After the Prime Minister, probably the most closely scrutinized job in India is that of captaining the country’s cricket team. Over the years, Indian team has seen many great leaders – but not all of them have been able to walk away from the game without facing some humiliation. Even MS Dhoni, who led India to World Cup glory hasn’t been spared – and has been stripped off captaincy duties by Rising Pune Supergiants’ team management in the ongoing IPL.
Let’s turn the pages of history and look at how Indian captains have suffered during the fag end of their careers.
One of Indian cricket’s biggest legends, Lala Amarnath will forever be remembered for scoring India’s first Test century. However, his career as a cricketer was marred with controversies – and his first stint as captain ended with a suspension for misbehaviour and breach of discipline. He was restored as a captain a few years later, but once again, he was tired of internal politics and quit the job in rage. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of Lala’s association with Indian cricket, and he was later made a selector. Also, his two sons played cricket for India – Surinder Amarnath and Mohinder Amarnath.
Mohammad Azharuddin’s Test career ended at 99 Tests, after he was found guilty of match-fixing. An entire nation was left disappointed since it was under Azharuddin’s tutelage that many of India’s greatest batsman and bowlers, like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble found their A-game. It’s really unfortunate that a stylish batsman like him had to leave the job in such a disgraceful manner. But, if Azharuddin did indeed fix matches, we are happy that justice was served.
Sourav Ganguly has been credited with changing the face of Indian cricket, and making it a force to reckon with – especially in foreign conditions. We all grew up watching him open the batting for India with Sachin Tendulkar – and we can still watch highlights of their partnerships all day. Later, we knew Ganguly as ‘Dada’, one of India’s most successful captains who took over the reins in difficult times (the match fixing saga) for the cricketing nation. Unfortunately, India could not win the World Cup under Ganguly, and lost out in the finals to Australia in the 2003 edition of the tournament. The lowest point in his career though came when he was ousted from the team (he was playing terribly as a batsman) coached by Greg Chappell, and even though, he did make a return to cricket – it was only as a player.