Indian fast bowling legend Javagal Srinath had a fantastic end to a glorious international career bowing out with 16 wickets in 2003 World Cup, leading the Indian team to a first-ever final appearance since 1983. The Karnataka speedster signed off with 236 Test and 315 ODI wickets but still regrets that the Sourav Ganguly-led Indian team could not win the 2003 World Cup final against Australia.
Javagal Srinath, speaking to Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda’s Facebook page on Saturday (June 13), revealed that a World Cup win would have been a ‘perfect feather in his cap’.
“My career got launched because of the World Cup in 1992. It is one of the statistical number. It is unfortunate that we couldn’t win the finals in 2003. We were up against the best side in the world. Winning that final would have been the perfect feather in my cap,” Javagal Srinath said during the exclusive interview.
But the former paceman has no regrets in losing the best side in the world.
“We were up against No. 1 side in the world. They were a better side, man-to-man they were far ahead. It was almost the same team which won the previous World Cup,” he recalled.
Javagal Srinath almost retired before the 2003 World Cup
But not many know that Javagal Srinath had almost walked away from the game months ahead of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
“Just before the World Cup, we toured the West Indies and selectors told me to take a break, it didn’t go down well with me. You don’t want anyone to play with your career and when these things happened I was not happy,” the former Karnataka paceman said.
“(Sourav) Ganguly wanted me to be part of England tour after that and I didn’t agree because I was unhappy. On hindsight I should have agreed to play, because I was already playing in county cricket. But then West Indies came to play in India and I did well there and then we went New Zealand, so that booked my place in World Cup squad,” the 50-year-old said.
Javagal Srinath feels he could have played for one more year as well beyond the 2003 World Cup but chose not to.
“I could have played one more year but my strength in India was diminishing. I didn’t want to put my career decision in hand of selectors, that’s why I decided to quit. It is always good to walk out with dignity,” Javagal Srinath, who appeared in four consecutive World Cup campaigns for India since 1992, said.
Finally, also asked to reveal his batting expertise during his debut series against the West Indies, Javagal Srinath said, “I was young and wanted to perform. I got chance to open the innings with ball for India. Playing against WI was always heartening for me – their pace, style and natural cricketers. My reflexes at that time were better, I was able to play short-pitched balls better. It was short-lived though.”