Ganguly—End of the Road?

31 Comments

What really happened between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell before the Bulawao test?

Sources close to the Indian team tell me that Chappell told Sourav to take off his shirt ala 2002 Lords and pretend that Greg was actually Nagma. Sourav Ganguly asked Chappell if he was serious. When Greg told him that he was not, Ganguly felt rebuffed, got angry and threatened to resign.

For another version of the events, read this.

Okay accepted that this version of events probably did not happen but why should it be any more authentic than the version from Cricinfo? I dont know about you but when one of the most respectable sources of cricket writing carries a slanderous article based on unauthenticated “sources close to the team” collected by “Cricinfo staff” , I find it somewhat against journalistic ethics of objectivity and balancedness.

Read this article in the context of other Ganguly-bashing articles in Cricinfo (an example here) and a pattern of consistent editorial bias emerges.

In a previous post, I had taken issue with one Kanika Gehlaut for using her offices as a correspondent for a major daily to pen an extremely biased article about so-called “chick bloggers” where her personal contempt for the aforementioned community came to the fore in a particularly dramatic manner. One of the points I made was that while such an article would have been kosher if Ms Gehlaut had put it up on her personal blog (which is after all her personal space), she had no business in using the newspaper (and the newspaper had no business in carrying this piece) to carry out her personal battle of jealousy-induced attrition.

I perceive something similar here. Its quite evident that the Cricinfo journos do not “like” Dada. And the reason for that maybe because that Sourav Ganguly does not give non-Calcutta journalists “quotable quotes”. He is accused of having a coterie of favored journalists who spin his failures and attack VVS Laxman. When Souravda was stepping out of the crease and lofting bowlers for sixes, the aggrieved cricket-writers had to grin and bear it but now that Dada is on the way out, they have decided to strike back. When the man is down.

Firstly, I do not believe there is anything wrong in anyone having a select group to which a person is more open than to others. Ganguly comes to press conferences and discharges his media duties as a captain. Whom he then gives “better quotes” to in his hotel room is his sole prerogative and journos who think that is unfair are just pissed off at not being part of the group. And as to the matter of attacking VVS Laxman—-I have never seen the Anandabazar group doing it any more or less than other publications.

On the topic of VVS Laxman. After scoring 140 against the same soft attack as Dada, he darkly hints at “negative vibes” inside the team. Noone accuses him of ruining team spirit and casting aspersions, Cricinfo does not tell us (from their inside sources) who the negative vibe-giver is and his braggadocio after scoring runs against the weakest bowling attack in the world is not lampooned. And even after this, a select group of newspapers is accused of going after Laxman when Ganguly underperforms. Hmmmm.

Again the material currently on Cricinfo would have been fine if it has been on someone’s personal blog. But coming from an institution that is known for the highest standards of cricket journalism, it is shocking. Once the source is anonymous, anything can be written without the onus of accountability—–and that too in a piece where the author’s name is withheld. But people being people are going to accept this one-sided version of the story since the written word is the truth. Or so we perceive.

My personal opinion on the whole fracas. Unless he makes a real turn-around, Ganguly has come to the end of the road. In a way, it would have been better had be scored a duck against Zimbabwe—-at least his fans could argue that he was still out of form. But it is now proved beyond doubt—-Ganguly is not out of form—-against weaker opposition (Zimbabwe, county cricket) he is getting runs but the moment the standard of competition goes up a notch, he is all at sea.

But the decision to say finis to Ganguly’s career is not Chappell’s. I fail to see how having such a potentially divisive argument on the eve of a Test match served team spirit—–it reflects poorly on Chappell’s ability as a coach that instead of providing confidence (even if false) to a proven performer just before a game begins, he tries to run down a man who is down and out.

Methinks that it would be poetic justice for Gangs to retire now—-which would leave him, like Azhar, with a century in his first and last Test.

An achievment he would also share with —yes you guessed it— Greg Chappell.

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31 thoughts on “Ganguly—End of the Road?

  1. Hi Greatbong
    Indian journalists love to gossip, don’t they. The level of speculation and pure gossipmongering seems quite unseemly.

    But I will say this: Ganguly isn’t the type to leave quietly and in a dignified way. No, when Ganguly goes, it will be head-first into the trash can.

  2. @Michael,
    Yes Michael…that they sure do. And then they act holier-than-thou when others do it.

    I also agree that Ganguly is not going out as you said in a “quiet and dignified” way—the only way he leaves will be feet first, being dragged away kicking and screaming. It is however this precise attitude that has been and will remain his greatest strength and ultimately his legacy to Indian cricket.

    @Balu: I saw one on these lines in Rediff…whose cricketting journalism I never much cared for (except for Prem Panicker’s detailed match reports…not his opinions though).

    The fact is that Gangs has made one too many enemies and this is the time when all of them will crawl out of the proverbial woodwork. Their poison pens smack of unconstrained hostlility—by spreading unsubstantiated rumors and slander, the press does not seem too concerned about team spirit either. Yet it is Dada who is to blame for everything.

  3. YOUR explanation of what went wrong between Chappell and Sourav is THE GEM!!

    But I have a different view from yours on Sourav. It is true that I agree with you what you wrote about Kanika Gehlaut using her official capacity to bash a certain group. One should not and should not be allowed to use the official capacity to express one’s personal opinion or express personal likings/dislikings to certain group. By this yardstick, Sourav also made the same mistake of using his official capacity to favour a certain group of journalist by giving “better quotes”. What Sourav does in his personal life is upto him. But I am sure when he gave those “better quotes” – he meant them to be for public consumption. I think this way he behaved like Gehlaut. And now when he is down, those unfavoured journalists are getting back at him any way they can. Hope one day Gehlaut also learns from this and realize that what goes around comes around – may be not from the same person but it sure does come around.

  4. it reflects poorly on Chappell’s ability as a coach that instead of providing confidence (even if false) to a proven performer just before a game begins, he tries to run down a man who is down and out.

    From Cricinfo:
    Chappell reiterated that he should pick the best XI and when Ganguly pushed him for a frank opinion, Chappell said that left to him, he would have them both in the team ahead of Ganguly.

    From Cricinfo it hardly looks as if Chappell tried to run down Ganguly, he just expressed an honest opinion in what he thought was the best interest of the team. Nothing wrong with that.

  5. @yourfan,

    I disagree. Ganguly is both an individual and a player. As a player ie captain he has certain media responsibilities…appear at post match press conferences and explain, in different ways, why we lost the match. But he is also an individual who has rights to speak about the game. He can entertain people in his hotel room and talk to them. And these people can be people he likes—as an example, if Ganguly gives an interview to say Gideon Haigh, I cannot feel pissed off that he refused to even give me an autograph. All I am entitled to from Gangs (assuming I am an accredited press reporter) is his duty-mandated words of wisdom—nothing more.

    @thelearner: This version of events which you quote is something that Cricinfo tells us based on “unnamed sources” collected by “Cricinfo staff”—information that we can never verify. In other words, it is a rumor, spun in a way so as to favour one person in a dispute and demonize the other.

    This was the entire point of my post.

  6. Till the time Jaggu is holding the throne of Indian cricket, dont think anything will happen to Dada

    But on a sad note, Dada’s legacy is now being defined as being compared to Kapil Dev in terms of not leaving at the opportunate time.

    But just like Prabhu-ji making a grand comeback in Elaan, the “Greatest Bong of All” Dada is sure to make a stirring comeback.

    GDH

  7. I’m a great supporter of Sourav’s street-fighting, never-say-die attitude. This public statement, however, is contrary to everything he has done over the last 5 years and could tarnish his contributions.

    Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

    (I’m surprised you weren’t drawn by the paens to Chapin)

    J.A.P.

  8. I’m a great supporter of Sourav’s street-fighting, never-say-die attitude. This public statement, however, is contrary to everything he has done over the last 5 years and could tarnish his contributions.

    Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

    (I’m surprised you weren’t drawn by the paeans to Chapin)

    J.A.P.

  9. At 32 most batsmen still have a few years of cricket left in them. Given that Gangs has a extended string of failures against quality fast bowling – this seems more like a battle against his own demons.

    The bad news is that Gangs neglected his cricket a little more than necessary – (was it in someways inspired by the competition – Dravid aspiring to be the batsman with the perfect technique while Gangs neglected it to focus more on being the most suceesful captain ever….this is pure speculation.)
    The good news is that Gangs is a fighter and he will be dragged out of the team only in a straitjacket. If he uses this quality of his to get his cricket back – that will be one marvellous story.

  10. @GHE, Yes the hope is always there that he will be back. And I am also afraid that people may remember him like Kapil Dev—well at least he never sold the team short like that bogus hero.

    @Ritzy: thanks..

    @JAP: I would not be so harsh on Sourav for speaking his mind….that is precisely what makes him what he is….petulant, aggressive and never-say-it’s-the-end.

    I was going to comment on the Chapin post when I read it in Austria but could not log into my Blogger acct from there.

    @traveller: He refused to take his game forward beyond his awesome natural talents…if he had worked on his technique he could still have survived the ravages of age on the basis of that—like Dravid will and like Gavaskar did before him . But sadly, it seems like he will meet the same fate as other awesome natural talents who grew old but never built a technique to sustain themselves when their instincts and reflexes would fail—Srikkanth and to some extent, the great Viv.

  11. This is just too bad.First you go to Austria(which is a place I’ve been desperately wanting to visit since I was 10)and then you write this huge post on CRICKET.
    Why it is you are the not playings to galleries the?I loved the Mithunism post,btw.

  12. @Srin, :-)…Ganguly is not just cricket..he is another God in the Bongo pantheon. A post on my travel to Austria follows…..and oh playing to the galleries I shall reserve for Mithun-da and Bhappi-da

  13. I can never undertsand why the media like creating a hype out of everything, and why are we, the people always so eager to be fed arbitrary gossip by people we ourselves hardly trust.

    I dont really think ganguly should retire, he may not be the best player we have, but he’s certainly a good captain. I’m no fan of Sourav da myself, but a fact is a fact, and needs to be respected. If he has to be dropped let the selectors decide on the basis of his performance only.

    As for the issue with Chappell, aren’t there issues all the time between a lot of ppl in every walk in life. Dont people co-exist. A clash of ideas cannot be prematurely called a”two-swords-in the same….”kind of a phenomenon. I’m sure the ppl involved are mature enough to decide for themselves. I dont think they need to be told and reminded how imp the country and the game is, as compared to any disagreement.

  14. I can never undertsand why the media like creating a hype out of everything, and why are we, the people always so eager to be fed arbitrary gossip by people we ourselves hardly trust.

    I dont really think ganguly should retire, he may not be the best player we have, but he’s certainly a good captain. I’m no fan of Sourav da myself, but a fact is a fact, and needs to be respected. If he has to be dropped let the selectors decide on the basis of his performance only.

    As for the issue with Chappell, aren’t there issues all the time between a lot of ppl in every walk in life. Dont people co-exist. A clash of ideas cannot be prematurely called a”two-swords-in the same….”kind of a phenomenon. I’m sure the ppl involved are mature enough to decide for themselves. I dont think they need to be told and reminded how imp the country and the game is, as compared to any disagreement.

  15. I see that JAP has already said exactly what I would have.

    Nevertheless, here I go: Ganguly’s going public was at best a breach of trust given that Chappell’s opinion was offered in private in response to Ganguly’s own query (as reported, that is). At worst, it smacks of a blatant attempt to hang on to his captaincy/place in the side. I guess the Indian equivalent of JAP’s adage is ‘Vinaash kale vipareet buddhi’.

    What’s more, Ganguly shouldn’t delude himself that he’s back on track after scoring a laborious hundred against a pathetic attack. I have been a great admirer of him, and it is rather sad to see this plight of his.

  16. I’m not sure how many of you were privy to Chappel’s “official statement” on ESPN’s Sportscentre the other night, but I was. Whether Chappel read out that “signed” truce paper under pressure or of his own accord, I haven’t a clue, but what’s important was that was his “final word” on the controversy. Even tho’ it was on the lines of I scratch your back-you scratch mine (“Sourav and I respect each other and we share a friendship that goes a long way back..blah blah blah”), he publicly waved the white flag, which the media was happy to report about again next day. But, what the selectively amnesiac media coveniently left out was the last few sound bytes by Chappel. Here’s the excerpt: After reading out the statement he said “I’ll be happy to answer any questions on cricket”. There was a stoned silence from the byte-hungry cacophonic media. So, Mr Chappel gave a wry smile and before turning his back to the media, said: “Obviously, cricket isn’t of much interest.”
    Sorry to say, but you are damned right, Mr Chappel. Not a single daily of course had this bit of the soundbyte in their otherwise ad verbatim quote from the “signed statement”! Tells a helluva lot about our media doesn’t it?

  17. @Priya…Spot on ! Cricket is of noone’s interest..it’s all about “Let’s get back at the man for his arrogance”. Of course to be fair it’s a Zimbabwe series….who really cares about cricket when the opponents are teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh? And by recent performance, India too.

  18. Arnab.wake up brother.U r calling kapil a bogus hero and ganguly a team man. Kapil was one of very few indian cricketers who played cricket as a team sport.On any day kapil is a much better accomplished cricketer than ganguly. To top it all kapil had three test centuries against the mighty windies….He would have taken 500 wickets had he been born anywhere other than subcontinent and G vishwananth,Gavaskar not been there at the slips.

    If you are telling me that kapil dev sold the team coz manoj prabhakar accused him , I have nothing to argue…

  19. Balu,

    Bhai get the facts straight. Not only Manoj Prabhakar…but everybody (when they did not know they were on camera) accused Kapi Dev. Only in India could someone like Kapil get away with overwhelming evidence against him. (Prabhakar is a sleazebag but his story was borne out by multiple sources—when they knew that they were not “on record”).

    Kapil dragged out his retirement long after his sell-by date…and particularly disgraceful was when in the semi-finals against South Africa in the Hero cup, it was Sachin (and not Kapil) who bowled the last over because Paaji was not confident !

    In terms of ability, there is no comparison between Kapil Dev and Ganguly—Kapil is way way above. However as a team player, he left a lot to be desired especially in the later part of his career(post 1992)

  20. Boss,

    going by your comments,it is no wonder that only a bengali can understand a bengali. what a shame, going by your riciculous logic of nagma,chappel, saurav analogy, it seems your only intention is to defend saurav and not go to the true depth of the matter.

  21. I was really saddened by the comments posted by Arnab. He thinks that all Indians have teamed together in this Anti-Bengali episode. Why would rest other Indians do that. Bengalis have a glorious history in art and culture. Bengali writers and poets are world famous. All Indians are proud of them.
    The reason I feel that Indians line up against Bengalis lies in Bengalis themselves! Bengalis react over extremely. Remember what they did with Sunil Gawaskar in the past? Remember the stadium was burned down when India lost the match? Remember the anger they showed to Chappel when Ganguly was ousted of the team? All Indians had accepted that Ganguly should now step down due to his poor performance. But Bengalis think that insult to Ganguly is insult to them! And this is the precise reason they are also being targetted during Ganguly-mockery.
    Remember no Indian is interested in ridiculing Bengalis (or for that matter people from any region) and all Indian people treat Bengalis equally if not with admiring respect.
    We Indians should stick together in those difficult times.
    Arnab, try opening your eyes and look around. Nobody hates Bengalis. Get rid of that complex.

  22. I was really saddened by the comments posted by Arnab. He thinks that all Indians have teamed together in this Anti-Bengali episode. Why would rest other Indians do that. Bengalis have a glorious history in art and culture. Bengali writers and poets are world famous. All Indians are proud of them.
    The reason I feel that Indians line up against Bengalis lies in Bengalis themselves! Bengalis react over extremely. Remember what they did with Sunil Gawaskar in the past? Remember the stadium was burned down when India lost the match? Remember the anger they showed to Chappel when Ganguly was ousted of the team? All Indians had accepted that Ganguly should now step down due to his poor performance. But Bengalis think that insult to Ganguly is insult to them! And this is the precise reason they are also being targetted during Ganguly-mockery.
    Remember no Indian is interested in ridiculing Bengalis (or for that matter people from any region) and all Indian people treat Bengalis equally if not with admiring respect.
    We Indians should stick together in those difficult times.
    Arnab, try opening your eyes and look around. Nobody hates Bengalis. Get rid of that complex.

  23. I was really saddened by the comments posted by Arnab. He thinks that all Indians have teamed together in this Anti-Bengali episode. Why would rest other Indians do that. Bengalis have a glorious history in art and culture. Bengali writers and poets are world famous. All Indians are proud of them.
    The reason I feel that Indians line up against Bengalis lies in Bengalis themselves! Bengalis react over extremely. Remember what they did with Sunil Gawaskar in the past? Remember the stadium was burned down when India lost the match? Remember the anger they showed to Chappel when Ganguly was ousted of the team? All Indians had accepted that Ganguly should now step down due to his poor performance. But Bengalis think that insult to Ganguly is insult to them! And this is the precise reason they are also being targetted during Ganguly-mockery.
    Remember no Indian is interested in ridiculing Bengalis (or for that matter people from any region) and all Indian people treat Bengalis equally if not with admiring respect.
    We Indians should stick together in those difficult times.
    Arnab, try opening your eyes and look around. Nobody hates Bengalis. Get rid of that complex.

  24. @Anonymous ==> “All Indians had accepted that Ganguly should now step down due to his poor performance.”
    Who is ‘All Indians’ and who is this ‘anonymous’. I do not know. I am sure neither does Arnab. To say that this Anonym is over-extrapolating would be a gross and profane understatement. Beg your pardon Sir or Maa’m (Anonym, maybe next time at least you would be kind enough to mention whether you are a boy or a girl), I am an Indian too. And a co-incidence is I am a Bengali. A bigger co-incidence is that All Bengalis are Indians too! Whoah!! So I think I have at least some people who did not fall in line with the above stated conjunction.

    By the way,
    I really believe that this is the best time of Indian Cricket. “A smooth sea never made a good sailor. A straight and level road never made a good driver” ~ African Proverb.
    This is the time that people and for once cricketers are beginning to stand up. Stand up… and talk!
    Wow! no longer are they the pets and puppies of the Selectors or the influential X-Cricks (read Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri .. and all the people in the Back Bencher commenters league). Players are voicing their opinions, whether it is Dada, Bhajji, Zaheer or even Dravid. Who do you think showed them the light? Who gave the courage, the conviction, the belief, the freedom that having an opinion is fine and so is voicing it? I believe it is Ganguly, no wonder then that he is called DADA. Leave Indian cricket to rot and the wrench will come back. Two years down the line the decadence will speak for itself, and you will again have the press conferences in which the predictable and well rehearsed lines eg. “the boys played well, we played well, they also played well…” will surface.
    Players who at best were mediocre in their hay days(Kiran More), shoplifters (Ravi Shastri) and Unscrupulos individuals (Chappell) will call the shots.
    (I think I need not remind all, of the Greg Chappel-Trevor Chappell Underhand Bowling controversy)
    Pardon my INSOLENCE, I would rather have a Kick-A** team that runs like charged elephants, Guns like Mad Pirates and Fights like storybook heroes, doesn’t matter it wins or looses; than a team which has to rely on sly and treachery in order to sneak and steal a win (Victory is not possible, as those are reserved for fighters). Even if I leave aside everything else, I would chuck Chappell on Moral grounds, a person without strength of character is unfit for any position of responsibility, leave aside the national coach. Dada has at least proved his mettle.

    Lastly, I always have the conviction and courage to sign off with my name. See the magic DADA leaves even on his admirers !! 😀

    Chirantan

  25. U guys are all sick.

    Think cricket not anythig else.

    One writes Kapil sold india, the other writes tendulkar being more confident than Kapil in the Hero Cup Finals.

    FYI, that pitch was not a fastbowler’s paradise and the ball was coming on very slow, any damn cricketer would understand that smashing a fast bowler whose deliveries would be ideally paced on the such surface would be easier than smash a spinner.

    Ridiculous stuff u guys write man.

    Anywayz, being a cricketer and now playing for Indian Junion Team i am of the opinion that team matters shouldnt have been exposed first.

    I will be screwed if I leak out anything further but just for info sake, Please be careful before making accusations.

    Paaji is always great, Saurav is too but none beyond cricket.

    Long live the religion.

    Bye for now.

    Any doubt mail me

  26. U Say that u support ganguly because rest of India considers bongs as parochial. For me its the other way round. Whenever i talked to a maharashtrian about sachin’s failure or a dravidian about rahul’s failure and why they should be dropped they would more or less agree with me. But talk to a bong about dropping ganguly and see his reaction. Its a case of which came first-egg or hen. For me, when i was accused of not having any cricketing brain when talked about dropping ganguly to bongs that triggered my anti-ganguly feelings. To Bongs, the series draw against waugh’s side was attributed to one-man army, Ganguly (forget about the dravids, laxmans, agarkars and the team effort). And the heavy losses after that in one-dayers was attributed to the team. And yes in Eden people cheered for SA. And what about booing. Never seen dada booed in eden and yes saw sachin being booed several times in mumbai.

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