The pain of Sachin Tendulkar’s failure as India captain will likely never dim for the man or his millions of loyal fans. Tendulkar revealed just how much it hurt in his autobiography, Playing it My Way, writing that he almost quit the game because the team failed to win enough under his leadership.
The great irony is that India embarked on perhaps its best dozen years as a cricket country after Tendulkar’s second stint as captain ended and Sourav Ganguly took over in the 2000/2001 season.
Tendulkar doesn’t express his views on the captains that came before him, perhaps deciding he should abstain from commenting on Mohammad Azharuddin alone because of the match-fixing scandal, but he had a few things to say about the four men who succeeded him.
Being the diplomat Tendulkar is, naturally everything he had to say was positive.
Sourav was an excellent strategist and had a very good understanding of the game. He was an aggressive captain and wasn't afraid to experiment in difficult situations. It was under Sourav that we started winning overseas Test matches consistently.
Anil Kumble was an excellent communicator and clearly explained to the players what he wanted from each one of them. He was aggressive and trusted their instincts.
"Rahul, on the other hand, was more conventional. He was more methodical and his mental toughness was an added strength. He was committed to the job but stayed away from experimenting too much."
"Dhoni, in contrast, was impulsive and loved to back his instincts. He has a really good grasp of the game and is not afraid to try something different. He is never flustered and handles pressure well."
If one had to read between the lines, you’d think Ganguly and Dhoni might get his vote as the best captain he played under. He describes both has having a good understanding of the game and credits Ganguly for teaching India how to win away from home consistently, while Dhoni’s unflappable nature gets high praise.
The bigger surprise might be the man he picks as the best captain he played against. It isn’t Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting, the leaders of the all-conquering Aussie sides that ruled cricket for almost two decades. It isn’t Graeme Smith or Stephen Fleming, two others rated highly as captains within the game.
The captain he rated most highly was former England captain Nasser Hussein.
“He was an excellent strategist and even if some of his tactics occasionally bordered on the negative -- using the left-arm spinner Ashley Giles to bowl to me outside my leg stump from over the wicket, for example -- he was a very good thinker about the game and was proactive. Nasser would not place a fielder in a particular position after a shot was played. Rather, he had the ability to anticipate the shot and would place a fielder well in advance, making a real difference to his team."
Updated Date: Nov 07, 2014 16:13:49 IST