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Wednesday, December 14, 2005 

The Ganguly saga

The Ganguly issue is one of the trickiest ever that Indian cricket has had to face, and the BCCI has screwed it up as only they can. Here's my take on this entire issue:

- The elite committee comprising Shastri, Gavaskar, Venkat, Dalmiya and the two stooges had a great chance to take a clear decision. They didn't due to political compulsions and lack of balls. That move to not take a clear-cut stance either way is coming back to bite all of us in the backside.
- Ganguly is a much better ODI batsman. Once said committee did not sack Ganguly, he should have been picked for the ODI side. By not picking him (as I had written earlier) for the version of the game he was better suited for, they were probably giving him a signal that it is the end of the road. I still feel that in the ODIs, a fit and performing Ganguly has more to add to this team than his replacements (Venugopal Rao and Raina). They are youngsters who need a chance, but they will have to wait. Ganguly is a wonderful ODI player in full flow, and if he could recapture that form, India will be better off for it.
- The decision to ignore him for the ODIs, but then pick him for the Tests was equally bizzare. He is not a good Test match batsman anymore - he may score against Lanka, but will surely be exposed against Akhtar, Harmison and Freddie. Also, in the Test side, he is clearly blocking a more deserving Yuvraj's place in the 11. That all-rounder crap was just a horrible joke that turned sour.
- Two wrongs do not make a right, but they got the third decision wrong again! After having taken him into the Test squad, where he did no wrong in Delhi (scored 79 runs and was generally enthusiastic) they fired him again. When you pick a guy you shouldn't have picked in the first place, the least you can do is give him a long enough rope. One more Test was the minimum that he needed to get. Prem analyses what could have been done beautifully.

So now we have a situation where Ganguly, who deserved a chance in the ODIs has not got a chance there. He did get a chance in the Tests, proved himself, but is out in the cold. How did we end up with this tangled mess?

Pure and simple - politics (which is anything but pure and simple). Dalmiya and gang thrust Ganguly into the Test squad, and that was the last decision they would take. Maybe the team management resisted these pressures for the ODI series that preceded the Tests, but Dalmiya had his say for the Test in Chennai. Now that they new committee is in place, top priority is to undo the previous regime's decision - and prime target is poor Ganguly. So India's finest captain is being kicked around like his beloved sport - football. Sad, really sad!

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