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Is Ganguly living on borrowed time? - Amit Masram Column
by Amit Masram
Aug 31, 2008
I was just wondering about two things, that public has a short memory .And in India, media plays more than handy role to break a player's career. Is not it? India lost the Test series and the man under the scanner is Saurav Ganguly.The prince of Calcutta is yet again targeted, with the knifes have come out. The cause a poor outing the emerald isles,where the most famed middle order was mesmerized my Mendis magic.

Since making that sensational debut against England and delighting the cricket lovers all over the world, with his flawless offside stroke play, is it time? .Is Ganguly living on borrowed time? Or this series is an aberration to what has been an astounding comeback, after being left in oblivion.

Ganguly's career has been replete with incidences where he has bounced back after being written off .Being not considered for the limited overs version for more than three months and signs are bleak that he will now feature in the team .However he should still be a part of test side.

Much cannot be read into the dismissals and he had starts in four innings in SriLanka .It would not be fair to single out Ganguly when the middle order found it difficult to cope with the guile of Mendis.The man has been in tremendous form barring the Sri Lanka sojourn.Ganguly was at least prepared to play his strokes rather than block. Dravid averages roughly 12 more runs an innings than him and Tendulkar also didnot look all at ease. Hence ,India ought to think long and hard before replacing them . Failures can shatter a player's morale, and both Dravid and Ganguly fell short of expectation. One might argue that in the field Ganguly is a slow mover and his he gives an alarmed look to the idea of a quick single. However, these have been an integral part of "Saurav Ganguly".Despite these chinks; he has been instrumental in many Indian victories.

The feathers in cap are numerous; ranging from leading the young side during transition to nurturing them into a world class outfit,leading to a series victory over Australia,and taking India to a World Cup final. While Ganguly the ODI batsman was rattling runs at breakneck speed, the longer version suffered, after the bowling attacks world over diagnosed him of discomfort against short pitched stuff. This was in stark contrast to man who averaged 50 till the 1999 tour of Australia.It's been an outstanding service to Indian cricket all the way.

His ability to get under the skin of his opponents was matched by a flair to understand the minds of young players .That worked remarkably well, as young players had faith in the captain .Mostly he was audacious and adventurous, and with him, India ascended .But Ganguly's stint as captain ended long ago, and ever since, even if he has been on shaky ground.Ganguly the batsman, who was meandering in the role skipper came hungry and scored runs, to make 2007 the most successful year .And ,he has still got some fuel in the tank.

If the Sri Lankan series is anything to go by, India will have to look for prospective middle order recruits. This can be a precarious situation, which the Australians suffered in late 80s, after the mass exodus of keey players. The new blood will need guidance, and important lessons on coming to terms with the stress of performance, from the senior players and exactly their, they have a role to play, ensuring successful transition.

One bad series is not enough to say its curtains for any of them. As long as performance is consistent, age should not become the excuse to axe experienced players.Of course time is near, young age should be groomed, but not by chasing the legends but by giving them a dignified exit.Australia always brings out the best in the Indians and it will be interesting to see how he goes about this business.
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