S Madan Lal, who was Team India's coach on the 1996-97 tour of West Indies, expressed surprise at then skipper Sachin Tendulkar's revelation that he thought about quitting the sport following devastating defeats on that tour.
S Madan Lal with Sachin Tendulkar
"Yes, I am a bit surprised by this, but Sachin was devastated after those losses," Madan Lal told mid-day yesterday after being informed about Tendulkar's views in his to-be-released autobiography, excerpts of which were released to PTI.
Madan Lal recalled the horror show: "It would have been a historic Test win at Barbados because no Indian team had won there. I remember the day before the final day, our manager DV Subba Rao said he was going to a temple to pray and I said, 'I am going with the boys.' I was sure we would win but we ended up losing. I don't want to take any names but I could sense there was some uneasiness in the team."
As if the Barbados Test defeat was not enough, India ended up losing the St Vincent ODI despite being in a winning position — a classic snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory scenario.
Madan Lal recalled: "I asked one batsman 'why did you play that shot;' why was he so hasty and he said another player told him to do so. I said, 'can't you look at the scoreboard and see how many runs we need and play accordingly?'
I was very upset with the atmosphere in the team. Sachin did his best… always. He played the game the way it should be played and he was always grounded. That's why he was a hero and he'll always he a hero."