The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ĎStick to the new guy in opening slotí
- Souravís aggression and spontaneity has helped the team: Aunshuman Gaekwad

Ahmedabad, Oct. 11: Aunshuman Gaekwad is not known to mince words. The former India opener and coach is in charge of Gujarat for the forthcoming Ranji season.

However, he did take time off to be with the players here. He spoke to The Telegraph during the course of the Test match.

The following are excerpts


On the need for specialists in the team

Opening and wicketkeeping are specialised jobs and we should have them. Makeshift openers donít last long, though, there are exceptions.

On why India are struggling with openers

Weíve have been struggling with openers for almost two decades now. Only when Sunil (Gavaskar), Chetan (Chauhan) and myself were around was there some stability. Otherwise, itís been a history with Indian cricket that anyone who plays well in the middle-order is pushed up as makeshift opener. Sadly, because he is performing consistently. Thatís not what should be done. By doing so youíre toying with a playerís career and at the same time also having a slot open.

On if there is a dearth of openers in the country

There is no dearth of openers in the country. We have openers in Shiv Sundar Das, Sanjay Bangar, Vinayak Mane. Now you have Akash Chopra doing well. These are boys you need to persist with. You just canít keep chopping and changing all the time. Remember, you have very limited options. If you feel X guy has talent, give him a chance and the assurance. Once he gets the confidence he has to come good because he possesses the potential. This is an area we need to work upon.

On whether Sanjay Bangar should have been in the team for the first Test versus New Zealand

He should have stayed on. He always gives you the option of an additional seamer. As an opener, he is well equipped to handle fast bowling.

On Virender Sehwagís wish to bat down the order

Test cricket is serious business. You need to stay at the crease and work for your runs. Itís a test of patience and temperament. You are not looking at a quick-blast 50 or a 100. He is the sort who likes to play his shots and so he must be thinking of coming down the order.

On the need for a specialist wicketkeeper in one-dayers

Rahul Dravid has done a wonderful job for the sake of the team. But the additional responsibility is very harsh on him. Letís not forget he is one of our mainstay batsmen. Wicketkeeping is a specialised job and we should adhere to it.

On how he assesses Parthiv Patel

Parthiv has done very well for his age. He has shown lot of maturity. They have to really nurse him. Here is a boy who will stay for long. He has proved his potential and mental toughness.

On the team managementís views that he hasnít scored enough runs

Doesnít matter if he hasnít got the runs. Do you expect your No. 9 batsman to score a century' Youíve got your top-order batsmen to do the job. Today, most wicketkeepers are also good batsmen. Give Parthiv some time, heíll also contribute.

On the secret behind Indiaís recent success

Definitely the success of the youngsters. Sehwag, Kaif, Yuvraj and Zaheer have made a big difference to the side. Batting, bowling and fielding-wise they have been a huge help. The balance in the team has improved which means a lot.

On Sourav Gangulyís captaincy

He has matured, knows his job well and is handling responsibility with efficiency. Aggressive, he has always been, and he has been spontaneous on certain issues even on the field and imposed it on the other players. Thatís augurs well for the team.

On whether there has been a change in attitude in the current side

You canít really make out from outside whether attitude has changed or not. Only when you are with the boys all the time can you judge that. But they have been doing well and what ultimately counts is the result.

Finally, on John Wrightís contribution

(After a pause) This is something somebody else has to judge. It will not be right for me to comment anything.

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