Friday, November 25, 2005

The problem with Sourav Ganguly

The man is back. Again. But Saurav Ganguly's star is slowly fading.
I have been a huge fan of the man and the spirit he's brought to the Indian team, but he pretty much dug his own grave by going to the press with his dirty linen (even though it was wrong on Chapell's part to ask him to step down before the first test in Zimbabwe). One could have expected restraint from the skipper. To top it all, the man proceeded to get injured and then was sidelined for the next couple of series. The team, since then, has done exceedingly well and the man who built this team, now finds himself alienated. 'Dada' has since then done a decent job in the domestic matches that he has played, but that might do little in getting him back into the side. The selectors have, under pressure, got him back into the test team, with the explanation that he is a batting allrounder! uumm...they could have as well said that he was their fitness coach or reserve wicket keeper or something...Ganguly has traditionally made good use of chances offered to him and one hopes for his sake that he uses this chance well. Its ironic, that he has to sit out of the one day game and make a comeback in tests, an area he has been weaker at. I would have felt that slowly bringing him back to the opening slot in one dayers would have been the way to go. Get those two boys, Sachin and Sourav back at the top and perhaps hope for some magic of the old. But the selectors cannot select on hope and must carve out a team for the 2007 World Cup soon.
The seeds of the problem might have been sown with the successes of the Indian team. Carried away with the accolaes and the wins, Sourav had perhaps let his own personal development as a cricketer slip. He developed the demenour of ownership of the team. Being the leader started meaning more, I guess. His missing test matches on account of injuries and bans didn't help his cause either. His work ethic to fitness was also deplorable. The man could field, at one point. I have seen him pull of some fantastic catches in his time. All that is now a thing of the past.
In his defence, I would also like to say that there are other team members (namely Tendulkar and Sehwag) that have not really lived up to their superstar billing over the last year or so and they have been excused time after time. Saurav's record over the last year or so in ODI's has been better than Sehwag's. If performance is the only benchmark then these players should also get the same treatment. Also, what Chapell thinks of Ganguly is now playing a huge part, which I think is unfair. His inclusion in the test side could be as politically intriguing as the 'Mahabharata'. Who do the younger payers side with? How will the coach handle his inclusion? What statements does Dravid, the new captain come out with?
All I hope is that all this is caste aside and Sourav and Team India perform to potential. Sourav should realize that he must play well as a batsman and contribute as a player first. Team India should focus on playing a good game and Dravid and Chapell should look at strategy and developing a good work ethic.
I have been a huge fan of the Bengal southpaw, and I would love to see that blazing cover drive, that lofted six off the spinner, those gentle medium pacers and that combative spirit...there's a lot left in the Prince of Kolkata yet, but this, perhaps, is his last chance to prove it.


Cogito said...

Dada has the spirit but needs to work hard.He has (almost) become a world class batsman without playing a single bouncer or a decent shot on the leg side .

Ron said...

erm im not arguimg the fact that saurav has done a lot for the team and at one point was one of the best batsmen we had...but to be honest i cant help but feel that his days are over...he has not played well in soo cant survive on reputation alone right? although the same can be said of tendulkar too..when was the last time that he REALLY played well?

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

cogito - what sir! at one point he was better than tendulkar at the ODI game! true tho, he needs to sort out the short ball...a world class coach should be able to help ya? ;-)

ron - c'mon ya..he;s been outta touch for just a year. every batsman goes thru such a phase. it is true that evryone's patience is running out. both ganguly and tendulkar should be given the same treatment.

educatedunemployed said...

I totally agree with you Abhishek, and totally support your idea.I'd like to see the country go mad if Tendulkar was given the same treatment.

I was going to write a similar post on mine while I stumbled upon yours through Cerebral Shangrila.But you have done a better job than I could have aspired to.

My first time here..Hi..

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

educatedunemployed - hi..welcome..this is what it has come to..parochialism and egos are taking front seat here..sad to see.

Slice Of Life said...

u r right
he should not be begging for his place
shouyld have left gracefullynow it looks he would win a election for the sympathy wave he is getting if he stands ifor election in calcutta

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

ya true..bongs tend to be more passionate and crazy about the sport and about 'their boy'..they go too far sometimes...and let his relative performance in the team decide his future...i still believe that he can get it together...