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Sight Screen

Monday, December 19, 2005

Serve and volley

This is getting to be like watching two clay-court champions play one of those timeless matches at Roland Garros -- metronomic stroking of the ball back and forth, with neither player gaining any visible advantage but keeping the ball in play simply because they cannot afford to let it go.
Ever since the national selectors dropped Sourav Ganguly for the Ahmedabad Test, we have had Jagmohan Dalmiya, every single day, ask that Sharad Pawar intervene and get Sourav Ganguly reinstated; we have, just as consistently, had Pawar say that while he personally believed Ganguly's axing was in error, he was not going to meddle in issues like selection.
So Dalmiya then says oh but it has been done before, going all the way back to the 1940s to cite 'pertinent' examples. And Pawar, in his turn, strokes it right back by arguing that when Ganguly was dropped from the ODI squad against Lanka and South Africa, there was similar uproar but then BCCI chief Ranbir Singh Mahindra did not interfere.
Here though is the funny bit -- in the hours immediately after the selection exercise, the demand was, overrule the selectors, pick him for Ahmedabad. Now, the same words, the same demand, but with a subtle change:
"The whole nation is debating on this issue. Though selection is the prerogative of the selection committee, Pawar should intervene into the matter and see that Ganguly is considered for selection for the Pakistan tour," he told reporters in Ahmedabad on Monday.

What beats me is this -- who said he is not being considered for the Pakistan tour? What exactly is Dalmiya asking for here, when he asks for 'consideration' -- is he asking the board chief to over-rule the selectors and pick Ganguly anyways, assuming the selectors don't pick Sourav for the Pak tour?
Be ironic, if so -- much of the hard feeling against SG stems from the perception that JD has consistently over-ruled selectors and insisted that he remain captain; JD has as consistently denied the charge ('Sourav needs no godfathers' was his retort recently, remember?), but now with his daily press statements, he is inadvertently reinforcing the very fact he has attempted often to deny.
It all smacks of keeping an issue alive for purely political reasons. It also prompts me to ask -- what next? What if the selectors consider Sourav for the Pak tour, and drop him anyways? (Am not suggesting that is what they will do -- no one knows, till they do it, though I suspect they might bend with the breeze and include him in the squad, leaving the headache of accomodating him in the XI or on the bench to the captain and coach).
But assume the selectors don't pick him -- what does JD suggest his successor (sorry, I mean, Mahindra's successor) at the helm of the BCCI does next? Ride roughshod over the selection committee? In the exact same fashion JD has been doing all these years? Talk of leopards and spots...


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