October 14, 2006

Have to move on

Kapil Dev on Sourav Ganguly, as reported in the Mumbai Mirror, October 13:
    One cannot forget a player with more than 10,000 one-day runs, but everybody has to move on at some stage.
I don't know, but I'm finding it hard to take this with any seriousness. After all, Kapil is the once-great bowler who stayed on in the Indian Test team long past his sell-by date, chasing Richard Hadlee's world-record wicket tally.

For someone like me who had idolized Kapil's verve and fiery skill early in his career, it was hard to watch Kapil in those last few years, bowling with no zip at all, getting hit all over the park by journeymen cricketers like Phil Simmons. It was hard to swallow that he was reduced to bowling at Sri Lankan tailenders -- at the time, arguably the world's worst Test batsmen -- to pick up the wickets he needed to stutter past Hadlee.

And it is just as hard to swallow this man offering advice about "moving on."

To see what I mean, take just these little nuggets.

In his first 50 Tests, Kapil took 200 wickets (4 wickets per Test). In his next 50, 154 more (3 wickets per Test). In his last 31, 80 (just over 2.5 wickets per Test). In fact, in his last 11 Tests, he picked up just 22 wickets: 2 per Test.

Kapil's last five-for was in his 114th Test; he meandered on till #131 without another. In fact, in his last 31 Tests, he collected just two five-fors. Contrast to his first 31, in which he picked up 8 five-fors. Or his next 31, in which he gathered another 10.

Any way you look at Kapil's career stats, the picture is the same: a superb bowler reduced to a shadow, struggling along in pursuit of a record, demeaning himself.

You should have moved on yourself, Kapil, at a time when people would ask why you were out of the team.

Instead you stayed to the point when even your fans wondered why you were in the team.


Sidhusaaheb said...

I sometimes wonder if Sachin Tendulkar is fast approaching his sell-by date or whether he is already past that mark...

asuph said...

Hi Dilip,

Maybe, now he's trying to make ammends ;-). If he had been kicked out early by the selection committee, he'd probably have gone out as a martyr, and his marketing price wud have been much better.

just kidding. just wanted to say hi :).


Anonymous said...

Please don't be so harsh on Kapil. I have already forgiven him for his last phase.

My God had feet of clay. :(

Anonymous said...

isn't it always the most devoted fans who find it hardest to forgive?