|Munaf Patel and John Gloster
Calcutta: Munaf Patel “feared” breaking down on his comeback (Newlands, last week), but wasn’t honest about his feelings when he told Team India physio John Gloster, in the lead-up to the third and final Test versus South Africa, that he was fit for the rigours of five-day cricket.
That came through when the speedster met Dr Anant Joshi in Mumbai on Monday, some hours after the team returned from another poor tour of South Africa. Till late on Tuesday, it wasn’t clear whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would act against him.
It must, for Munaf should have done a Mahendra Singh Dhoni and made himself unavailable. Dhoni did so on grounds of fitness, Munaf ought to have accepted he wasn’t up to it in the mind. The team comes first, not one’s career.
As it turned out, in the decider, Rahul Dravid was effectively left with only three specialist bowlers to bowl out South Africa. If anybody needs a reminder, Munaf was given one over in the second innings and the hosts finished big winners.
Munaf, it may be recalled, played one ODI and one Test on the nearly two-month tour. Except turning out in a two-dayer, he did nothing between the Durban ODI (November 22) and the final Test in Cape Town (from January 2).
The speedster went unemployed for long owing to a left ankle injury sustained in the ODI.
“He should have been honest, yes, but we haven’t discussed whether action ought to be taken,” a senior BCCI official said when contacted by The Telegraph.
He added that Gloster wouldn’t be censured as he’d given the green signal (to the team management) once Munaf confirmed he was in no discomfort after sessions at nets.
Munaf is taking a two-week break and won’t be available for the first two ODIs versus the West Indies. Apparently, he himself wanted time off and Dr Joshi felt that wouldn’t be a bad idea.
“So far, there has been no suggestion that Munaf must immediately consult a sports psychologist or somebody else... He needs to clear his mind, though,” the BCCI official informed.
Meanwhile, it’s almost certain that the out-of-form Virender Sehwag won’t figure in the squad for the year’s first two ODIs at home. Everything points to Sourav Ganguly being there.