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Sight Screen

Friday, October 28, 2005

Sambit on Saurav

On Cricinfo, Sambit Bal reprises a question asked often in recent times: Is this the end of the road for Saurav?
The broad picture:
It's tough not to feel for Ganguly, who has the right to feel short-changed and aggrieved, but in all fairness, it must be said that the interests of Indian cricket has not been jeopardised by his exclusion. Viewed dispassionately, it can even be described as a right step forward. For far too long, Indian cricket has remained obsessed with, and shackled by, the cult of the individual. Ganguly helped build a team that can be counted among the most competitive in India's cricket history, but a cycle has been completed and India need to build again. They need fresh talent, fresh legs and hunger. Some of the older players have to make way for the young.

The personnell equation:
At the moment, India's batting order picks itself. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (with the option of promoting Irfan Pathan/Dhoni/Yadav if the need arose), Yuvraj Singh, Kaif when he returns, Dhoni, and Yadav. Ganguly can only be accommodated at the expense of Yadav, but apart from affecting the balance of the team, it will also affect the batting order because it will force Kaif a slot behind. Since Kaif has been ruled out for another week, the selectors could have brought in Ganguly at the expense of either Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina or Gautam Gambhir, neither of whom have got to bat so far, but that would have been a short-sighted approach because Kaif's return is inevitable.

And finally, what we journalists call the 'forward spin' -- the conclusion that looks forward, to tomorrow:
If India continue to win, it's difficult to see Ganguly returning to the one-day side in the near future. And the longer he stays away from the national side the harder it will be for him to find his way back.
It's difficult to imagine what Ganguly will do now. Ever since returning from Zimbabwe, he has kept his own counsel and steeled himself to regain his honour. As he showed in the Duleep Trophy match last week, he is willing to fight for his place. He is a strong-willed and passionate man and these qualities reflect in his game. But how long will he allow himself to linger in the sidelines? If India manage to beat both Sri Lanka and South Africa, will the selectors still pick him as captain in the Tests, a form in which his record has been even more indifferent than in one-day cricket?


  • Prem:

    When you write a post, the links open in new window. When I put a post, the links open in same window; unless I put "target=top" in the HTML view of the post.

    Is this the way you use too to open your links in new window? Or you do it any other way?

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 14:15  

  • This may be akin to asking for the moon, but here's an analogy that came to my mind.
    Scenario A: When a student in school is underperforming, the teacher and principal come together with the student's parents and try arrive at decisions about his future. Already burdened by the track record of underperforming, the student now if further demoralized for not being involved in the "rehab" process, where he is only handed down a mandate to accept or reject his fate.
    Scenario B: The parent-teacher meeting also involves the delinquent student, where he is told to face what the issues are and how they could be resolved--over time, even if that involves some punishment / rejection in the immediate term. The student comes out more confident of the meeting that nobody is "out to get him."

    Now when the "student" in question was a star pupil, even a leader just a short while ago (like Ganguly was), wouldn't you this Scenario B would be better?

    Oh well, I feel better for throwing it out there. Who am I kidding that the Board works that way?

    By Blogger dna, at 14:30  

  • sorry for the numerous typos in the earlier post!

    By Blogger dna, at 14:31  

  • Also, Prem, do you use the default font type and size (normal and tsmall)? I think Worma said he does, was trying to have a template for myself

    By Blogger Toney, at 14:31  

  • The fact that Kiran More said the selectors are looking to build a pool of 20-22 players to choose from, for the world cup, is a ray of hope for SG, and VVS, and Mongia. SG is in or SG is out. I don't think it's that cut-n-dry. There is still more than a year to go....

    By Blogger Harsh, at 14:31  

  • Prem....about that talk of Kaif and JP and Rao and Gambhir needing a longer run...thus making it diff for SG to find a place...what about bench strength???....I thought it was signs of good team to have a good player sitting on bench (ofcourse if the ones playing above him are better...which SG would need to show...that his value is more than what a Rao or JP can bring?)

    And btw...about the tests....do you see, in any way, him not being there for the first test against SL? Even if he doesnt play any ODIs till then. Frankly....I dont....his exclusion from tests...if it had to come...had to be before Zim...now his return to test is similar to that of Laxman....atleast thats what it seems to me. And same goes for his captaincy..in fact even in ODIs his captaincy went because of his place in the side.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:31  

  • worma,
    If the team continues to show the spirit it has thus far in the first 2 ODIs, it is possible Ganguly won't be part of the Test squad. Even though it is a different form of the game, a winning combination, good, chemistry... selectors may not want to risk rocking that boat

    By Blogger Sahir, at 15:12  

  • you must be kidding me...or for that matter the journo that wrote that piece.

    Gangulys form has been better in tests than in ODI's.
    Take the last 2 years and omit the skewed ones, the scores against weaker opposition...and see how he performed.

    True there were failures, but he has delivered more in the longer form of the game, except for the last pak series in India.

    By Blogger Ginkgo, at 15:15  

  • I have to say I am shocked with SG's exclusion. Frankly, I was hoping they would do that but figured they didn't have the balls.

    Worma, can you explain why SG should be included in the Test side. And here is why I ask that -- SG being kept out is not because he is a lesser batsman that JP, VR or even MK and YS. But instead, I think the decision is based on maintaing the current chemistry. If you agree with that, why would they want him back on the Test side?

    Prem, you are assembling a wonderful team here. Can you add another blogger who covers domestic cricket? something more than looking the scorecard. In the states, it is hard to keep a track of these young guys. If we can find one more solid bowler, I think we can beat England to win the world cup!!

    By Blogger ahem, at 15:17  

  • I think it will be good for SG to sit out this few matches and really feel good about his batting.

    If funnel the post regardign SG's form (some Dutta's views) through the post by Prem on Journo's twisting Bhajji et al, SG might have a way to go.

    But something tells me that he will be back with a bang this time.

    Regarding this discussion: Yuvi, Kaif, Rao, Raina, and whoever else from the young crop can wait if SG is back in top form. So please spare the comparisons till he is back and in top form.

    Re: chemistry, thats just funny. These guys (the young bunch) got together a month ago as this unit and have done this for say 6 months now, on and off, so lets just leave them to have fun while they are at the honeymoon.

    I want SG back, but after watching INdia play last night, I want him back in good nick, and when he gets there, team will have enough space for him as there is a long list of players playing who dont come close to SG in form.

    But lets enjoy while India is winning.

    By Blogger pg, at 15:48  

  • Yikes, Worma, just when I was feeling relaxed you raise the spectre of Ganguly as test captain!! I would be OK if he is selected based on form as a player but as a captain, he will play the whole series even if he flops as a player. And if his form is in question for ODI, why would it be not in question for a test match?

    By Blogger Ashvin Iyengar, at 15:50  


    Slept, Woke up, heard the news that dada is gone and immediately had an orgasm.....

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 16:29  

  • Good for you Greg2rescue..

    Did you see SRT bat last night... I was one of those amazing days.. truely flawless and brutal.. All seemed ordinary before him...

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 16:32  

  • greg2rescue, apna Viagra taiyaar rakhna, futute ke like kiyun ke jab Dada wapas aayega, tak aap ko orgasm kaise hoga?

    By Blogger Bhairo Singh, at 16:37  

  • ashvin...his form in test wont be as much under the hammer as ODIs because he's played many more ODIs (thus many more sub-par performances) than test matches since his running into bad form (that was Pak test series at home..if you discount that long gap of centuries....which i think selectors are also discounting). And however less important, he still scored a test century in his last series...which we won comfortably. So, speaking on grounds of practical reality facing the selectors, it looks tough for them to find reasons to drop him as a player or a captain in test matches.

    In fact, as I said....I dont think our selectors would have been able to remove him from captaincy had it not been for a question mark on his position as a player.

    By Blogger worma, at 16:57  

  • OK guys.. interesting analysis.
    IF SA continues to beat NZ and India continues to beat SL...and if they are both washouts ..

    SA will be in second place with 122 pts and India will climb to 4 th place with 110 pts behind AUS 136),SA,PAK(116) .. and then the India vs SA series could decide the second best ODI team in World cricket. See how fortunes change quickly!

    By Blogger losing now, at 17:12  

  • Worma, I think SG's tennis elbow injury came at a very wrong time. If he had played the Challenger and scored some runs, he'd have continued in the ODI team too and probably as a captain as well. It would have also given him time to interact with Chappell an Sachin was also part of the team. It could have been better for bonding. But I agree with you that since he has scored a century in the last series and after his century in the Duleep game (a 4 day match), it will be unfair to drop him from the test side. On a lighter note, may be the management and the selectors are worried about Ganguly's recent form. They feel that if given a chance, it will be difficult to discard him again. :)

    By Blogger Jai, at 17:15  

  • losing now,
    fortunes can change quickly, but it's fruitless to look that far ahead and presume so many things. In order for what you are saying to happen, we would have to win 10 more ODIs in a row (against SL and RSA), and hope RSA first sweeps NZ-- asking a lot
    No rush to get to that second spot-- simply need to win series after series playing good cricket; the rankings will take care of themselves.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:26  

  • of course.. 1 game at a time, 1 series at a time...that should be the mantra. i am just showing the possibility that "winning consistently" can bring..in this case, in a short time span!

    By Blogger losing now, at 17:31  

  • guys appears like highlights will be ON in an hr on ss.

    By Blogger losing now, at 17:32  

  • 2200 GMT. Highlights on ss

    By Blogger losing now, at 17:34  

  • jai,
    I do not see how SG would have avoided being dropped by playing challenger. Look he is now fit and ready, and still he is dropped in favor of players who have not taken the field for India in this series. What is winning combination? Not the ones that didn't take the fields?

    So IMHO, SG would have been out based on his recent record in ODIs and some other factors that have been discussed to death. It would have been difficult to develope chemistry with GC so quickly. As far as checmistry with rest of team goes, he WAS part of team till yesterday , isn't it?

    By Blogger SS, at 20:40  

  • And the media obsession continues with SG. ;) Leave the guy alone . Why do you want know whether it is end of road for Sourav or not ?

    Oh..and let RD lose couple of games, series then we will see which direction you fickle minded fans would go. Let me guess..BEG Indian selectors to bring SG back as captain.

    I will bet 1000 USD that India wont make it to WC finals under RD/GC in 2007 and under them India will never win as many tests as SG did. Now let me see how many of you sourav bashers have the balls to take that bet. I can see TC, Rahul_fan running for cover. ;)

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 00:21  

  • oracle guy,
    i will bet 1000 usd that india will make it to wc finals.

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