Friday, November 18, 2011

Fielding was a team decision: Wadekar

By punemsexesena: Former Team India manager Ajit Wadekar has categorically refuted former cricketer Vinod Kambli’s startling contention that the 1996 Team India semifinal may have been fixed. 
Kambli had alleged that in the 1996 semifinal Ajit Wadekar was a witness to the team’s decision that India would bat in the event of winning the toss. However, the opposite happened when the match finally took place.
Wadekar termed Kambli’s accusation as incorrect and said the team had decided to field first. When STAR News asked him for his version, Wadekar said, “In the team meeting before the match it was decided that India would field in the event of winning the toss. The decision was taken after consultation with the entire team.”

According to Wadekar, “The entire team felt that the Sri Lankan players are good chasers. Hence, the team felt that if India fielded first, the Lankans could be easily defeated. Wadekar added that even though he and Sandeep Patil were of the opinion that the wicket would turn, still the team decided to field keeping in mind the chasing prowess of the Sri Lankans. 

When asked why the batting order collapsed like a pack of cards, Wadekar said the team lost the match due to nervousness. According to him, overconfidence, after defeating the Pakistan team proved to be our undoing. Moreover, the moment Tendulkar got out, the other players panicked.  Wadekar was stunned when he heard Kambli’s claim that the team had decided to bat first. He said, “This is incorrect. The decision to field was taken in the meeting itself. Kambli was quite close to me and if had any doubt about the decision to field, he should have consulted me.”

He added that the Sri Lankan team had exhibited good form during the World Cup and had defeated all good teams including India and Australia. Moreover, he said that it was wrong for Kambli to say that he had been made a scapegoat after the team’s defeat because no-one ever said that India had lost the semifinal because of him.
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