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Sight Screen

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Vijay Lokpally on a fallen idol

The latest Sportstar cover is, what else, Sourav Ganguly. Some clips that give rise to thought:
The Ganguly affair also laid bare the myth that this was a well-knit team. When a senior cricketer like Ganguly feels "unwanted" and takes leave without a farewell from his `close' mates, you need to take a fresh look at the so-called camaraderie one hears about. A captain who was known to stand up for his players and a man who gave direction to Indian cricket with his innovative leadership was not even given a choice to pick his farewell stage. It was this aspect that stood out sorely.
This was an unprecedented situation really, and one that had its roots in the Ganguly-Greg Chappell spat during the tour to Zimbabwe. By leaking dressing room conversation, Ganguly only lost the faith of the new coach and long time mate Rahul Dravid. When Ganguly sought help from Dravid, the latter is reported to have said: "You were responsible for getting him (Chappell), you handle him now." There lay the irony.

With Chappell hardening his stand against Ganguly, and Dravid too accepting the merit behind the coach's arguments, the comeback drama for Ganguly assumed monstrous proportions. Chappell was consistent in his opinion that Ganguly had "outlived" his utility to the team. The issue got out of hand when the ill-advised Ganguly, with a section of the media completely misleading him, precipitated matters in Zimbabwe. The impulsive behaviour only damaged his reputation.

The national selectors could have come out in better light had they explained the situation to Ganguly. But then none was willing to bell the cat for obvious reasons after what happened in Harare when Ganguly rushed to the media. This was the only reason why Kiran More hesitated to take Ganguly into confidence before the big decision. Here, one thought, the National selectors should have collectively spoken to Ganguly.
The cricketing merit of a sulking Ganguly in the dressing room, not finding a place in the playing eleven, was lost out in the maze of unwarranted polls in the media. If this was not enough, politicians of all hues from the region jumped into the fray to make matters worse. If allowed, it would destroy Indian cricket, for parochialism, the bane of Indian cricket in its nascent years, had been effectively snuffed out for some time now with Ganguly himself being the chief architect, never having pushed for a player from his region. To be fair to Ganguly, he may not have a role in it at all.

Also from Sportstar, this editorial that examines the axing of Sourav, from both perspectives -- as politically motivated, or merely the actions, albeit badly timed and badly implemented, of a selection committee with an eye to the future.

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