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Lloyd support for Gavaskar
- Former captain feels Sachin would have made the WI team of the Seventies

Mumbai: Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd has joined Sunil Gavaskar in condemning sledging and called for stricter rules to curb on-field abuse before it turned more “ugly”.

“I fully support Gavaskar’s views on sledging,” Llyod said on Friday, joining the debate triggered off by the speech of the former India skipper at Lord’s during the recent Colin Cowdrey Lecture.

“Gavaskar might have made those comments after watching the West Indies-Australia Test series where there were more than a couple of ugly scenes involving players,” the West Indies great said.

“The ICC’s Code of Conduct has clear rules for sledging and Match Referees must make it very clear to rival captains to follow the Code strictly or else face the consequences,” said Lloyd, here for a promotional campaign.

Lloyd said it was the responsibility of the big teams to set an example by their on-field behaviour.

“If sledging continues unabated, it might turn ugly in future. For example if a senior cricketing nation indulges in sledging while playing minnows Bangladesh, then the greenhorns will be demoralised completely and may not perform to their full potential.

“Instead of sledging it would be better if players from senior cricketing sides help out young sides like Bangladesh so that they too can become a force to reckon with in future,” Lloyd, who is also an ICC Match Referee, said.

Gavaskar had slammed “verbal bouncers” on the field and without naming Australia, blamed them for bringing the game to disrepute.

Gavaskar’s comments drew strong protest from the Australians, with Dennis Lillee vehemently denying the charge and current Test skipper Steve Waugh saying the issue was being blown out of proportion.

Turning to the state of West Indies cricket, Lloyd said: “It is heartening to note that Brian Lara is in very good form since he took over as the captain. Carl Hooper had infused new life to West Indies cricket with his gritty batting and imaginative captaincy.”

Lloyd said he felt that Hooper should have been included for the series against Australia as his experience would have come handy.

“I feel the recent home series against Australia would have been much closer if Hooper would have played. The home team was let down by inexperienced batting during the series. Probably if Hooper was to play then the West Indies could have done much better. However, the youngsters are showing signs of improvement and hopefully the Windies will once again be a major force in international cricket in the near future.”

Praising Sachin Tendulkar, Lloyd said the Indian and Lara could have won places in the all-conquering West Indies team of the 1970s.

“Time and again the two stars with their contrasting batting styles have proved their mettle against all sorts of bowling, on all sorts of wickets.

“There is no doubt in my mind that they would have fitted into my 70s team despite it having greats like Gordon Greenidge, Roy Fredricks, Vivian Richards, Alvin Kallicharan and others,” he said.

Lloyd was all praise for the current Indian team. “India played magnificently to reach the final of the World Cup and are among the top three in the world especially in the one-day form of cricket.

“They have been performing well at home in Test matches as well. They are the only team to have won a series in the recent times against the best in the world (Australia). With the team consisting of many talented youngsters, they will be an interesting side to beat,” Lloyd said.

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