December 18, 2005

Newsflash: Having solved all other problems, Indian Parliament to discuss cricket

It would appear that the highest debating forum on the subcontinent, the Indian Parliament's Lok Sabha, will next week discuss the exclusion of Sourav Ganguly from the Indian team. This is yet another demonstration of the peculiarities of India, that it finds such topics relevant for political discussion. I expect people in general to condemn this, but I shall not.

Let us go back to the idea of parliamentary debate – discussion over issues that affect the people. Cricket impacts on Indians' lives like almost nothing else, and is frequently viewed as important as a life-death situation. Why shouldn't Parliament discuss the surprising manner of Ganguly's dismissal? Everybody's talkin' about it…

People who know me are aware of my dislike for Ganguly – but even I must admit that the manner in which the BCCI dispatched with him was a little cruel and unjust. More importantly, it seems to be a byproduct of the critical (and typically Indian) politics of the cricketing board. The loss of the previous Ganguly-supporters camp (Dalmiya et al) and the election of a new anti-Ganguly-camp BCCI President (Sharad Pawar) has directly lead to this quagmire. Note how, even before his name was placed on his office door, Pawar sacked the entire pro-Ganguly squad in the BCCI, a blatant political act. I am aware that the President is not a direct determinant of the team selected, but always privy to their decisions.

The start of the end?

While such sentiment is rare, more discreet versions are widespread, and Sharad Pawar has been forced by widespread condemnation to say:
"As a cricket lover, I am hurt and shocked over the exclusion of Ganguly. In the Delhi Test his performance was satisfactory. Also, he was a victorious captain and we feel proud of him".
Pawar can hardly hide his glee.

On the other hand, we have the spat between Chappell (the Coach) and Ganguly. Even though Ganguly is partly responsible for the Captain, Rahul Dravid’s rise, I suspect he is no longer a fan and his patience must have finally worn out. These two are directly responsible for selecting the team, and despite this, Ganguly has not tried to censor his spats with the Coach. Ganguly is a typical superstar, vain to the point of catastrophe – every major spat with Chapell has come out into the open, opponents from England to South Africa, even the Australians (!) consider him arrogant. It is sad to see such a brilliant cricketer being asked to slip away in dignity, but he is clearly having none of it.
Are we to applaud him for his “never-say-die” attitude or criticise him for being a publicity-hungry, arrogant has-been?

I am of the opinion that he is to be given more chances – I feel he should be an ‘occasional’ in the first team, a second string player. To simply dismiss such an awesome batsman at the age of 32 would be unfair and uneven. But then, cricket is a harsh mistress.

Finally, I will leave you with the wise words of P Roebuck:

"Australia has also been engaged by the axing of a well-loved player, a long-standing servant on the verge of breaking a record. His successor was booed when he played his first fifty over match and also on his Test debut. Hotheads demanded the chairman's resignation. Ian Healy was the dropped player. Adam Gilchrist was his replacement."

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  1. Wow that's a reallly long article
    Anyway i think Ganguly has become absolutely useless and needs to be dropped, I also think sachin tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Agarkar should never ever play cricket again

    18 Dec 2005, 05:00

  2. kumar

    what sort of a fool would even think of dropping people like sachin and vvs from the test team??

    sachin is one of the greatest batsmen to have ever graced our game, and lets not forget scored a 100 in his last test, setting india up for victory. vvs is also a great player – as his 71* today showed, while the whole side was falling around him.

    as for ganguly, i think it was a bit harsh to drop him right now, especially after a good performance in the delhi test match, but maybe he had become a destabilising force in what is currently a united dressing room…only time will tell if he was dispensed with too quickly.

    18 Dec 2005, 20:01

  3. I'm am quite amazed that u admit his dropping was a bit harsh!!!!!!!!! And Udayan: Go f**k yourself u bloody gook!!!!!!!!! Ganguly still has alot left in him (and that's not cuz I'm a Bengali!!)

    19 Dec 2005, 09:21

  4. And Ian Healy was dropped so that Adam Gilchrist could play: AGREED. Who do we have to replace Saurav: Wasim Jaffar!!!! I've seen him play, and he's a twat. Played well in the West Indies, that too in 1 innings. After that nothing special. Healy was more or less towards the end of his career. But atleast his dismissal had a point: It gave one of the greatest hitters in Test cricket to make his mark. And Kiran More: He's the one of the most worthless idiots on the face of the planet. He was a bad cricketer. I have no idea how he became chairman, of all positions!!!!!!!!!!

    19 Dec 2005, 09:44

  5. Ganguly may have a lot left in him, but he doesn't seem to have any friends left…

    Maybe Bengal should separate and make its own national team, then 'Dada' can be Captain again…:D

    19 Dec 2005, 12:30

  6. What I find amazing further to this is that Pawar and the like want to accomodate Ganguly for teh Pakistan series to "give him the exit he deserves" as a former great. This means giving a man easily unnerved by short pitched bowling six innings against a team playing far better than when India and Pakistan last met, led by a fast bowler at long last discovering his zing and venom.

    And while they're at it, why don't the politicians burn effigies of random b***sh*t to express their scorn and anger at Amitabh Bachhan bein hospitalised, and debate his health for a session or two in Parliament?

    20 Dec 2005, 14:22

  7. You're damn right! But then what if the inexperienced young guns fail to perform??

    28 Dec 2005, 13:12

  8. U fuck youtself Ankinedra…..I dont give a fuck about what you think, and I am half Bengali too and i think Ganguly sucks! Sachin is a waste of time and VVS is becoming better.

    05 Feb 2006, 23:06

  9. (whoops – sorry Anik)

    05 Feb 2006, 23:07

  10. Daisy

    Hello Ankit! I like your blog. Here is a non-Indian view – lately, your stellar batting order has been failing to fire and has had to be rescued too often by people like Irfan Pathan, a bowler who's turned into an all-rounder who, if it weren't for that hat-trick, has almost turned into a specialist batsman! What really annoys me, as an England fan, about India, is your seemingly endless production line of amazing batting talent – as if it's not enough to have batsmen of the quality of Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly, young players like Kaif, Yuvraj, Pathan and lately Dhoni seem to turn up out of nowhere. I was at the Natwest Final in 2002 when we thought we'd won, having dismissed your top five famous batsmen, only for the then unknown Yuvi and Kaif to see you home.

    But despite all this talent, as I say, there have been some weaknesses of late. So I think England's very good pace attack will provide an interesting challenge to your batsmen. I am particularly looking forward to Flintoff vs. Tendulkar. Should be good!

    07 Feb 2006, 16:50

  11. I'm not sure if that is a non-Indian view, but it is a good assessment anyway. There seems to be quite a bit of talent there, but very few trophies to show for it. Under this team we have gone to more finals than under any other, but won a poorer percentage of them than any other too.

    Take the 1st ODI between India & Pak (Feb 6 2006, I think) – a mammoth score of 329, what happens? The Pakistanis have almost no trouble chasing it up. If one side excels, the other fails quite miserably, regardless of how well the Paks played. Australia would NOT squander a 329 start!

    07 Feb 2006, 18:04

  12. By "sides" I mean batting and bowling…

    07 Feb 2006, 18:06

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