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Sight Screen

Friday, August 12, 2005

What was the rush?

It didn't take a reading of the news story -- you only needed to see the headline: Ganguly back as capain -- for that question to pop into your head: What was the tearing hurry?
Forget the pro-Ganguly, anti-Ganguly rubbish -- that kind of knee-jerk labelling is merely the last resort of those who find themselves on flimsy logical grounds, and try to steer clear by cutting down the messenger rather than address his message. Incidentally, if say you are making a case *for* Saurav, as many on here do quite regularly, how would you like it if your reasoned arguments were summarily dismissed with the comment: Oh, but you are pro-Ganguly? Sauce for the goose, surely, can't be sausage for the gander?
Right, so think this through a bit. First, is the nature of the selection itself -- this is the first time in the last 10 years, at the least, that the national selectors were not unanimous in their captaincy call, which is in itself intriguing. (For instance, what or who swung the decision SG's way? What prompted the Telegraph -- a paper very openly allied with SG and with Jagmohan Dalmiya, to write such a vehement piece the day before, suggesting that it would take a palace coup for SG to be deprived of the captain's armband? What was the politics involved here, and who played it?)
There are questions. Key questions. And given how Indian cricket is run, there will never be answers. So let them lie, and revert to the central question -- what was the rationale behind the decision?
You pick a captain for his captaincy record, right? Right. So there had to be two reasons why Rahul Dravid was demoted after one series, and Saurav given the arm band back. One -- Dravid had to have sucked as captain, in the Indian Oil Cup. Did he? Not 'sucked', no -- would you agree that while he did not do enough to dub him the next Einstein, neither was he the class duffer?
Okay -- so let's label Dravid's captaincy credentials 'indeterminate' for now. Agreed? (That implies, incidentally, that you need more time and evidence to judge, which is a good argument for having given him the Zimbabwe tour as well, so he could either make his case, or give the selectors enough reason to revert him to the deputy's role -- but never mind that for now).
That leaves the other candidate -- Saurav Ganguly, and his captaincy record. Over his career, SG has led India in 142 ODIs (Why am I looking at ODIs? Simple -- we just picked, and dropped, a captain on the basis of an ODI series, didn't we? And the next series we are playing is also an ODI?).
So, SG's ODI record: 142 matches as captain. 73 wins. 64 losses. A batting average of 39.58. 11 centuries, 30 fifties. A 53.28 winning percentage. Cool. A 50-plus winning percentage is a platform -- a more than acceptable one when you consider that SG's prime task when he took the job was to rebuild a side low on morale thanks to the match-fixing scandal and internicine warfare between two rival factions.
But it gets even better. Remember how, shortly before the team for WC 2003 was picked, there was enormous debate on whether Ganguly was good enough to lead India to that tournament? Keep in mind the team-building and battling politics points above, and check his record as captain, up until the end of WC2003: 100 matches, 54 wins, 43 defeats for a winning percentage of 55.67. And the icing on those leadership stats is his personal record: 11 centuries, 21 50s, a batting average of 42.95.
Do note -- his captaincy record till WC2003 and his personal record are both better than his lifetime record.
Now consider chapter two of his captaincy -- the period from March 2003, till date: 35 matches played, 16 won, 18 lost, one no result -- a winning percentage of 47.06. And um, during this same time frame, his personal batting record is no centuries, 9 50s, and a batting average of 29.63.
One final factor: Saurav returned to the side as batsman, after having served out his ban. He played three innings, was retired hurt once when he copped a quick short one on the arm after turning his eyes away from the ball, and in the series, totalled 79 runs off 167 deliveries for two dismissals and one retired hurt. Of those knocks, his 51 in his first innings back was scratchy if you evaluate it in stylistic terms, but the creditable part was he buckled down, fought his own private battles with form as much as the opposition bowling, and gritted it out to play a knock that helped the team get a decent score on the board.
Right. So, when the selectors sat down, what did they consider? Did they say, SG was the captain, he was not dropped but was serving out a ban, now that he is back, the armband goes back to him until and unless he gives us reason to take it away?
If that was the case, if the selectors all along intended to return the captaincy to Saurav without any ifs and buts about form and record, then they erred in making Rahul Dravid captain for the Lanka series -- RD at the time was vice captain and would naturally have taken over the job when his captain could not play, and as naturally handed it back once SG came back onto the field.
Having decided however to make Dravid captain for the series, the selectors had a simple choice to make -- continue with him for one more series, or revert? Dravid's personal form did not show any signs of 'burdens of captaincy'; he led well enough if not brilliantly; the results he achieved are no more nor less than what the team has achieved in the past couple of years.
Against that, there is Saurav -- whose record post World Cup militates with the hype; and whose batting form is nowhere near par.
Would the logical step not have been to continue Dravid in the captaincy for the Zimbabwe tour, play Ganguly the batsman, give him the elbow room to get his batting form and confidence back, and then make the more permanent choice before the really big encounters?
Instead, they have removed the captaincy from a guy who did nothing with either bat or in the field to deserve the demotion; they have given it to a guy who has equally, in the time frame in question, done nothing to make a compelling case for it. And they have, to add a needless edge to this whole thing, put Ganguly on notice that both his captaincy and his batting form are under scrutiny. (On that note, why is his batting form under scrutiny, pray tell? Is it because the selectors think he is not back in form yet? If yes, why take the captaincy from a guy who was batting well, and give it to one who they think is not in top form? And if the selectors think there is no problem with Ganguly's form, then why put him on notice on that front -- just to mess with his mind?)
Great! The selectors could not have done better to destabilise everyone in sight if they had tried.
What I don't get is this -- what was the rush? What were the compulsions that pushed through this less than unanimous decision? And if it goes awry -- which my gut tells me it will -- will it be the selectors who take responsibility for results, or will we blame the coach, the stars, the planets, the 5-1-5 formula, and the political situation in Taiwan?
PS: It's the heck of a scene, here in office. Unfortunately, not able to be on blog the way I want to, and that will likely be true through the weekend as well. Will check out the team, in my morning tomorrow, and if possible log back on here much later in my evening to check out your comments, and to add a post or two. Meanwhile, you guys take care.

642 Comments:

  • Prem

    You dare make the case for not giving SG the captaincy. The wrath of the dada-heads will be on you :-). I hope your blog thread can handle it! You are conveiniently not hanging around to read it and leaving it all alone. I fear for it.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 14:51  

  • My guess is that the coming tour is a make or break for SG's captaincy and place in the side.

    He is lucky that he has Jaggu on his side and Zim to play against.

    By Blogger Kannan, at 14:51  

  • Prem...you are talking sense. BCCi dont work that way. Pressure from sponsors and Dalimya are enough to get Ganguly back.

    Ganguly lack so many cricket skills and there are people who are better than him waiting. God knows how he makes into the 11. Ganguly because of his presense will be destroying the very team that he put together.

    By Blogger G285, at 14:54  

  • What we need is a sting operation performed in the BCCI empire instead of wasting the effort on Bollywood... Accountability has never been BCCI's forte and if the skeletons dont come out of the BCCI's closet, such blogs and opinions will never have any value :(

    By Blogger Jammy, at 14:59  

  • Amazing job the selctors did. If anybody had sat down three months ago and tried to find the most nonsensical approach to screw everything even further, I doubt if they would have done a btter job.

    Create dissension, reward incompetence, penalize honest effort and best of all as prem pointed out don't take any responsibility for it. Bravo

    By Blogger Amit, at 15:00  

  • Prem,

    I cannot explain my appreciation for your analysis. Great stuff man.

    I bet, selectors when they met, they didn't even did any analysis. It was all controlled by Jaggu and his cronies in Telegraph, Board etc.

    SG gathered 51 difficult runs..to show he is 'back' in form. This guy does not deserve place in any Intl XI team. But, looking at the talent in pipeline. We are left with him. But, don't want to see him as captain.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 15:04  

  • Prem,
    Like always reading your views makes me agree completely with you. You have broken down the whys and hows and made it simple.
    I credit Ganguly for making the Indian team more aggressive and also for supporting the youngsters in the team. His captaincy in Indian cricket will always be remembered in a positive way.
    But I'm a cricket fan and I want the best 11 to represent India and for my two cents, he was not in the best of form. Would it have been the end of the world, if the selectors had dropped him and let him regain his form by playing county. When he is on song, I want him to be on the Indian team.
    But unfortunately he is not now so its galling that the selectors found a way to keep him in the team by making him the captain.
    I'm not a Ganguly basher, I just want the best 11 on the team be it from any part of the country.

    By Blogger Sunny, at 15:06  

  • Prem : **this is the first time in the last 10 years, at the least, that the national selectors were not unanimous in their captaincy call** - is this true ? Have they always been unanimous so far !!

    second **So there had to be two reasons why Rahul Dravid was demoted after one series, and Saurav given the arm band back...** - but surely it was clear to ONE AND ALL that Dravid was captain for the series 'because' Ganguly was absent due to ban. Surely this is not 'demotion' now (like SG and Jadeja have been captain in Azhar and Sachin's absence)

    then**And the next series we are playing is also an ODI?..** - so u agree that we shouldnt look at tests. So does that mean that Ganguly shud be captain for the Zim test series ? A case of 2 captains ? Surely not.

    and also **If that was the case, if the selectors all along intended to return the captaincy to Saurav without any ifs and buts about form and record, then they erred in making Rahul Dravid captain for the Lanka series -- RD at the time was vice captain and would naturally have taken over the job when his captain could not play..** - they did give the reason that it was done for the sake of 'continuity'..in terms of planning for the tournament....selections...and then in-game strategy...and they also said that this was clear to everyone..including Dravid. Sounds a reasonable reason to me !

    ** The selectors could not have done better to destabilise everyone in sight if they had tried.** - I hope not. I hope Ganguly and dravid were aware of these issues right from the beginning (no matter what we get to hear in media)..I hope esp for Dravid that he was not under the confusion while being given captaincy for SL tour.

    By Blogger worma, at 15:25  

  • I for one always somehow knew that Ganguly will be back for this series as the captain ... not that I agree with it...

    By Blogger @mit, at 15:25  

  • Prem,

    Not to take a pro/anti-SG/RD etc. position, but to see how your logic of "what's the rush" would have worked. So, ok, we send the team to Zim with RD as the captain and SG as the batsman, and suppose both of them do very well wrt their roles (which won't be a surprise given the opposition). And now is the time for the big decision...so what do you do? Reinstate SG as the captain since he seems to have regained his batting form, and remove RD from captaincy even though he did well enough?

    Or simply hope that at least one of the two would help us by doing miserably there?

    This is not to say I agree with what the selectors have done, but I do not see where you would be going with your logic either.

    By Blogger cdewsxvfr, at 15:57  

  • I am thinking Team Management instead Captain as one. I partially accept "The Captain is the most important player in the team" notion but I also believe that in modern day cricket it should not be only the captain making all decision-making and strategising. Cricket is becoming more and more a game where you need to a board of directors at the helm of the team with one chairman. Today, there are more things that the captain has to think about than before. Especially when in the field, it can be a burden. Over-rates is just one of those things. Who to bowl when, ensure the form bowlers bowl their full quota, ensure 2 fielders are in the catchnig position in the first 15, ensure there is a certain number of fielders inside the 30-yards at certain times, think about attack or defense, motivate bowlers if they are bowling a wrong line or being bashed about, make sure the bad fielders are hidden and off late think about power play and substitutes etc. etc. Quite a mental burden for one guy, I would think. In the corporate world, in such situations the Manager will delegate responsibilities while still making key decisions himself. We have a similar situation in the Indian Cricket team. We need a good decision-maker and good motivator at the top. More imporatantly, the support cast has to be the best possible. The Coach is the senior consultant but the Executive Director is effectively the Vice-Captain. Here is the guy who should be the tactician.

    Dravid's approach as captain makes him take a lot on himself because he is an analyst by nature. Will he/Did he trust Sehwag to keep an eye on certain things for him? Perhaps he did and that is why VS was atrocious in the field when usually he is quite a safe catcher. Dravid will not easliy delegate, especially if it is VS who is his deputy. Ganguly is therefore ideal for the lead job because he is an instinctive decision maker. What makes him a better Captain is the fact that he has got Dravid as his Vice Captain & Chappell as the coach (John Wright in the past). Therefore, if you take Chappel out of the equation, the captaincy debate is really a Team Management composition debate between an "Analyst" (Dravid) plus "a highly impulsive individual currently unsuited for any senior role" (Sehwag) VERSUS "Highly Instinctive Proven Leader who usually gets it right" (Ganguly) plus the "Analyst". I will go for the later furthermore because then it frees Sehwag from responsibility which he has not handled very well and which will help him play his natural game. Furthermore, as said by RD & GC, the team lacked confidence, I would like to say that this where the motivating skills come in. It is difficult, i think, for someone like RD to motivate players to instill confidence in them. He is probably a good coach and would always ask the player to play correctly. Sometimes what you need is a heated conversation to charge a player not just advice. Ganguly has it in him to get the adrenaline running in the players starting from the Dressing Room. He will back the players to the hilt and give them a bollocking when they do not do well. That is how it should be. You also need the calming effect of a Dravid who will then talk to the player and tell him where he is going wrong but the roasting is necessary and I will not expect Dravid to do that like Ganguly does.

    There is of course the question of form. There is an evident weakness against the short-pitched stuff but I also noticed him play quite a few of the short balls off. I think he has improved in that department since last season. We need to back him. I am sure he will come good in the next series. And you will see the spring in the step of the Indian team too.

    And remember Dravid, the analyst, has himself said that Ganguly is the best captain for India. This was during the away series vs Pak. I think we shoudl expect a similar statement from him soon. If he does that he will be the Sonia Gandhi of Cricket.

    By Blogger Akshay, at 15:58  

  • Prem,

    I think u got ur stats wrong may be due to the rush u were in while writing this.

    Ganguly since WC 03 averages 32 not 29 as u mention. But then, ur point is well taken. I would like to think that the Zim series is his last hope. but removing Ganguly is not going to solve any of India's ODI problems simply because Ganguly is not the only culprit for non-performances of ODI team there are others too who haven't performed.

    V.Sehwag averages 29 opening since WC 03 in 50 games. That is not acceptable - irrespective of whether ur game is high risk or not.

    But then whats the point of it all anyways. BCCI has picked Gangu to lead and Sehwag will also be picked.

    No point shouting about the non-performances if it will fall on deaf ears. The employees of a company reflect the company's attitude. If the BCCI does not want to be held accountable its actions, then neither will its employees who are the players.

    Unless the administration is overhauled and reformed with professional people in charge, we could be arguing the same topic of captaincy 50 years from now. India needs a Kerry Packer type of revolution to put an end to all this. How I wish someone like the Tatas will offer good contracts to domestic players and get a proper domestic tourney going in India and to hell with the BCCI, ICC and all the other corrupt administrators. There is nothing that gives the right to BCCI to run cricket in India, then why put up with these losers anyways.

    By Blogger AA, at 16:01  

  • Prem:

    One point on your post. Dravid was given captaincy for the entire Indian Oil cup becasue Ganguly was "on hold", pending the case against him. If Dravid was made the "caretaker" captain and Ganguly's ban was not reduced, then Ganguly would not have played in the series. Then what would have been the point of making Dravid the "caretaker" captain? I wonder if a caretake captain for the entire series would be a good thing to do. 'cause then it would give Dravid an excuse for the defeats; that I was only a caretake captain, would have been different if I was made a real one.

    Anyway, I think Ganguly will do well in ZIM because he will be playing against an inferior team and will bat well and probably win the ODI series (wishing here). India will definetly win the Test series and Ganguly will, most probably, perform well there too. So, it looks as if it will be a productive tour for Ganguly.

    Win over ZIM and a possible win in ODI series will probably cement Ganguly's place in team and as a captain even more. Will this help India in the long run? Only time can tell. Whoever becomes the captain now will probably be the captain in WC in 2007. It is a toss between Dravid and Ganguly.

    Dravid is playing so well now. What if he looses his form in 2006 (law of avgs catching up) and does not regian in by WC? Would we like to have an out-of-form captain in WC (like Ganguly is now)? Same goes for Ganguly too. Anything can happen.

    So, point is that, there is not much advantage of choosing one over the other among Ganguly and Dravid.

    Dravid has not been a regular captain. It takes time for a person to adjust to captaining a side. Takes time to know what decisions are good or bad in a given situation. Takes time to understand what to do when things are not going well. It was evident in that match, when we had SL 95/6 and still SL won the match, that Dravid was going through these motions. He will take some time, probably a long time, to adjust his decisions so that they are right most of the time. During that time if our team looses more than it wins then it won't be a good beginning in the preparations for the WC 2007.

    Ganguly, on his part, is already an adjusted captain. He knows, by experience, what to do and when to do it. If the entire team is playing well then Ganguly would be a better captain then Dravid; unlike recently when half of the team is out of form. In this case the result of Indian Oil would probably have been the same with Ganguly as captain. But in that macth (where SL was 95/6) Dravid let the match drift away by not blocking the singles and not affecting instinctive bowling changes. This is where Ganguly scores. Time and again his bowling changes, made on instinct, have resulted in a wicket. Sometimes they don't; but more often than not, they do.

    So, if the form of the team is constant, Ganguly is a better captain than Dravid. Then does it not make more sense to give the Captaincy back to him?

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 16:02  

  • Prem, Excellent post as always. Let me be clear here, I do NOT have an opinion either for or against Ganguly OR Dravid. All I'd like is some consistency and clarity about the decision making process. Having said that, a couple of other points I'd like to make -

    1. Let's look at the scenario going forward - assume RD was made captain for the Zimbabwe tour as well. On the grounds that his captaincy skills are indeterminate and SG needs to bat his way back into the team. So SG goes to Zim and scores a ton of runs. But then, any decent club side on the planet is going to potentially steamroll Zimbabwe. So how does winning in Zimbabwe do anything for RDs 'captaincy' credentials, which are 'indeterminate' until now? It surely does not take rocket science to beat Zim. Or, for that point, how does that do anything for SG's batting form, a couple of centuries in Zim (against what may qualify as the weakest Test bowling attack in history) will not really prove anything about his batting temperament and ability to succeed going forward at the highest levels of the game.

    2. India's next big challenges lie in the home series against SL later in the year and the away series in Pak in Jan next. Any serious 'captain testing' will really happen only in those series, since thats where the challenges lie.

    3. The debate here (IMHO!) is not about RDs ability to captain a team. The debate here is whether SG deserves a place in the team, period. If SG is in the team, SG should captain. We've done well under him in the past, and the needs of captaincy have not changed drastically over the last few months or seasons to create a situation where RD brings anything significantly different to the table from SG by using a different approach. The fact that we have 2 men in the team both capable of captaining reasonably well does not mean that we MUST give both of them a chance. There have been cases in the past where a GOOD player fully capable of being captain (in terms of the cricketing brain and the aggression required) has not made it. Shane Warne and Anil Kumble must stand out in any list of players of this sort. All I am saying is, the captaincy debate deserves to be seen in the light of only one question, does SG command a place in the side today on his batting talent alone? And to my mind, what the selectors have said is 'he did decently in one game, got injured in one, seemed to be on his way back. If that is the case, he should definitely be captain'. Not that I necessarily agree with those views...

    4. A captain can only do so much. A team needs to perform to potential. Which India is not doing currently. To debate whether the right choice of captain will be a panacea for our woes, is (again, IMHO!) being ridiculously shortsighted in the hunt for what ails Indian cricket.

    By Blogger Nandu, at 16:15  

  • Nandu,
    Very well-written....

    By Blogger Sunny, at 16:18  

  • Prem,

    I agree that the selectors messed up badly on this one. However, I don't think the mess has as much to do with today's announcement as their lily-livered handling of the captaincy for Indian-Oil cup. To me, it seems clear that the selector's wanted to sack Ganguly as the captain without having to take the responsibility for it. If they were comfortable with Ganguly's captaincy, all they had to do was declare Dravid as the skipper in Ganguly's absence and make a unequivocal press statement regarding the issue. What they ended up doing was hoping that SG's batting form in the tri-series will probably help them procastrinate their decision-making till after the series. Had ganguly made 3 single-digit scores, they could've dropped him and kept Dravid as captain. It turned out that SG didn't do quite as bad as that.
    It all comes down to the manner in which they handle these things without providing any reasoning behind it. A little explanation of their decision before the tri-series and today's decision would've made things that much clearer and more comfortable for everyone (specially the team and the players, which is what really matters). If they had an explanation more reasonable than Dalmiya-wants-SG-as-captain silliness, that is...

    By Blogger Rahul, at 16:19  

  • Prem:
    In one of your previous posts in June, you had raised the question of captaincy and made a case for SG to be retained as the captain.
    http://prempanix.blogspot.com/2005/06/question-of-captaincy.html

    Why the volte face now?

    By Blogger Mr. V, at 16:19  

  • Prem, since when did the best batsman in the side have to be the captain? If so, Nasser Hussain must have never been captain. Since when has batting form been used as the measuring yardstick for captaincy talents? Batting well does not mean being a great captain, and similarly batting poorly does not imply horrible captaincy.

    The problem is that a lot of people are making this out to be a "Dravid got sacked" deal. But, the thing is that Dravid was never really "appointed" because when he was named captain, Ganguly was unavailable for selection. And like Worma said, the only reason Dravid was made captain for the full tour was because of continuity (which, IMHO, was a great decision by BCCI).

    I find it hard to believe that in 10 years the captaincy has been decided unanimously by the selectors. Anyway you can prove that to me?

    Ganguly was never stripped off captaincy. We have all fallen into the sensationalism created by the media because of the lack of MASALA on the cricket field in SL.

    Ganguly has to start performing soon, both as a captain and as a player, or else it would not make sense to keep him in the team. But, I don't feel that the situation has reached the point yet where Ganguly's fate has to be decided NOW.

    Prem, I adore your insights into the game, and please don't take this personally. I just don't agree with you on this one point and thats all.

    By Blogger Varun Kaushik, at 16:19  

  • nandu:

    I differ from you on your 4th point - a captain can only do so much...

    In 1999 world cup there was a point when AUS team was not playing well and needed to win 7 consecutive matches to win the world cup. At that time Steve Waugh made a famous statement - "We can still win this cup. All we have to do is win the next 7 games."

    This is where the captain made the "difference". By your logic AUS should not have won the world cup. But Steve Waugh made the diference, in the sense, that he was able to coax the AUS players to raise their game above the level at which they were playing. So, it was him who made the difference then.

    I think this is where Ganguly scores or may score over Dravid. I don't remember any game under Ganguly where we had other team at 95/6 and still lost the game by *4* wkts !!! Did not take even one more wkt!!!

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 16:32  

  • Worma..
    Agree with u, they did said about dravid tenure and why.So we should just look at it as SG was never sacked.But dono why then these people needed 2 hours to declare his name while practically he was always captain b'ze RD was just for that series.I think all this mess is because of SG's form.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 16:42  

  • Mr.V: No volte face, friend. I said at the time that form notwithstanding, I would pick SG (for from the start of the Indian Oil Cup, do note) in the interests of continuity. Made the point that the new coach would want to tinker with lineups and personnell, and it would help, at the time, to have the incumbent captain so that there would be continuity of thought provided by one of the two key members of the think tank. That situation changed, once RD became captain and became involved, more to the point, in the experimentation. With the continuity question gone, I set the clock back to zero, and picked on just the one question that remained: Does SG's current form warrant his being given the armband right now?

    Oh, by the way, everyone sees the upcoming Zimbabwe series as a cakewalk -- our players will go there, score big time, etc. Seems to me that ignores the presence of a fairly decent squad as the third point of the triangle -- NZ, with its attack in all likelihood led by Shane Bond. Not sure the pickings are going to be as cheap as is being suggested. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 16:43  

  • Prem,,,

    Nice to c u.(ohh cant see)

    If we take everything positively then dont understand why they took 2 hours.B'ze only they needed to say is SG is captain and just backed their own strategy that we told RD u r only for IndiaOil cup So now cup has gone so naturally SG is captain. THEN WHY NOT UNANIMOUS AND SUCH LONG MEETINGS??

    By Blogger MAHER, at 16:50  

  • As some of you have rightly said SG doesnt deserve a place in the playing 11 & IMHO both Dravid and Tendulkar are not captaincy material not because of any technical deficiencies in running a cricket match/team but simply because they lack the X factor to be a gr8 leader of men.

    Ganguly has most of the times succeeded in having a team spirit going as for his captaincy record, well the win/loss ratio is all about the team performing.

    The team will perform if they have the ability Coach, Captain etc. can do only so much following instructions performing as per plan is up to the team. That is what India lacks in every sphere not only in cricket a cohesive collective ideology of winning.

    We believe in heroes, larger than life images are deified, when the individual hero fails or falls short of the super human expectations then we very quickly destroy the very pedestals we had raised in their respect.

    Why is only SG the villian, we lack a quality team, we lack the all round abilities of the Sri Lankan side or an Australian or a Pakistani or the current England side even NZ for that matter.

    We live in a cuckoo world if we believe Yuvraj/Kaif are world beaters they dont even match up to a Dilshan for his sheer effort and all round skills, SL can call up Jayasuriya, Dilshan, Arnold to chip in with the 5th bowler quota, their new young players have better all round skills how far they go remains to be seen.

    Pietersen/Flintoff/Collingwood for England Razzaq/Afridi/Malik for Pakistan that is the kind of All round skill that India lacks and till we are able to find it all this talk of SG or RD being captain or other wise is pointless the ODI game has changed and with the new Super Sub rules India's woes will only increase.

    By Blogger Bedoon_Esam, at 16:50  

  • reminds me of a typical Hindi movie. Workers of rival parties shouting outside the factory - Ganguly Zindabad, Dravid Zindabad...emotions running high..while the suits in the office, drinking pegs of whiskey and watching Helen do a cabaret number. Some things never change..the workings of BCCI is a great example of the "old" India in action - full of nepotism, arrogance, unprofessionalism etc etc.
    Dalmiyaji: a request from a fellow Marwari - you can use Mittals of the Ispat group as your role model or the Birlas who ran Hindustan Motors. Hope you know the answer, if you are in it for legacy (and not the "power" kick).

    By Blogger losing now, at 16:50  

  • Very well said Nandu. If Ganguly deserves a place in the side, he can be captain.

    However does he merit a place in the playing 11 ? Definitely not

    By Blogger Poondu, at 16:52  

  • worma: I picked the last 10 years because during that period I was actively covering cricket, so could say, on that basis, that at least where the captaincy question was concerned, thus far the decisions have been unanimous.

    On a couple of occasions -- most notably when Azhar was brought back for the second time -- there has been some initial dissent... but by the time the selectors left the room, they had unanimously signed off on it.

    Point two: Was it clear to one and all that RD's job was temporary and SG was to be given it back? I think not -- the selectors at the time announced that RD would lead in Lanka, and that the question of long term captaincy would be decided after the Indian Oil Cup -- which does not translate into 'We are going to give it back to SG', now does it? Had that been the case, you would have announced: 'SG is under a ban, since we don't know which way the ICC judge will go, we have made RD the captain for this series, till SG comes back.'

    Point three: It is not about 'agreeing' that we shouldn't look at Tests... sure, let us. And if there is genuine reason to pick one captain for ODIs and one for Tests, why not? It has been done before -- most lately by Aus, who when they figured Steve Waugh couldn't cut it in ODIs any more, picked Ponting to lead in the short form and SW to lead in Tests. In other words, when they figured an admittedly legendary figure had crossed his use by date (and I think you will find that SW's average at the time topped SG's), they took the pragmatic call. Where is the problem?

    Point four: If SG has now been given the captaincy for the sake of continuity, which continuity would that be? The 'continuity' where he was -- for valid reasons, mind, not faulting him -- away from the team dressing room and the coaching camp while all the picking of personnel was going on? The 'continuity' that saw the new team being led by a new captain -- with all that it implies, including the fact that it was this captain, not SG, who was during the period in question interacting with the new coach? If 'continuity' is the reason, isn't it more logical for RD to lead, since you are now changing captains halfway through an experimental phase?

    And finally, I hope not too, pal. I wrote what I did on the basis of one thing only -- I witnessed, at reasonably close quarters, what happened the last time selectors and the board, for reasons of their own, set one captain against another. Last night, when doing Panix Station, this question had come up and I said I thought the logical thing to do was continue as is, give SG the Zimbabwe series to bat himself into form without distractions like worrying about shepherding new boys, trying to turn results around and all the rest of it, and pick the long term captain at the end of the tour. Then, when I saw this, my immediate thought was uh oh, I hope we are not in for an encore.

    It is an interesting situation the selectors have placed SG in. He takes back a side well in decline. He has no Sachin Tendulkar safety net - there are questions about who your batsmen should be and where they should bat, questions about who should keep for you, questions about whether you need four bowlers or five, questions about whether some bowlers whom we have considered key elements are worth it any more, questions about whether your wicket keeper's fumbles are worth the runs he may or may not get you...

    Questions that do not suggest readymade answers; questions that -- given the season is due to intensify after this tour is over -- need to be resolved over the next month and a bit. Questions that will involve coach and captain spending considerable time and effort to crack them.

    And oh, I forgot -- while SG bends his brain to all this, there is the little matter of batting himself back into form, so no one is going around questioning whether he merits his batting place let alone his captaincy. Neat -- which one of SG's real well-wishers would wish that on the man?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 16:58  

  • cdewsf...: Geez, friend, couldn't pick a name easier to remember? What do your friends call you anyways?

    Okay, consider the alternate scenario. RD leads, and does well with the team and with the bat. SG gets back into prime batting form. Conundrum?

    No, not really. Because at the end of the series, you have to players -- very key elements to the side -- in top nick. And you have two potential captains, both tested, with sufficient data on each.

    Think about this -- no one said RD can't lead this side, even before. They merely said, of the two, SG is the better bet to lead, because he brings a certain extra edge to the job that this team needs.

    So we are back there again. We have two players who both have captaincy nous and are both worth their place and more with the bat. The thing then is merely to pick the right captain for the team. Why did we pick SG to replace SRT when RD was available? Because we looked at the two candidates and said, of these, this bloke brings that little bit extra the team needs right now.

    Same difference -- when making a choice between equals, you look at which of the two works best in the team interests and pick him. That way, even the guy who lost out has no hard feelings.

    That is where I was going with my logic.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 17:03  

  • bedoom.....

    dont agree with u totally.
    first that dilshan guy is no way allrounder ditto arnold those guys dont even gets to bowl outside continent.but comparatively SRT and VS are way better bowlers.these part time bowlers bowls well when they are in good form(batting) their lack of form affects their overall game.
    I dont agree only allrounders will win u matches.If batsman is very good fielder and saves few imp runs and takes every offing on catches he is as good as razaq or malik.
    Mark taylor was better captain then steve waugh(border better than him though),i remember he struggled for long period on his own form, if they baked his X factor he would have been still captain and if dont see captain own batting or bowling what was wrong with steve waugh, he could have carried it for next 50 years because as per ur say he had the largest X factor.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:05  

  • Prem,
    What do you mean by 'halfway through the experimental phase'? I mean Dravid has probably spent a week more with the team than Ganguly. Like in every series, there was a few new faces picked for this tour. But most of the players are known faces only. So how does it become an experimental phase? Even if you want to call it an 'experimental phase', how did we already reach the halfway stage? In just a week or two?

    Also, remember Chappell's call to Ganguly and Gangs flying to India only for a day? That also indicates the equation IMHO. You know the BCCI well. Since when you started counting on their communication skills? I read in a report that it was 4-1 call in favor of Ganguly, the only exception bein VB Chandrasekhar, who is the selector from the South zone.

    By Blogger Jai, at 17:08  

  • akshay: I have a question back. We now say the team lacked confidence, therefore maybe RD is not the right guy for the job.

    My question is, was this team actually brimming with confidence last season? I mean, in 2003, we won 16 out of our 28 games for a 62 per cent batting average.

    In 2004, we won 15, lost 16 out of 32 -- and nearly half those wins came against countries like you know who. This indicates a team spilling over with confidence? :-)

    If, in fact, the lack of team spirit/confidence is the reason RD is being removed, the same argument, with more force, makes the case for SG not to be captain, no? Our win percentage in 2002 was 59 per cent, it went up to 62 per cent in 2003 -- and boom, over 35 matches in 2004, we slid... to 48 per cent. The team's collective confidence didn't erode in Sri Lanka, friend... it happened much earlier.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 17:09  

  • I wonder what will happen if Ganguly fails with the bat against Zimbabwe.He will definitely not be dropped then also. The selectors will say the pressure got to him . I agree with GC when he said they should choose the best 11 first and pick the Captain from the 11

    By Blogger Poondu, at 17:11  

  • Prem:

    What do you mean by saying "What was the rush?"
    When do you want the selectors to appoint a captain? A decision has to be made, and they have made it. I have to disagree with your title.

    But, as you said the Zimbabwe tour may not be as easy as everyone thinks. We might get humbled by NewZealand in the Tri-Series. As a point of reference in the 2003 World Cup match in South Africa, Shane Bond got rid of Sehwag and Ganguly in quick time. See the scorecard;

    http://usa.cricinfo.com/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/WORLD_CUPS/WC2003/SCORECARDS/SUPSIX/IND_NZ_WC2003_ODI-SUPSIX7_14MAR2003.html

    It was only becuase we were chasing a small total(146), because of Zaheer's awesome 4 wicket spell that we won.

    Looking at the performance, one wonders what is happening to Zaheer Khan? Why is he not progressing, he seems to be getting worse.

    By Blogger nish_the_dish, at 17:11  

  • Prem,

    Once again I completely disagree with you and many other journalists and critics who 'use' statistics to make their case.

    "SG was the captain, he was not dropped but was serving out a ban, now that he is back, the armband goes back to him until and unless he gives us reason to take it away?"

    That I think is reason enough to make him the captain again. No one knew when Dravid was named captain of the team that Ganguly is going to have his ban shortened to 4 matches from 6. So there was no point in sending a team with a makeshift captain. That was basically the reason to make Dravid the captain for the entire series, which was short enough.

    I am not sure why you read more into that series than what it is. It was a temporary elevation from vice captain to captain for RD. He did as well as he could, and he is back to being vice captain, now that the captain is back.

    Am I trying to say that SG is a walk-on in this Indian team? No, I don't think so. But does it mean that he can be in the side, but not be the captain? NO. Absolutely not. If he is in the side, he should be where he left off - captain of the team.

    Yes, if you have problems with his being in the side in the first place, then just drop him altogether.

    If he is in the side, he should be back as captain. Period.

    By Blogger RPM, at 17:14  

  • Prem,
    The selectors are showing a bit of false bravado. They don’t know what leadership means. There is also no doubt that Ganguly capitulated as a person against Pakistan. Apparently, he wasn’t even under pressure of losing his job. Ganguly's batting was pathetic in this SL triseries. The more he batted, the worse it got for India because he scored his runs very slowly.

    Dravid made the mistake of taking Laxman, Kumble and Ganguly back. Selection of these oldies shows up his biggest flaws. It was a gutless act for no obvious gain. Ganguly is at least rational and calculating. He believed the fielders like Kaif and Yuvraj were needed because the oldies were incapable. Laxman and Kumble were had been excluded under his captaincy to make space for young, athletic and better (ODI) players. By this reckoning, Ganguly would have met the same treatment had there been another young athletic batsman in the mould of Kaif, Y Singh or better.

    During Ganguly’s time, the young players didn’t develop a great deal. Yuvraj, Kaif, Z Khan, Nehra, H Singh, Pathan and Balaji were struggling and clueless at the end of the Pak series. The harm was done because there was little thought about how to COMPEL these young players to improve. They retained their places because the captain and those around him felt they had no option. They failed to realise that young players simply must get better after experiencing the rigours of international cricket.

    The shake-up by Chappell saw the semblance of what Yuvraj and Kaif had in them. Z Khan, Nehra, H Singh were economical. Nehra and Khan had similar ER to Harbhajan!!! Balaji will no doubt be spurred by his exclusion from the ODI team (he only needs to follow the discipline of Nehra, for he has the craft to get wickets). If I am correct, then Dravid and Chappell took a chance of losing the odd game in order to send the message to these players.

    Regardless of who is captain, the team management must challenge these young players. Why not have Kaif as an opener? Shoaib Malik was tried out in the top three by Woolmer, and he has already opened the batting in tests against WI. If you want an insight into Ganguly’s planning/ thinking, then look at the India Seniors team in the Challengers 2004-2005.

    Dhoni, Yuvraj, **S Raina, **V Rao, Niraj Patel, Pathan, L Balaji, also S Dhawan, G Singh, etc.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 17:14  

  • Varun: First up, I never take disagreement personally. Made the point here once before -- if all you guys kept agreeing with all I said, I wouldnt spend half as much time here. Dont worry about it, mate.

    Nope, did not suggest the best batsman should be the captain -- in fact, vehemently argued a case for why Sachin should be axed, and the captaincy be given to Saurav, way back before his name was a blip on the captaincy radar.

    What I did say -- and maybe I made it all clear as mud, so let me try and reduce it to its essentials, is this: We are in experimentation phase, we expect it to continue through the Zimbabwe series, it is vital for SG, more so for the team (which clearly lacks thrust at the top of the order), to get back into form; it makes no sense to add the other burden at this point, since it is not as if there isn't someone who can carry the load for a bit... and ergo, the best case scenario would be to have SG play as batsman in Zimbabwe, and for the captaincy question to be finally resolved *after* that point, by when SG hopefully has shaken the rust off, plus spent an entire tour in the team dressing room as part of the think tank (which he didnt get to do in SL). And oh, you don't *have* to be the best batsman... or even second best actually... totally agree with you there. But as captain, you do *not* need for your personal form to be in question, surely? It's a bit like if someone who cannot write a line were to be made Rediff's editor, and he came over and questioned a phrase I used in a copy -- I would be apt to treat his intervention with contempt, would I not? I believe the phrase is 'moral authority'.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 17:15  

  • prem,,,

    i think RD for tests and SG for ODIs is better option i guess.If Sg still fails with bat(dono how long the period should be) RD should lead both teams.when ever there are two captains they both gets under pressure of performing and short history suggests that always underperforming captain gets sack for ever.So again 2 captains are not good idea but if u have that kind of situation there is nothing wrong in having two.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:17  

  • rpm: Now that is interesting, what you are suggesting basically is that an ex captain should not be in the side as a pure player. Either he is captain, or out. Right, won't quarrel -- not even if someone decides to use that logic to argue why Sachin should be summarily removed from national consideration.

    I mean, just curious -- if it ever comes to that, why should SG not play in the side as an ordinary player? You think he is the kind of person who will then play backroom politics?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 17:19  

  • maher: Cool, but that ignores the fact that our best ever test results have come under SG.

    My counter argument would be, in Tests there is more time for an individual batsman to get a grip on his game... to weather a patch, say, where he is not getting runs quick enough... without feeling the pressure of having to accelerate. In one day cricket, you dont have that luxury, so I would think if I *had* to pick an off form batsman, I would rather pick him for Tests than the short form. If he then gives me a 50 in 150 deliveries I am none too worried... but if he gives me a 50 in 100 in the short form, I am beginning to sweat bullets.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 17:21  

  • Oh shoot, here we go again. Just had some leisure, thought I'd come here join you guys and have some fun... so lo, am being whistled up for a meeting.

    Is that kind of week, people... and the next two days are likely to get worse. sorry. Will try and make it back, if able.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 17:24  

  • I agree with Prem for the most part. Its sheer lunacy to pitch one captain against another. Team morale is bound to be hit and heaven forbid if groupism of the old returns, Indian cricket is the biggest loser.

    When Tendulkar resigned from captaincy, I was not sure that was a good decision on his part... because at that point he was the only player who was respected by all. Looking at what the silly bafoons have done to SG & RD, I am now convinced that Tendulkar did the right thing. He experience up close how the admin worked and had enough. I always remember his wise words: You can stop me from being a captain, but no one can stop me from playing for India.

    It would have been great if SG voluntarily stood down from captaincy and said he wants to regain his form, establish himself and help India become a better team. But, that hasn't happened. With his poor form in past year, his position in the team itself is in question... and that I think is root cause of this mess.

    The only silver lining I see in the mess is SG being appointed captain for 1 series only. The RD or SG question will hopefully be resolved after that. Let's pray no long term harm comes out of these shenanigans of the selectors and Jaggu.

    By Blogger saum, at 17:25  

  • I have strongly admired Ganguly’s impeccable leadership skills. He is definitely a better leader than Dravid. Hands down! No questions about it. My gut feeling is that GC also believes and reckon that’s why he didn’t want to take part on the captain selection meeting.

    No doubt Ganguly’s batting is not up to the mark at the moment and he has lost some form. But once he gets his form back, you will see that confidence ripple throughout the team, making him an even better captain on the field. A confident Ganguly on form wouldn’t have lost the game when the Lankans were 96/6 or something.

    Dravid on the other hand is a very good vice captain. He is a strategist and very good at pre-planning and that sort of thing. But where he lacks is his persona on the field. His on field persona is not that of inspirational in nature. His aggression isn’t vocal so as to speak. No doubt he is an aggressive person, but it’s all within himself. May be his inspirational skills would have come out if he was made a captain for a longer term. Who knows!

    In the end it all depends on Ganguly now. It’s a very testing time for him. If all goes horribly wrong in Zim/NZ series, then everyone will be gunning for his head both as a batsman and as a captain and BCCI will have a strong case to oust him. But till then he is the best leader the Indian cricket has at the moment, who can inspire his troops for greater performances.

    I say lets stick with Ganguly for now. Good luck to him.

    By Blogger jgohil, at 17:26  

  • Why does Ganguly deserve a chance against Zimbabwe ? Surely he will score against Zim and struggle against NZ. After so many years he has still not sorted out how to play short deliveries. He doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who wants to improve. A youngster should be given a chance in the 11.

    By Blogger Poondu, at 17:26  

  • prem,,,

    But feeling is SG suits more in ODIs.(not my feeling though his technic and so and so)
    get your self few good scores and present ur case to play in test thats what i mean.because i think his failures started from tests.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:28  

  • You pick yr best team, and then from there you pick the best man for the role of Capt. By that I mean not the best player necessary (personal avgs or form) but the perosn best suited to capt.

    On that basis SG deserves selection to the team - do we agree?

    However, that would be prudent if selectors first chose the team.

    Instead they have chosen the Capt. which anyway they knew SG would make the eleven based on what form is available across India. Now sitting with the Capt and selecting the team makes more sense. SG style has alwyas been to get the team he wants - because he head hangs if the team loses - right?

    In all fairness this is SG last series to prove himeself and if he wins the series and avgs 30+ he will remain Capt. If he avgs 30+ and losses the series - he may still be around - I doubt?

    By Blogger LAWRIE, at 17:30  

  • Ganguly will be around as long as Jaggu is there

    By Blogger Poondu, at 17:32  

  • Prem

    The dada-heads are striking back. I like that you're back to make the counter arguments but I'm not sure how long you can keep it going. Good luck.

    I like the argument being put out here by Ganguly supporters that this series in Zim is the make or break if he doesn't perform THEN SG should be dropped. What I say is - fat chance. If India win but SG doesn't perform the argument will be - "How can you drop the captain of a winning side?" If India don't do so well but SG bats OK it'll be "It wasn't his fault, see he's come back to form in batting, its the other guys". The Zim series won't resiolve anything and India will limp along for this busy season (RSA, SL, Eng & Pak @ home and WI away) playing mediocre cricket. SG will have a good innings here and there and those will be used to justify retaining him.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 17:32  

  • Jay: After the LPS article, I think GC already had an idea that the selection committee meeting was going to be a crazy one and that's why chose to stay out of it. He is smart enough to know when he can influence or guide a decision and when he cannot. In this case Jaggu dada and his cronies had already cast the die.. so it made sense for him not to interfere.

    As for SG's inspiriational leadership that will inspire the troops to greater performances, if recent performances are any indicator then at the rate we are non-performing, we won't have a team left to inspire... only a bunch of groups that are fighting each other....

    By Blogger saum, at 17:34  

  • lawrie..

    CRICKET SHOULD FOLLOW OTHER SPORTS.REMOVE THIS CAPTAIN'S TAG LET BOTH COACHES STAND ON EITHER ENDS AND MARSHAL THEIR RESOURCES.HE WILL PICK TEAM AND HE WILL DECIDE REST.then we can avert such situation of captain who might not one of best 11 available but he is in b'ze he is captain.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:38  

  • Prem, Point taken on the team spirit issue. Yes, the results last year were quite poor. They were worse at the end when we lost 4 games to Pak. But remember it was in fact RD who led the team in last of them and he was Vice Captain the whole year. Poor team spirit is not entirely SG's fault. Further, Inzamam's statement that the Indian team missed SG in those matches was not a political statement neither was it a statement about the team missing SG's batting skills but merely reiterated the fact that the Indian team lacked SG's ability to back his players in dire straits and get the right results out of them during the finals.

    I do agree the team spririt was low most of the year but it was more or less crushed after we lost to Pak and RD also contributed to that too. Also, perhaps in a test series as hectic & stressful as the Indo-Pak one, you cannot not blame the Vice Captain for not helping the Captain with keeping an eye on the over rates. I believe it should the Vice Captain doing that function while the captain does more important things on the field.

    We should stop living in the past and move forward. At this given point in time SG is the best leader in the team & it is fully the selectors' fault for murking the waters by not coming clean with the fact that RD was only a stop-gap arrangement.

    By Blogger Akshay, at 17:39  

  • well Gopal that is the same argument we hold about RD - that he didn't too bad (yeh like beat WI twice, just about on one occasion) lose 5/7 last ODI in charge on a trot.

    The issue being put forth for pro-RD fans is that he shud retain capt and give him a chance. But why? when we have the most succesful Capt in the team. It is different if SG does not warrant a place in the team. For now you don't have any reason to keep SG out of the playing 11 leave alone 14 or 15. Lets get that right?

    So as I see it there is only anti-Ganguly sentiment - there maybe die hard SG fans here too - but majority making the case for SG as capt are more team India protagonist.

    Whilst teh anti-SG camp pretty much have been ant-SG since the last 7 years.

    By Blogger LAWRIE, at 17:42  

  • WAIT FOR SRINATH'S COLUMN AND EVERYBODY WILL GET TO KNOW HOW RD FELT ABOUT WHOLE ISSUE.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:42  

  • maher - excellent idea like baseball. But on current form of all probables SG merits selection

    By Blogger LAWRIE, at 17:45  

  • I Love it! I was wondering when someone would actually say this but now akshay has said it. It wasn't SG's fault he was only the captain. It was actually the Vice-Captain's fault. Actually I think it was the 12th man's fault.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 17:46  

  • Also for the benefit of anti-SG fans - this was a foregone conclusion - which SG himself was aware of even before the Tri-series. He did make comments about himself having no problem playing under RD or anyone else after this series. He also commented his opening slot dependant on who was capt. Whilst all SG detractors read that as he would have his way as capt and put himself in the openers slot. Forgeting that actual reason being SG gave up his openers slot mid way thru his captaincy for the sake of the team.

    By Blogger LAWRIE, at 17:49  

  • Lawrie..
    i can imagine then what if bucknor shows SRT a finger out of nowhere then GC will get him face to face, sehwag will be ready to present his bat if GC wan use it...can straighten-up bucknors though.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:49  

  • As I mentioned above, my decision was purely based on his leadership skills. I would bet my money on him to instill confidence in this side, so that they can play up to their potential. He is simply a better leader than Dravid and they have a good combination working, with Dravid being the strategist he is. Remember, Ranatunga and Inzamam were very much impressed by Ganguly’s leadership skills?

    Now I sincerely hope that Ganguly’s get his form back. The sooner the better so that he can shut his critics down.

    Ganguly, the ball is on your court mate. Good luck!

    By Blogger jgohil, at 17:49  

  • Gopal, You could actually be right. But if we talk about the 12th Man it would would actually come back to SG fault more than anyone else's as he needs to change his gloves every 5 minutes when he is batting and so you cannot have a 12th man who is not quick enough. Quite right.

    By Blogger Akshay, at 17:51  

  • The chumpfulness of the BCCI is indeed terrific, my esteemed cricket lovers. They should have let RD remain captain not because he is the better candidate but because they made a decision prior to the SL series and should have stuck to it, having no evidence to the contrary.

    By Blogger som, at 17:52  

  • jay...
    man himself is down on confidence.thats why he needed sometime to get back scorings and meanwhile had not to worry about handling boys.And yes for the team's inerest he could have still inspire others when RD is leading.its not that only captains can inspire others.
    Ganguli is better then Rantunga and Inzi so u should not read much what they says.who knows given ten years as captaincy Aravinda could have done better then Arjuna, i mean he is not that scollar guy.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:55  

  • jay

    You and the others may be right that SG is better at things that are reqd from a captain than RD but your argument is only weakened by your using of Ranatunga and Inzamam to justify them. I wouldn't trust to say or do anything in the best interests of Indian cricket whatever they say.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 17:55  

  • Bucknor gave a couple of boucers as wides today in the Eng-Aus game. Thought that was a bit harsh on the bowlers. One of them was to Warne who was actually slightly ducking and the ball was just slightly higher than his helmet.

    Think Bucknor is losing it and should retire. He takes too long to decide on lbw and gets too many wrong. In fact, Bowden was a bit inconsistent with the lbws today as well.

    I think the biggest series in the near future is the England-India one next spring.

    By Blogger Akshay, at 17:57  

  • interesting what is common in three asian captains ganguli,inzi and attapattu??

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:57  

  • maher: the alphabet A? or that they are all past 30?

    By Blogger saum, at 17:59  

  • saum,,
    no, pretty simple and very important thing

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:00  

  • maher: They are among the worst fielders in their side?

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 18:00  

  • Nothing in common except that they are batsmen.

    By Blogger Akshay, at 18:02  

  • gopal...

    more spe they are best(ohh no worst) runners btw the wkts.dono what advice they gives to juniors reg that.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:02  

  • maher: its fri afternoon and that's all i could think of... so u might as well spill the dirty secret! :)

    By Blogger saum, at 18:03  

  • lol@maher

    By Blogger saum, at 18:04  

  • when ata... and inzi will finish how many wkts (by virtue of run outs) took should be also put against their averages.they can topple warne.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:05  

  • LOL maher.

    But I can't believe you criticize SG after all he is the greatest captain (or is it player?) in the history of Indian (or is it world?) cricket. :-)

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 18:06  

  • Prem-
    How can one get access to video tapes/DVD archives of test matches? I checked out some of the online store and they have a veyr limited collection. Thought you may know of a better sources.

    By Blogger Amit, at 18:08  

  • Prem,

    I did mean to say in general terms that an ex captain cannot play as a player in the side. I am referring tho this particular situation with Ganguly.

    He was the captain when he was asked by the ICC to serve a 6-match ban. That 6-match ban would have taken him well into the tournament. The selectors would have been foolish (debatable at any point whether they are or are not ;-) ) to select him as a captain and let Dravid run the tournament as a stand-in.

    Now that there is a new series starting and now that Ganguly has served his ban, there is no point in playing him as a player. That is my point.

    Dravid should not feel bad about it because one day he will be the captain. He was only a temporary captain.

    I don't know why the media is going crazy over this. I am reading Prasad's comments (btw, he is one non-team player especially after he left the team - always coming out in support of the Bangalore crowd - not looking at the team); I am reading other comments about how SG is playing politics and stuff.

    Come on guys. I understand that journalists need spicy stories like these to whip up interest, but let's focus on dissecting the India TEAM, and not politicize the whole thing.

    I am pretty sure Dravid is bummed about not being the captain, but I am also pretty sure that he does not mind being the vice captain and playing under SG. If the two of them and the rest of the team don't mind it, why should we???

    By Blogger RPM, at 18:10  

  • gopal....

    not criticising SG as player sure a gr8 one. just see SRT at current situation Isn't he still best player ever and he will doesn't matter how long the list of captains after him. So why not SG and us fee same way.SG doesn't has to carry on as captain to remain great player.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:10  

  • Ganguly is the very good captain but whether u can call him a great captain will depend on this coming season when we face SA, SL, Eng, Pak. As Gangu himself put it, "The real test of a captain comes when the team is not doing well." If India manage to come out of this season unscathed, they will be very dangerous come WC 07. But if they fail in this season, India would be better off rebuilding their team for WC 11 as they would have no hope of winning WC 07 anyways.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:10  

  • aa..

    that is the real danger of continuing with SG. b'ze u r leaving it too late then will run for cover to anybody.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:14  

  • its a double edged sword, i agree. Ganguly will have to produce with the bat. Thats where i hope GC works his magic since it was GC who helped Saurav before his 144 in Brisbane. Chappell's legacy and India's fortune depends on Ganguly's form.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:20  

  • More important than correcting SG, GC needs to realize his vision of making this team get the BASICS right 9.99/10 times. No matter who stays as captain, which player gets the boot.... to lift team performance, all 15 players of the squad need to get the darn BASICS every time

    By Blogger saum, at 18:24  

  • I think the BCCI should just go ahead and appoint SG captain for life. Not just the next series or the next year but for life. That removes all debate. Why does he have to perform to justify his inclusion in the side. Afterall there is a precedent. I think Kim Jong Il is President for life in North Korea no body argues with that.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 18:25  

  • gopalblog: why go all the way to North Korea for an example?? Jaggu Dada is the BCCI Emperor for life. That is a precedent much closer home...

    By Blogger saum, at 18:27  

  • Saum,

    u can't teach basics to these players now can u? It is the under 19s who have to be taught the basic correctly. It is too late to make most of the national players learn the basics as it is not easy to change what u have been doing all ur life in a year.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:27  

  • aa: I will politely disagree with you. Practice and proper training can definitely improve anyone's BASICS. Granted they will not be a Jonty Rhode in fielding, but Jonty was an expert... all we are aiming for is to do the simple stuff the simple way. 9.99/10 may be idealistic, but if we get clost to 9/10 from a 5/10 or 6/10.. that will be a huge improvement by itself... and IMO a success

    By Blogger saum, at 18:31  

  • simple. it was made sufficiently clear that Dravid was made the captain for the SL series because ganguly was unavailable. yes, they could have made him provisional but would have affected the team planning and a bit unfair to Dravid. So he got the whole series.

    And so what's the big surprise when Ganguly has been retained? No one views the appointment of Dravid as an end of Ganguly era except all you guys who fervently wish Ganguly fails.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 18:32  

  • Saum,

    The reason why this team is inconsistent is due to the fact that most of the players do not apply the basics correctly. The only players i think who have their basics correct are ST, RD, YS, MK. The rest are too late in their development to improve. Add to this the packed international calender and it is virtually impossible to improve ur basics. That is the why India probably needs Ganguly back in form since when he is in form, his arrogance and passion rubs on his mates allowing them to perform to their talents.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:38  

  • keep saying Zahir Khan where to pitch ball and ask him after every delivery r u fit??
    Since last 2 seasons this guy is just traveller.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:39  

  • zahir khan sprays the ball all over in the first over of a final match.... maybe someone make him bowl 3 overs before the match starts, a la baseball pitchers... at least we can avoid the bad starts he gives us

    By Blogger saum, at 18:43  

  • Why they dont feel shame when they says am fit and struggles to get pass umpire.
    Take this guy Dhoni, now keepers are one of your best catchers always, its strange how can he can't held on simplest one's forget about his batting.
    on keeping i think nowadays (in india) anybody who can lift weight of pads for whole day and smash few shots thinks they are best.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:43  

  • GC should let them know riteaway that u r only in for these particular reasons if u cant do that well have a nice season at ranji i have many waiting outside.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:45  

  • Its very frustating to watch guys like Khan and Sehwag not perform as they have the talent. If only they could apply themselves a bit better.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:46  

  • Did u guys read Harsha Bhogale today in Indian Express, there are strong words and are very true.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:47  

  • To me, Khan is like the new Srinath. Loads of talent, but lacks the hunger and attitude to become the best.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:48  

  • aa...

    sri was way ahead this guy.if u dont show talent for 3 years then i question your talent.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:49  

  • maher,

    Sri himself thinks that Zaheer is the best of the lot we got in India. Read Sri's articles and his frustation over Zaheer becomes clear as he sees the same thing that held him back through his career in Zaheer. It might help if Sri is made the bowling coach.

    By Blogger AA, at 18:53  

  • Pals This is what Harsha said in his column i really likes it worth reading....


    TALKING SPORT



    ...And Ferrari beat Minardi again, this time in Colombo


    India are ranked No 7, played like No 7 and will stay there till they improve fielding and fitness


    HARSHA BHOGLE





    '"You can tell a new cricket season has started. Emotions are washed in public and the search for dirty linen begins! Expectations grow and are pricked faster than bubbles in the stock market or real estate. A nation in search of a balm finds an old punching bag! Like Mumbai’s roads, nothing changes in Indian cricket.

    We seek to deposit reality around us somewhere, find a hiding place. We search for the high that will take us elsewhere. But we knock on the wrong door. We build hype on slippery footholds. Indian cricket needs a reality check, its supporters need a wake up call.



    A fortnight ago, Sri Lanka were second on the ICC table, India were seventh, the West Indies were eighth. You saw nothing in this period to suggest that the rankings be otherwise. The Renaults and Ferraris will beat the Minardis and the Jordans.

    India lost three out of three to Sri Lanka because India weren’t contemporary. To search for a rift in the team, for a leadership struggle, for dissent, is to mistake cricket for India’s other prime time viewing spectacle. It is also misleading and simplistic. It makes the diagnosis simple and the cure impossible. India lost because a number seven team played like a number seven team.

    The best one-day teams in the world are built around the right balance of bowlers, batsmen and all-rounders but they have two pillars they stand on. These are non-negotiables, without them the greatest skill can be rendered irrelevant. One is called fitness and the other fielding and they are the easiest things in the game to perfect.

    They are also the least glamorous. You saw their value in the final. Sri Lanka looked a modern side in the field, India suggested they were driving a model that had been phased out.

    Fielding creates opportunities, it makes an average bowler look better, sometimes it ignites the lost spark in him. Good fielding works in tandem with good bowling, bad fielding makes decent bowling look ineffective. Fielders inside the circle build up pressure, they starve a batsman or, as the Sri Lankans said after the final, they strangle an innings. They make a batsman kick and shove, look for riskier, more desperate alternatives and in doing so give the bowlers the best chance of picking up a wicket.

    Poor fielding is like trying to fill water in a polythene bag with holes in it. The pressure never builds, the batsmen never have to grow desperate.

    Look no further than Irfan Pathan, who would seem to have had a forgettable match. The ball wasn’t swinging much for him, he didn’t look completely at ease, he needed the fielders to help him tide through the day. In all fairness he created chances against the two best batsmen in the opposition, both were put down. One was embarrassingly simple.

    Had the fielding done its job, Pathan might have had a shot at the man of the match. The figures now show he had one of his worst games. The difference, you see, can be devastating. And just to prove the point, without a direct hit from Mohd Kaif, India may not have even made the final!

    It brings us back to an old theory widely promoted by this column. The fielders have to function as the sixth bowler in a side and they must take two wickets in every match. Anything less should be inadmissible if excellence is the objective. India know that better than anyone else. The highest points in our one-day cricket correlate very well with our best fielding sides.

    India’s top cricketers also need to grow beyond their basic skills. Yuvraj doesn’t seem to bowl anymore and Sehwag isn’t contributing in that area either. It is all very well to use the great power of hindsight and criticise the five-bowler approach. India’s part-timers are driving the team there. If they don’t grow they take away a degree of freedom.

    So too with Kaif who, when faced with a leadership situation in the last few overs, capitulated. Once Dravid was out he alone had the skills to win the match. He needed to take control, instead he watched while the attempted big hits came from the other end.

    Matches, like wars, are rarely won by merely watching. These are examples, not an attempt to single out individuals. The cause, the infection, is deeper and the antibiotic is within.

    If we continue to believe that batsmen and bowlers alone will win us matches, this wait is going to be very long. Till India field well number seven looks like a good place to build a house.""

    By Blogger MAHER, at 18:53  

  • I don't see how anyone can be told on the Indian team can be told that they need to improve any part of their game with a straight face. A player who has failed to work on and improve two of the basic skills: running between wickets and fielding (these skills are important especially in ODIs and those that can be improved with practice) is rewarded with capataincy. Further his removal cannot even be discussed. Given this how can you tell any other player - you need to improve this or that. It is obvious that there is no correlation between performance and inclusion in the Indian cricket setup and you don't have to look any further than the Indian captain to see proof.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 19:03  

  • see ya guys have good weekend.....BTW i really enjoy this blog when we r not playing b'ze when we r playing matters are just flat out.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 19:07  

  • gopalblog,

    The thing is its not just Ganguly who has not performed. There are other guys too. I think it is unfair to single out one individual. If and when the selectors start holding players accountable for their performance (its clear it does not happen right now), not just Ganguly but the others who are not performing should also be jettisioned. The media wants sensational news that is why there is this pro-Gangu/ anti-Gangu debate taking place. If the media were really sincere, they would not single out Ganguly. There is Sehwag, Zaheer, etc. guys who have not exactly set the world on fire either and need a kick up their backside just like Ganguly.

    By Blogger AA, at 19:12  

  • Prem, I thought it was already decided that SG will get back the captaincy, no matter what happened at SL..

    By Blogger Raju, at 19:48  

  • aa

    You're right. Every underperformer needs to be held accountable for their performance and that includes the selectors! SG is maybe unfairly singled out but that's because he's the cap'n. Ofcourse if he isn't the cap'n he would have been dropped like VVS! Hmmmmm.... that is a dilemma. I wonder if this is why he, his backers and his many supporters are so insistent that he is the cap'n.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 20:08  

  • reading "aa"'s comment about how we can not single out one player unless if drop someone else , I really couldn't help but smile.

    This is so typically Indian loser thinking. You catch a guy on road for traffic violation, he will say "why me? so many others are going scott free". Catch a corrupt politician , he will say "its not fair..I have the right to be corrupt..after all you din't catch anyone else?".

    aa almost seem to say "Gangs has a right to under perform". Dada supporters ! please do not become so blind in your comments so as to loose sight of "Team Idia's greater good".

    By Blogger flute, at 20:12  

  • Hey,
    clarification: have not read any of the above comments
    I have been asking everyone to keep things in perspective. I am in favour of no particular player.
    I do not know what are the selectors motives behind this decision.
    1. Logically as suggected by prem in the blog, if selectors continued with Dravid for one more series, Doesn't it add to the uncertainity for every player in the team. Now atleast whatevr the decision, it frees SG, RD and GC to plan the season and concentrate on their jobs.
    2. Wasn't RD made captain for a series just in case SG doesn't make it. So whr is the question of him being demoted arises?
    3. Frankly speaking SG's record in the last two years doesn't merit him being selected let alone be the captain. But where are the replacements. And please even Aussies and others have carried captains around and given them chance to come back. Steve Waugh was made to retire at 38 that too when RP was ready as replacement.
    4. In India's case whr is SG's replacement now? RD hasn't shown any good tactical skills so far that would make of reduced aggression in SG's case. I can give many examples. We are still advocating the same reasons for him being captain which pushed SRT in 1996 and 1999.
    5. In fact we may end up losing RD the batsman in such a crucial period. We already lost the best of both SG and SRT due to captaincy.
    6. Does it make sense to replace a 33 year old Captain by a 32 year old one? isn't a younger person a better and sensible option?

    In fact the aim should be that SG is captain for WC. But if his batting and results do not improve, may be then some younger person could take over for ODIs. If no replacement is found by then, may be RD could take over for a couple of years.

    Pl. we Indian fans need to understand that every great player in a team should not necessarily become the captain as well.

    By Blogger aditya, at 20:50  

  • Flute,

    Mate, what i am trying to say is that dropping Ganguly is not going to solve the problem if u don;t drop other non-performers as well. Do u think dropping Gangu is going to make Sehwag more consistent and allow Zaheer to bowl better? Searching for a scapegoat in a collective failure might be the easy way out but it rarely leads to success.

    In my book, no one, not even SRT, deserves to be in the side if he does not perform. I would love to see a selection committee that has the guts to drop players upon nonperformance.

    Punishing one laloo yadav while the rest make hay is not going to solve the problem is it? You need to get rid of all laloo yadavs from the system if u want progress.

    Lets face it. The selectors and the current administration are not accountable. This shows in the manner guys like Gangu, Veeru, Zaheer, etc. are picked even when their performances don't merit selection. Team India is going to stay at the bottom till we carry deadwood in the team and this going to continue till we have a system that is accountable. That is the bottomline.

    By Blogger AA, at 21:09  

  • Here we go again...

    No prizes for guessing but who is the weakest link? Sourav Ganguly. So you drop him and make the change.

    Yeah...the others have not performed....but you have to start by making a change. Decisions at the margin people....fine tuning....not wholesale changes.

    We have a very capable middle overs player, Badani, who could make the differenece in this team. We can argue with averages and stats but that will never resolve the issue. For instance, Mcgrath bowled extremely well at Old Trafford but he had 0/86.

    We know that Ganguly has problems. He cannot play shor- pitched bowling. He cannot rotate the strike as well as the newcomers. He seems to have lost the ability to charge spinners. His bowling has been lacklustre since the WC. His ground fielding is bad on a good day. His running between the wickets is atrocius...after about 10 years of international cricket he cannot run his bat into the crease.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 21:42  

  • aa / jiet:

    You are suggesting to drop Ganguly and othera who have not performed on the basis of their non-performance (including SRT).

    Fine, let us see who did not perform well in the Indian Oil cup:

    Ganguly - one 50 in 3 matches as opener. Bad performance.

    Sehwag - NO 50 in 5 matches with fast 48 in last. Bad performance.

    Laxman - The less said, the better.

    Dhoni - Nothing with bat or glove. Bad performance.

    Kumble - Rank bad bowling.

    Zaheer - Too wayward. Too inconsistent. Too bad.

    Pathan - Nothing special to write about. Not upto the level expected from him.

    Bhajji - Unable to get breakthroughs at important times. Not upto the level expected from him.

    Kaif - Too slow batting for our comfort. No big shots to slog at the end. Average, but not good.

    Yauvraj - One 100 and one 50. Bad in field. Consistent misfields and dropped catches. Just average overall.

    So, how many players are not upto the mark? 8 leaving out Kaif and Yucraj. There are many who feel that Kaif and Yuvraj need to be dropped too to shake them into performing well. In that case, it makes 10 people who would be sacked if BCCI goes by your logic.

    Now tell me one thing. Do you have 10 or 8 people to replace these guys? And mind you, the replacements should be AT LEAST of the same caliber and performance level that these guys are of, if not more.

    Guys, when you have BETTER people to replace the current non-performing ones then TALK about replaceing them. Otherwise, all this talk of replacing the non-performing player is just BS, nothing else.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:02  

  • alright everybody...going to try this once more.

    You look at the team and identify the WEAKEST link. We have seen all of these players for a while. Ganguly is clearly the WEAKEST link in this side. Make the change based on that. Ganguly has been the WEAKEST link for long enough.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 22:12  

  • Y'all know that in past years, BCCI has has tried innumerable players. Some for opening (Wasim Jaffer, S Ramesh, SS Das, Vikram Rathore etc.), some all-rounders (Sanjay Bangar, Badani, Ritender Sodhi, Agarkar, Kanitkar etc.), some bowlers (Mohanty, Harvinder Singh etc. etc.).

    All of them had excellent domestic records but in International cricket they failed miserably. So, what makes you think that it will be so easy for BCCI to make wholesale changes in the current team? Where are the replacements?

    We have 2 new guys, Venugopal and Raina. Who are these guys? Are they pure batsmen or all rounders? Venugopal does not look like a bowler, so he is in team as a batsman. Whom will he replace? Ganguly? Yauvraj? Kaif? Sehwag? Is he really better than these players? Raina can bowl a little. So, whom will he replace? Sehwag? Yavraj? Kumble? Does he have the batting capabilities of Sehwag or Yuvraj? Is he really good enough to replace Kumble?

    We need to answer these questions before we even TALK about replacing people. If the answer is YES, then go ahead, replace the players. If the answer is NO then stop this talk of replacments.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:15  

  • jiet:

    Before you even TALK about replacing Ganguly, give a name of the person who would replace him? Who is the guy to replace Ganguly? We need names, not just plain talk of replacement.

    If you have a name, fine, otherwise don't try again and again, harping the same thing.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:17  

  • jiet:

    You talk of replacing the WEAKEST link. Maybe, Ganguly is the weakest link. But you can't replace him with someone who is even weaker than him!!! That would be a sure shot formula of breaking the chain itself!!!

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:20  

  • Prem,

    Excellent stuff from you man...however, not exactly bbeing on top of things, I have a very small question to you...I thought I read in one of the Indian websites that Greg Chapell was NOT going to be present at that meeting (of selecting the captain). Do I detect any relation to GC not wanting to be involved in the politics of captain selection? I did not seem to recollect any *specific* reason being mentioned in the media for his absence. Could one speculate GC's displeasure at the BCCI wanting to "rush things"

    Sriraj

    By Blogger Sriraj, at 22:21  

  • jiet,

    your personal hatred for SG colours your entire argument.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 22:22  

  • aditya:

    Looks like you are one of the few that agree with what I wrote.

    SG was gone just because he was serving a ban. There should be absolutely no doubts in anyone's minds about his being a captain.

    Gosh guys - 'outta sight, outta mind' is one thing, but SG was gone only for *four* games. Come on.

    Let's discuss unpassionately what the team can do and how we can suggest ways to mould the WC'07 team.

    By Blogger RPM, at 22:23  

  • Test

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 22:25  

  • I don't think dropping one player is going to make the Indian fortunes take a U-turn...but that doesn't mean you don't remove the weakest links...Sehwag got a century in the 1st ODI of the recent Pak series and after that he has struggled...but his innings in the final against SL showed that he is close to returning to good form...SG, on the other hand, doesn't have a significant knock since the VB series in Australia...and he hasn't shown anything substantial to suggest that his form is coming back...the recent 50 and 25 were definitely off-colour performances...his inability to tackle short bowling was exposed. What really frustrates me with SG is that after almost 10 yrs in international ckt he hasn't learnt to deal with short-pitched bowling...and think abt Dravid...had a couple of wretched yrs in ODI in the beginning and by working hard he has become such a wonderful batsman in ODIs...why can't SG (who probably has more talent than Dravid) not knuckle down and sort out the demons? SG, currently must be the weakest batsman among Sehwag, Kaif, Yuvi and Dhoni and Laxman. Among the bowlers Zaheer hasn't picked up the mantle from Srinath and that must be the most disappointing aspect for Indian bowling at the moment. He and SG need to go back to the domestic circuit and once again fight themselves up the ladder.

    By Blogger rp, at 22:25  

  • and for all those who think Ganguly is the "weakest link", tell me why we did not win even one of the 5 matches or so we played WITHOUT him? he isn't the problem, you all know it but he happens to be a convenient scapegoat.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 22:26  

  • ruchir,

    Badani is the man to replace Ganguly. In fact, I can guarantee you right now that India will not win WC 2007 if Ganguly is in the side. I will also go out on a limb and see unless we pick Badani (or someone who can do what he does...and it is unlikely we can unearth someone else) we are unlikely to go far in the WC.

    I do confess to being a fan of Badani...but I am a fan of Ganguly too.

    I rest my case, gentlemen. I feel that everyone has made good points. But this discussion is not going anywhere.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 22:30  

  • There is a replacement for Ganguly. Venu Rao - give this chap a chance to prove himself. He has been in top 10 run getters in the domestics for 3 consecutive years. There is no other batsmen who has achieved this. This chap has earned his chance and needs to be given chances.

    For Sehwag, we have Dhoni to replace him at the top. I don;t think Dhoni can be worse than Sehwag is right now.

    No.7 slot, there is JP Yadav. Finsished in top 10 in both bowling and batting in domestics.

    then, there is Gagandeep Singh. Poor chap has been wheeling away for 3 consecutive years finishing in top 10 wicket takers every year. He deserves a chance.

    There are replacements. But the selectors don't have the balls to drop Gangu and Sehwag.

    Ganguly in 04 ODIs average of 32, which is pathetic for a top 4 batter, and SR of 69, even worse.

    Sehwag in 04 ODIs average of 25, lowest in world cricket among openers, and SR of 90 (useless due to low average).

    Dhoni for Sehwag at the top.
    Venu Rao for Ganguly in top 4.
    Laxman as standby till SRT returns.

    Pick Gagandeep Singh in place of Balaji who has ER of 5.4 in ODIs.

    By Blogger AA, at 22:31  

  • Prem,
    Please..
    This 55% before the world cup and this 53 % after..
    This batting average before and this one after..
    What about the previous captain and also one before that?
    What % win
    What % away, if any!
    Only then you will see how significant it is for India to be over 50%

    There were other great players too, great thinkers as well but what did they bring in India's Win / Loss column?

    It is here ganguly sytands above all.

    May be Dravid wanted the SL series the it was given to him. He is not a puppet and he can talk for himself and negotiate.
    There was no way to know at that time that Gangly ban would be reduced. I do not see anything wrong there or wrong now.

    Hoping that all go well in ZIM.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 22:33  

  • rp:

    I ask the question again. WHO will you replace Ganguly with? Who is that person? How good is he?

    As for Dravid, in the finals he scored a painstaking 69 runs from 99 balls. That, when the required run rate was 5.65 to begin with and Sehwag had given us a flyer. An then, he gets out to the most foolish run out ever. You call that good batting? Is this what he worked hard on acheiving? Slow scoring and then getting out? Is this an innings of a good player?

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:34  

  • Let me ask this

    If tendulkar score 200 in 10 ODI innings.. are you going to drop him??

    Ganguly had been faster than Tendulkar to score 7000, 8000 and 9000 runs.

    Poor fellow just fell behind for taking 3 more innings than Tendulkar to reach his 10,000 runs.

    However great was Viv Richard, look at his last 5 years and he appaer merely ordinary, riding on his earlier waves.

    A

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 22:54  

  • aa:

    Ha ha ha.

    Dhoni for Sehwag. Take IO cup. Sehwag made more runs than Dhoni did. Dhoni's place in the team would be under fire because of his poor keeping skills. He can not give the 48 in 22 kind of starts, no matter what you think. How can you even say that Dhoni will replace Sehwag at opening?

    Laxman for SRT. That is even more laughable. This guy's ODI career is over, OVER. Period. He will never ever, ever play in an ODI again and you are keeping him on standby for SRT? Reality check needed here.

    Venugopal Rao. Isn't he the same guy who was out on 1st ball in the IO cup? With a bowling SR of 72.37 and Avg of 33.25 in domestic cricket, I am not sure if he can replace Ganguly. If you can give a person with this kind stats a chance to prove himself then why can't you give chance to Ganguly himself?

    Gagandeep, maybe. But surely not Gagandeep in place of Balaji. What has Balaji done wrong to get himself replaced?

    Yadav. He is already 31 years old. Who would he replace? Yauvraj? Kaif? Both are young and in better shape to serve the Indian team than this guy. He will be in team for what, 2-3 years? Both Yuvraj and Kaif will be there for at least 10 years to come. How can you choose JP Yadav as an allrounder a no. 7 over these 2 guys?

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:55  

  • Ruchir Joshi,

    1) VVS for SRT simply because he averaged 40+ in 04 at SR of 79 while batting in top 4. Compare this to SG, average 32+ and SR of 69. We need an experienced standby for SRT and that has to be VVS if u go by performances.
    2) Venu Rao is not the guy who got first ball in IO cup. He was the guy who with Dravid saved India blushes in IO cup match against SL and guess what he was dropped to accomodate Gangu.
    3) For JP YAdav, age has nothing to do with selection. If you are fit and produce the numbers, u deserve selection.
    4) Sehwag averaged 25 in 04 at SR of 90. Would Dhoni perform this bad? Probably not. Even if he does India can live with it as he keeps. What does Sehwag do. Bowl 3-4 overs here and there getting smacked for more than 5 runs per over to go with his once in a blue moon knock of 40 of 20 balls.
    5) Balaji was given the entire 04 year to prove himself just like Pathan in ODIs. What does he acheive. ER of 5.4 and average of 37.

    By Blogger AA, at 23:11  

  • and by the way, venu Rao averages 50+ in first class cricket and 38+ in List A. More than to quaify for India selection. Why can't India have the following lineup:

    1) Dhoni
    2) VVS (SRT when he returns)
    3) Venu Rao
    4) RD
    5) MK
    6) YS
    7) Yadav
    8) Pathan
    9) Bhajji
    10) Nehra
    11) Gagandeep Singh / Khan

    Let Gangu and Veeru do the hard yards in domestics. Let them prove that they can score heavily and consistently in both forms for Gangu and limited overs for Veeru.

    By Blogger AA, at 23:21  

  • aa:

    If Laxman is the standby for SRT then why did he not play all 5 matches in SL? Obviously because team did not find him good enough to play. If he is not good enough to play then how can he be standby for SRT? Forget about 04. VVS is not getting any younger. If at this age he can not get selected in first 11 then what is the wisdom of selecting him in 15 players of the tour? He can not field, can not bowl, is not the captain, can not bat in ODIs. If he was so good in ODIs then where was he till now? Now you are comparing VVS with Ganguly while suggesting that he is standby for SRT??? Why are you doing that?? Do you think Ganguly is also a standby for SRT?? Ganguly will be in the team IRRESPECTIVE of VVS. So why compare them?

    Sorry about my confusion on Venugopal. But now you say Venugopal will replace Ganguly and you compare VVS with Ganguly too. How come? How come Ganguly is being compared to 2 players simultaneously? Who will replace him? VVS or Venu?

    Right now, the idea of team selection is to select those people who will probably play in WC 2007 because that is what we are aiming at. Why should we select "aged" people like Yadav now? This guy is the same age as Ganguly, Dravid, Sachin. He too will be 33 years old by the time WC 07 arrives. Do you want your team to be filled with old guys at that time? Why pick a person whose "use-by" life will be only 2-3 year? Why not pick a younger guy in whom investing time and money will be worth the while? The reason JPY was not given any game to play in IO cup was that GC knows that this guy will not be there for WC07. So why bother?

    Dhoni for Sehwag. Who, in his right mind, will say that Dhoni can replace Sehwag. In order to do that, you need to have a stable place in the team in the first place. The way Dhoni kept wickets, it will be no big deal if GC has already placed him on order, that if he repeats this performance in ZIM he is out of the team. How can a guy like him replace Sehwag? Everyone says that Dhoni should be used for last 5 overs to blast away runs in the end. No one says that he should open the innings because he jsut does not have the staying power. That 148 was once-in-a-blue-moon innings. After that in all matches when he came early he failed.

    India lost most of its ODIs in 2004. Every indian bowler was thrashed during that time, specially when PAK came to indian. This includes Zaheer and Pathan too. So by the same yardstick you should remove both of them from the team too!! Why single out Balaji? Why not Zaheer Khan? He looks to be the laziest fielder in the field. Can not throw, can not bend down to lick the ball, can not run fast. At least Balaji is a decent fielder. So why not replace Zaheer with Gagandeep?

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 23:31  

  • aa:

    Sourav Ganguly also has an avg of 44 in First class matches. This too, in 192 matches. Says a lot about his consistency, does it not? Venu gopal has 53 avg from only 52 matches. You can't compare these two stats just like that. You should see what was Ganguly's avg in his first 52 matches to get the correct picture. But that will be impossible. So why bother comparing half-cooked figures??

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 23:39  

  • Ruchir Joshi:

    RD's innings was a touch slow but his run out was definitely foolish (RD made a rare mistake of gifting his wkt, but SG is one of the most awful runners between wickets and I can assure you that SG has not only gifted his wickets but also other batsman's wickets many more times!)...but are you saying that Dravid isn't a good player because of all this? If so, then I'm afraid you are judging his entire career and achievements by one innings and I think you'll be the 1st then to say that is mighty unwise. Aside of that, there can be no comparison on current form between Dravid and Ganguly...RD is way ahead!

    As far as SG's replacement is concerned, it'll be difficult (probably impossible) to find someone who will have the class that SG showed in his 1st 6-7 yrs. But, looking at SG's batting decline in the last 2 yrs, we can certainly find someone who can fill SG's batting contributions...in fact there probably is someone who can contribute better than SG at the moment...but you'll never know till they are given sufficient time...options are Badani, Gambhir and the new guys used in the IO cup. Even someone like Dinesh Karthik (our test match keeper) may become a good option. These guys are good fielders too and run well between wickets making their case even stronger.

    By Blogger rp, at 00:11  

  • I think it is totally unfair to SG as well as to RD if we discuss this by taking sides. As far as I am concerned, RD is a tactically brilliant, aggressive captain. Declaring the Indian innings when Sachin was nearing a double century in an Ind-Pak test match and the field placings in the recently concluded tri-series clearly indicate that RD is a captain who wants the team to win - at any cost. That is what India needs badly. But I also feel that SG is a better leader of men. I don't think RD can get the best out of his team mates as well as SG. SG is not an imaginative or thinking captain but is a great leader. The Indian team needs both. So maybe SG leading the team with RD as deputy and giving inputs on tactics and strategy alongwith GC would make a great leadership team. That is a mouth-watering thought for me. But it all depends on whether SG is open to inputs from RD.

    Shyam

    By Blogger Thirdman, at 00:49  

  • No matter how hard Prem has been tryin to mask it, his bias against Ganguly, and for Dravid, always shows up. Poor Prem...so many futile attempts to hide his pro-Dravid bias..almost feel sorry for him...maybe because of regional affinity...

    Prem, we would respect you more if you admitted, and actively brodcast your preference for Dravid and hatred for Ganguly...be a man, dude and recognize your own demons! Nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing called objectivity in this world...so don't hold yourself to impossible standards. So admit your pro-Dravid, anti-Gang bias. I promise we will understand.

    By Blogger Shan, at 01:54  

  • Very interesting debate. But ill go with what RPM said. If hes in the team, then Saurav should be captain. Rahul filled in for him as the tenure of his ban was still undecided. Horse trading and manipulation are clearly not new things in Indian cricket, and as the Telegraph says today except the selector from Tamil Nadu, all were in favour of Ganguly being brought back. Kiran More waited to see in which direction the majority went and then joined that side.:)

    A tour of Zimbabwe would be a cakewalk for even this struggling India side. The bigger challenges lie ahead, later this year and early next year. But the question remains, what if Ganguly continues to bat like the way he has batted since the Pakistan series? How long a rope will the selectors give him? And who will replace him? Will he be missed?

    However, the way the entire team has played in the last 6 months, I find it very hard to see a change in the fortunes of the Indian team with a mere change in captaincy.

    Rahul Bhattacharya wrote in his Cricinfo column today:

    "Perhaps, though, we've all been obsessing far too much with the captain and the coach. When the individual team members are not playing well enough or, in several cases, simply aren't good enough, there is little any leader can do. It is hard to escape the feeling that a long and possibly melancholy season lays ahead for India. "

    Doesnt sound very encouraging, does it?

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 03:08  

  • Shyam Shankar
    Agree with ur analysis. But thr r two issues. What u think is mouth watering prospect is the reality for last 5 years. Ne ways I do not believe changing both Capt and coach at the same time makes any sense. Even if the Capt is to be replaced it has to be atleast 1 year later.
    However what u think is agressive tactics... declaring wen SRT was194*..... to me was poor communication by team management... RD, Wright and evn SG who was present thr. Definitely SRT didn't know abt the impending declaration...poor guy was in 190s and running twos for Yuvraj in that summer heat so that he gets his 50. othrwise he could have hit out and scored his 200. Remember he ran two twos for Yuvi then, who got his 50 and promptly holed out. Inning declared.
    And the Indian press made its mission to find a problem, wen the only possible one was poor communication.

    By Blogger aditya, at 04:02  

  • guys
    Those who r looking to find discord between RD and SG.... pl. remember the first player SG backed to hilt as captain was none other than RD in ODIs. Thr are no probs between the two as well as SRT. Just the media .... who do not have anything else to report.... and possible some advisors creating problem.
    My prediction.... whoever becomes Captain will work in tandem with other and GC+ SRT to haul this team back to top... in this season itself. they have done it before, they will do it again!

    By Blogger aditya, at 04:09  

  • I am a great fan of ganguly. But in current form, he doesnot deserve a place in the team. Better follow AUS approach, pick best 11 and then choose a captain.

    Any way to make that happen, Dalmiya has to go!! He is more intrested in his personal bottles than Indian cricket!

    By Blogger ashok, at 04:22  

  • Hello Prem, just read Sunil Gavaskar's latest article on the Lankan triseries. Makes an interesting comment that JP Yadav couldnt be played in Lanka because tournament rules didnt allow India to play 16 players...since they had already played Rao & Raina in the first match, they had to make a decision between Ganguly & JP Yadav once Ganguly came back. Gavaskar says that was the fact but it couldnt be conveyed to the media for various reasons...What a pity. He further adds, in his own way, that if tournament ruls did indeed allow as Indians claimed, India would be the first team to carry 24 players (or whatever number that suits). He also says the tourney was a shoot-off between Moody & Chappel and the former won hands down and, more importantly, proved a point or two to the Indian Board! Coming from a man who was on the panel...read it here: www.arabnews.com/?page=8§ion=0&article=68339&d=12&m=8&y=2005

    By Blogger mohd iqbal, at 05:08  

  • mohd iqbal : I dont understand this shooout thing. Look at it this way, SL are good at home...win even against Aus at home...so how does it reflect on Moody ? They are pathetic outside...so that wud be where we should test him. And anyway, its too early for these kind of judgments. And year or so is the minimum when u start seeing the results of the strategies and methods put in place by coaches. Dunno what gavaskar wants to say here ! Or maybe just filling up column space due to prior committments :-)

    btw...anyway following the ashes here ? Jiet..u there buddy ?

    By Blogger worma, at 07:02  

  • Prem..nice one by Rahul on cricinfo. Mainly backing ur thoughts as to why this sudden need to change, as esp doing one for short term. http://content.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/215835.html I like the way he writes..giving his thoughts as well as presenting all sides of the argument.

    Btw, from what I learnt on rediff...the selector were not unanimous on deciding whether Ganguly should be appointed long-term or just for the series.

    Anyways, as Rahul said, there's too much wrong with the team to be obsessed with captains. I hope we see improvement there.

    Also mid-day reports that most likely dropouts today would be Zaheer, Kumble and VVS although latter 2 wud be chosen for tests.

    Telegraph also says that Chappel has strongly expressed concerns over attitude of some players to selectors (I think thats Zaheer?). I felt a bit uncomfortable with this, I hope he has first talked to Zaheer himself, pointing out what's wrong.

    And I also hope that Kumble and VVS are taken into confidence about their dropping. I fear that all this may affect the test match side, which is pretty close to well balanced, and these two are too important for our test side to risk spoiling that through ODI issues.

    By Blogger worma, at 07:32  

  • shan: From the various articles I have read, prem has a soft corner for dravid solely on the basis of his performances. We all look at how dravid got run out in a comical fashion, but we fail to look at the fact that he "cared" enough to take the team to the 40th over. Atleast I saw in his performance a genuine desire to win that game. I don't care too much abt wins or losses from my team, but I do care about how passionate the players are to get that WIN. And in the triseries, dravid has shown that he has that passion and the skills to contribute to a team victory. Something Ganguly has failed to show us in the last 2 yrs.

    P.S. Regional affinity can't be a issue as dravid and prem dont even speak the same mother tongue:). But I agree that when it comes to evaluating batting performances, prem always thought highly of dravid than ganguly.

    By Blogger sachin, at 08:13  

  • Aggie is back, AGAIN..
    So are SRT & Murali Karthik

    By Blogger vishnupavan, at 08:16  

  • vishnupavan what is the full team ? u have the link ?

    By Blogger worma, at 08:23  

  • worma, check cricinfo

    By Blogger vishnupavan, at 08:27  

  • ok thx. Got it. And more or less ok I would say. Except Agarkar, but for him I can think that if they have given chances to Zaheer despite his variations in form, then so with Agarkar. I have a feeling Chappel wants to have a personal look at him also before deciding if he is material for future use or to be discarded permanently.

    Test match team also looks fine, great to see that Balaji is persisted in test matches. I always had a feeling that he was very good in tests, but struggled to adapt to ODIs and that ODI may affect his test performance also. In fact IMO he looks better than Pathan in tests. Although I wonder why Zaheer is there in tests. He should be dropped so that he is motivated to work harder for his return.

    By Blogger worma, at 08:34  

  • Shan,
    On Prem's REGIONAL AFFINITY: If you were joking, it was a pretty crude joke.
    If the whole of India is not able to enjoy the contributions of guys like SRT and RD, then whats the point in being part of one country. Lets leave all the regional bias and partiality to the selectors and the tabloids.

    One important point in favour of RD is his tactical brilliance over SG. I for one, do think that SG has serious limitations in that regard. How many times have we actually seen a well-prepared Indian team under SG take advantage of obvious weaknesses of opposition batsmen, for e.g.? By the time we figure out such things, the series is over.

    RD deserved a chance to show off his ability as captain, especially since SG as captain had gone stale. When India (hopefully) wins the series against Zim and probably the ODI tourney, everyone would forget the slight that RD received and put SG back up on the pedestal....

    By Blogger Toney, at 09:55  

  • Guys,
    Do you guys know the status on www.sportingstreams.com? I have not been able to get to this site either from office or home...

    By Blogger Toney, at 09:57  

  • ODI Team: Dhoni should have been dropped. His sloppy work behind the wickets is costing India games. WHo cares whether he scores 20 out or so runs, when opp piled up misery on India becos of his dropped catches.
    Glad to see some non-performers got dropped. Also, Raina and Rao retain their places. YS and MK must be getting some hints.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 10:58  

  • Mediocrity is rewarded. The slogan of the Indian cricket team. Agit Agarkar is the poster boy. No I take it back the captain is the poster boy - Agarkar, Harbhajan flank him on the poster. No I can't say that - it must be my South Indian regional bias. That's the only way South Indians are judged. If others do its not regional bias but if a South Indian does it, it must be. This applies to fans, journalists or selectors. Yeah... that makes sense.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 11:41  

  • I hope this nth comeback by agarkar would provide GC the answer to whether he can be a permanent fixture or permanently keep him away from the national team. Anyway even this tri-series is an experiment, as GC still doesnt have answers to so many questions.

    By Blogger sachin, at 11:56  

  • Despite all these ins and outs, Agarkar has maintained the best strike rate among the Indian bowlers and fairly respectable at International level. Too much have been made of his RR but on average 0.5 runs per over adds up to extra 5 runs. In return he does bring a slightlu better batting than the other fast bowlers. Main concern is will he last till 2007?

    Murli Karthick also deserve a chance as an alternate to HarB unless the pitch calls for two spinners.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 12:40  

  • Hey guys/worma,

    A buddy came down to visit so I decided to not to stay waiting for action at Old Trafford. Don't think I missed much.

    Have not seen the squad yet? But I know I have at least one problem with it... ;)

    By Blogger Jiet, at 13:42  

  • GOPALBLOG,
    thats right, South Indians (I am one too) have no right to talk abt regional bias.. :-)

    Murali Karthik will never get a good run as long as SG remains captain. The past is proof enough. Just as SG supports those who he thinks will do well, he ignores people who he thinks are not going to make it. I wonder what would have happened to his place in the team, had the selectors used the same yardstick for him.

    AjitA, yeah this is his 9999999th comeback.He might do well this time though. Remember the last time when Indian toured Zim. There was plenty of dew in the mornings, Indians won all matches till the finals (winning the toss was crucial) before losing to WI in the finals. I also hope we stop looking upto him as a prospective allrounder, otherwise we should stop calling Flintoff, Kallis, Botham and Dev the same.

    By Blogger Toney, at 13:42  

  • toney:

    You talk about regional bias. Since Tendulkar's injury there has been no player from bombay in the national team.

    Bombay cricket association is supposed to be the most powerful in India. Their team is, arguably, the best in India; and still they don't have any representation in national team !!!

    Do you call this regional bias? Are you saying that bombay team has no one good enough to be in the indian team (other than Sachin, who does not play domestic)?

    On one hand you are saying that Ganguly picks those whom "he" thinks are good enough and on other hand you call that "regional" bias? Incidently, Ganguly is the only one from West Bengal, in the team.

    When Sachin was the captain, he wanted certain players in the team and was given people like Noel David. THAT was the example of regional bias.

    Remember, when PAK won the world cup, their team was "hand-picked" by Imran Khan. And look how they performed and how they were motivated by Imran. When a captain is comfortable with the team he is able to motivate them to raise their level of play. But when he get a team with "Noel David"s, the result is what happened to Sachin's captaincy.

    I believe a captain should have some leeway in selection. He is the one who is sacked for failures and bears the burnt of media. If he should not have a say in selection then selectors should be sacked whenever they mess up.

    Until selectors take up responsibilty, let the captain hae a say in selection too.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 13:56  

  • Ganguly KNOWS that Kumble is not good enough for ODIs and he does not play him. Dravid is Kumble's friend and he played him in Sri Lanka. Look what happened!!!

    Everyone says that Kumble is not god enough for ODIs. Ganguly made his preference known inspite of Kumble being in the 15 players. At least his choices are, more often than not, proven to be correct!!!

    So, you can't say that captain's bias is always worng!!! He just have to use it correctly.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 14:00  

  • It would be pity to think that captain have no interest of India at heart regardless of North or south, hindu or muslim or sikh or christian. ( yes, exclude some match fixing)

    They take the best decision to their ability within the given team and are responsible for the result that read for India. Here I believe, Ganguly has a decisive edge. Or else, how can you explain the VAST difference in results between him and Tendulkar, the immediate predessor!

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 14:59  

  • ruchir...good points about regional bias. I agree that this is not the case (look Khan is also out, and all the 'south indians' dropped are only from ODI...and AA not picked for tests etc etc)....but about the point of Dravid picking kumble..that also wasnt regional bias....I mean he had to play the team he was given..the strategy was to go with 5 bowlers...that meant playing 2 spinners.....and remember he did not play Lax....who is also a long time friend on the crease....so please...lets keep regional bias away from this team....whether its their in selection or not (even there I think strong captain and coach recently have been able to stop it)

    Jiet...hi....yes I know there's one problem in the team from your point of view. Lets hope after this series the problem does not exist (either back to form, or gone for good :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 15:15  

  • Ajit Agarkar in last 10 matches Batting Average 22.75 (Career Avg 17.91) Bowling Avg 30.73 for 15 wickets in the last 10 matches. The last 10 matches played against 2 Aus, 1 each Eng and Kenya 3 each Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    Balaji in last 10 matches Bat Avg 10.75 (Career Avg 12.55) Bowling Avg 36.41 for 12 wickets in last 10 matches. The last 10 matches played against 6 Pak, 1 SL, 2 Eng & 1 Aus.

    I am comparing only Agarkar / Balaji coz they r the only 2 right armers consistenly played by India of late.

    With ZK rightly out of the team, nehra doing well and Pathan 50/50 we needed one other bowler. (Yadav / RP Singh to be played and tested hence cannot comment on them as local performances in india as already proven innumerable times with many players count for nothing.)

    If Ganguly can be persisted with and we have to tolerate him with his gone missing batting skills, always missing fielding and bowling that he given up on. Then on this basis no harm in allowin Agarkar one last look see b4 finalizing core for WC2007.

    Will Agarkar stick aroung till 2007 I dont know, but compared with Ganguly who has to be carried in the team so we now play with 10 players, Agarkar is much better fielder close to MK/YS in the outfield, Agarkar wont waste balls if he comes in to bat either gets out in the first couple of deliveries or scores a fast 15-20. About his bowling difficult to defend but perhaps knowing the sword hangs over him just might give it one last try.

    By Blogger Bedoon_Esam, at 16:43  

  • Also just checked up on Zaheer Khan. This guy gone the Ganguly way, he better concentrate on developing his real estate agency skills so he can continue house hunting for his girl friends.

    Zaheer last 10 matches 6 v/s Pak 2 each SL & WI.

    Bowling Avg. 47.88 for 9 wickets in 10 matches, Career Bowling Avg (28.18).

    So he is going to the dogs aint he....should have long unbroken stint with a county/club/ranji team only then should he even return on the selection radar.

    By Blogger Bedoon_Esam, at 16:50  

  • worma:

    By giving Dravid's example of picking Kumble, I was not accusing him of any kind of bias. I believe that Dravid is beyond that. What I was emphasising on was, that Ganguly has all the right of having his "say" in the team selection because more often than not, his backed players perform well.

    By giving Dravid's example I was trying to say that sometimes captain's personal choices do not turn out well, and that's okay. If selectors can have the privilige of making mistakes without fear of being fired upon then the captain should also have the same provilige. Just that Ganguly's choices have usually turned out well most of the time.

    I was just trying to emphasise this point, because there are people here who think that Ganguly indulges in some kind of bias which they call "regional bias". And I am trying to say that if that were true then we should have had more players from Bengal than just one.

    I wonder if anyone remembers a player called Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, who plays for West Bengal. This guy debuted just before Ganguly became captain. He played 3 ODIs, took 1 wkt, scored 18 runs in total. If Ganguly ever indulged in so called "regional bias" then surely after becoming captain he would have forced the selector, thru Dalmiya, to give this guy 2nd, 3rd, 4th chance. But that never happened!!!

    So, it is wrong to call Ganguly's personal choice as regional bias. That is all that I am trying to say.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 17:29  

  • According to Cricinfo report, the selectors had a very long meeting and a lot of discussions. In my opinion, Ganguly do not deserve a place in the team and hence he should not be the captain. there ends the matter.

    By Blogger G285, at 18:27  

  • g285:

    Whom would you choose in place of Ganguly?

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 18:40  

  • By talking so much about Ganguly, we are not going anywhere and HIM to ZIM.

    Bedroom-esam, tahnks for that Brief on Agarkar. I believe, even if you go a bit deeper, he has ALWAYS taken wickets in ODIs. guess must be the leading wicket takers per balls!

    Laxmi Ratan could barely take wickets in Ranji. Batted slightly better and higher. A better bowler that could have been was Mohanty but it is too late for that now.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 18:44  

  • why is SRT in the team? Do we REALLY need him against Zimb? Should he not be nursing his elbow, playing some domestic cricket and getting back to form?

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 19:41  

  • SRT's inclusion surprised me the most. I thought i read somewhere that BCCI wanted SRT to prove his form and fitness by playing domestic cricket.

    By Blogger sachin, at 19:45  

  • Is not ZIM cricket equal to ranji??
    Good place to get in to form, good place o improve averages.. as they say!

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 19:54  

  • cricktip: Good point.Probably another experimental series. Hopefully by the end of that series, more emphasis will be given to how guys performed against NZ than zim.

    By Blogger sachin, at 20:05  

  • any scoop on why balaji and zaheer were dropped?

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 20:12  

  • It would be foolish if India plays SRT against Zim. Give him extra rest and let him prepare for the series against SL in Nov by playing domestic cricket. Why make him travel to Zimbabawe and risk flaring up his elbow by rushing him too soon when we know that we don't need him desperately for that series.

    By Blogger AA, at 20:20  

  • AAA-It seems that only SRT knows what is good for him. If he wants to play he plays, want to rest he rests. LO.

    Mock - Zahir was dropped on Form and Balaji on Norm! LOL.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 20:34  

  • Sachin, Badly needs to win a Tri series.
    NZ is not a push over but I like our chances on Neutral Ground.

    To me at this stage it does not matter who is at helm - just win this triangle- Ganga (Ganguly )Yamuna (Yuvraj) Sarswati (Sehwag)!

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 20:39  

  • yeah but how come no noise is ever made over SRT walking in and out of our team as his elbow pleases? oops. that century awaits, of course.

    saw the report on Telegrpah about Greg Chappell being unhappy with some players? maybe balaji and zaheer got the axe because of that?

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 20:44  

  • Sachin is beyond Noise, beyoond critique and beyond anything. For his fans he is not human.

    Wish he was a captain..then people will never complain about captain's performance and will not bother to look at how India is doing! Just centuries and averages.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 21:22  

  • SRT has been drafted as cover for Saurav Ganguly, just in case a thunderbolt from Mpofu and Mahwire puts him out of action.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 22:09  

  • Another triseries loss beckons India.

    My predictions: India whoops Zimbabwe in both matches. Although in the process they will definitely create a star within Zimbabwe as they usually do when playing against weaker nations (remember the likes of Blignaut, Marilier, etc.). Against NZ, the first match India is surely going to lose (i can see Gangu presening the excuse at not being used to the conditions etc.). The 2nd match against NZ, India is going to win not because of teamwork but due to Veeru Sehwag's liking for NZ attack. As for the finals, the less said the better.

    Finally, indian selectors did something sensible in dropping Zaheer and Balaji. Wish they had the same guts to drop Gangu. Anyways, it does not matter now as Ganguly is going to score tons against Zimbabwe and score ducks against Shane bond and co. and then go around shouting that he averaged 50 in the series.

    With supersub coming into use for the triseries, how are India going to use it what with India being forced to field and bat Ganguly, the weakest fielder and the weakest batter of the lot.

    By Blogger AA, at 22:23  

  • Also, in the last 10 innings that Ganguly has played for India, he has scored a total of 187 runs from 355 balls. This against attacks of Bangla, Pak, WI, SL. He has a GRAND AVERAGE of 20 with a DEVASTATING (for India not opposition) SR of 52.68 in last 10 ODIS. If this is not enough to drop him, God knows what is.

    By Blogger AA, at 22:36  

  • aa:

    In Last 10 matches, here is the stats for some indian players:

    Player Runs Avg 100 50 N/O
    -----------------------------------
    Sachin 301 30.1 1 1
    Ganguly 209 23.2 0 2 1(Ret)
    Dravid 389 43.2 0 5 1
    Sehwag 233 23.3 0 1
    Yuvraj 290 32.2 1 0 1
    Kaif 299 33.3 0 2 1
    Laxman 262 29.1 0 1
    Dhoni 330 41.3 1 0 2
    -----------------------------------

    Now, for an international player, an average of 35 is considered a good one, good enough for selection in the national side.

    Going by this logic, Sachin, Ganguly, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Kaif should all be thrown out of the team. Isn't it? And surprise!!! Dhoni is the 2nd best batsman in the side!! WOW!!!! cAn you belive that!!

    If the avg of 35 is looking too much then what should be the optimum average? 30? 25? In that case too, Sehwag should not be selected, with Ganguly. Would you drop Sehwag from the team because he has an average of 23???? You are willing to leave Ganguly because of it!!!

    One more thing. People are hesitant on Sachin coming in the Test team. Look at his stats above. He has score more runs that Ganguly, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Kaif in last 10 ODI he played. Yuvraj and Kaif have "not outs" inflating their averages, otherwise they too would be under 30 and be probably uneligible for selection, going by your logic. Right????

    So, my friend, tell me one thing. What should be the correct statistic to make one eligible or ineligible for selection??? And if there is a stat then should it not be applied equally on the entire team (different stats for batsmen and bowlers)????

    Why dig up figures on Ganguly that are tailored to make him look bad? Why not dig up same figures for other batsmen abd then compare all of them together??? Then see who should be in the team and who should be dropped!!!

    It is futile to keep on digging figures on Ganguly to make him look bad because same figures of other batsmen will make them look WORSE. There is no point in doing that.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 23:20  

  • jiet, tell me when you grow up :) we will converse.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 23:25  

  • Ruchir and AAA

    Tendulkar is the king of ODI and still..
    All these years, Ganguly scored fastest 5000, 6000,7000, 8000 and 9000 ODI runs.
    Tendulkar beat him to 10,000 by three innings!

    How bad that can be?

    You can judge Mongia or JP or Raina by 10 innings . Could same standard be applied for Tendulkar Ganguly and Sehwag at this stage?

    In Test Cricket Tendulkar scored 10, 2, 42, 7, 18, 2, 61,36,15,and 4 ie. 195 runs at 19.5 average.
    and this is the arena where most people score higher than ODI..

    Using Ruchir's words..DIG, why not Dig captains.. how much did they win, how much did they score, there are some very good names in there with little to show for India. Pity.

    If it is ONLY the average, then only, we have to go back to the slogan on this site.. What do they know of cricket....

    Lets hope for the Best in ZIM.If not, there will be sadness then. But why now!

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 23:45  

  • cricktip:

    That is exactly my sentiment too. Why use selected statistics like averages to make somebody look bad?

    Why don't people just drop this whole business of looking for something specific on a particular player to make him look bad but at the same time not apply the same on others.

    Any one, and I mean any one , can be made to look bad or good by digging specific figures. But what is the point of doing it? If you have to analyze an issue then use a method and apply it to the whole team and then see who looks good and bad.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 00:05  

  • Hi prem,

    Thanks for providing one more piece of insight...I am an avid reader of your writing and you are amongst a very feww of talented breed of cricket writers that India seems to possess now; Harsha, Roit Brijnath, Sharda ugra and all Cricinfo staff being others (No wonder I read mostly Guradin and Telegraph from England these days besides cricinfo and your blog).

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 00:07  

  • cricktip:

    I liked your idea of digging on captains and used the "aa"'s method on them. Here is the list:

    Player Runs Avg 100 50 N/O
    -----------------------------------
    Ganguly 209 23.2 0 2 1
    Vaughan 315 22.5 0 2 2
    Fleming 249 27.7 0 1 1
    Chanderp. 287 31.9 0 2 1
    Ponting 303 33.7 1 1 0
    -----------------------------------
    Atapattu 367 40.7 1 2 0
    Inzamam 353 44.1 0 4 2
    -----------------------------------

    Going by AA's logic, Vaughan, Fleming, Chanderpaul and Ponting should be sacked from their teams with immediate effect !!! Remember, I am using a minimum of 35 average for a person to be selected in team as a batsman.

    So, what does this prove? Nothing!!!! Actually, it proves that using "selective" statistics as an instrument for selecting / sacking people it purely illogical.

    If selectors were to listen to people like "AA" and use selective stats for selection then 5 of the above 7 captains would have been sacked immediately.

    That is why I say, DO NOT use selective stats to make a person look bad. If you have to use selective stats then apply it on the whole team, not just one person.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 00:19  

  • The above list was pulled for the last 10 matches that these players have played.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 00:21  

  • Sorry, Ruchir, you missed my point.

    Dig the Indian Captains.
    See if they have won much?
    at home and away.
    You nwill notice that Accumulating personal stat is lot easier than accummulating WIN for India.

    One example..
    Tendulkar won 23 and Lost 46
    Ganguly Won 73 and Lost 64

    You can also see how they bat or bowl while Captain.

    Why were things so difficult for everyone except Ganguly???

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 00:38  

  • My mistake, cricktip. Sorry.

    Actually, probably no one knows why it is so difficult for other captains to win and not so difficult for Ganguly.

    When Sachin was captain, there was too much politics in team selection. Some weired guys were selected and as a result there was no unity in the team. Talented players were frustrated at selection of others who had "backing". Maybe that's why team played badly and results were horrible.

    When Ganguly became captain we got a new coach too. Since then, politics in selection has decreased, Ganguly backed some players and there is more unity in team now than before. As a result team won more under him. This is my assumption.

    People, including Prem, have dug up tons of figures to support downfall in Ganguly's batting, captaincy etc. etc. But they have not applied the same figures on others in the team to see if there have been downfall elsewhere too or not. I wish all the criterias and figures would be applied on the entire team and not just Ganguly.

    There is one fact that no one can deny: Ganguly has won more matches as a captain than any other indian cricketer. He is the captain again now and I hope we win the ODI and Test series in ZIM. Not for Ganguly's sake but for India's sake.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 00:55  

  • Ruchir,

    1) Ganguly bats in the top order. You cannot apply the same expectation of 35 average to someone like Chanders who comes lower down the order.
    2) Now that u have dug up the averages for all captains and players, how about u also show the whole picture. How about their STRIKE RATES. I bet none of the captains (barring Vaughan about whom the English are comtemplating from dropping in ODIs) or the Indian players have a SR of 50 odd in ODIs.
    3) Take into account the positions they bat as well. To me for guys with SR between 7o and 80, openers must average 40+, 3&4 batters must average 35+, 5&6 batters must average 30+, 7&8 batters must average 25+ to be considered worthy of selection unless of course u have an unusually high rate of scoring like Sehwag, Gilly, Afridi etc for which u tend to compensate a bit if they have a lower average.
    4) It is an open fact that Sehwag and Ganguly do not deserve their places after their dismal performances last season. Yet we continue with them breeding incompetence in the team. At one hand, we drop Zaheer and Balaji but we don't drop Ganguly and Sehwag for nonperformance. What kind of a signal does that send to a young player. It clears shows that once u achieve seniority, u are allowed to take a big vacation from performing upto the expected level.
    5) As Prem has mentioned in the blog, people need to distinguish between career achievements and recent performances. Just because Ganguly has more than 50% winning record as captain does not mean that we should allow him to stay in the side till his record resembles Sachin's as captain.

    By Blogger AA, at 01:10  

  • Ruchir Joshi and cricktip:

    Most of the people questioning Ganguly being part of the team have more or less said that SG has been a wondeful captain for India and by measure of results he certainly has the best record. But let me also clarify one important difference that worked in favour of SG: in John Wright he also had India's most professional coach (miles ahead of the rubbish that the team got before); and John Wright rightfully claims an equal contribution to India's success. So before we Indian begin our idol worship of SG, let's all understand that SG didn't turn dust into diamonds, but rather by partnering with John Wright he turned a highly under-performing team to one that still under-performed but to a lesser extent...after all we were still 2nd best.

    Now it's these very people (who have admired SG's achievements) that think that Ganguly has become stale as captain and his form doesn't merit a place in the team. Even Steve Waugh felt that captains have a "shelf-life". And when the Aussie team struggled, Steve Waugh used to raise his game a couple of extra notches and dig them out of trouble (WC '99 is a classic example). SG's concept of "backing" players now appears quite outdated and he certainly doesn't look like playing the quality innings a la Steve Waugh. India needs a fresh captain who is best suited to arrest this slump in Indian ckt. RD seems to be the best man and I have previously mentioned 'prospects' to replace SG in the batting.

    By Blogger rp, at 01:11  

  • aa:

    1. Ganguly has started to open the innings "only" because Sachin is absent. When Sachin was opening, Ganguly was coming at no, 4 or 5....once in a while at # 3.

    2. If Stat Guru of Crickinfo could give me Strike Rate, I would have put them in my list. Otherwise I don't know how to get them.

    3. You are the only one whom I have heard (read) saying that Sehwag should be replaced. Show me one other person or columnist who says that Sehwag should be replaced.

    I am not comparing Ganguly's career achivements. I am comparing Ganguly's recent performances with others in the team. Sehwag has been horrible in Sri Lanka, so drop him. Kaif has been too slow in scoring, so drop him. Ganguly scored 1 fifty in 3 matches, so drop him. Dhoni did nothing with bat after doing nothing with gloves, so drop him. Harbhajan dissapointed throughout the series, so drop him. Pathan was listless, so drop him. Damn, who performed in this series? Nehra? Fine, keep him. Kumhle is out, Zaheer is out.

    If you have to drop people them drop ALL non performers, don't just single out Ganguly.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 01:32  

  • Prem,

    Just reading these comments on this blog, I was not at all surprised. Very few comments provided any good insight as most of the people seem to be so obssessed with the SG, RD and SRT...Its just a reflection of the mentality most of us Indians have ..If we win one series, our cricketers become some avtaars of holy trinity and if we loose one, they become worthless.For me, the seeds of the current under-performance of this team were born at the time India returned after a very successful Pakistan tour in 2004...The complacenecy crept in all segments of Indian cricket from there has made it pay heavily.

    All of us have spent so much of times bashing gangguly and other individuals for this seemingly perpetual losing streak of India, that we forget cricket , in essential, is a team game. It is won by a collective effort done methodically and put in for a desired result. These same guys reached the final of the premier world tournament only two years ago. India is still the third best test team in the world. No body can deny the fact that this is the most resourceful team India has ever had in last 10 years. And if there is talent and potential, and the team is not winning, then there are other problems which are being overlooked in the glare of indivisual obsession.

    You don't build a team from a scratch just every day. It takes a long time. It was bulit in four years from 00-03 and is still quite young. Some people made a case for dropping ganguly, zaheer , even sehwag (which to me was staggering considering that he has been so profilic of late, even if it was in tests). Just give it a thought, if it is going to solve the problem. I think not. I can here list some major problems which may be more important than debating on who should captain India in Timbaktu or whatever:

    1. Fitness and fielding standards--(most of the success of 02-04 was based around the excellent fielding standards set by Kaif and Yuvraj.) India don't have outstanding bowlers and they have to go on with the resources they have. They need a very competent fielding unit and a fit bowling attack to supplement their bowling limitations.
    2. A good wicketkeeper- (Did anybody notice how crucial a role Parthiv Patel played in India not winning Sydney and Chennai test.) Of late, Dhoni again faltered in final. Tell me guys, what was the point of taking Dravid the keeper out , if only we have to have Dhonis an Patels as our keepers who are more batsmen-keeper than the vice-versa. Was Dravid not enough for that job? My point is that good teams are built on good keepers and I strongly believe that after captain, a keeper is the most important member of the "team game" cricket. So, India somehow has to find a good wicketkeeper or otherwise just return to dravid formula (I am not convinced the Dhoni is better than a specialist batsman to hide his keeping).
    3.Low confidence to handle pressure situations- ( We always say that India lost so many finals but they also reached a lot. Isn't it? Does not it point to some other flaw? We are not responding to the big occasions well enough. It is just illustrated in the way that we have given initaitve away in most of these finals. Remember giving away so many runs early on, esp by ZK in WC and the last final. So, what could we do? I would suggest get some body to give them a pep talk. Get Sandy Gorson (rememebr the guy who helped India in WC and before tour down under).

    These are only a few things. There are many things which could be discussed. They will be more important and certainly not so related to individuals as to the way the whole team plays. So, why just focus on the individuals. Why give so much space to SG, RD and SRT all the time.

    Coming to my view on the specific subject of this blog, I may think of one reason (besides the alleged JD hand) for selectors to favor SG. Right now, this Indian team looks to me out of sorts. It is not that they are all of sudden technically impotent. They just lack that aggression, that burning desire, that confidence level. They are flirting with ideas in their minds. They are ambiguous and tentative in their attitude and demeanor. They need some bosy to show them the way and to give them the freedom to follow that path. Now who is better in that: SG or RD. SG, selectors might have thought, not the one that led India in last year, but SG who kept a slip for BL in Toronto in 25th odd over, or who came out guns blazing against SA in Kochi 2000, or who kept Steve Waugh waiting for the toss.. They might have been thinking of that attitude, that confidence and that motivation from this guy, one more time, probably the last time , beofre they would take the drastic step.

    I personally feel that SG , batsman alone does not add enough value to the team. What we need from him is the same motivator, backer, leader that led India to high of 02-04. And thats why if he in the team, then he should be allowed to do what he does best for the 'team'. Its all about understanding the importance of each player. Since captaincy is a really vital issue in cricket(at least I think that), you may have to make some compromise. England clearly made that with Brearly and now doing the same with vaughan. However, where we draw a line between an excellent batsmen (like Lara) with poor captaincy record , or a poor batsman (like Vaughan, poor in sense of form only, leave the old trafford test) with an excellent captaincy record. It's a very tricky issue and in india will go mostly in favor of a Lara than a Vaughan..

    So, may be that was one point selectors discussed (or may be not, I dont know). May be that they also understand that whatever SG does, he is always a villain in the eyes of Indian media and public ( I still remember my freinds just laughing off his innings at Gabba 03).

    Interestingly SG made his last comeback through some invisible push (everyone remembers Lords 96).

    Anyways, I am a SG admirer..so there could be some bias in my writing (Not being a reporter allows me to have partial viewss unlike poor prem) and BTW I am not Bengali..I did not want to bring disussion on individuals here was important in the context, so excuse me for deviating me for my point...leave the indivisuals alone, think of things that matter more.

    Ravi

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 01:34  

  • Ruchir,

    Sehwag in my opinion has not been upto the mark since 02 in ODIs. In 02, when he first got the opening slot, he was awesome. In 03, he was below par. In 04, he was downright pathetic. Yet, Indian selectors, fans, media are not even taking this decline into account while selecting.

    It all very good to go gaga over a player's style of scoring (which I admit that I am a fan of Sehwag's scoring). But surely consistency must also count for something. If India wants to be No.1, the selections have to be ruthless. If India keeps tolerating the inconsistent performances of Ganguly and Sehwag in ODIs, we would stay put at No.7 or go even worse. Drop Sehwag for a season from ODIs and watch how he comes back to prove a point to the selectors. Dropping him and Gangu will also send a signal that everyone has to perform. Right now we are picking people on reputations not performances. That is why India looks good on paper and pathetic in the field.

    But sadly no one has the guts to call a spade a spade in Indian cricket.

    By Blogger AA, at 01:52  

  • If I were to grade the players in SL series, this is what i will give them with 7 being satisfactory:

    Batters:

    VS 6/10
    SG 4.5/10
    RD 8/10
    MK 9/10
    YS 9/10
    MD 9/10
    SR 4/10

    Bowlers:

    AN 10/10
    IP 7/10
    HS 7/10
    ZK 4/10
    VS 3/10

    Kumble, VVS, Balaji, Rao, Yadav did not get enough chances.

    Fielding is an intangible that the coach has to decide as i don't know how to give ratings for fielding.

    By Blogger AA, at 01:57  

  • Dhoni as a batter 7/10 instead of 9/10

    By Blogger AA, at 01:58  

  • Hi Prem,
    I am very very upset by the selectors decision to make Saurav Gangs the captain of this Indian Team.I am aware that there are lots of Gangs supporters who are glad about it.Hpwever they are sadly unaware of the disaster that we are heading towards.Ganguly has been Indias greatest captain,bringing into an Indian team a desire and raw aggression that this team sorely lacked.He also backed cerain playesr who he thought,had talent.The end result was that India put up some great performances in Australia and pakistan.However after that it has been a downbeat story.The problem starts with Ganguly himself.He has been a great believer in NATURAL TALENT.This has lead to selection of players like Yuvraj,Kaif,Harbhajan,Zaheer and so on.The qustion that has to be asked now is that how many of them have kicked on to the next level as players.
    1)Yuvraj
    Then:Great stroke player,good player of fast bowling,struggles against seam,swing and ordinany spin bowling.Good fielder.

    Now:Great stroke player.struggles against seam bowling of nay kind,spinners of any kind,Fielding is average now.

    2)Harbhajan
    Then: good spinner of ball,lacked abiity to ball on flat surfaces.Couldnt decieve the batsman in flight.Talented batsman,lacking in dedication towards batting.Good fielder.

    Now:Good spinner of the ball despite injuries.Still great desire present,but hasnt learnt how to ball on unhelpful pitches.Batting talent gone to waste.Fielding still good.

    3)Mohd Kaif
    Then:Good at singles,struggles against short pitched bowling.Not comfortable at the top of the order.Good fielder.

    Now:Good at taking singles,struggles against short pitched bowling.Not comfortable at the top of the order.Good fielder.
    4)Zaheer Khan:
    Then;Fast and furios.Primary weapons,bouncer+Yorker.The two trick pony.Lacked control.No inswinger.Good fielder.

    Now:Medium and furious.Yorkesr missing for 2 years.Lacks control.Bad fitness.Probably the worst fielder in Indian team,along with Ganguly both lacking in effort.

    The above players all have been players Ganguly backed gain and again,and who have have faied to take the next stop to become good consistent players.Mind you good players not even great players. Just good players.To top it all we have our captain Ganguly.He has apparentlu scored loads of runs for Glamargon.Well he did score runs in the circuit.But in a division lacking really good bowlers.The better bowlers are the second division,whom he never got to play.And did not dominate any spinner at any level be it in one day of four day.Yet he is in form and fit!!!If these wise men have anything called as brains then they would have retained Dravid as a captain.After all you select the team first and then the captain.Not the other way round.
    As far as people who are wondering what has Dravid done to deserve capataincy,he has done lots.From a talented lad,to a god batsman,from a good to great,tough competitorhe has worked hard to cahieves his goals.To really understand his desire,watch his 70 odd runs he scored in the second innings aginst Austaralia to win us the match .A tired man who still had the desire for victory!This is what India wants.Not a man who over 4 years has failed to work on his game,still struggles against short pitched bowling,still is the worst runner in the team and who is the worst fieldeer.His time is over.Please walk away in glory then in shame,Saurav.

    By Blogger ashish, at 01:58  

  • One last question to all the Ganguly supporters:

    When Ganguly took over, India was pathetic in ODIs (probably 7th or 8th). At present, we are 7th. Yes, we made it to WC final but we lost. Always remember that 2nd best is the best among the losers. So, what exactly has Ganguly done to deserve captaincy from RD. He has brought India to the same level as when he started as captain in the rankings. Add to this his nonperformance and it is a recipe for disaster. As much as my heart tells that Ganguly will regain his form and with that Team India will come back on track, my head tells me that it is not going to be possible as Ganguly is finished as a batsman and so if he stays skipper, Team India is finished as a contender for WC.

    By Blogger AA, at 02:19  

  • ashish, you WANT sourav to walk way in shame? how nice!

    based on your comment, the whole team is one of losers and how would DRAVID being the captain make them any better? why wasn't he able to win even a single one (yes, we scraped thorough one against the WI) of the last 5 ODI's he captained? and the losses were HUGE. the team just capitulated (been always wanted to use that word). your post is nothing but full of hatred for a man.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 02:22  

  • I have reads prem's arguments backed with statistics which again shows that injustice has been done to Dravid, and Ganguly doesnt deserve to get the captaincy back.
    Without telling much, I wanted to remind all readers about what we do in the corporate world, we first decide what we want the conclusion to be and then we gather data accordingly and then we make a presentation.
    I dont want to counter Prem as i would be doing the same.
    Please remember if saurav wasnt banned dravid wouldnt have got the captaincy in any way, i was more of default, so why this hue and cry.If he was appointed rahul as captain for the full sri lanka series then it was just doing justice to him by not binging in saurav in the middle of the series if the ban was lifted that wouldnt have allowed rahul and chappel to startegise at all.
    We have seen saurav even in Sri Lanka and he didnt look 50% of the player he was and with captaincy on his head it will further deteriorate. This last chance is to shut saurav for ever and let dravid take on the captaincy without any shadows and ghosts of saurav hanging on his head.
    But in case saurav comes out with flying colors both as a captain and a player(the chances are very slim) then nobody should complain and let him continue.

    By Blogger Nabhojit Kuila, at 02:32  

  • Dravid as a captain? Doomsday ahead for Indian cricket. A champion batsman does not necessarily make a good skipper but then in India, honor and respect comes first, not skills and what's best for the team.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 03:58  

  • Much as I would like to see Ganguly replaced as captain (and from the team unless he performance), I have not been too impressed with Dravid's captaincy.

    We can throw all kind of statistics here but the fact remains that Dravid is the only player who gains an automatic selection in the Indian team based on performance, and hence the only logical choice to replace Ganguly.

    By the way, why waste time on this? It's the same old story with Indian cricket. Hasn't changed, will not change.

    Instead lets enjoy the Ashes; I have a feeling this is going to be another great game.

    Any bets on a Shane Warne Hundred...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 04:19  

  • The coach says the team needs confidence.
    . . . Confidence --> player doubts his ability to find form or success.
    . . . Complacency --> player does not work on his game or falls into bad habits.

    The two are linked. Without working on his game or consistency, the player invariably goes backwards. It is no wonder he feels a lack of confidence.

    Players without worldclass ability - like bowlers and Dhoni (keeping)- will be JUSTIFIED in feeling despondent. Here the coach will seek to improve on their success by, say, emphasising fitness or accuracy or technique.

    If lack of confidence is down to complacency or bad habits or mental overload, then the coach must shake them up. This is what I have seen with Chappell (Hope he continues regardless).

    In addition, India NEEDS to send a message to the top order that their performances are holding up the team success. It is a good idea to emphasis fitness and fielding by selection. BTW, there is no value in pigeonholing a player, simply because he looks shaky now. So, Kaif and Yuvraj have to learn to deal with the tough conditions.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 05:26  

  • Following the Ashes right now. Warne and Gillespie making a mathch of this right now...

    By Blogger Jiet, at 05:52  

  • mock...still not funny.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 05:58  

  • Warne hooks straight to fine leg at 90. He claimed this morning that he was nervous about getting through the ninties...

    By Blogger Jiet, at 06:03  

  • jiet, wasn't meant to be funny.

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 06:26  

  • Hi jiet..all...so this time Jones comes to the party...thats the good thing about this Eng attack...and thats y I think they are so good (not best yet,but getting there)...that they have 5 match-winner bowlers...unlike Aus (or even Ind) who are good/best because of many match-winning batsmen and fewer bowling match-winners....

    By Blogger worma, at 06:26  

  • and btw...the way Gillespie bats...I wonder how much longer can the teams around the world afford to ignore doing their 'homework' for him as a batsmen !....unless he gets out of the team due to bowling ;-)...yeah thats a good way of 'getting rid' of him !

    By Blogger worma, at 06:28  

  • Worma...

    In fact Jones has been picking up key wickets from the beginning. Helps when you have a bunch of bowlers among the wickets...one of the reasons why the Aussies are so tough.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 06:30  

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