There seems no end to India’s batting woes. After failing to chase down a modest target at Edgbaston, Indian batting again floundered on raininterrupted Day 2 of the second Test at Lord’s. Former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd suggested that the Indians need to “bat ugly” if they have to compete in this Test match. One of the most successful captains ever in the annals of the modern game spoke to ET about batting in difficult conditions and what it takes to be successful at Test level. Excerpts:
When the conditions are all stacked in favour of the bowlers, what do you do as a batsman?
You bat ugly. That’s what you need to do and also hope that you have the luck on your side. It isn’t easy to bat in these conditions, especially when a bowler like James Anderson is bowling at you. But as a batsman you have to tell yourself that you will be patient, you will take blows on your body, you will be prepared to play and miss and yet not give your wicket away. Virat Kohli did exactly that at Edgbaston. He was not great to look at but he was hugely effective. That’s what you want from your best player and that’s what you need from your other batsmen.
Are you implying that Virat is a few notches higher in comparison to the other batsmen?
He is a rockstar. A player of tremendous quality but that doesn’t mean the others aren’t good enough or can’t stand out there and help out the captain. You needed one more man to bat ugly to win the Test at Edgbaston. One man to just tell himself that come what may I will not get out. It is a question of resolve and determination. Of courage and conviction. Cricket isn’t an easy sport and these conditions are as difficult as they can ever be. But that’s where you need to excel as a batsman to qualify as a great. Virat has done that and that’s what I am trying to tell you.
Coming to Virat the leader. You have been the most successful cricket captain of all time. How do you look at Virat as captain?
I like his style and like seeing him conduct himself as captain. Every captain is different and will have his own style. I had once asked Malcolm Marshall, who had a broken hand, if he would still risk playing? Marshall did and got five wickets for me. Will Virat do the same of his players? May be not. The question that is of paramount importance here is how much trust the players have in Virat and vice-versa. I can say my players trusted me whole heartedly and I did the same with each and every one of them. You can never be a successful captain and get the best out of your team if you don’t trust each other to the fullest. That’s what Virat will have to do as captain — get his players to trust him with their life. I see a lot of potential in him and I hope he will get better with time.
If you were in Virat’s position, would you have played your premier bowlers in the IPL or would you speak to the BCCI and withdraw them from the IPL to keep them fresh for the 2019 World Cup?
I have a very straight forward answer for you. Nation comes first. India comes first. IPL will come every year. If Virat and the management feels you need a certain bowler and the IPL may exhaust him or burn him out, you have to ensure he doesn’t play the IPL in World Cup year. Arthur Ashe once came to Melbourne and seeing 90,000 people in the stadium said to me, you guys must be millionaires. I said we get $500 per game.
Modern players make enough money and there is every reason that they should. But when it is a toss-up between the World Cup and the IPL and when you know you might not be at your best for the World Cup, you have to sacrifice franchise cricket. If you win the World Cup for your country you will qualify in the category of a cricketing legend. No number of franchise league wins can get you up there.
Source: Economic Times