Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath looked back on his short sabbatical from the Indian team during the final leg of his career, saying he was upset with how the selectors had imposed a forced break on him. Srinath, who retired after the 2003 World Cup, revealed how the BCCI wanted him to take a break after India’s tour of West Indies in 2002, which resulted in the fast bowler missing the tour of England.
“I think before the World Cup, we had toured West Indies Without my knowledge, the selectors told me I had to take a break,” Srinath said. “Generally, we used to have a talk and then I used to volunteer saying ‘look I need a break’. But this time they just said ‘we’re giving you a break’ and that didn’t go well with me. Obviously, I was a little upset. I didn’t want my career to be played in the hands of anybody.”
Shortly after the West Indies tour, India toured England for a four-Test series without Srinath, who went to play County cricket. The former Indian medium pacer today revealed he had received a call from captain Sourav Ganguly who asked him to be part of the squad, but an upset Srinath turned down his former skipper’s request. But things worked out for the best and Srinath returned in time to tour New Zealand and then South Africa for the 2003 World Cup, where he picked up 16 wickets from 11 matches.
“I missed the England tour. Of course, Ganguly called me and said ‘look, you better be part of England tour’. I was upset and told him ‘No, I wouldn’t be.’ Now when I think of it, I should have played for India than playing County. Later when things cooled down, I decided to come back. I wanted to play the World Cup. Every World Cup is like a generation,” Srinath said.
“My strength in India was diminishing and there were hungry fast bowlers. So, I did not want to block their way. I was happy. I did not regret anything. It’s always good to walk out with your dignity.”