It’s not every day that Indian batting greats - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gundappa Viswanath and Sourav Ganguly - take the stage together for a talk show.
In a tête-à-tête with select media personel, Karnataka State Cricket Association members gathered to celebrate KSCA’s platinum jubilee and aspiring players on Saturday evening, they had plenty to offer from their rich experience.
Viswanath, the wristy batsman of t he 1970s and early 80s, spoke about the virtues of hard work. “You have to practice, know your game. I always watched and learned from seniors. Even if talent is there, you have to take baby steps. Even someone like Sachin had to work very hard. He’s still working hard to stay at the top.”Spotting talent
Tendulkar was seen advising Robin Uthappa, the Karnataka batsman trying to make an India comeback.
“When it comes to selection, the first thing I’d do is analyse the player. You don’t need the selectors to pick the squad. You can make anyone do that, even scorers can do that job. It is about having a vision - for a player or a team. I have seen players who were exceptionally good at domestic level somehow not making it to the next level. Basics are more important in Test cricket. It doesn’t matter in T20s… you just need to swing your bat.”
Dravid wants to see more players progress from Tests to T20s, rather than the other way around. “You have to of course learn to play a few good shots these days. You can’t keep prodding the bat like I did,” he said.
“All of us have our unique set of skills. It’s important not to copy others. You have to build on your strengths. Sure, you have to keep improving, but it’s important to retain individuality. I would have never succeeded if I tried to bat like Viru (Sehwag).
It all comes down to run-making and wicket-taking. It doesn’t matter how you do it,” said Dravid. Ganguly is impressed with how T20 has helped reshape the game. “In Tests too these days, you end up playing shots. That’s why there are more results. It’s about finding your own way, don’t hold back.”
Tendulkar said laptops have changed the approach to coaching. “Since 2002-2003, there have been so many changes. Initially, we wondered what the laptop was doing in the dressing room. Over a period, we figured out. Once you have stored data in the laptop, you can get access to so many things. Today, it has become so important to access data to prepare or play cricket.”
On a lighter note, Ganguly and Dravid, who have turned commentators, were relieved to be on the other side of the fence. “It’s much easier than playing cricket. I go to sleep without any tension,” Dravid said.
Dravid was glad Tendulkar didn’t listen to his commentary.
“It’s very easy to sit and say the batsman should have left that alone or whatever. I’m glad Sachin doesn’t know what may have been said in the commentary box. I wouldn’t have to face him over it,” he laughed.