The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Parthiv can’t take slot for granted: Kirmani

Calcutta, Aug. 23: The World Cup winning Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani feels sledging is part and parcel of the game, but it should not be a “weapon” of victory.

Kirmani, in the city to conduct along with former leggie Laxman Sivaramakrishnan a special camp for ’keepers and spinners in Bengal, described the practice as a player’s “inbound action on the spur of a moment” recalling he himself had sledged teammates occasionally.

“Sledging was always there. It’ll be there. It is part and parcel of one’s system. I often sledged my teammates and even myself for making mistakes,” Kirmani said on Saturday.

But the concept of cricket being a gentleman’s game is breached when players resort to the practice of intimidating an opponent, he felt. “Sledging must not be the intimidating factor. It should not be used as a weapon of victory,” Kirmani pointed out.

He was expressing his views in the wake of Sunil Gavaskar’s criticism of Australia, without naming them, accusing them of bringing the game to disrepute.

Stressing that the spirit of the game rests on appreciation of a good ball or good shot, Kirmani recalled an instance in the 80’s when Gundappa Viswanath had his stumps uprooted by a beauty of a ball from Imran Khan. Viswanath stopped, appreciated Imran for the delivery and then walked off to the pavilion.

Talking about the ’keeper’s demanding job nowadays, Kirmani observed that one needs to be consistent to survive the competition. “A ’keeper has to be a good ’keeper first, batting and other thing is bonus. It’s good to see that attention is being given to choosing specialist ’keepers”.

He criticised the policy of playing separate wicketkeepers for one-dayers and Tests.

He even refused to pick Parthiv Patel as a long-tern solution to the job in both forms of the game.

“Parthiv is good, but he should not take his place for granted. There is no dearth of talent and there is so much competition now. If somebody fails, there are so many others in the line to take over,” Kirmani said, when asked about the future of Deep Dasgupta.

Sivaramakrishnan, meanwhile, hoped the result of such camps would start bearing fruit in three to four years. “A spinner’s job is to take wickets. Such camps need to impart this lesson to the youngsters,” the former leg-spinner said.

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