Sports

Sanjay Jagdale was a man on a mission

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on August 18, 2013

Sanjay Jagdale

He is literally the tallest man of Indian cricket. In his short tenure as the Honorary Secretary of the Indian cricket board, Sanjay Jagdale wanted to change the very foundation of Indian cricket by pitching strongly for sporting wickets.

When the former India all-rounder occupied the post of Secretary in the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), many thought his soft persona would come in the way of him contributing meaningfully to the development of the game in the country.

He was in the post only for one-a-half-years or so, but it was enough for him to rightly point out the weakness of Indian cricket and take remedial steps.

As a medium-pace bowler during his halcyon days and having seen and experienced the batsmen’s assault on the hapless bowlers of all kinds , Jagdale rightly felt the need to have sporting wickets.

As a first step, he built a strong five-member ground and pitches committee and made Daljit Singh its chairman, and backed him to prepare bouncy tracks. Both he and Daljit were on the same wave length as far as sporting wickets were concerned.

Indore-based Jagdale, like all his seniors and peers, enjoyed India’s success at home, but strongly felt the need to excel in foreign pitches. As a cricket player he was well-versed with the problem of Indian batsmen who cringed anything that was above shoulder high.

Slow and low Indian pitches literally brought foreign teams to their knees, as they blunted the pace attack of the visiting sides. And Indian spinners made full use of the helpful pitches to give India many home series victories.

Many criticised Jagdale’s decision to go for sporting wicket, saying it would kill the development of world class spinners. But he struck to his task and counter argued that sporting and bouncy pitches would help develop better spinners who would excel on any type of track.

Before Jagdale could complete his mission, he had to vacate the position for non-cricketing reasons. His successor, Sanjay Patel, may not have the passion or priority to pitch for sporting wickets.

It is imperative that the most neglected area of Indian cricket is given the importance for the next five years to see India’s record improve in overseas tours.

>sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 18, 2013

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