Team India had decided to bowl first in 1996 World Cup semi-final: Wadekar

Ajit Wadekar asked why Vinod Kambli waited for 15 years if he knew anything

By CricketCountry Staff

Mumbai: Nov 18, 2011

Former India captain Ajit Wadekar, who was the team manager during the 1996 World Cup, has rubbished the claims made by Vinod Kambli that the semi-final against Sri Lanka was fixed.

“My question is, if he knew everything, why did he wait for 15 years,” Wadekar was quoted by MiD DAY.

Kambli on Thursday raised suspicion on the 1996 World Cup semi-final between India and Sri Lanka and said he found “something amiss” in the game, a claim which came in for sharp criticism from Sourav Ganguly as well.

Kambli, who scored 1084 runs in 17 Tests and 2477 runs in 104 ODIs for India, said he was suspicious of then captain Mohammed Azharuddin’s decision to field first in the semi-final which was eventually awarded to Sri Lanka because of crowd problem.

“I am here to state the facts. What I can reveal is that we had a team meeting on the eve of the match and there were opinions and counter opinions. Few felt that we should bat first, while others were in favour of fielding. But eventually the decision to field first was unanimous and the captain (Azharuddin) chose to do accordingly when we won the toss,” Wadekar added.

Responding to Kambli s allegation that he was suspicious of then captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss despite deciding in team meeting that India will bat first, Wadekar said, “As a matter of fact, Sri Lanka were good chasers and that’s why we were inclined to make them bat first so as to upset their rhythm. Unfortunately none of our ploys came good on the day. But that’s part and parcel of the game.”

“I have no complaints about his cricketing abilities. He was a brilliant cricket, he just needed to be looked after,” Wadekar said on Kambli’s talent.

“There shouldn’t be any issue with off-the-field activities. What mattered was performance. As long as he was doing that, I had no problem,” Wadekar said about Kambli s off-field activities.