Monday, 30th October 2017

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  • Published 4.01.00
Calcutta, Jan. 4 :     At the end of the test series in Australia there's only one Indian hero. Not V.V.S. Laxman, the boy - all of 30 years - who stood on the bouncy deck at Sydney. Nor Sachin Tendulkar, who ended up man of the series in spite of lower runs and average than Ricky Ponting. Jaywant Lele was not around to accept the honours, but, in retrospect, he had become player of the series before it had begun. The Telegraph went looking for him at his Baroda residence,but the secretary to the cricket control board had taken off for Pune, possibly having a quiet "I-told-you-so" laugh. If you ask him if he really was enjoying a private chuckle ortwo, he's certain to deny it, as he did after an internet site quoted him in an interview as saying the Indians would go down 3-0 Down Under even before Captain Tendulkar and his warriors had got down to the business of going under. He might even demand a hefty compensation, as he did from, and/or send a legal notice. Kapil paaji - on his first overseas tour as coach - was most unhappy that cricket mandarins had so little confidence in the players. After the greenwash - colour of the Australian cap - the pre-series 3-0 controversy can be cited as one of the excuses. Team members with backs to protect might well say the no-confidence blow broke the back of Indian batting before Glenn McGrath did with 18 wickets at 13.72 runs apiece. Kapil Dev, who had a stronger back than the current lot when he bowled India to a stunning victory at Melbourne to square the 1980-81 series, wasn't blaming anyone today. Not even the duo of Darryls, one, of course, is without the 'y'. If the first test at Adelaide was Darryl Harper's (dubious decisions in each innings against Tendulkar), the third was Darrel Hair's (Justin Langer became the luckiest man to score 223). The only talk of injustice was, however, coming from the sledging-hammer Australian side. Steve the Tough Waugh doesn't believe in being generous in victory. He spotted the only real injustice in Tendulkar being crowned man of the series, though two of his mates had done better. But it was really Tendulkar who said after the series all the things that Lele might have said before. "It's been a tough tour for the bowlers and the batsmen," the Indian captain said. The Lele-ish answer to that would be: "Don't speak too soon, young man. It's not over yet. There's still the one-day tri-series with Pakistan thrown in and a whole lot of more matches to lose." "It's an altogether different ballgame when you play in Australia," Tendulkar said after today's humiliation. Jai hind! Or should it be Jaywant?