Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath has opened up on the controversial phase in his career which came in 2002 when he was asked to take a break by the national selectors.
An upset Srinath stayed away from Indian cricket after the West Indies tour in 2002. He went to England to play county cricket, during the same time when India were touring the country for a four-match Test series.
“I think before the World Cup, we had toured West Indies Without my knowledge, the selectors told me I had to take a break. 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,” Srinath told SportsKeeda.
Srinath, who played 67 Tests for India and picked 236 wickets, revealed that then-captain Sourav Ganguly even called him up and urged him to be a part of the England tour but his request was turned down by the right-arm pacer.
Srinath chose to play for Leicestershire, replacing Australian Michael Bevan in the team as an overseas player for the last 5 weeks of the 2002 county season.
“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.
Srinath eventually announced his retirement from Test cricket after the 3-match series against West Indies at home. Considered to be one of the finest pacers from India, Srinath made himself available for the ODIs and hung up his boots for good after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
“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,” Srinath said.