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Lele targets Kapil

cricket Updated: Oct 25, 2011 23:37 IST

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At the height of the match-fixing saga a decade ago, the then India coach Kapil Dev had overruled captain Sachin Tendulkar's decision to enforce the follow-on against New Zealand in the Ahmedabad Test, former Cricket Board secretary, Jaywant Lele, has recalled in a new book.

"The subject of match-fixing was riding very high at that time (1999-2000). It was a Test match in Ahmedabad against New Zealand. India had put on a mammoth total of 583 runs in the first innings, against which, the visitors could post only 308. Everyone expected India to impose a follow-on," Lele has written in his autobiography "I was There - Memoirs of a Cricket Administrator".

"Sachin Tendulkar, the captain of the India team, went to the opposition captain (Stephen) Fleming, and told him that they had to bat again. He told the umpires that India was imposing a follow-on and told them to show a few balls to our opening bowlers for selection.

"From there, he walked to the dressing room and instructed (Javagal) Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad to select the new ball. They nodded, and as they spoke, Kapil Dev, the India coach, who was some distance away, shouted to Sachin, 'Captain no follow-on! Our bowlers are tired. We will bat'."

Lele recalled how the then chairman of the selection committee, Chandu Borde, was taken by surprise by the decision of not imposing the follow-on. "Borde, the then chairman of the selection committee and I, exclaimed, 'What?' Why, why not impose a follow-on. Sachin, tamely obeyed Kapil's order."

"(Sachin): 'Haan, theek hai, paaji. Lekin maine to unko bol diya hai ki hum follow-on de rahe hai' (Okay, but I have already told them that we are enforcing a follow-on)."

"(Kapil): 'To phir se jaake bol do, woh maan jaayenge' (So what? Tell them we are changing the decision. They will agree)."

New Zealand captain agreed and the match ended in a draw.

"I understand that while investigating the matter for match-fixing, CBI questioned Kapil on this point. Sachin was also called as witness, and I am told that he deposed that it was a team decision."

Kapil was later replaced by former New Zealand opener, John Wright.

Lele also reveals why former India opener, Navjot Singh Sidhu, walked out of the 1996 England tour. Sidhu left midway because he thought his captain Mohammad Azharuddin was constantly abusing him.

But the words used by Azharuddin were "commonplace in his home town, Hyderabad, and no disrespect was meant".

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