Former BCCI secretary JY Lele on why Sachin failed in both stints as skipper
Former Indian cricket board secretary J Y Lele, the controversial administrator, who sat in selection meetings as convenor in the late 1990s and early 2000, said that he had tears in his eyes when he discovered that Sachin Tendulkar was firm in giving up the captaincy.
Sachin Tendulkar's two stints as India skipper were not memorable.
Tendulkar was appointed captain first in 1996 and then recalled to the hot seat in 1999. "Sachin could not exactly prove himself as a successful captain, though as a player he is a legend, the greatest! I need not specially write about his unmatched batting prowess, as it is a worldwide accepted fact and volumes have gone into describing his cricketing skills. When I saw him step down as captain, I was in tears, writes Lele in is autobiography, I Was There -- Memoirs of a Cricket Administrator.
"His biggest problem was that he used to listen to too many people. Basically a very soft, rather shy, cultured gentleman, Sachin played international cricket at the tender age of 16 plus, and from then on, formed the habit of respecting elders. He thought it was his duty to implement what they suggested."
The Baroda man described a conversation between then captain Tendulkar and chairman of selectors Kishen Rungta. "In the series against SA, after the Kanpur Test match, the committee met to select the team for the next match in Ahmedabad. Chairman Kishan Rungta was a no-nonsense man. At that meeting, Sachin said that Mumbai's Nilesh Kulkarni was a fine bowler and as he had taken 26 wickets the previous season, he should find a place in the team. Rungta asked him, "Yeh wickets usane kaunsi tournament me liye? (In which tournament has he had taken these wickets?) Have you seen him bowl?" Sachin fumbled.
"Though he himself was a Mumbai player, he had rarely played a Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai, nor had he followed the scores. "No sir, but I know he has taken 26 wickets and is very good'," Sachin replied. Rungta said, "Dear skipper, I might have given thought to your recommendation if you had seen him bowl. Now, let me tell you for your kind information that in the current season, Mumbai has played two Ranji matches and Kulkarni has not played a single. He was dropped from the team. Tell me, how can a player find a place in the national team when he is not found worthy of selection in the local team?' "Sachin had no answer.