Great players unable to avoid controversy
Dubai: The Amarnaths were great players, but they often ended up courting controvery because of their outspoken nature.
Lala Amarnath, Mohinder's father, was the first rebel of Indian cricket. He called a spade a spade and paid heavily. Mohinder followed in his father's footsteps, once calling the Indian selectors a bunch of jokers — only to be discarded despite his undoubted enormous talent that helped India win the 1983 World Cup.
Lala was sent back to India from an England tour in 1935 on charges of "insubordination and insolent and improper behaviour towards the captain Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram".
Despite being exonerated by the Beaumont Commission Inquiry, he had to wait 12 years before he played his next Test.
Lala also had a running battle with Antony de Mello, then chief of the Indian board. He pioneered the movement for players' rights, welfare and well-being. He argued that the visitors were treated royally while India players were dumped in second-class hotels.
As a selector from 1952 to 1960, he bravely experimented with youngsters despite protests. He had great hopes for his son Surinder Amarnath but he faded away after a debut century. Mohinder went on establish himself as a great allrounder before following his father's steps and entering into conflict with the establishment.
After labelling the selectors as "a bunch of jokers", he did not last long. He actually once captained India in a one-dayer at Sialkot against Pakistan in 1984 when Sunil Gavaskar was unwell and Kapil Dev unfit. The match was called off at lunch time following Indira Gandhi's assassination and he was never considered for captaincy again!