Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Old Guard

The selectors better get their act together and soon. They have got me and I am sure a fair portion of the Indian population irked by their continued ill-treatment of Sourav Ganguly. Damn, he was right in the middle of a purple patch, scoring loads of runs and that too when the team needed them… No matter what silly reasons they come up with for his exclusion, for me it will always remain unjustified. Frankly it is cruel to treat such a great player of his class like this.

This is the guy who was unceremoniously stripped of his captaincy and thrown out of the team about a year back to fend for himself in the wilderness, and the selectors then made it pretty clear that there was very little chance that he would get back into the team. Everyone was quick to write him off and many exalted past greats even advised him to retire. But he fought on without a complaint, bravely, quietly. He worked on his technique, made runs in the domestic circuit and finally got the call back into the team that he thoroughly deserved.

Since the comeback-“Ganguly has been prolific in both Test and ODI cricket in the year 2007. He scored 1106 Test runs at an average of 61.44 (with three centuries and four fifties) in 2007 to become the second highest rungetter in Test matches of that year after Jacques Kallis. He is the fifth highest rungetter in 2007 in ODIs, where he scored 1240 runs at 44.28.”- from the ever reliable wiki… and scored his highest ever test score, his first ever double century in the recently concluded series against Pakistan.

Then they do it all over again, citing a dire need for fresh legs in the team they drop him. Maybe I would have understood if the team was jampacked with slowmoving seniors… but the only senior in the team is Sachin Tendulkar. Wonder what he feels like, the lone survivor of the old guard… the rest of the team picked consists mainly of young guns who haven’t stepped out of the subcontinent yet. I believe the most effective way to groom the youngsters is to let them play alongside greats, like ones we have right now and not by making them play alone in alien conditions. They have to benefit from the experience and advice of the seniors, and they in turn get rejuvenated at the sight of the vitality and fielding prowess on display. Sadly the selectors don’t seem to think in the same direction.

Then there are rumors circulating that Ganguly does not get on well with the juniors and it was in fact Dhoni and Yuvraj who pushed the decision to drop Ganguly. If it was the case I would just like to tell them, first of all try and learn to play proper test cricket, young upstarts. If there were clashes it is more probable it was because of their attitude than Ganguly bossing them round. Learn from them while you can, else you will regret it when they are gone. Learn… I would like to know who else other than Ganguly would have gone back to the drawing board and reworked his stance, his technique and improved his fitness at the age of 34? The very stance and technique that had fetched him more than 10,000 ODI runs at a very good average and established himself as one of the best modern day batsmen, at an age when most men would have considered hanging up their boots and saying “ That’s it, I have done my part for my country” and who could have complained? Considering all the contributions he had already made to Indian cricket…

The best the Indian ODI team has to offer, ie Yuvraj has failed to impress in the longer version of the game, and if Dhoni keeps going like this, i wont be surprised if Dinesh Karthick, who is good enough to claim a place in the team as a pure batsman replaces him as the test keeper. If Dhoni is banking on the belief that he has been a good ODI captain is a reason good enough to keep his place, well he has to look no further than Sourav…

Finally a word to the selectors and the BCCI. It is a well accepted fact that BCCI is currently the powerhouse of world cricket and it has both financial and political clout. But they have to take a moment and think- ‘How did this all come to be?’. The answer is simple – because the seniors they are ill-treating now went out there and played a brand of cricket that was rare- fair and with flair & brilliance. They are the ones who turned this into the most popular sport in the country… brought in the money, and even the admiration of opposing players and citizens of other country. Now they are nearing the twilight zone of their illustrious careers lets give them their due… lets treat them with respect and honor their contributions. And not shut them off before their time is due especially when they have shown that they still have a lot left to offer…


  1. this ought to be published in a newspaper... varun did ya try sending it to the letters-to-the-editor section or something like that...

    informative article...

  2. sad case of the child killing their parents..

  3. I am looking forward to see an Indian senior player returning from test cricket as Gilly did. Hats off to Gilly

  4. good work. informative as kk says.

    ganguly sure deserves a place.