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Sight Screen

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Credit where due

Now this is fun -- a post that had nothing to do directly with Saurav appears to have become a handle to discuss the objectivity of this blog. Vide this comment that popped up in my mailbox just now, and which I find on that blog entry:
Chatura said:
interesting - backing Bajji was one of the few things Ganguly was consistently given credit for - now he has to share it with Wright and some anonymous "seniors" - bah! i know, it is not the point of the article but then, hard to ignore such "objectivity" :P

But who ever said the credit does not go to Ganguly? Here's the thing -- in my time as cricket reporter, I've seen three captains -- Azhar, Sachin and Saurav. Neither Azhar nor Sachin ever managed to make a case for a player, and make it stick (Sachin on a couple of occasions did fight -- for the wrong player, and the wrong reasons).
Saurav, whenever he took up the cudgels, got his way -- and equally, had Saurav not picked those fights, spearheaded them, those instances would have gone per the will of the selection committee.
The thing is, if the national captain does not back a player the selection committee has a down on, then the committee will invariably prevail. (You want a contrary instance? Wright believed that Sadagopan Ramesh, post-rehabilitation, would make the ideal pairing with Virender Sehwag in Tests and argued SR's case strenuously before the selection committee; Saurav was not with him on that one; Ramesh remained out in the cold).
Why just Bajji? Saurav consistently backed Sehwag, in the teeth of a selection committee who thought he was too harum-scarum to make for a consistent player.
When the selection committee thought Yuvraj Singh was finished, Saurav backed him, and brought about his rehabilitation.
Twice, when the tenure of John Wright was coming to an end and various former Indian legends politicked to get him out and replace him with an Indian coach, Saurav again fought for Wright's retention (on one occasion, while the board was preparing for Wright's exit, calling Jaggu Dalmiya and others from Australia, where he was playing at the time, to demand that Wright's tenure be extended).
You want more instances? The Indian players have contracts today. The idea for the contracts was first mooted by Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble; they were the ones who put together presentations, went to the Board, advanced the arguments on behalf of the players. Nothing happened.
Then Sachin Tendulkar threw his weight behind the exercise. Still nothing substantive -- the Board said it would discuss, consider, appoint committees, whatever.
And then Saurav joined the fight -- and when the lot of them collectively faced the board, with the national captain in the vanguard, was when the BCCI quit stalling and acted (took them the deuce of a long time to implement it, yes, but at least they did, and it would not have been possible without this combined fight, and with the special clout that Ganguly brings to the table). So hey, there you go, one more to add to the 'few things' for which he is given credit.
On some of these occasions he fought solo; on some, he was backed by others.
On all, he deserves credit, and it is certainly not my objective to deprive him of it; never have, never will.
Why would you think bracketing his name with that of someone else robs him of the credit (unless, of course, that bracketing were contrary to facts)?
Over, for the day, and out.


  • Ramesh did not find a place in the team because of his negative comments against Wright during a practice session as was reported on Rediff. Any desi person who even follows cricket once in a while and not regularly, knows this. Now we are supposed to believe that Wright pressed for his inclusion and Ganguly was against it. Are Prem and Bedi the same person by any chance? :))

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19:40  

  • funny coment!! I do remember reading something like that on rediff, where Ramesh's name wansn't mentioned, but it was all too clear that its ramesh. Clues were: name starts with R, ends with h, and "ames" in between :-)

    But to be fair, Ramesh did force his way back in the team during the tour in Australia. Thanks to either Wright as Prem says, or himself, or a combination of both the factors. The news you say was around the time when Wright started, may be around 2002. And in Australia, he didn't do himself any justice. Got out playing rank bad shots. Chopra kicked ass in Australia, and was preserved.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20:05  

  • We are overlooking one fact - and that is Ganguly's special relationship with Jaggu and Dada wielded that clout quite effectively in pushing for players of his choice. According to Prem, Azar and Tendulkar were ineffective and we know why.

    By Blogger babi, at 20:27  

  • prem,

    geez, you almost had me convinced that you were praising Ganguly until his "clout" was mentioned - "all of them tried and tried hard but Ganguly prevailed coz of his clout". a backhanded compliment if there was one!! :-)

    peace for now.

    By Anonymous chatura, at 20:46  

  • I agree and we got to give Ganguly credit where it is due. But let us not deny a fact that he could accomplish all of these because of Dalmiya. Prem, If Dalmiya thinks even you and I can be part of BCCI.

    By Anonymous zn, at 22:41  

  • did someone say ramesh threw away chances in australia with poor shots?? how many shots and how many chances ( did he get i mean )please??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22:44  

  • Uh oh. No, Bedi and I are not the same person. Yes, Rediff did report on the fact that Wright was very pissed with Ramesh. In fact, before the SL tour, Wright talked -- in his, um, forceful fashion, to Ramesh about either learning to put a price on his wicket, or losing his post entirely. In SL, he did exactly what Wright wanted -- played within himself, cut out much of the flash, built partnerships. Then he got injured. By the time he got back, the TN selectors (motivated at least in part by inter-club politics, and partly because one of SR's faults is never knowing when to shut up) discarded him. Wright, though, was convinced that the reconstituted Ramesh was what the team needed. Hopefully, the sequence is clear -- as is my identity, which is some distinct from that of Bish Bedi :-) As to the other comment, about my mentioning Ganguly's clout -- what, it was a state secret till I outed it here?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 23:07  

  • prem,

    your lack of affinity for ganguly isn't a state secret either. ;-)

    oh no - it is fun all over again!

    By Blogger chatura, at 23:16  

  • There is a difference between fact and backhanded compliment. Anyone that thinks it was Ganguly's charisma that helped him succeed with the BCCI where Dravid, Kumble and Sachin couldnt, is not so chatura. Jaggu miya's sponsorship is what gave Ganguly his clout, no ifs and buts about it. Acknowledging that doesnt take away from the fact that Ganguly did chose to exert that clout, and in a more unbiased fashion than any of his predecessors (dont have to go beyond Sachin's shameless plugs for his regional buddies to see the contrast).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23:28  

  • Hmm - this is news to me. Never thought Wright was backing Ramesh in Australia. As someone had mentioned here, Ramesh got the wrong end of the stick because of his big mouth that said something about Wright to the Rediff reporters (who promptly published it and that is a different story altogether).

    When Ramesh made a comeback and was selected to tour Australia, he played some very good knocks in the tour games and was expected to play in the first test. Due to reasons that are not clear (I am being politically correct here), Chopra was selected to open the innings while Ramesh had to cool his heels. The rest was history. Chopra had a decent tour, Ramesh was hence dropped. Then Chopra's batting was not up to the mark as he never converted his starts into a really big score, and it was considered a travesty of justice to keep out a waiting Yuveraj. Yuveraj then became the blue eyed boy to open the innings briefly.

    To sum up, it was a clear case of not grooming a talented opening batsman. It is clear that people with godfathers (and godbrothers) tend to get selected even when they fail while people like Ramesh, despite having performed well against the pace trio from Pakistan and other teams, and despite being the most talented Indian opener in a long time (and who scores at a decent clip too) lost out and is now out of even his state team.

    Maybe in hindsight, Ramesh would feel that she should have just kept his mouth shut and not make statements like ".....for the kind of bowlers you face in domestic cricket, why Dinesh Gandhi, even Mahatma Gandhi would score centuries."

    By Anonymous ShankarV, at 23:31  

  • fair enough. but how much do you hear about the "shameless plugs of sachin" from the media? i was only questioning the objectivity of journalists. anyway, i have said enough. back to listen and learn mode.

    By Blogger chatura, at 23:34  

  • regarding the australia tour, ramesh didnt play many good knocks. I saw one of the tour games and he got out to one really bad shot. May be he had one good innings there, but I think he had 2 sub-10 scores.
    Chopra did what he was asked to on that tour. The reason we scored 500+ consistently was because the opening partnership gave us solid starts. Contrast that to the recent tour. We got screwed because dravid came in when the score was 15/16 almost ion all innings. May be it was Chopra's solidity, or McGrath's absense or a bit of both. But he did his job on that tour.
    Prem, whom did Sachin push for a couple of times. Kambli? I mean I dont recall reading any such thing in newspapers during that time. There were whispers but never knew exactly what the real deal was.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02:03  

  • Hmm interesting talk about grooming players coz we in india have never done that especialy the senior players have never done that.The only possible instance was srinath who consistently supported Balaji before anybody else.Where did Munaf Patel.Tinu Yohanan and Avishkar Salvi go?Contrast this with Australia where u had Shane Warne taking Micheal Clarke un der his wings.

    By Anonymous Ashish, at 03:12  

  • "whom did Sachin push for a couple of times. Kambli? "

    Kambli yes, and Samire Dighe as well. His love for Nilesh Kukarni, & Sairaj Bahutule is legendry.

    By Blogger Manish, at 04:04  

  • IMO, sachin would also have pushed the 'all-rounder', the 'nippy' bowler with the 'wicket-taking ability', the 'shoulder bowler', the one who has 'an uncanny ability to reverse swing' (even the new ball, according to a certain commentator)
    the one and only, incredibly un-talented Ajit Agarkar.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05:29  

  • First match v/s Victoria - Chopra 2 & 55, Ramesh 87 & 36
    Second match v/s Queensland - Chopra 0 & 11, Ramesh 21 r.o & 37 not out

    And who was selected to play in the first test?

    Go figure, buddy! You will know how judicious it was leave out Ramesh from the playing XI. I am not privy to team selections, but I can guess that it would have been Wright who preferred Chopra over Ramesh. Its my guess based on some of the info we have got through various reports.

    By Anonymous ShankarV, at 05:52  

  • ...wow. Superb volleys. BTW, is it time for Ganguly to step down? Even Wright said yesterday that Dravid is 'too good'. What say?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06:08  

  • ..Guys, Dravid & Kumble backed Tom Moody openly while Ganguly supported Chappel's selection. So, definitely there would be road-blocks for these 2 seniors pros. And Ganguly shlould get all those blessings from Chappel. At this point NO leadership changes, logically.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06:19  

  • who cares how Ganguly got it done..the fact remains that he got it done, and if he had to use his clout for it, so be it.
    Ganguly was the only guy who got what he wanted and had the uncanny ability (for the most part) to pick talented players and stick with them through thick and thin. Azhar and Sachin never had the verve to do anything on their own.

    By Blogger rahul, at 12:02  

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