The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cricket must remain cricket, not become like soccer: Wadekar
- India’s first ODI captain isn’t impressed by ICC move

Calcutta: India’s first one-day captain, Ajit Wadekar, hasn’t been impressed by the experimental changes announced by the International Cricket Council.

For the next ten months, teams can replace one player each during a match. Essentially, then, we will now be looking at one-day XIIs not XIs.

Additionally, fielding restrictions have been amended.

“I’ve never regarded the one-day game as being proper cricket. Still, I don’t agree it had become predictable and, so, changes were needed. Yes, the performance of some teams did become predictable, but nothing more,” Wadekar told The Telegraph.

Speaking over his cellphone on Sunday (“a very sad day” owing to Eknath Solkar’s demise), from Mumbai, Wadekar added: “The changes, I feel, have been driven by the need to attract a full house outside the sub-continent' Countries like England, perhaps'

“It’s an unfortunate development as cricket must remain cricket, not become like soccer' I foresee utter confusion when the experiments get underway. Moreover, the captains are going to be under more pressure. The ordinary players, too.”

And, what about the pressure on a coach'

Wadekar, who has worn that hat as well, replied: “Usually, coaches get away with few brickbats. It’s the captain whose neck is always on the line'

“Besides whatever else is done, I’m sure the existing cricket software for laptops will have to be changed somewhat'”

Recalling India’s first ODI, at Headingley in July 1974, Wadekar said: “Frankly, nobody was prepared for the shorter version' In fact, a one-day series wasn’t even on the itinerary when we left India for the three Tests!”

Wadekar, of course, did well ' he got 67 (“thanks to my Talim Shield experience”) ' and with Brijesh Patel contributing 82, India managed a handsome 265 in 53.5 overs.

The innings ended with a minimum of seven balls remaining.

The Mike Denness-captained England, though, won by four wickets with John Edrich top-scoring (90). Solkar, incidentally, returned the best figures ' two for 31.

Given the day’s happenings, Wadekar became pretty sentimental.

“Among other things, I’ve spoken about changes after losing a teammate who could himself single-handedly change a match,” he remarked in an anguished tone.

But, then, that’s life.

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