|Ganguly mishooks a Dalmiya full toss|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Aug 04, 2006|
With dozens of round-the-clock news channels hungry to
fill up airtime, the 'silly season' in Indian
cricket, when the team is not actually involved in
matches, can prove frustrating for the ever-hungry
Just as well then that there have been a few off-field
'masala' stories to keep them at bay.
The ongoing camp for the team in Bangalore had its own
share of intrigue and cloak-and-dagger elements. Coach
Greg Chappell is on leave. But his trusty lieutenants
came up with just the idea to pique everyone's
interest, a secret trip to an institute just outside
the city that apparently corporate-types flock to for
their bonding exercises. The media was barred, though
they did manage to trail the team's buses all the way.
Then came the news that former coach John Wright had
just written his memoirs of the four years he spent
guiding the Indian team in partnership with captain
The publishers cleverly leaked out some spicy extracts
that naturally excited the taste buds of the cricket
fraternity. Though no one in India has yet read the
book in its entirety, it is possibly the first time
someone so closely connected with Indian cricket has
blown the lid, so to speak.
It was a dead giveaway reaction how some of the
selectors rushed to the press to defend themselves
when Wright had not actually mentioned anyone by name!
In fact his condemnation of the zonal system of
selection in Indian cricket is nothing new. For
decades now regionalism and parochialism have been
part and parcel of the game here and yet no one wants
to ruffle feathers and change the system. It is after
all a vote-catching exercise and the hunger to stay in
power is all consuming in Indian sport.
Then came the drama in Kolkata where Jagmohan Dalmiya,
currently running from cover from the BCCI, bounced
back to retain the presidency of the Cricket
Association of Bengal which has been his personal
fiefdom for decades.
What made things so intriguing in this particular
election was the role of Ganguly. It is an open secret
that Dalmiya has backed Ganguly right from the start
of his career.
For the former captain to therefore turn on his
one-time benefactor was like twisting the knife in his
It is still not known whether the move will backfire
on Ganguly or whether he will be rewarded for his
'loyalty' by the BCCI when they pick the 30 probables
next week for the Champions Trophy.
Dalmiya's feat lies in the fact that he has achieved
single-handedly what no political party in Bengal has
managed for 30 years, give a stinging rebuke to the
Left Front government that tried its best (or worst)
to sabotage his chances in the poll.
It's no wonder Dalmiya's bete noir Raj Singh Dungarpur
referred to him as a cat with nine lives. It remains
to be seen how many he has left though!