The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We need players... Not stars, says Vengsarkar
- Former India captain too feels experienced Anil Kumble should have played against Pakistan

Calcutta: 'Our team has stars, yes, but no players' A strong indictment that, from former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, but one which hits the proverbial nail on the head.

Vengsarkar, who spoke to The Telegraph on Sunday morning, was reacting to the previous night's defeat by Pakistan in the Platinum Jubilee Cup.

'I'm convinced we need to learn from young Salman Butt and Inzy (Inzamam-ul Haq)' Butt batted sensibly, not content with just a 40-50, while Inzy took charge as a captain should,' he said.

Deeply disappointed, Vengsarkar continued: 'We must have batsmen willing to construct an innings and bowlers who can take wickets' Unless wickets fall every now and then, in a one-dayer, defending any score may get difficult.'

Vengsarkar too felt Anil Kumble ought to have been played.

'I don't agree with this policy of only one spinner (in the XI) at home' Moreover, how do you drop your most experienced one ' Kumble' Harbhajan (Singh) isn't consistent, whereas Kumble is always there,' he observed.

Vengsarkar, by the way, had been confident India would defend 292 for six. Well, just about everybody was.

Inzamam and Butt at the Eden on Saturday

'Only once before (Sri Lanka, in May 1997) had any team scored more' So, almost 300 on the board appeared a winning score. However, given the way Inzy and Butt controlled the innings and the manner of our bowling and fielding, another 20 runs would also have been knocked off,' he added.

With the team's confidence again taking a beating, what's the way forward'

Vengsarkar responded in a flash: 'We need players' Not stars, who are happy playing to the gallery'

Just the other day, Australia dropped Simon Katich from the squad for the first Test against New Zealand, in Brisbane, despite his being a top performer in India.

Our selectors, though, get convulsions when it comes to touching any of the top-bracket players. We not only need to learn from Inzamam and Butt, but from Katich's treatment as well.

Nothing formal

Meanwhile, the XIV for the first Test in Kanpur, versus South Africa, was picked (on Saturday) without formally calling for the views of either regular captain Sourav Ganguly or coach John Wright. Quite strange that.

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