John Buchanan, the former Australia coach, has said India’s ‘Fab Four” batsmen – Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman – are not suited to Twenty20 cricket. Buchanan, who worked closely with several Indian players during his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, made these and other observations in his new book, The Future of Cricket: The Rise of Twenty20.
Buchanan was otherwise in praise of Tendulkar – who has opted out of Twenty20 internationals but not the IPL. “Tendulkar has been lauded, and rightly so, as one of the very top batsmen in the history of cricket,” he wrote. “But is he an effective T20 player at this stage of his career?
“In the position he plays – as an opener or No. 3 – the T20 game requires not only the finesse and skills he has, but also the power and domination, an ability to take the bowlers on while being creative. You have to be inventive and fearless. And I don’t see those qualities as part of Sachin’s makeup at this stage of his career. Sachin Tendulkar is still a great player but not in this arena of T20.”
Buchanan had similar views on Tendulkar’s contemporaries, none of whom featured in the ICC World Twenty20 in England.”Homegrown heroes such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman, were expected to influence, and on some occasions single-handedly win IPL matches,” Buchanan said. “Yet their subdued performances highlight that Test match temperament does not necessarily ensure prolonged success in the T20 game.
“The same could be said about Rahul Dravid. Dravid is a great representative of Indian cricket, a team man, humble, a well-spoken gentleman. But unfortunately he could not score a single run in the early rounds of the IPL, and in my opinion, is not suited to this form of the game. I am certain Dravid’s performances were also affected by the off-field drama created by his franchise owner Vijay Mallya.”
His opinions weren’t restricted to India’s ageing stars. He went on to question Yuvraj Singh’s attitude, though he later clarified that there was no malice involved in his comments.”Yuvraj Singh in a sense tries to be a modern-day Sourav Ganguly, but I don’t think he has the charisma or the dignity with which Ganguly carries himself,” he said.
However, Buchanan was full of praise for Ganguly, though the pair didn’t have the best of times with Kolkata during the IPL. Buchanan’s multiple-captain theory didn’t go down well with the team at the start of the tournament and a host of off-field and selection issues saw the team finish at the bottom. It also cost Buchanan his job as coach.
“Ganguly was the model for the new breed of confident and combative Indian cricketers. Ganguly showed that Indian cricket could stand up for itself. He is similar in that way to Ian Chappell who stood up for what he believed and was not afraid to take on the administration.”