Calcutta: Alastair Cook chose to skip the function where he was to be conferred the honorary life membership of the iconic Cricket Club of India (CCI). However, the entire Indian team attended the same event where Sachin Tendulkar was felicitated and Board president Narayanswamy Srinivasan also made an honorary member.
Nothing unusual on the face of it, but it was on the eve of the second Test, in Mumbai, on November 22.
Usually, the Indian team doesn’t attend any function on the evening before a match and, while the CCI members were delighted to host Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co. for around 90 minutes (till about 8.45 pm), quite a few eyebrows were nevertheless raised.
No disrespect to Sachin, but the question asked in whispers was whether the Indian team had turned up because of Srinivasan.
An outing on the eve of a Test shouldn’t really affect professionals, but Dhoni and the rest need to learn from the England captain. Instead of heading to an event which could have been a distraction, Cook stayed back at the Taj Mahal hotel to fine-tune his team’s comeback bid.
“Being 0-1 down, Alastair has plenty on his plate. A turner has been prepared (at the Wankhede) and he is reviewing strategy for the next five days,” a member of the England team told The Telegraph that evening.
As it turned out, England staged a stunning fight back, winning not only the second Test, but also the next one, in Calcutta. Eventually, they won the series, ending a frustrating wait of 27 years.
Cook led from the front, proving to be a captain out of the ordinary. Clearly, on and off the field, there’s much to learn from him.
Former captain Sunil Gavaskar is one who has been criticising Dhoni and his men for becoming complacent after winning the first Test. Perhaps, they did take plenty for granted.
Doing so never pays.