Dilip Doshi: Ganguly eradicated factionalism and regionalism from Indian cricket

Former left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi credited BCCI president Sourav Ganguly for eradicating factionalism and regionalism from Indian cricket.

Sourav Ganguly, the newly elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, attends a press conference after taking charge in Mumbai.   -  AP


Spin bowling faces extinction. When Dilip Doshi, with an experience of 238 first-class matches says it, the cricket world ought to take notice.

“Spin is a dying art. You have slow bowlers but few orthodox spinners. The extraordinary advent of T20 has put a fear among the spin bowlers. Grounds have become smaller, bats have become heavier and this is putting a lot of fear in the mind of the bowlers who want to flight the ball. Kuldeep Yadav is a spinner and unless he spins the balls he cannot stay in the game,’’ said Doshi at the launch of the book ‘Wizards – The Story of Indian Spin Bowling' by Anindya Dutta.

On the relevance of spinner's in today's cricket, Doshi felt, “It is always difficult to compare eras. The relevance of spinners is there and it will never go out because they bring great change to the game. You see a fast ball is easier to hit today than a slow, cleverly bowled spinning ball. It requires a lot more thinking and the ball doesn't have the speed to take it to the distance.”

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He rated the modern spinners high. “They are all good bowlers. They have to make the changes. See this must come from within. How far you want to go and what is the level of mastery you want to attain. So you have to set your own standards and goals. If you are playing T20I and ODI and getting a few wickets and if you are happy with it then your success will stay there. If you want to become a master of your craft, it will require a different course of action.”

The T20 format may have engaged the modern audience but Doshi observed it faced competition from 100 ball cricket. “It's going to be adding more to the same kind of food that is being dished out in the limited overs cricket. I know it will bring sponsorship, I am not sure if it will improve the game but it has come to stay. Many people are backing it. I think it should either be T20 or 100. Both cannot exist. Eventually one will drag the other out.”

One of the most accurate spinners in India, Doshi also feared for the future of Test cricket. “Only Test cricket brings great players. When you go to see top players, they come from a proper school or training or proper school of cricket. Their technique is proper and there is some grace. In limited overs cricket, it is sledge hammering from the first ball till the last. That is not good for the game. This is going to kill Test cricket as well. Test cricket is proper meal and limited overs is street food.”

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Not wanting to sound harsh, Doshi, who played 33 Tests and 15 ODIs, added, “These days the modern Indian cricketer is more gym fit than match fit. You need to be more bowling fit and for that you need to bowl more.”

Giving credit to Sourav Ganguly for backing players outside his zone, Doshi said, “Nowadays it is more about the 11 best players being picked irrespective of the state they are from. In our time it wasn't there. MS Dhoni wouldn't have featured in the team when I was playing. A player from Jharkhand or Bihar would never make it. The first Indian captain to bring Indianness in the team was Sourav Ganguly after Tiger Pataudi.”

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Doshi also called for a balance in the amount of cricket being played these days. “I don't know what is too much cricket. The question is would all these people play so much cricket if it wasn't giving them so much of money? There has to be a balance. This is for the administrators to decide. The sponsorship money is important because it filters down to various grassroot levels. But how much of this cricket is enough I don't know. They have various levels of teams playing different formats. So, it throws everything into confusion at times. You have to have a balance. Too many different players in too many different formats. It creates confusion in the mind of spectators that which is the real Indian team.”

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