John Buchanan’s multiple captain idea a mockery of game: Vengsarkar

Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) coach John Buchanan’s multiple captain idea is nothing but a mockery of the game, former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar said on Wednesday.

Ridiculing Buchanan’s suggestion, Vengsarkar said he would be glad to see KKR captain Sourav Ganguly back at the helm of the Kolkata-based Indian Premier League franchise.

“I’ll be glad to see Ganguly back at the helm of the Knight Riders. This is ridiculous,” the former player said.

“Suppose there is one ball to go and six runs to be scored and then four guys come to advise you,” he said.

“It can happen to Ganguly himself. I want Ganguly to go to Buchanan, whose idea it is, and ask what to do. This is a mockery of the game with four captains telling the captain what to do,” said Vengsarkar who was here for Pepsi’s ‘First Ball Ka Captain’ initiative.

Under the programme, 16 fans will get a chance to bowl to a legendary player before every ICC World Twenty20 match in England.

Vengsarkar, who boasts three centuries at Lord’s, said it would be a lifetime chance for a youngster to bowl at the ‘Mecca of Cricket’.

“I was not initially sure if ICC would allow such things. But it’s going to be a great chance for someone to bowl at Lord’s,” he said.

Recalling his fond memories of the ground, Vengsarkar said, “I played my first match there in 1979. I had heard so much about the venue and when I walked out to a full house, the atmosphere was simply electrifying.

“I got a duck in the first innings and we were bundled out cheaply. When I walked out to bat in the second innings, I thought if I get a pair here, what will I tell my grandchildren? That I got a pair at Lord’s? I was determined to get a ton.”

Vengsarkar scored 103 and shared a 210-run partnership with Gundappa Viswanath that steered India to safety.

“Viswanath played really well in that match and we had a great partnership. I got a century. I also heard someone saying no Indian had scored a century there since Vinoo Mankad in 1952,” Vengsarkar reminisced.

“In 1982 again, I scored 157 and it could have been a bigger innings but I top edged a Bob Willis delivery which flew to third man.

“In 1986, I was precariously placed at 92 when Maninder Singh joined me as the 11th man. In the previous series in Sri Lanka, he had played across and got bowled to leave me stranded on 98. So when he asked me ‘Dilip bhai, kya karu’ (how to play)? I said ‘Kuch bhi kar, ara mat khelna ‘(just don’t play across),” he said.

“He did just that and I got my third century at Lord’s. We also won our first match at Lord’s, something we have not done since,” said Vengsarkar.

“Incidentally, I got four centuries at Ferozeshah Kotla – three against the West Indies and one against Pakistan – but people only talk about Lord’s,” the former chief selector said.

Talking about the current India team, Vengsarkar recalled anointing Mahendra Singh Dhoni the Twenty20 captain, a move which led to the star stumper-batsman taking over in other formats of the game as well.

“For the Twenty20 World Cup, we picked a side which fitted into the format. Dhoni had not led even his state team when we decided to make him the skipper.

“We realised here was a man who knew the game. We asked people who fielded in the slips about him and the feedback was that he was a man who was very intelligent and positive. So we picked him ahead of everyone and we won the World Cup,” he said.

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