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Sight Screen

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Brijnath on Sourav

Writing in the latest issue of Sportstar, Rohit Brijnath suggests that it's time for cool heads, for a shift in focus from Sourav Ganguly to the opposition waiting across the border.
Chances are that even when the Indian team arrives in Pakistan, we'll be debating, arguing, wrestling over Ganguly. It's the only sport we know these days. Will he play in the XI, where will he bat and if he doesn't whose effigy should we burn? Soon enough even Musharraf will have his say.
If Ganguly is pushed up the order is it a compliment or conspiracy, if he is pushed down is it sensible or insulting? If he fields at fine leg is Greg Chappell sending him a signal, if he goes to slip are they teasing him? Shoaib, hold on, we haven't finished here yet.
Who did Ganguly sit next to for breakfast, who did he chat to at practice and what inputs did he give in the meeting? All this will be assiduously calculated, chewed on and interpreted. Is the trainer helping him or ignoring him and what does it all mean? We will want to know everything, including what his tea leaves say, and forget whether Mohammed Yousuf is hitting the ball well or Yuvraj is wondering whether he will play or not. Cricket will take a backseat. It often does in India.

In recent times, there's been much amusement to be had from BCCI boss Sharad Pawar's attempts to walk a cricketing razor-edge. Thus, one day he says he has spoken to senior players and is confident reports of Ganguly being a disruptive influence are untrue; the next day he bites his tongue, goes uh-oh what did I say and is this going to be taken as an indictment of coach Greg Chappell, and tries to restore balance by showering encomiums on the coach.
A simpler, more sensible option would be, now that the team selection is over, to just shut the hell up and let the controversy die down on its own instead of fuelling it with such 'well-intentioned' comments, but then we never were much on sense and sensibility were we?.
On that note, Rohit has this to say:
It was also reported that BCCI boss Sharad Pawar met some senior players and then asserted they do not feel Ganguly causes problems within the dressing room? Again, irrespective of the truth, it was a desperately naïve statement. Players support one another, it's what they do. Secondly, no one would dare criticise Ganguly for such an opinion would never stay private and would be revealed the next day and the offending player would be garlanded with chappals. Fact is, Pawar does not live in the dressing room, he has absolutely no idea what occurs in it on a daily basis and neither mostly do we.

In tandem with Rohit's piece, Rahul Dravid's recent statements to the newly-launched Cricinfo magazine make for interesting reading:
"The right people and - I hate to say it - not have the wrong people around them. You don't want people whose own insecurities, whose own problems and whose own fears drag everyone else down. That can be a big dampener in teams. I want to say that at this level I shouldn't need to motivate anyone. If I'm needing to motivate an international cricketer then there's something wrong actually. The challenge is to not demotivate anyone.
"If you're going to be spending time in the team always having to cajole and look after a few people, you're doing a disservice to the rest because you're wasting and investing too much time and energy in a few people who're taking away from the group. Players need to understand that they need to give energy to the unit. There are times of course when you're not doing well and your form's not good and you'll need the support of other people. But most of the time you've got to give to the team and make sacrifices to the team and give back to the team."

Elsewhere in Sportstar, meanwhile, there is S Dinakar's preview of the Pak series; Raju Bharatan's suggestion that Mohinder Amarnath might be a good example for Sourav Ganguly to emulate; Vijay Lokpally's appreciation of the role Inzamam ul Haq has played in building the current Pakistan side; and former Team India media manager Amrit Mathur in his column looks at domestic umpires, and some teams.

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