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Interview with Rahul Mankad

We recently caught up with Rahul Mankad, an ex-Mumbai cricketer, to get his views on today’s hot topics in Indian cricket.

Nikhil Puri: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Mr. Mankad. Firstly, what do you think about the inclusion of Zaheer Khan, Sehwag and Gambhir in the ‘A’ side to play the West Indies? Should they be given another chance, or is it time for the youngsters to step up and take the place of these legends?

Rahul Mankad: The selectors are giving sufficient opportunities to proven players to come back and get into reckoning for the Test side. There are other opportunities for younger players such as Duleep Trophy, Salve Trophy and even matches against touring teams. I do believe Gambhir, in particular, has the ability to play at the highest level, still. Sehwag and Zaheer need to prove that they are fit enough and hungry enough to play at the highest level. I think Sandeep Patil and Co are doing an excellent job as selectors.

NP: Regarding the scheduling row between the BCCI and CSA, what is your view on the best solution forward?

RM: BCCI could have certainly handled the situation in a better way. Sadly, Tendulkar’s retirement has turned into a circus. He deserves to end his career with grace and dignity. It almost looks as if his decision to retire has been forced. Any right minded cricket lover would rather that India played against SA as arranged earlier. It is too late now and the schedule has been arranged to suit BCCI.

NP: Is the quality of domestic cricket in India the same as it used to be? i.e. in your time (the 70s and 80s), a lot of senior Indian players would play in the Ranji Trophy. Now, that is not so much the case. How do you think that affects the quality of the game?

RM: For any cricketer to develop skills it is vitally important to play the longer format. The cricket we grew up with provided the opportunities to work on our skills and learn the art of batting and for bowlers to work out how to get batsmen out. Having said that, the emergence and popularity of T20 in particular, means that the game needs to change in every way to embrace new skills and perhaps even shed the way cricketers approach the game as players and coaches. There is no doubt that fielding has improved tremendously and cricketers are far more athletic than they ever were. Batting has developed into a baseball-like art form. In my view, bowling skills have suffered as bowlers tend to bowl to restrict runs rather than get batters out. Contrived field restrictions also account for captains employing defensive field placing and bowlers bowling negative line.

NP: Do you think Ravindra Jadeja has it in him to reach the heights that your father, the great Vinoo Mankad, reached as a test all-rounder?

RM: Ravindra Jadeja has the potential to be a fine all rounder. However, most of his good performances have been in the shorter formats of the game. The real measure of his ability will be when he plays test cricket. Vinoo Mankad was a great allrounder as was Kapil Dev. Jadeja has a long way to go.

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