Kapil dropped. But why!!!!
From Kapil's autobiography:
Mrs.Indira Gandhi's assasination highlighted the conflict inherent in India in
the 80s. A section of the Sikh community clamouredfor more autonomy. The Adivasis
in Assam strove for some form of redress. The Marxist state government in
Calcutta blamed the choked sewere on an unsympathetic central government. The beggars still lived from day to
day. The rich looked for Cognac and Heineken beer at the Iraqui Embassy. The
Calcutta underground railway was still incomplete, after 7 years, and religiously
flooded every monsoon.
This was India preparing for the 21st century. Rajiv Gandhi was determined to
have incorruptible men around him. Men of independent means. To give independence
to a country strangled by bureaucracy and petty government corruption. He
selected as his closest advisors a successful businessman, a famous actor and a
proven public relations and a media man. He didn't want any 'yes' men around
him. The bitterness raged in the north. Chandigarh was tense, holding its breath.
The nation mourned (the death of Mrs. Indira gandhi) as the MCC arrived for a
three month cricket tour.
The first test was about to get underway in Bombay. I went into this test as a
written-off bowler. The journalists mourned for my supposedly withered knee. What
they forgot was that the surgeon had operated on my knee and not my back bone.
Some Indian cricket writers suggested that I may be a spent force. I had lost my
captaincy but I was determined to regain it sooner or later. Little did I know
that losing captaincy was only the first part of a master plan orchestrated to
bring about my total demise.
We whitewashed England in the first test at Bombay and the team was once
again the toast of India. Little Siva, our legspinner just out of school wove his
own brand of magic on the flat-footed Englishmen. Things were looking rosy. The
next test in New Delhi was the low point of my career. I topscored in the first
innings when things were looking decidedly shaky for us. I helped our score to a
semblance of respectability. England remained in the drivers seat throughout this
match. It was during the second innings when I commited my 'crime'. I had come in
to bat with our innings again looking brittle. I slammed a ball for six and was
bowled out on the next ball trying to repeat the dose. It was this one shot for
which I was held responsible for India losing the test match. Maybe they had
expected me to hit the ball into space so the match could have been called off. I
was dropped from the next test in Calcutta.
"Disciplinary reasons" the selectors
stated tersely. Little did the know of the discipline required to come back after
a knee operation and the torture one has to put the mind and body through. The
endless pain barriers one crosses. Bureaucrats in padded chairs only know the
pain of piles. They wanted a scapegoat and it was me. I was furious. I thought of
giving it away. I had spent the last five years giving Indian cricket everything
I had and then some more. I fought when we looked like losing.
The 'tall poppy' syndrome was alive in India. These people forget Melbourne
1981. I had a pulled groin muscle. I bowled unchanged for three hours- on a
prayer and painkilling injections. It was gratifying to see the public
reaction. They shouted for my reinstatement. The Cricket Board was compelled to
issue a statement saying it was only a temporary sacking and I would be back
for the fourth test in Madras. I was appreciative of only one thing during the
two week period that I was on the outer. Mansur Ali Khan, the ex-Nawab of
Pataudi and an ex-captain of India sent me a consoling telegram:
DON'T RETIRE. YOU'LL BE BACK, HANG IN THERE.
This man is a prince in every sense of word. Thanks Tiger.
The fourth test match in Madras was historical as England's total of 652
for 7 declared was their highest since 1939 when they scored 654 for 5 against
South Africa in Durban. It was also the highest score by any visiting team in
India. I bowled 36 overs and captured two wickets. I also had two good knocks
of 53 and 49. England won but I had vindicated myself in the myopic eyes of the
The fifth test at Kanpur was drawn. I scored 42 of 33 balls and took 4 for
81 off 36.5 overs in England's first innings. No other bowler, on either side,
took more wickets in the match. My knee was fine, and my discipline was
improving! Forgetting my own anger during the series I was happy to see 'Azzu'
coming good. He scored a century in each of the three tests he played and
stamped his class on the series. He was going to be great for Indian cricket. I
promised him a cricket bat if he scored a century in his second match. And he
did. I gave him a Slazenger bat as I had promised. I mention this here because
I remember the first match I played for North Zone. Bishen Bedi, an ex-Indian
captain was selling off one of his Gray Niccols bats. The going price in those
inflation-free days was Rs.500. I was only seventeen years old and managed to
scrape up Rs.475 with the help of Ashok Malhotra. It wasn't enough to buy me
the bat. That incident made me determined never to sell any of my cricket bats.
I 'll give them away but I'never put a price on them. I know its common
practice for visiting players to sell their bats in India at the end of the
tour. It's good jam money. In hindsight perhaps it's just as well I didn't buy
that bat from Bishen Bedi. The way I bat it wouldn't have lasted a game.
Much has been said about my so-called differences of
opinon with Sunil Gavaskar. I am by nature a reserved person off the field. I
have strong views on most subjects but am not argumentative. Sunil and I have
differed on many issues but we have never verbally brawled in public or in
As far as my commitment goes I played for six consecutive years before I
was dropped. The president of the India Cricket Board told me not to take it
too hard. He also said I wasn't dropped for disciplinary reasons. And therein
lies the irony.