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Big names have been missed

india Updated: Jun 11, 2011 01:29 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times
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In a bygone cricketing era, players were rated on the basis of how they fared against the mighty WI, batsmen in particular on whether they stood up and braved the hostile pace or ran with tail tucked between their legs.

One Indian batsman would vouch for that. Sunil Gavaskar's iconic status was built against some of the finest bowlers the game has seen. The Caribbeans still sing his praise. In Trinidad, fans, with beer in hand, kept calling out "Hey, Gavaska", from the adjacent stand.

Gavaskar, who is doing commentary here, acknowledged the invite for an impromptu discussion on the state of affairs in the game before asking them to engage Ian Bishop, the former West Indies fast bowler, in the conversation.

India have so far maintained a winning momentum but the big names who have stayed back have been missed. With the West Indies stumbling from one defeat to another, the passionate Caribbean fans deserve to watch players such as Sachin Tendulkar or Zaheer Khan.

With Zaheer and Sreesanth joining the list of those pulling out, the West Indies series, already devalued, does look doomed as far cricket fans taking away memories from it.

Stalwarts keeping out is nothing new. In 1978, Alvin Kallicharan captained a depleted team to India as big guns, including skipper Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Michael Holding stayed away to play in the Kerry Packer organised series in Australia.

India still didn't have it easy. Indian fans then looked forward to quality cricket, not merely craving for an Indian win at all costs. Such Indian supporters may claim they are the new breed. But in West Indies, at least in cricket, tradition is still valued. But the muted or lack of response from the home board could be due to the fact that the Indian cricket board holds the purse strings in the game.

A team with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in the batting engine room and MS Dhoni as skipper will still start as favourites. But the series could end up as another chunk of statistics. As far as the England series is concerned, there are no guarantees in life.