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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."
(TAKEN FROM 'THE HINDU')


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