilip Vengsarkar.

Special Correspondent

`We should have sporting pitches for all domestic games'

Chennai: The new selection panel chief Dilip Vengsarkar is clear in his thinking and precise with his words. The former India captain shared his views with The Hindu on a variety of issues while catching action from the NKP Salve Trophy Challenger Series.

On Rahul Dravid's performance as captain: He is learning the job. I am sure he would do well. He is a very intelligent man and knows his cricket.

On the process of experimentation in the Indian team: There were good reasons for doing so. You had to find out who was the right man for the right role. But this process should stop now. We need a settled batting order.

On the chances of Sourav Ganguly and other senior cricketers staging a comeback: I have come with an open mind. If they perform well in domestic cricket, they will get a chance provided there is an opening.

On Sachin Tendulkar's blazing form: More than his runs, what amazes me about him is his enthusiasm. Even after so many years, he retains the hunger.

On the prospect of interacting with Greg Chappell: It should be interesting. He has brought with him fresh ideas. We played cricket against each other in the early 80s. My emphasis would be on striking the right balance.

On the question of age being a factor in selection: Age will not be an issue. It will be form and fitness.

On the scheduling of domestic tournaments: I feel you should have the Duleep Trophy in September-October so that all the international cricketers can take part. It will enable us to assess talent better.

On his reputation as a good talent spotter: I have been involved with junior cricket for the last five years. In fact, four to five players in the present Indian team have come through from the junior ranks. I saw the talent in them years back. Cricket is no longer confined to the big cities. There are so many cricketers from the smaller towns.

On what he will emphasise upon as National selection panel chief: The zonal bias will be removed. Players will be picked on performance, not reputations.

On the preparation of pitches in the country: We should have sporting pitches for all domestic games. Unless the wickets have bounce, our emerging batsmen would remain front-footed batsmen and would struggle on livelier pitches in international cricket.

On physical training taking precedence over cricketing skills: I would like to see the players spend more time at the nets than in the gym.

On the emerging pace bowling talent in the country: We now have a promising crop. I think Munaf Patel has made rapid strides. He has become more consistent without losing pace. V.R.V. Singh has the promise, but needs to bowl more. He is still a bit raw.

On the lack of quality depth in spin bowling: Again we would have to go back to the pitches. The spinners need to develop their skills on sporting tracks in domestic cricket.

On Virender Sehwag's batting slot in the ODIs: He should be opening the innings. This is my personal opinion.

On someone like Wasim Jaffer being picked in the ODI team: Why not? One-day cricket is not all `bang, bang.' You need people to offer the innings stability. Jaffer also has a lot of shots. He is definitely in contention.

On Irfan Pathan's role in the team: He is a bowler who can bat. His principal job is to bowl. Of course, he has the potential to develop into a quality all-rounder.

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