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Sight Screen

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The RD-GC factor

Ram Mahesh, in the Hindu, is reasonably ecstatic about the thought processes underlying India's success at Nagpur.
While captaincy can be made to look better (or worse) in hindsight, all these moves combined cricketing principles and refreshing thought. They were the consequences of an accurate reading of the track, the understanding of the possibilities of the change of pace, and the ability to abstain from too much of a good thing.
Disparate elements congeal under the binding unity of success. And success is a house of cards — properly built, it can resist concrete blocks, but one card askew can bring it all down. The victory under Dravid and Chappell has promising signs. Nothing more, however, should be read into it than just a good beginning. A different spin of the coin would have set tongues wagging.

I agree with that cautionary note -- what I am in fact looking forward to is a bit of adversity, a phase of play where the match threatens to go the other way. In the way the captain and coach responds at such a point will, perhaps, lie a better indication of how this combination is shaping.


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  • Wasn't one of the complaints of GC against SG was that he changes batting order during the match? Hmmmm, did it not happen in Nagpur? Of course now it should be termed as a brilliant move since SG is not involved.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 11:13  

  • Beautiful writing from Ram Mahesh. And dadagiri, I had thought of you as an objective guy who just happened to agree with Ganguly. Now you are starting to seem like a Ganguly-homer. The criticism against Ganguly was that he was changing batting order to protect himself and his place in the team, not for any strategic reasons. The promotion of Pathan makes perfect sense if you think about the nature of hte pitch and how it was going to progressively favor spin.

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 11:18  

  • Given Media's penchant for things 'going up', I would take this article with a 'pinch of salt'. Although I must say that I agree with most of it but wouldn't be surprised if the media took 180 turn had the experiment failed. Anyways I agree with the last part "I'm sure the criticism will continue," Chappell had said before the match, "so will the experimentation."

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 11:22  

  • alvin miller,
    What exactly are you talking about dude? Here's the link to GC's email:


    Read the part where he's accusing SG of changing batting order. According to him, it was due to SG's fragile state of mind. And it was during the ODIs where SG bats as an opener and if I remember correctly, there was no change in the opening combination. So how changing the middle order can protect his own position at the top?

    The second part I have already mentioned in my first post. When SG changes batting order, it is to protect himself. Else, it's a strategic move. That was on the expected line. May be Dhoni was sent at #3 because SG wanted to protect his a**. If the same Dhoni had hit 147 NOW, it'll be called a brilliant move.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 11:37  

  • dadagiri: With no intention to get into this whole SG thing (I wonder if we are going to be debating this 10 years from now), not sure what the issue is here. Quote from the email -- the only reference, in fact, to team changes:
    "A number of times during the tri-series the tour selectors had chosen a team and announced it to the group only for Sourav to change his mind on the morning of the game and want to change the team.
    On at least one occasion he did change the team and on the morning of the final I had to talk him out of making another last-minute change that I believe would have destroyed team morale and damaged the mental state of the individuals concerned."
    I donno what I am missing -- seems to me, the complaint for want of another word is that teams picked by the tour selectors were arbitrarily changed. Whether that is true or not, we don't know despite the board inquiry -- but where in here is the implication that changing the batting order is wrong?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:49  

  • RDs captaincy has been good even in SL.
    he has obviously been around long enough to have some fresh ideas of his own. sooner or later the opposing teams start to figure out your methods. it is the real test of a captain/coach to come up with new measures. we will have to wait on that. and it will take more than 12 matches to make a good judgement. but a good start is the first step and RD has produced greater than expected results.

    criticism of SG that his changes in batting order (dhoni against PAK) is sounds like 'SG bashing' to me

    By Blogger inoc, at 11:51  

  • PP,
    Here's quoting another part from the same email
    "His nervous pacing of the rooms during our batting in the final plus his desire to change the batting order during our innings in the final had also contributed to nervousness in the players waiting to go in to bat".

    GC clearly mentioned that SG's desire to change batting order was causing nervousness in the players waiting to bat. So am I to assume that batting orders are never changed when a match is on and a particular player who is padded on are not sent out to bat and it was SG who only did it? If that causes nervousness to a batsman, then he's not fit enough for the big stage.

    As you have said, we don't know whether these things are true or not without the board inquiry, all I am saying is that GC has accused (GC's email text is a fact, right?) SG of these things in the recent past while trying to imply that SG has a fragile state of mind. I found that hilarious.

    See, I also don't want to get into the same old controversy again. But I also hate double standards. SG may have changed batting order and it may not have clicked on the instance GC is referring to. But if it had clicked, then what? If Pathan hadn't clicked in Nagpur, will anyone be questioning anyone's state of mind for that move?

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 12:01  

  • dadagiri: Right. Trouble is, the email is not clear what kind of change is under discussion, which is why I was hoping for a comprehensive BCCI report on the inquiry. For instance, if before a game, the team had strategised -- irrespective of who the captain is -- and said okay, if a wicket falls quick, Dhoni, or whoever, goes in at three, then the order changes to XYZ; if before the innings similar discussions had taken place and various alternatives been discussed, it puts everyone in the loop.
    If on the other hand a player is told he is batting at N spot, and suddenly, in mid course, he is told no sorry, you go down N-2 spots and X comes in at N, you could have confusion. The problem is that the email is not clear what happened; the board is not clear whether the question was brought up and discussed at the inquiry. Given all this, my suggestion is simply this, that no one in his right mind would suggest that changing a prescribed batting order is in and of itself wrong -- so the whole thing of it is wrong if SG does it and right if RD does it seemed a bit of a reach, to me, hence my comment. Anyways, let it go -- this whole thing has gone round and round ad nauseum.
    I still wish, oh how I wish, that the board had the moral fibre to call for a full, complete inquiry; to publicise the results so that everyone was au courant with what actually transpired, and to take decisive action against whoever it is among the principals who was found to be wrong. Evidently, that lack of clarity is going to continue to divide cricket fans into polar opposite camps; create uncertainty among everyone. Then again, not sure why I expect anything else from the board.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:10  

  • Gym time, boys and girls. See you all later

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:11  

  • PP,
    In a nutshell, tell me this. If a captain does the following:

    a) Change the team composition in the morning of the game (SG changed Nayan Mongia's name and put in Dighe's while walking out for the toss in the third test in Chennai in 2001 against the Aussies...not saying that's the ideal case, but it has happened before)

    b) Change batting order during a match

    c) Walk 'nervously' in the dressing room during the match(Sachin apparently still can't sleep at night if he has to bat the next day)

    .....does that prove that he has a 'fragile' state of mind? Or just because someone is down, you can pretty much say anything about that person? Will anyone dare to call Sachin's mind as 'fragile' or call him nervous because he happens to bite his nails? NO. Why? Because he's still scoring runs. If SG or anyone else is not doing that, please limit to genuine criticism. GC is not a psychologist to know whether these actions suggest a 'fragile' state of mind.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 12:11  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger inoc, at 12:14  

  • Excellent point mate. MK replaceing VR is ok, SG replacing VR is injustice. Cracked me up !!

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 12:17  

  • >>>Trouble is, the email is not clear what kind of change is under discussion, <<<

    Right Prem, but that didn't stop anyone from quoting it and saying that SG changed the team order to protect himself.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 12:21  

  • dadagiri: Caught that on the way out. In that first instance, again irrespective of who does that, I'd think it's problematical. *If* the team selection is in the hands of a tour selection committee, that is. And *if* that committee, of which the captain would obviously be a part, had made a pick. *If* that pick had been conveyed to the players concerned. And *if* the captain, whoever that be, then made a unilateral change after leaving the dressing room, and while walking out to toss -- which would indicate the picked player who is then axed doesn't even know about it -- then yes, I would think you have a problem; I would think that is a bit tough to take. What then is the point of having a tour selection committee?
    Changing batting order during a match is what I referred to in an earlier response. Biting nails, pacing around, those are stupid charges, stemming from an overall dissatisfaction and not even worth considering -- at best, it provides as you say a half weary, half amused chuckle. It's a bit like me, as an editor, getting miffed with one of my colleagues for not delivering on deadline, and accusing him of taking too many cigarette breaks; clearly, it is none of my business how many ciggies someone smokes, as long as I get the article requested, and I get it on time.
    Later, mate, have to run... I get late to the gym, I lose out on time I am paying (quite substantially) for.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:21  

  • oracle: These emails have been quoted by adherents of both camps, to buttress their own prejudices and biases. But those comments, made by others, can hardly be laid to the door of the person who wrote the email, mate. And this is not a defence of GC -- I couldn't care less. In fact, like I wsa pointing out to someone yesterday when I was told I was rooting for GC, come again? When the three candidates were being debated, I was the one who said my personal preference was clearly Tom Moody; one of the reasons I cited was that he was more contemporary, and would get along with the players better. It was SG, RS and SV who picked GC, not me :-) Damn damn damn, I am not going to refresh any more, bloody late already. *gone*

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:24  

  • sorry dadagiri
    i meant to post it where they were discussing vasu's article so i removed it from here.
    you seem to have caught it before i managed to delete it.
    but the fact remains the same it is inconsistent.

    By Blogger inoc, at 12:26  

  • PP,
    On a lighter note, I don't think you are rooting for GC. I find your situation a bit similar to Sanjay Jha of Cricketnext. If you read his columns carefully, he is not really rooting for SG, but he doesn't like GC for some reason. Similarly, you are not rooting for GC, you just don't like SG. I know...I know...in the past you wrote n number of columns supporting SG, but past is past...like SG's form. :) I am sorry to say that you stopped supporting SG long time ago. You probably have your reasons and I am fine with it. I have been following all your comments very carefully since you started this blog. Even in this GC-SG spat, never once you have given benefit of doubt to SG even without knowing the full facts. Don't know whether you got anything from Harsha, you are yet to share it with us.

    On the contrary, you have given reasons how SG or his camp may have leaked pretty much everything. I remember even on the topic of GC sharing his comments with journalist friends, your take was GC trusted Sahi (his friend) and Sahi let him down. Koi problem nahi hai boss, sabhi chadta suraj ko hi salam karta hai.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 12:43  

  • That last point is important. The true strength of the captain is seen under pressure and dire circumstances. What if India had been 3 down for 20? What if Sanath had gone berserk? What if Pathan was having an off day?

    While this is a good start, I won't declare victory till we see some consistency.

    Meanwhile, I am bloody tempted to sign up for the Willow TV coverage. I have not watched Sachin in full flow for quite some time now.

    By Blogger RPM, at 12:47  

  • inoc,
    how do you delete a post once it's posted?

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 12:47  

  • Would really love to see tomorrow's match & the selection therafter.Tomorrow would be fun!!

    By Blogger mpb, at 13:08  

  • @rpm

    Check out these links - bot sure if they are still working

    Tendulker's Innings


    Pahtan's Innings


    Should satisfy your appetite somewhat :-)

    Tendulkar certainly seemed his old self !

    By Blogger DeadCenter, at 13:18  

  • I am really enjoying my moment by looking at the people who are wishing an Indian defeat.. and waiting to blame it on GC..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:21  

  • Keep your arguments handy guys.. but I am afraid till that time, you have to find ways to condemn the messanger.. so go dig up the email..

    The email horse is dead. and it has run its course and use.. It worked very well along with maggi jokes, afridi, bond and finger showing excercise on a foolish occasion like a silly hundred against a Zim team, that gets out for 94 against a Zonal team in India and cant get a wicket in first 30 overs..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:25  

  • dadagiri: right under ur post (on every post u put in) there is a small icon to delete the post... only the author is allowed to delete his post... if u scroll up u will realize that icon sitting below all ur post...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 13:28  

  • dadagiri really needs to delete lot of things anyway.. may come back to haunt him.. :)

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:30  

  • dadgiri:

    I'll try to make this quick -

    No one was critcising the planned batting order changes. For instance, Ganguly gets credit from all of us for promoting Sehwag and even Dhoni and Agarkar up the order as pinch hitters. These moves may have come from Tendulkar or Dravid but Ganguly deserves the credit, because he was the captain and if they had failed, he would have gotten the blame. However, the criticism is about changing the batting order on two counts -

    1. Changing it at the nth hour, without any semblance of a plan. Prem has touched upon this and all I'd like to add is that it's understandable to do this on occasion, but it should not be done at the cost of confusing batsmen about their role.

    2. Changing it to protect your spot. Chappell's email said nothing about it, but there were indications in the whole episode, esp. with regard to Laxman, that he was manipulating team-selection and batting-order to protect his place in the side.

    RD's move was neither of these. It was a well-planned move and everyone in the team knew about it before the game.

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 13:30  

  • Alvin Miller Jr said...

    The criticism against Ganguly was that he was changing batting order to protect himself and his place in the team, not for any strategic reasons.


    I am sure you believe Ganguly was 'protecting himself' when he promoted Sehwag and Laxman above himself, and gave up his opening spot where he had just completed 5 consecutive years with over 1000 runs?

    Besides, if such motivations can be imputed, what is wrong with Gavaskar's comment about protecting VGRao in order to keep Ganguly out of the side?

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 14:01  

  • Ganguly never gave up opening slot. Sehwag was wnated at the top by all at that time.. He was at the topwhn WC started.. it happened after SRT kicked him out of the opening slot..

    He did not give up..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:27  

  • It make sense to protect your bastmen.. but it does not make sense to protect yourself at the cost of others..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:28  

  • Alvin,
    Sorry about the late reply, was busy on other thread. So let's see your two points:

    1. Changing it at the nth hour, without any semblance of a plan. Prem has touched upon this and all I'd like to add is that it's understandable to do this on occasion, but it should not be done at the cost of confusing batsmen about their role.

    ---->>> What does nth hour mean? During the course of the match, if the captain feels that player Y is more suitable than player X, then he has the right promote player Y. Is there anything wrong with such moves? In the last match, if you take the example of Rao, I think he can be termed as Player X. Right? Every captain does it, so what? How do you know that the batsmen get confused? Because GC said so in his email? Tell me how can a batsman gets confused? Even I am, who is just an ordinary fan, know how these things work and that a batting order can be changed. So why on earth a player should get confused? Shouldn't all of them be ready to bat at any position at any time depending on the match situation? Isn't is part of the requirements like match fitness etc. ? Don't you think Ganguly has led for enough number of years to understand this?

    2. Changing it to protect your spot. Chappell's email said nothing about it, but there were indications in the whole episode, esp. with regard to Laxman, that he was manipulating team-selection and batting-order to protect his place in the side.

    ---->>> I asked you in my last post about this and you didn't reply. Ganguly as a captain has the right to change the batting order. To suggest that he does that to protect his place is plain stupid. Ultimately SG's place will depend on his own performance and not on Laxman's. It's funny that you are with GC on this, but a few guys were criticising Gavaskar yesterday because what he wrote in his column about Rao. So do you really believe that Rao was not sent to protect the established players when they come back? My only issue is when you want to believe something, believe it irrespective of the person involved. Your belief shouldn't change only because the name of SG involved there. If you want to believe everything that GC had to say in his email, then I have nothing to say to you.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 14:37  

  • tc,
    I am really enjoying my moment by looking at the people who are wishing an Indian defeat

    Can you show me one person on this blog who is wishing an Indian defeat? If not, just STFU.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 14:39  

  • tc,
    Here's an open challenge for you. Save my posts with date and time and original thread and use it against me when you think it seems fit. I want to see which part of my comments will haunt me in the future. I am saying this because you need to show my exact comments and not your make up comments like 'dadagiri had said this...'. Game?

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 14:42  

  • chor ki dadhi main kala..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:47  

  • kiyun darr gaya kya? Maa ka doodh na sahi, kam se kam Lactogen peeya hai toh challenge lene se darta kiyun hai?

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 14:56  

  • apne sath dadagiri nahi chalegi.. OK.
    And I dont think I need to waste my time searching through the trash that people write here to hold them accountable.. Its on the SPOT for me.. and I am not here to discuss the bloggers.. I am here to discuss cricket.. Team India and Cricket..

    So relax.. keep the lactogen .. infact send it to SG.. he seems to be running around a lot these days.. he needs it more than me..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 15:06  

  • If you are discussing cricket, then your primary objective won't be bash Sg at every given opportunity. So cut the crap. And show me one poster or blogger who is wishing an Indian defeat as you have claimed. In fact, this is the second time I am asking. If you claim to discuss only cricket, then please stick to it. Don't make unnecessary comments that you can't back up.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 15:23  

  • Relax dadagiri :) I symphathise with you. Move on. if SG is gone.. so what!

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 15:27  

  • Yeah right !! At least, if I make a comment, I can back it up. You can't even do that. How can one even talk cricket with you? SG has nothing to do with anyone following Indian cricket. Before him, people were following others and after him too, they will be following others. Btw, SG is far from gone. Mark my words.

    Anyways, I am out of this discussion. There's no point when you claim something and can't even provide an answer. I have always held this particular trait of your's against you and you are very well aware of that.

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 15:39  

  • dadgiri: dont worry about tc and leave the discussion as i have a feeling that he does not really have any agenda let alone any cricketing point other than to piss you off. i do agree with you that just sg bashing cannot help continue a cricketing thread. but you cannot expect more out of us..the indian fans. believe you me..we, the indian fans (just like the cricket board) are fickle minded at best with misplaced trust and way too high expectation of our team and players. to an extent, where we have stopped to appreciate the beauty of the real game, be sporting and actually end up indulging in mass hysteria with every little provocation. this sense of less logic, lack of keen understanding of the game but pure passion permeates across the board. although there are exceptions but the majority suffers from this ailment. btw, let me clarify before people start getting emotional that i am not saying high expectation is wrong but we need to learn how to pace it and give our team the time to shape into a truly world class team. i truly believe that sg and jw did their best to put the team on course for that and hoping rd and gc can follow suit and make it better. also, i think most of these allegations about sg is baseless but he did not help himself either by taking some politically motivated wrong steps. i will be very happy to see his return as the quality batsman (and a matchwinner) that he truly is but i think rd and gc should be given at least a year to prove their combination. in other words, sg should not hope to become a captain again if he is included in the team as he made a political mistake which backfired on top of being somewhat a cricketing failure for sometime.

    dadagiri: i dont understand why you say pp does not like sg. i know the guy and feel he is objective and not really for or against anyone unlike most of our cricketing brethrens from the good ol' country. i may be wrong as not following all the posts here.

    By Blogger indianfansrcrazy, at 16:30  

  • Dadagiri,

    I have been following the comments on this blog for a while now and it is clear that you are a blind supporter of Ganguly. I find it interesting that he has inspired a staunch supporter such as yourself when his deeds have clearly not deserved it ....

    Rethink your alliance, man , SG's character works against him

    By Blogger Jinendra, at 16:44  

  • analyzer - I dont think you know anything about SG's character. So let's not go on a character assassination based on tabloid reports.

    Because If I want to start that, I can safely say that At least Ganguly wasn't caught cheating and later fined for Ball Tampering. Caught on Camera.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 17:32  

  • Oracle guy,

    your bias is showing :)
    Get your facts straight - RD was NOT tampering with the ball .. it was more of a case of our favorite umpire trying to play his usual anti-India tricks

    I think there is general consensus that RD is a decent, professional player ....
    One can be pro SG, without being anti RD ....

    This is not SG vs RD .. more of a question of who's best for India

    By Blogger Jinendra, at 17:38  

  • SG's character?right!ending region based selection (despite what that idiot writes about rohan gavaskar!);turning around an indian team that hit rock bottom after the "golden" days of azhar;infusing it with much needed aggression;protecting, yes protecting batsmen by going out to bat numerous times with half an hour left to play (guess where, when!), nurturing juniors with merit rather than carry the dead meats like kambli etc around for years, and in the process, accumulating 10,000 ODI runs...all this speaks of an insufferably vile character.

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 17:39  

  • you are right on target , except that you are referring to Ganguly before he lost hisconfidence and form.

    It is during times of stress and insecurity that character is tested and sadly for Team India, SG was found wanting.

    By Blogger Jinendra, at 17:45  

  • the jury is out and i assume will be for some time to decide who is best for india as they both have different strengths and weaknesses and rd still needs time to prove himself which sg already did. i think india needs both to perform at the highest level and combine as part of a think tank but feel the rd/gc combination will work better as rd can always let gc lead the way (make no mistake while gc is there he will call the shots and not necessarily the captain of the team) which sg will not be able to do. but, isn't it ironic that even few seasons back it was sg (then considered one of the best batsman in the world in one day version) was trying to figure out how to include rd (not considered a good one day player) in the team and devised a way by making him a keeper/batsman? now rd will walk into any one day team and sg is struggling to get back his touch. times, do they change...

    By Blogger indianfansrcrazy, at 17:59  

  • Yes, the jury is certainly out .. RD needs time to prove himself.
    From a personality fit perspective, RD-GC partnership definitely seems a better partnership- though only time will tell.
    I was an SG fan till a couple of seasons ago where I lost respect for the guy who lost his form, beacme insecure could not give up the power/position and thereby gradually let himself transform into a self serving individual from the inspirational team captain that he was before.

    Funny - the same qualities that stood him in good stead when he took over as captain (Stubborness, refual to give up, ego) was his failing as well.

    By Blogger Jinendra, at 18:41  

  • @DeadCenter:

    Thanks a lot for the links. The shot that Tendulkar played on 70 to get to 76, was fantastic. That was really the old Tendulkar.

    Now, I *really* have to subscribe ;-)

    By Blogger RPM, at 20:36  

  • There is something fundamentally wrong in the discussion about captianship. Is RD captain becasue he is a great batsman in good form? Something is amiss here. Vaughn is a great captain and yet he has not been playing well for a long time...there are no hue and cries in Britain over that. In fact, they are doing just fine keeping that guy as a leader. they don't calculate his avrerage for the last 4.5 matches every morning!!!

    When RD had his bad time, SG backed him 110%. It is a give that RD will not back SG during hs bad time. RD is following GC. What else can be a better example of a leader(!!).

    By Blogger SS, at 21:28  

  • no, rd is captain because he was the choice by default due to ganguly's absence. but, it is fair to assume that given his due, rd will be a good captain as well, esp. with gc and srt fully backing him. although, it is unfair to say that rd will not back sg as rd did more than his share when sg was captain. now, he may not go out on a limb to support sg as the situation is political and for his own benefit as well as team india it will be better for him to focus purely on cricket. i think sg would have gone all out against all odds in this situation, but that is one of the differences in their nature and way to handle things. i dont think rd has too many options other than to closely follow gc's plan. that is the only way rd will get gc's support to succeed as a captain. also, there is nothing wrong with it. think of it as a different model of doing business with hopefully good or even better results than the past. finally, that is what should count and not any preconceived theories or traditional models of captaincy.

    By Blogger indianfansrcrazy, at 23:05  

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