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Ganguly - The saga continues
by Gulu Ezekiel
Dec 17, 2005
If ever a man was hoist by his own petard, it is Sourav Ganguly.

All this talk of his being forced out of the team due to 'politics' is both ironical and hypocritical as it was the self-same BCCI politics that saw him push his way back into the current Test series in the first place.

Going by his form over the past 18 months and the poor results of the Indian side under his captaincy in the same period, Ganguly owed his place solely to the fact that his benefactor Jagmohan Dalmiya was ruling Indian cricket.

For his backers now to cry hoarse about his victimization under the new dispensation that has taken over the Board therefore smacks of double-standards.

He had no hesitation in using the top Board officials to hang onto his place when the entire nation (barring of course, Bengal) was calling for his ouster. To use another appropriate cliché in this case, a man who lives by the sword, perishes by it.

There is no doubt that Ganguly brought a new resolve into the Indian team after taking over in 2000 at the height of the match-fixing scandal. His leadership skills in the 2003 World Cup and in Australia the same year helped the team reach new heights.

However, like so many others before him, his batting began to suffer after taking over the captaincy, both in Test and ODIs. This was masked as long as the team was winning. But all that changed dramatically following the tour to Pakistan last year, in which let us remember Rahul Dravid led in the first Test when India won a Test match in Pakistan for the first time. Ganguly made a series of miscalculations which combined with his batting woes and the slide of the team, brought about his own demise.

Skipping the Nagpur Test against Australia last year on the eve of the match after bitterly complaining about the pitch was perceived by his own team-mates as a huge cop out.

Let us also remember that it was Ganguly who was instrumental in bringing in coach Greg Chappell as a replacement for John Wright.

His act of scoring a laborious century against Zimbabwe in the first Test at Bulawayo three months ago and then promptly revealing a confidential conversation with the coach was an act of pure selfishness.

Having fired the first shot in the war with the coach, Ganguly and his backers lack credibility when they now target Chappell. Ganguly himself showed an utter lack of dignity in the matter and this being a two-way business, he could hardly expect to be shown any dignity in return. The best thing would have been for him to announce his retirement once he lost the captaincy to Dravid instead of hanging on and dragging Indian cricket down with him. But then knowing when to leave at the right time has rarely been a trait among Indian cricketers.

It was his deputy Dravid who saved Ganguly's skin in Bulawayo. To now attack the incumbent captain for not standing by Ganguly is grossly unfair.

His third miscalculation was in skipping the Challenger Series in October which is the basis for national selection, citing the alibi of 'mild tennis elbow.' All these moves of his backfired and now he has in effect written his own cricketing swansong. It is therefore pointless to shed crocodile tears on his behalf.

Indian cricket has been suffering over the past 12 months as he was a mere passenger in the side, halting the progress of younger, fitter and more deserving players.

The coach's damaging assessment of the former captain in his diabolically leaked e-mail rings ever more true. Too much energy and attention has been wasted on the fortunes of just one player and now that he is out, it is time to move on for the sake of Indian cricket.

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