February 29, 2020
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'I've To Put The Fear Of God In Players'

He's a cricket legend, albeit eccentric. Who keeps chewing paan and spitting into a bottle that he carries along with him. On the first day of the Chennai Test, as Pakistani wickets tumbled, coach Javed Miandad spoke to Aniruddha Bahal. Excerpts:

'I've To Put The Fear Of God In Players'

How does it feel to be on a fourth tour? How was it then and now?
I am enjoying it. This has come about after a long time. For us it is also a goodwill tour. We want relations to improve, the tension to go. In 1982, people queued up outside our hotels in thousands to have a glimpse of us. When we went shopping roads would get blocked.

Your relations with Indian players?
That's always been good. On the ground there is tension. That should be there. In my time I had many friends. We would even stand together in functions. Sunny, Ravi, Vengsarkar, Doshi.

What about your relations with the current lot of Pakistani players, especially in the light of match-fixing allegations?
These players have played with me. They respect me. I don't have a problem. Any solution to the problem has to be long term. Not a ban for a few matches. If players are innocent, they shouldn't be bothered. You see the main thing is that we have to set an example for the generations to come. We have to protect them. We have to put the fear of God in them.

How do you rate the Indian team?
Sachin is one of the best at the moment. I haven't seen much of the young players. But I rate Sunny as the best. The bowlers he has faced. The quality. Even watching him was a great treat and experience.

What's the role of the coach today?
It's off the field. It's not a 90-minute game where the coach is everything. Here the coach is 150 m away.

Would you buy a ticket to see someone's game?
That would be a very bad day for me. If I have to buy a ticket. I think I have the record to deserve a few passes.

What will be the gains of a regular Test series?
England, Australia and South Africa always have one big series at home every year. For us these come every 4-5 years. We can't develop youngsters. If we play continuously we can help bring up our youngsters.

What is the main reason for India not doing well abroad?
Poor bowling. Batsmen draw matches.

Preparations for the World Cup?
I think our opposition is much ahead of us. They play scientific cricket. They are physically and mentally stronger. The teams from Australia are so different. Also, here if a team fails the coach and captain are blamed. There, it's on the team.

In all the World Cups, favourites have never won. Pakistan had a good team in 1975. Australia were winning the 1975 finals till the runouts. England has the best record in the World Cup. Five semi-finals, three finals but they haven't won. India and Pakistan have won it even though with fewer semi-final appearances.

Your most memorable innings against India?
The last-ball six in Sharjah. That was one of the best. It was special because of the atmosphere. The whole day we were getting beaten. The only joy we got in that whole match was in the last five minutes.

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