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Elbow doubt or elbowed out?
by Venu Palaparthi
Oct 14, 2005
Even during his debut series in 1991, Saurav Ganguly was criticized for his poor attitude. But Saurav took it in his stride and came back a stronger player after four years in the domestic circuit. Of course, he had age on his side and he had seen the worst even before he got his feet wet. But when he returned in 1996 against England, he did so with a flourish, scoring two hundreds in a row.

Saurav is swimming in the same tidal waters that he was in 1991. He is not only under-performing fairly consistently, his team also is in a disarray. And as Ganguly-bashing has risen to a crescendo, people who called him ‘dada’ now call him a ‘Maharaja.’ Of course, in an uncomplimentary tone suggesting that he is as charming as Prince Charles!

Whether by design or on medical grounds, the sabbatical is just what Dr. Chappell ordered during India’s tour of Zimbabwe. The older and wiser Ganguly has correctly returned to the drawing board. The diagnosis by the Kolkata doctor, Dr. Mukherjee, who proclaimed that Saurav is suffering from a ‘mild form’ of tennis elbow, and the consequent recommendation of rest by Dr. Joshi and physio John Gloster merely reinforced Chappell’s intent.

Saurav supporters should now stop disfiguring posters of (selector) Kiran More’s face. It is about time they realize that the forced rest serves their dada well and their dada will make a comeback once he sorts his game out!

Fifteen years ago, when most people had written Saurav off, he all but disappeared from the scene. He got some help from an English Rugby team sports psychologist. He worked sufficiently hard to impress the key folks in the selection committee. And whether for political reasons - the Bengal lobby is credited for his return in 1995/96 despite averaging just 23 in Ranji Trophy, or for genuine batting merit - he scored a valiant 171 in a Duleep Trophy match against West Zone, he was back in the team and he did not waste his opportunity in his comeback series.

Now, once again, he can silence his critics and prove his ability in the forthcoming Duleep Trophy zonal tournament where he is expected to captain the East Zone. With his nemesis VVS Laxman leading South Zone, the Duleep matches will not only be a great opportunity to settle scores, the two can probably bury the hatchet and reclaim their spots on the national side on their scoring merits.

Like the supermodel whose last name rhymes with Loss, the captain too needs some rest and rehab before he can jump-start his career yet again.

And this time, he won't need anyone's patronage. We are talking about a fellow that led the team to a record 21 wins. A fellow that scored 10,000 ODI runs. That speaks of tremendous talent.

We hope that Saurav will rediscover his talent and let his bat answer all the critics’ questions - his vulnerability against pace, his attitude, and his ability to score once again. In time, he will deserve the cap once again. We know he can do it.

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