The Devil Dares Dada

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So what’s Sourav Ganguly to do?

No matter how good he performs, he is not going to get selected.

Sourav Ganguly will never be a part of the Indian cricket team as long as Kiran More is the chief manipulator sorry selector.

According to whom?

Mr. More himself. (His minions have subsequently contradicted it)

Sourav knows the reason for that. It’s because he has always been perceived rightfully to be a man backed by Dalmiya — the bete noire of More’s puppetmaster—Sharad The Power, who some may say shares Al Capone’s love for his enemies.

I want this guy dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground! I want to go there in the middle of the night and piss on his ashes!

I don’t agree. Pawar would never piss on his enemies ashes. He would just send Kiran More.

So with Sourav firmly in Pawar’s blackbook, he has only one option left for redemption. Actually two.

The first option is to distance himself from Dalmiya. Dalmiya, for now, seems to be a spent force—-Sharad Pawar has got him by the straight and the curlies on financial misappropriation charges: almost inevitably debarring him from contesting BCCI elections. And with terms for selectors and officials becoming three years, (the ruling party increasing their terms of office—how original), it seems like we will see Mr. More for many more years to come.

Of course Dalmiya won’t let Sourav disassociate from him—-no matter how much Sourav might want to. Simply because flogging the Sourav issue is the only option he has got left to keep his fast-dwindling flock together.

Expressing his confidence that Ganguly would come back into the team, Dalmiya promised that the left hander would be reinstated in the national squad if his (Dalmiya’s) group returned to power in the BCCI.

Yes it is sickening. The fact that Sourav Ganguly’s selection is just an election issue, having not much to do with merit at all——- with one side (Dalmiya, the CPM top brass) determined to play him no matter what he does and the other (Pawar, More and Chappell) determined to do the opposite.

However Dalmiya’s boat is fast sinking. And in politics, people change bedmates faster than Shane Warne.

Which is why I was not surprised at this very interesting development:

Snehasis Ganguly, Sourav’s elder brother is now associated with Dalmiya’s opposition for the battle of the Cricket Association of Bengal (and hence likely to be in Pawar’s good books) and has come out openly against Dalmiya. What makes it even curiouser is that the CPM, which has associated itself with the Sourav case, is fully backing this opposition to Dalmiya. (Dalmiya, till a year or so ago the darling of the CPM, is still backed by a CPM heavyweight but the said person is also currently out of favour in the party hierarchy.).

But as we know Dalmiya is a crafty customer. And when has corruption really hampered the career of a politician in India? However the odds are definitely stacked against him for now and the only chance of Dada’s return was to ditch Dalmiya for Pawar.

I know this is as despicable as an extra-marital affair with an overweight actress but really what else can Sourav do? They wont consider him on merit—-so backroom machination is the only thing open to him.

Not really.

There is a second option.

The occult. Black magic. The dark side of the force.

The Indian cricket selectors may have dumped Sourav Ganguly, and his fans too might have given up on him, but the former India captain’s family is still optimistic about his return. They are banking on a tantrik (practitioner of black magic), who claims Ganguly can return through his mystical powers.

The priest came all the way from Kolkata to Lucknow to perform a special puja, which he claims will see Ganguly return with a bang in the next few months.

What is interesting is that this puja was performed at the local Hindu cremation ground, Bhainsakund, on Wednesday afternoon.

An excellent idea. Put pins into effigies of Chappell and More. Call the spirits of the netherworld to guide Sourav’s bat the next time Shane Bond comes in to bowl. Mix politics with religion–the winning formula that works everytime.

Trinity: Neo… nobody has ever done this before (in cricket)
Neo: That’s why it’s going to work. [ Matrix]

I agree.

Aww come on—you say. Mr. Greatbong, just try to see beyond Sourav Ganguly for once.

I would very much like to.

Except there is an overweight dude blocking my vision—-one who bowls ultra-slow donkey drops, bats like Sunil Joshi, wears weird shades and is labelled an “all rounder” simply because we cannot decide out of batting and bowling which one he does worse.

And mind you, Ramesh Powar is not the worst example of selectorial folly. That honor is left to one Venugopal Rao, whose tortured batting in West Indies was akin to the impotent leg-throwing of a cockroach who has fallen on his back. Yet such is the political backing he enjoys—sorry make that faith in his abilities that this man is made captain of the India A team.

While Dinesh Mongia, who has turned in stellar performances in English county cricket, does not even warrant a look-in for the ODIs. And neither does VVS Laxman who is streets ahead in sheer class from the Venugopals of the world.

I could go on—the treatment meted out to Zaheer and Balaji (and check out Zaheer’s performance in England), the way Sehwag was chided for a benign comment (bringing us back to the Al Capone line), weird selections for the first test match, taking the new ball for the last 15 overs especially when our fast bowlers had not exactly covered themselves with glory throughout the series, wrong people in the wrong fielding positions, a certain person’s crucial misfieldings at critical times [which if it was some other less press-friendly person would have invited endless ridicule and titles like “Match ka villain” but not so now]—in short, the number of gaffes, strategic miscalculations and motivated selectorial decisions that we see are quite alarming.

Yes yes I know we had been having a “golden run” not so long ago. But we were playing in India against substandard opposition. The Pakistan team is nothing like what it used to be in the mid 90s (it is slowly getting better). Sri Lanka was woefully out of form. England was sadly understength. Against them, we won easily. (And this is just for ODIs—our Test record has been quite sub-par even against the not-so-stellar opposition).

However the real worth of these victories has been cruelly exposed in West Indies where in the same place where World Cup 2007 will be held, we lost 4-1 to a side at the bottom of all ODI rankings.

The tragedy is that things need not have turned out this way. With experience in the middle order (which meant Dravid needed to relinquish his opening position and drop down) and with the talent (Rahul Dravid’s batting is still awesome, Yuvraj is in the form of his life, Dhoni is a marvel of science) we have we should have comfortably put it across the West Indies.

And yes yes we came close to winning the series twice—but let’s keep things in perspective– this West Indies has been hammered by every decent Test playing nation in the world. We only came close.

I am not saying that calling Dada back will solve the problem. In all probability, it won’t. Maybe his performances do not warrant a recall—but I am sure, all of us will agree that he deserves to be considered fairly: something that Kiran More has publicly announced he will not do.

But again, fairness is not possible in this politically surcharged cricket administration.

Of course, things are not dire enough to call in the tantrik. Not yet anyways.

However that may all change once Venugopal Rao (unless he proves me wrong with a century or two) becomes permanent in the Indian team …..in that case, I shall beseech all Indian cricket fans to wear your langotis, wash your hair in goat’s blood, and join me as I dance around a fire in a cremation ground invoking the lord of the netherworld.

Or as he is more commonly known: Kiran More.

Damn.

Kiran More.

Which means the tantrik option is also closed for Dada.

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65 thoughts on “The Devil Dares Dada

  1. Who cares for merit in India…. The official policy of Govt of India is to promote the mediocrity and ignore the merit…

    No doubts, when the whole environment is like this then people will try to remain in the game using whatever means..

    Though this is a really sad situation in Indian cricket, I don’t have anybody but politics and the politicians to blame for it. If you want politics to be out of the game, first have the politicians kicked-out of BCCI.

    Unless it happens, our crickets, instead of concentrating on the actual game of cricket, will be more and more involved in the ongoing political game.

  2. Wait for a whole lot of ##@@@!!!!???#@@s on this one, Bong-da, specially after dada’s twin blotches against Worcester.

    The Sourav issue has generated a lot of vitriol and words and what-else-nots. However, suffering through the heat of it, I have much more calm and unbiased perspective of it now.

    Did he deserve to be dropped when he was ? Probably not. He will end up as one of those players with decent last test innings.
    Did he deserve a place in the squad ? Probably not. His form was too unstable, he had to try too hard for runs, the natural flow was gone- clearly, steeped in issues other than his own batting, too much harm had been done to his technique and temperament.

    Why don’t we call it quits then and stop thinking about it ?

    Well, you hit the nail in the head.
    10 years ago, after they made their thunderous comebacks at Lords, both Sourav And Rahul were asked a bunch of questions by sportstar- one of them being- “who do you think are the players of the future for India”.

    Dravid’s reply ran- “VVS Laxman, Sujith Somasundar, Sunil Joshi, J Arun Kumar, Dodda Ganesh.”

    You get the point.

    When Sachin was skippering the Indian team, we had the nightmarish spectacle of Nilesh Kulkarni bovinely looking around for field placings with the equation reading: 11 of 2 balls.
    We had an overage Kuruvilla running in with the red cherry and Ijaz Ahmed grinning ear to ear.

    Now we see a pot-bellied semi corpulent individual who looks more suited for a buxom, adipose revealing lady on a movie set than with a willow on a cricket pitch against Ian Bradshaw.

    We have Cricinfo going ga-ga over Sreesanth’s breakdancing skills as he picks up a wicket or two between comfortable intervals of bowling at an economy (??????) of 6.

    Cricket in India is a complicated-as-hell game.

    Shikhar Dhawan finds that out even after he scores twice as many runs as Robin Uthappa.
    Shib Shankar Paul learns that on the same day he rattles Trescothic’s timber in tour matches.
    Rudra Pratap Singh finds that out, inspite of his career stats looking way more impressive than Sreesanth’s.
    Zaheer Khan finds that as he piles on wickets in Ranji and County championships.
    Harbhajan Singh has the misfortune of finding it out in the same dressing room with Ramesh Powar (of course Anand Vasu thinks otherwise- I feel sorry for Amit Verma).

    Sourav the Captain’s role in Indian cricket has been discussed and over discussed and then discussed some more. My personal belief is that- if he can be half the same person as an administrator- he would be PRICELESS to Indian cricket, no less.

    P.S. @ all who would be coming out with knives after this: I know Sourav was a worthless fellow who had a good record only because of his luck and great knocks from Rahul Dravid. That’s why it does not surprise me when employees of a Cricket Board that issues gag orders and warnings at the drop of a hat spring up from time to time in Sourav’s defence despite persistent intimidation, most probably because they feel like a brawl, or have nothing better to do.

  3. I am not sure your comments about Powar are justified. He definitely needs to shed a lot of pounds to get into shape. But he has not done anything wrong with his bowling for the most part. He has shown that he can bat too, in critical times. Zaheer was not performing that well when the team was picked for the test series. He has been doing exceptionally well after that. But they did miss a trick by not picking Agarkar, especially since Pathan looked so much off-color.

    The team did make a few of tactical errors during the test series, but some of them might just seem to be errors in hindsight.

    I know I am not really commenting on the dark politics that your post is about. I just think the issue does not merit much logical discussion, as long as there are brainfarts in the organization.

  4. I think More would make an excellent dictator – I dont know why is he wasting his time in cricket, instead of taking on Bushes and Mushes of the world! We all know he’s capable 😀

    4-1 series whitewash was a classic example of “tigers @ home, lambs abroad” – sadly mr. Chappel 6 hats and Dravid wall captaincy did nothing much to break that phenomena. Its funny that selectors select a dolt like Laxman who goes all out in press saying “I am in good form and was not selected” – and then proves it by his miserable 20 something innings – and on the other hand, a simple comment for ganguly ensues gags and ropes.

    Truly – awesome piece of work indian cricket is.

    Thankfully its world cup season right now – there is no need to see the buffoonery… for now at least!

    Suyog

  5. I was not a major supporter of Ganguly when he was the captain of the Indian team. I felt(everyone else also does and the sats prove) that he did not play well against the good teams. Atleast not consistently.
    But when it comes to selection, you have to pick the best player. Ganguly is far better player than some of the some fo current players. Venugopal, he had a very bad Ranji season if i am not wrong, I feel AT Rayudu of Same team has class and will/should make it to the Indian team soon. ( Donno if you guys heard of him)
    Coming back to Ganguly, I think(personal opinion) he is far better than Kaif and should be part of the team. His feet were moving beautifully in Pakisatan. He was playing very well in the limited opportunites he had. ( The only thing was he did not convert the 39s 🙂 to fifties)
    Kiran More does not have a consistency of thought( even if he does have any of his own).
    I was saying this all the while to my friends when they were celebrating India’s good run and felt that the golden era has started. I said, Boss wait for a while before you celebrate . Eveyone was “awed by” Chappel’s magic. But the fact reamins that an average team do not become world champions overnight, even if you recruit a few good batsmne and bowlers.
    Dhoni is a good bat but i doubt how he would play on a seamer friendly wicket and attack. He was struggling.. really struggling.. against the South Africans.. who were a bit quick .
    Agree with you that Rahul Dravid is a class act and he should stick to his middle order position.. probably number 3 or 4 and not to open the innings. Inzamam after the third test victory said that he was happy to see Rahul open the innings.. from Pakistan team point of view.

    And as AKP mentioned politics is something that has engulfed cricket.Selectors/Administrators try promote their candidates and sons. Shivalal Yadav(former indian selector who was involved in many controversies and was Dalmiys’s suported before switching sides) has been doing the same to push his son.. . I heard that Shivalal’s son had one fifty( and a total of 218 runs from about 10 innings) in the entire last season but was captain of the Hyderabad team. There were rumours/joke that another fifty would have ensured his selection to duleep/deodher/India A team.

    To Conclude I would say: India is not major force to reckon at world cup and there is nothing like a so called Chappel’s magic. This doesn’t mean that India will play badly at world cup. As the famous saying goes who plays better on that day wins and sometimes better teams can play badly and an average team can play good on a day.

    Ganguly is better than lot of players in the current team and should be in the team. ( But i guess he will never be)

  6. Ganguly was a great cricketer in his time. There was a time in his career when I thought he was the best ODI batsman in the world (and that included his opening partner at the peak of his powers).

    The man was clearly a spent force when he was shown the door. Everybody has to go. So will Sachin, soon enough. But the exit should have been planned in a manner befitting his stature in Indian cricket.

    I don’t think he merited a place in the team, especially with young guns like Dhoni, Yuvraj and Raina making their presence felt. More and Co. would not have dared to show him the door had his bat done some talking, politics or no politics.

  7. I added the first comment after reading half the post.

    Come on…Ramesh Powar is not bad at all, if we can look beyond his frame. He actually was one of the best bowlers in the ODI series in WI. Plus he’s a decent bat too. Why vilify him coz he’s rotund and wears funny shades? It is the performance that should count, no?

    When it comes to Venugopal Rao tho…agreed…and after watching him bat, your description fits aptly.

    As for Balaji…he himself has said that he is *still* unfit, so I dont think not selecting him is an injustice, for now.

    Zaheer….yep agreed..he is being treated shoddily! He was one of the better bowlers in the England series at home (or was it the series before that, I am unsure!), though he didnt get enough wickets…. but then neither did the rest of the Indian bowlers, including Pathan, so why single him out?

    Cant comment on Dinesh Mongia, since it is so long since I have seen him bat, that I have forgotten what it was like 🙂

    Last one: Who is the chick with More in the pic? Is it his wife or some Page 3 babe?

  8. It’s really disappointing to see such an aweful end to Sourav’s career (yes, I am not really optimistic about Dalmiya’s and thus, Sourav’s comeback). I really don’t know what went wrong with him, or which wrong move he took that everybody (well, almost everybody) in this world today thinks that Sourav is some kinda villain and it’s better that he’s out of the team.

    The more we lobby for him the more reasons will the people get to blame all the Bengalis in the world for being over-protective about him. Honestly, I think we should just let it go now. Sourav has already had his best time in the middle, we should just let bygones be bygones. This is not the first time a very good Cricketer has suffered at the hands of the BCCI politicians.

    I really feel sad for him. Nice article Arnab-da.

    BG

  9. One more thing, I think it will be better if he keeps on playing Ranji and do very well at that. Kinda break all sorts of records and help Bengal win the cup. After that he can hang his shoes and try his hand at politics by joining CAB and then may be BCCI and the ICC. I am sure he can excel in that field. That way he will be able to at least have some control in Indian / world cricket and may be that’ll help improve the whole situation in some ways.

    BG

  10. I have never been a fan of Saurav Ganguly, but cannot help feeling sorry for him. I do think there are better players than him in the team, but the current team has some jokers who are given too many chances than their performances would warrant.

    Also I donot really understand what wrongs were commited by Zaheer, Balaji, Agarkar for them to be treated so unfairly. They might not be among the best bowlers in the world but are definitely better than the current crop.

    You had blogged about how Indian football fell to its current standard, maybe one day you will write about why we failed to beat Togo in cricket.

  11. Have you seen the Bengali movie “Koni”? The kind of dirty poilitics (in swimming) shown there is very similar to what is happening in Indian cricket today. The issue is no longer Sourav’s career, that is secondary. Although injustice was done to Sourav, he was probably at the end of his career. Think, what effect it will have if a similar injustice is done to a promising cricketer at the beginning/prime of his career. And that is being done too!
    I’d like to point out that India is not the only country where this is done… If I remember rightly, Steve Waugh’s career was also terminated in a very similar manner. Only, the instances are probably higher in India. And Australia was still number 1 after sacking Steve unfairly, which India clearly isn’t.

  12. GB,

    Saurav played politics when it suited him, and when the masters changed, he was shown the door. There is no doubt that when he was dropped, he deserved to go. What I find sad is:

    a)This constant attempt to belittle Ganguly’s achievements both as a skipper and as a player. There is no doubt that he is one of the all time greats of Indian Cricket atleast in the shorter version of the game.

    b) This premature shutting of doors, I cannot understand what can be more stupider than declaring that a player will never merit a place irrespective of what he does.

    The sad fact is that till politicans rule the roost in Indian sports, our players will always suffer.

  13. Great Bong, let’s say Ganguly was Parsi. Would you and all the other mighty bongs support him? He played politics, gained from it and paid the price.

  14. @Mutiny:

    You are a living example of the kind of canard people have been spreading about Sourav since he was ousted. Sourav was the one who actually removed politics from the team when he came in. He never played quota politics and backed winners by instinct. And now people like you (and Kiran More) actually blame him for politics. Shame on you! You probably feel, as Goebbels did, that the bigger the lie, the more believable it will be.

  15. ….whose tortured batting in West Indies was akin to the impotent leg-throwing of a cockroach who has fallen on his back…

    made my day reading that… great thinking Mr Bong..

  16. @Arnab,

    Really well-written. On any given day, Sourav ranks among the best in one-day cricket. And a couple of knocks in the middle, Sourav can be the same match-winner he was for India in the limited overs format.

    Whichever way we look at it, Sourav has not stooped down to his opponents level in the mud-slinging and all.

    But, would disagree with Ramesh Powar’s assessment. Have seen him play in the domestic tournaments in Mumbai and he is certainly a good prospect.

    @Confused,

    Well, not sure as to which politics of Sourav you are referring to. They might be called hard decisions but rarely saw any other angle in Sourav’s decisions. He was one of the few ppl in the Indian cricket scenario who was pretty unbiased during his tenure. And always expected 100% from him.

    Cheers,
    HP

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  18. @ Confused and Mutiny :

    Sourav and Politics? Huh !!!
    Things seem to have reached pretty alarming heights. 😦

    Both of you, please ask your mamma and papa to take you to a good psychiatrist before it’s too late.

    @ Arnab :
    Kiran More has succeeded in what he wanted to do. I don’t really see Dalmiya coming back in the Indian Cricket scene (at least not in the near future). Therefore, unless there is a miracle of some sort, Sourav’s international career is pretty much over. All these Powars, Venus, Uthappas, SreeSanths will come in and go out like Dodda Ganesh, David Johnson, Sujith Somasundar etc used to do almost a decade back. The Souravs, Zaheers, Balajis, Nehras, Mongias will always be overlooked as were Utpal Chatterjee, Kanwaljeet Singh, Jatin Paranjape in the past.
    The Indian team will continue winning ‘close’ series (like 3-2, 2-1 etc) against stronger teams and one-sided series against weaker teams on home soil and will as always (not taking into consideration major portion of the Sourav-era) make a mockery of the game of cricket overseas.

    Under Sourav’s leadership we felt like we too could win series overseas against good teams. That thin ray of hope is also gone with Sourav.

    Nevertheless, a very fine post.

  19. “Aww come on—you say. Mr. Greatbong, just try to see beyond Sourav Ganguly for once.

    I would very much like to.

    Except there is an overweight dude blocking my vision—-one who bowls ultra-slow donkey drops, bats like Sunil Joshi, wears weird shades and is labelled an “all rounder” simply because we cannot decide out of batting and bowling which one he does worse”
    Arent u basically contradicting urself Arnab here? Ok Ramesh Powar is overweight and wears weird shades.So what he is not auditioning for Indian Idol or the role of Superman right? U say he bowls ultra slow donkey drops. But it was those ultra slow donkey drops which kept the run rate in check quite a number of times and took important wickets. I am not saying Powar is a champ, but he has put in a fairly good performance, dont just dismiss him outright. And he has played some decent knocks too.

    I agree with the issue of Dada’s unfair treatment, but the culprits are More & Co. Dont try to damn every one who came in after Dada resigned as captain.

  20. Sigh! The point I was trying to make was that Ganguly was closely alinged with the Dalmiya group during his captaincy days and specifically in the last 2 years. That allowed him to remain the captain even with rank bad performance. If pray Ganguly had nothing to do with Dalmiya, why would he go to Pawar and expressely disassociate himself from him, why would this current farce of Dalmiya being thrown out of CAB would occur since according to some HT reports, Buddhadeb is displeased that Dalmiya could not secure Ganguly’s position in the team. For those who are saying quota and best team, did I ever hurl the charge of parochialism at him?

    @Debolin,

    If you can make an argument without infantile personal attacks, only then speak to me, or you were trying to distinguish yourself from previous 2 people who had already asked me this question?

  21. @Confused,

    ok..Get your point.

    But, IMHO, just that playing politics is more than aligning with the current incumbents of the officialdom. Sourav tried to extract the best from the board for the team. There was rarely any sinister motive to his actions, that’s what I wanted to convey.

    Cheers,
    HP

  22. @AKP: Its very difficult to have a democratic system in place and not have it abused by career politicians.

    @Anon: And Dada has redeemed himself with a 71. Agree totally with your comment—and Cricinfo’s piece on Sreesanth’s breakdancing skills was really the low point in its nosediving coverage of cricket.

    @Naveen: I disagree with your opinion of Ramesh Powar having seen him bat and bowl. Done nothing wrong in the bowling part—-does this include the recent WI ODI tour? And do you really think, considering the way he bowls, that he deserved a place in the Test 14…considering that Kumble and Bhajji are also in the same 14.

    @Suyog: We need to give More a hitler moustache—that’s all.

    @CTSW: Stats prove that he did not play well against good teams? Those sixes over cover off Pollock, the out-of-the-ground onside lofted shots off Muralitharan, the sublime glides through off-side against Aquib Javed and the gang—-weak opposition? Dhoni’s technique will be exposed on fast pitches—-there is a reason why class batsmen do not swing their bats like him–it just does not work on all kinds of pitches. Maybe his hand-eye coordination will get him through a series or two but not more.

    @Mental Baba: I would think that the Pakistan tour did see Dada’s bat talking while others fell around him. Yet he could not be saved.

    @IndianArchie: I fail to see how making one 50 makes him good—he just scratches around at the crease. Even Sunil Joshi had a 50 and a six or two off Saqlain at the height of his power. And we know how good he was.

    @BG: Sourav should become a cricket administrator—–exactly the right person to nurture talent regardless of where he comes from. And the balls to back his choices even when faced with opposition.

    @Sudheer: Tantrik time then surely.

    @Joy Forever: Yes I have. A very apt reference in this context. Australia is harsh on its players—-but its harsh on all of them. Unlike India where there are different standards for different people based on their home Board. And as you said, for every Ian healy they kick out they get an Adam Gilchrist. End of story.

    And yes I know about the rediff reference.

    @Mutiny: Forgetting the fact that Parsi is a religious rather than linguistic identity, the answer would be yes. Unfortunately people like you cannot see beyond parochialism…can you? Which is why my Bongness overshadows the points I make in my post. Incidentally, if you go to the Orkut community on Ganguly, some of his most trenchant supporters are not Bongs. Surprise, surprise.

    @Shan: Well said.

    @An Ideal Boy: Pere khao, laddoo khao…

    @Manu: 🙂

    @HP: My opinion about Ramesh Powar is different—from what I saw of him, he looked wholly unimpressive.

    @deBoLiN: As long as we have players like Powar, we will be flat trick bullies. Do you really think he will be able to get bat to ball against the likes of Lee and McGrath in Australia in a slog situation?

    @Ratnakar: And there were times when it didnt—more often than not. The problem with bowling ONLY donkey drops is that once the opposition cottons onto the fact that it is the only thing you can do, you are in serious trouble. Consider Venkatesh Prasad. He was moderately successful with his slow leg cutter early on but once batsmen realized that his slow leg cutter is his stock ball and not his shock ball, they started taking him apart piece by piece. The last genuine donkey drop bowler (like Powar) was a certain Javed Miandad who you may recall was known for something else other than that.

    Decent knocks form Powar…mmm where?
    Average: 21.40
    Strike Rate: 67.29 (for a slogger it is pathetic)
    Highest: 54.

    @Confused: He may go to Pawar and disassociate with Dalmiya just because Pawar thinks that Sourav and Dalmiya are one and the same.

    Incidentally, Rahul Dravid is closely aligned with the More-Pawar group—so will you also say that Dravid played politics when it suited him.

    I don’t think so.

  23. I am quite sure Ganguly was deeply into politics, why else would he merit a place in the team after “rank bad performances”? After all Kaif is deeply into politics , which is why he can score some 10 runs in 10 innings and still stay in the team (and has he justified it in West Indies… look at his string of scores, proving the old adage, if the donkey is beaten hard enough, it can become a horse…. of course Kaif will never be a stallion, which is the difference btween him and Ganguly…. ah well…)… and then Sehvag did a lot of politics, as does Sachin, so that they can stay in the team, after failure after failure after failure, and Rahul Dravid, of course, was a junior Karunanidhi, when after a string of low scores so disastrous that at one point of time he came to be considered unfit for one-day cricket… they all retained their place in the side because of politics…ridiculous… the only thing political about Ganguly was his dismissal… and thats it

    @ Confused, i know where you got your moniker from, and before you call it a juvenile personal attack… I dont think someone who relies on HT for his morning news can expect anything but…

    @ Arnob, never come accross one post of yours where someone does not quote something you have said… and says priceless, or brilliant or something… its quite cool…

    @ Mutiny, would’ve protested for a Parsee if he was treated the way Ganguly was … but of course you won’t believe that because you confuse supporting Sourav as bong jingoism, and nothing will change your mind, so no use trying…

  24. Now Arnab, i never said that Powar is an all rounder. He is a bowler who can bat a bit, and on that score i called him a decent batsman.
    Average: 21.40
    Strike Rate: 67.29 (for a slogger it is pathetic)
    Highest: 54.
    Boss statistics can be misleading. How many matches did he actually bat? I mean he hardly batted in 10 matches. But forget that he is a bowler first and a batsman next. So average of 21.4 is good enough. Yes maybe he has just 1 stock delivery, but he has just made his debut, and u cant expect him to become Shane Warne. Every player starts off with a particular style, and they stick to it on that count. I am not saying Powar is another Shane Warne or even a Danish Kaneria, but come on boss let him play some more matches and then decide.
    Hey Arnab, target Kiran More & co for all their dirty tricks,but dont take it out on players who have done reasonably well.
    BTW i dont understand why guys here ro going so nostalgic over Nehra,he was highly inconsistent and erratic.

  25. @ Ratnakar: I can’t forget Nehra’s performance against England in the World cup in 2003, sick to begin with, bowling at 140 , many overs on the trot, puking his guts out and blasting through England. That was one spine-tingling performance!

    And oh well, who isn’t inconsistent and erratic…but such moments of brilliance are what you are remembered by.

    @ Confused: Well other people have already commented about your views on Sourav and politics and I wouldn’t repeat it. But seriously…even though Dalmiya and his group had Sourav as captain despite him not performing as well as he had in the past….I fail to see what Sourav was offering them to have himself in the team. I haven’t seen any evidence which says that Sourav gave any favours to the selectors or the board to have himself or somebody else in the team.

    Sourav always did his job to the best of his abilities. He gave his all to the team and to win. Ofcourse he would want to play and believe that he can do better, we can’t grudge him that. Thats how every player feels from Tendulkar to Ramesh Powar

    If there is anybody who should be criticised it’s the selectors. If they select someone for considerations other than merit, they are in the wrong and that too gravely. The earlier selectors were wrong if they kept Ganguly in the team for political reasons (NOT in return of favours from Ganguly, mind you). More and his gang are certainly wrong whichever way you look at it. They would keep taking out Ganguly for political reasons and under pressure and then keep bringing him back in due to pressure. Bunch of hyprocrits I say. When Mohinder Amarnath called the selectors a bunch of jokers, surely he was being generous.

  26. HP,

    Pointed noted. However I would still argue that if Ganguly had been taken to the task in the last two years, his stay in the international cricket could have been prolonged. The change of guard at BCCI hastened his departure but even with Dalmiya at the helm, I am not sure how long he would have lasted.

    And I really think that getting over parochialism is one of Ganguly’s abiding contribuion to Indian cricket for which he deserves our highest praise.

    @Dealer,

    ????

    btw, I wrote a post about why I am confused on my blog, you might check it:if interested.

    @GB,

    Dravid was the only choice for captaincy after Ganguly went. He was the in the prime of his carrer with a string of outstanding scores. Of course he had age on his side.

    I will not blame Dravid(yet) for playing politics, however Chappell did that, for sure. He took advantage of the change in guard in BCCI, and got Ganguly thrown out. Obviously, he was helped by Ganguly’s own poor performance.

    The point I have been trying to make is that due to politics, all our players suffer, Ganguly was not the first one nor he would be last one.

    I think you made the same point when you pointed out that the idea that Ganguly should be automatically selected if and when Dalmiya comes back is as stupid as keeping him out if he does not. The player selection should be independent of that.

  27. Gutsy,

    I don’t believe that numbers decide what is right and wrong. So, this other people telling is immaterial.

    I offer no comment on your statement that Ganguly was not offering anything in return, just a reminder that there is nothing called a free lunch in this world.

    Please go back and read my all comments in sequence. I think I have made my point sufficiently well.

    best

  28. @ Confused: Well when i said other people have talked about it, I didn’t mean to say that since more people share my thoughts (in this blog sequenc atleast), that gives more credence to our views. I literally meant not wanting to repeat something ad infinitum.

    As far as “nothing called a free lunch” goes…it’s a pessimistic viewpoint to perceive any scenario. Especially if we assume without proof that whatever is given in return for the “lunch” is wrong and despicable.

  29. I would never know why and how people accuse Sourav of playing politics. It becomes even more hypocritical from Pro Chappel folks. How in the world can an utter tripe of a bowler like VRV Singh play for India ? What is Irfan Pathan doing in West Indies if he is low on confidence and especially when Zaheer is getting tons of wickets in england ? Romesh Powar..he is not half the bowler(or batsman) Sunil Joshi was and that says a lot about his talent. SreeSanth, Munaf and VRV are the worst group of fast bowlers ever to play for India.

    Does anyone know where Murali Kartik is now ? I remember how people blamed Sourav for his failures saying Sourav never shows enough confidence in him and whenever Dravid is the captain he(Kartik) plays very well. Infact CricIndo even came with a detailed analysis on this.

    For the sake of Indian Cricket I pray/hope/wish that we lose every match as long as this team of clowns More and Chappel are around, Heck even JY Lele was better them.

  30. @Dealer: Thanks..

    @Sanjay: Very valid observation about Murali Kartik….

    @SPyne: To the victor belongs the spoils….well at least Kiran More has shown he can catch something.

    @Anon: And so he is.

  31. “For the sake of Indian Cricket I pray/hope/wish that we lose every match as long as this team of clowns More and Chappel are around, Heck even JY Lele was better them.”

    Well that attitude was shown pretty clearly by the Eden Gardens crowd in the ODI against SA. In the same coin, you should expect other people who don’t mind India losing, as long as Ganguly is out of the team.

    I agree that Chappel & co are not applying the same standards like say, with Kaif. So maybe Kaif doesn’t deserve to play. But that doesn’t take away the fact that neither did Ganguly in the last two years. Everyone makes a big noise about More’s statement that Ganguly cannot come back no matter what he does in domestic cricket. So let Ganguly prove it on the field that he still possesses the batting skills of old. Let him score tons of runs in Ranji, just like Waseem Jaffer did and now he’s the regular opener in tests. Oh why doesn’t someone criticise Jaffer’s selection now? Wasn’t it Chappel & co who recalled him?

    As someone said, Ganguly was not the first cricketer to be illtreated, nor will he be the last person, but for sure the biggest noise is made about him.

  32. Arnab,
    you feel Ramesh Powar bats like Sunil Joshi but in my opinion Sunil Joshi (even now,at the age of 36) is a better batter than Powar on any given day. His bowling and fielding are not all that bad but not good enough to keep the likes of Sourav and Zaheer out.

    The pathetic b****rd More won’t let Sourav make a comeback and that’s final. So let’s not keep any hopes and remember Sourav only as an ‘ex’ now. Simply because More and his men don’t believe in ‘LOGIC’.

    I fully agree with Sanjay when he says : “SreeSanth, Munaf and VRV are the worst group of fast bowlers ever to play for India”. They indeed are. Even three of them together can’t match a single Zaheer/Nehra.
    I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time now but couldn’t – Why are the selectors so keen on persisting with these three day after day?

    1. Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan both are in superb form.

    2. Rudra Pratap Singh has done exceedingly well in whatever limited number of opportunities he got to showcase his talent.
    3. None of these three looks like even inducing an edge to the slips which is a basic criterion to be a quicky.

    and last but not the least,
    4. None of these three belong to Mumbai or Maharashtra.

    Not a single valid reason. Then why are they being persisted with?

    ** I could have mentioned Shib Shankar Paul’s name as a young prospect but didn’t as if I did, the ‘bong flavour’ would have been added to that too.

  33. @ Confused :

    1. ” If you can make an argument without infantile personal attacks, only then speak to me”
    ………………….
    It was by no means a personal attack. I just doubted your (and Mutiny’s as well) present mental condition.

    2. “or you were trying to distinguish yourself from previous 2 people who had already asked me this question? “
    …………………..
    You are to some extent right. The previous 2 people who asked you the same question had thought you were illogical and biased. I thought you were kiddish and may be mentally a bit stressed too.

  34. I had asked you for a post on this long back. Done but still a few points need to be made
    1. Ganguly avoided parochialism but was also responsible for some adamant backing of some non-performing players – prime exibhit #1 = Mohemmad Kaif. Dont tell me Kaif was superb at the beginning of his career and pathectic now. He has been consistently like this from the beginning. Ironically, this specimen is keeping out Ganguda now. And this specimen is supposed to be a great fielder which masks his other shortcomings. But he goes out and drops a thousand cathces and costs India atleast a couple of test mathes from short leg/silly point.
    2.Chappel’s role – I think he hasnt been getting the brickbats he deserves in the press and you havent foucssed on him either. Dropping Bhajji for 2 tests and claiming Shewag was good enough – is this the cricketing genius for which we paid?

  35. “Well that attitude was shown pretty clearly by the Eden Gardens crowd in the ODI against SA.”

    Deep3rdman – And why was Mumbai Crowd Booing Sachin Tendulkar then ? Let me guess, If Mumbai Crowd boos Sachin Tendulkar, they are booing his performance but If Eden Crowds does the same they are rooting for the opposition, isn’t it ? I have watched games at Wankhede and other stadiaand trust me it doesn’t take long to boo your team, all they need to do is put up a pathetic performance, which is what Indian team did @ Edens against SAffies.

    And no, it’s not really about Kaif (Infact I am one of the biggest Kaif fan). It’s about the dirty politics being played to keep Ganguly out, here are a few examples :-

    1. Ganguly was kept out because winning combination not be disturbed which was discontinued after Gangs was dropped.

    2. Didn’t Chappel accuse Ganguly of shuffeling the batting order which he himself has tried extensively only to call it experiements and blah

    3. 5 bowlers theory was floated because India needed a strong attack to bowl the opposition which basically was nothing but another trick to keep Ganguly out of Playing XI. The moment Gangs was dropped, we reverted back to 4 bowler attack.(Needless to say had we played one extra bowler in WI, we would be 2-0 up in the test series)

    4. Dravid opening, I vaguly remember this one being a big issue when Gangs was the captain but it became okay when Dravid himself opted to do so.

    5. No player is allowed to say anything about Ganguly (read recent Verru’s Interview), since when did he become the untouchable and for what crime ?

    Lastly – If it helps you getting your perspective right me, then neither am I a Bengali nor do I live in Calcutta (or Bengal).

  36. “Everyone makes a big noise about More’s statement that Ganguly cannot come back no matter what he does in domestic cricket. So let Ganguly prove it on the field that he still possesses the batting skills of old. Let him score tons of runs in Ranji, just like Waseem Jaffer did and now he’s the regular opener in tests. Oh why doesn’t someone criticise Jaffer’s selection now? Wasn’t it Chappel & co who recalled him? ”

    Deep3rdMan – Before you post tripe like that, Get your facts right. :-

    2005-2006 Ranji Trophy

    Jaffer = 112.60 Gangs = 102.00 (Bowling = 16.90)

    2004-2005 Ranji Trophy

    Jaffer = 50.08, Gangs = 51.00

    Also it is too early to rave about Jaffer, let’s wait for couple more series before passing judgment on him.

  37. @ Sanjay: Excellent point about Jaffer.

    Please let us not forget that WI are a number 8 side, and haved been suitably whacked by every other team. That it trounced Dravid men does not change a thing (except that the “new look” and “mentally much stronger” Indian side played shittily), and no. 8 seems a fair rating for them, whatever way you look at it.

    Once Jaffer scores a 50 against Australia in Melbourne, I will be carrying Crappy-Chappy’s photograph in my wallet. (In fact- this was one of those areas he could have outscored Ganguly- if Sourav was ever guilty of making a bad decision about somebody, IMHO it was Akash Chopra.)

    Had he pushed for Shikhar Dhawan, I would have said- “he is a bastard, but he surely knows what he’s doing”.

  38. Wasn’t someone here mourning about lost hopes of India ever winning a series abroad, like he had started to hope when Ganguly was at the helm? What now? So in spite of all the poor selection, worst set of fast bowlers and a spineless captain, the Dravid-Chappell duo has won a series in the Windies for India–the first time after 1971.
    Definitely a big highlight added to Chappell’s resume.
    And Rahul Dravid… aah, here’s a captain who leads his men from the front with his performances to speak for him. Not through his mouth and not shooting over other men’s shoulders. If people here still want to put down Chappell and co. it will really seem a case of sour grapes 🙂

  39. @Deep3rdMan: Yes I totally accept. We have defeated the worst team in the world on a minefield of a pitch after conceeding a lead of 200 and more in the 3rd Test (we were in a follow-on position to West Indies–a fate that befalls no other decent cricket playing country). Indeed a big highlight of Dravid-Chappell. Kindly start dancing.

    This is not to cast aspersions on Dravid’s batting which was awesome nonetheless. But if this performance after a 4-1 drubbing in the ODI sets you gloating then boy oh boy…

  40. Yes yes no doubt had the great Ganguly been leading the team, we would have won 4-0, and inflicted innings defeats on the windies in all of them notwithstanding the weather. Ya so the 4-1 ODI loss was a drubbing to us, but wins of 6-1, 4-1 and 5-1 against Sri Lanka, Pak and England are nothing to take note of. In fact, we should have won 7-0, 5-0 and 6-0, which is what Dada would have done, had he been playing.

    To quote Sidhu (quoting from Shaw?): If Ifs and buts were pots and pans then there would be no tinker.

    Hoo boy. This is what is called in Hindi: “Frustrated cat claws pillar”. 😀

  41. ur parochial articles on Ganguly end up in the same condition… bongs on one side supporting u in lickin his ass and others in the opposite camp… wonder why u write them???

  42. can’t reallyu understand what ur problem in life is… when Indian was winning one days under Dravid… u were whining bout not winning tests… now that India has won a test series outside sub-continent after 20 years, u still have a problem… u r as confused as any other bong… so Oxymoron Da, left or right???

  43. A few months ago Sri lanka were playing sick cricket. They even lost to Bangladesh at Bogra. But look at the way they thrashed England, and that too in England. Now England dont deserve to play ODI cricket…but its the team that India thrashed a while back. The point is that except for teams like Australia – ODI’s are very unpredictable- the team which plays on the given day wins and for other teams you cannot extrapolate current form into 2007 WC. By now means would I say that Chappell or Dravid have transformed the ODI side to a great side and it took a 4-1 defeat by the Windies to shut up those faux pundits at foolish Cricinfo. If India had made been made to look a great ODI side, its due to the coming of age of 1 player- MS Dhoni whom Saurav Ganguly brought into the side.

    Regarding this test series victory…why they should have beat them 3-0 or 4-0. The fact that they labored to victory on a lottery of a pitch is no fair result on their abilities. Also Rahul Dravid batted a bit like SR Waugh in Manchester, 97….and not to forget Kumble. Harbhajan Singh didnt bowl anything special but got a fifer in Innings1. In the light of the current WI team , this overseas victory is therefore just a statistical acheivement. I wish people like Jaffer luck but their real test would be in SA later this year. Plus that no 6 spot (Kaif) is still dicey.

    The dumping of Saurav after Pakistan clearly exposed Dravid, Chappell and More. Plus India is not exactly a special team without Saurav by any means in ODI’s (as pointed out by GB- venugopal Rao…now if thats not politics what is? ). My point is since Saurav is a proven performer, he should be at least be kept in contention, especially considering the fact that we dont have a talent pool like Australia. Totally ignoring him and the kind of negative comment which More made smacks of personal grudge and there is no place for that in a team selected on merit.

    Keep pointing out such lacunae in team selection from time to time GB- if not for anything then to get under the skin of people like Indian.

  44. @Deep3rdMan: Whose the frustrated cat and whose the pillar anyway ? 😀
    Bhangra kar lo bhai, isse behtar mauka to milne walah hai nahin. My o my, we’ve almost made a wicket taker out of Jerome Taylor 😀 and a new ball bowler out of Wavell Hinds. 😀 Now after a month of wobbling in sand, 1 match has been won. Against a team world ranked 8. 😀 No doubt it’s time to get drunk.

    @Indian: “now that India has won a test series outside sub-continent after 20 years”- of course, Zimbabwe is right in between Allahabad and Kanpur.

    But I guess Zimbabwe doesn’t count, it was ranked 9th.

    But guess what !!!???!!!! The World no. 8 team is a superpower, just a centimeter or so below the Lloyd, Richards, Holding, Roberts combo.

    Parliament kab ja rahe ho bhai ? 😀

    It is such fantabulous logic from time to time that keeps us from appreciating the brilliance of Rahul Dravid (and no barb intended here).

  45. This is more of a Cricinfo rant than anything else. Had been looking for a forum to vent, since Cricinfo doesn’t have one, I am hoping to find a sympathetic audience here 🙂 I trawl through the online media but it is the same raputures everywhere. Can someone say out loud that this emperor has very little clothes?

    Sportswriters like Dileep Premchandran have been a rabid Ganguly hater for such a long time on Cricinfo, that I am suspicious of his objectivity. He insinuated that India lost at Karachi because the team was forced to play Ganguly, so Dravid had to open thus exposing the rest of the team to their marauding bowlers when he went out cheaply. I recall another Cricinfo writer (couldn’t find the 5th day’s match report on the cricinfo site, so don’t recall who it was)complaining after India lost at Bangalore in 2005 that having an out of form player like Ganguly puts the rest of the team under pressure. Looks like you can never win. Dravid has since opened in one dayers & tests with no Ganguly around, & we have lost, but Cricinfo has been strangely silent.

    Unfortunately for Ganguly, we never played too many one dayers immediately after the 2003 World Cup, & the ones we did were against superstar teams like Australia & Pakistan, or away fixtures against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup & the Nat West Cup in England. None were easy pickings, & after a long layoff after the world cup (we only played a tri series at home with NZ & Aus), we just didn’t get into the groove. And this was the time that England was playing only against weak teams like West Indies & building up their strengths. Also, Ganguly & Tendulkar were out for many matches due to health or suspension, Srinath had retired, Wright was moving out & there was an unsettled air in spite of the great showing in the World Cup. Obviously not a good time for a captain to lose his batting form.

    Fortunately, Dravid has come at a better time. He is in good nick, we have been playing weak or weakened teams (SA were without their best one day player Gibbs & spinner Boje, Pakistan was without Afridi & Shoaib Akhtar, England without most of their Ashes contingent) at home, so there has been enough time to experiment & get players back into form. A few months back I would have said that if Sehwag & Kaif play another 30 matches they would hit some kind of form, just by the law of averages. I wish we were so accomodating for Ganguly. But then in Indian cricket (& even Indian life?) it seems that you are spent & over the hill if you cross 30. Youth is king, not just to marketers but to cricket administrators, but as Jayasuria showed last week, age doesn’t have to go quietly into the night. A good team needs both, & if there was one thing that we lacked in West Indies, it was some good old fashioned experience.

    Also, for all those who show up Dravid & Tendulkar’s batting average when Ganguly was captain to underscore how they were the ones who won those tests, is there a mathematical formula that converts captaincy into hard numbers? One farsighted bowling change = 30 runs, or winning the toss & electing to field = 100 runs…

  46. You know the truth but you cannot handle the truth and that is the problem.Dravid is facing weaker bowlers and ganguly had to face stronger bowlers!!!!!!!!!!Joke of the century….Check their stats guys….While you are at it check their stats for the times they played against south africa and australia away from home and it will clearup the fog…..You will be a little less blinded by your regionalism….All the people started equating great captaincy with removing one’s shirt, coming late for toss etc…..If ganguly won anything it was always because of dravid,sachin etc….otherwise he is not worth a penny….

  47. You guys are really crzy and blinded.Sourav could not win against the same team in 2002 and then you quote ICC rankings.Where were we in the ICC rankings when Sourav was kicked out?At the bottom.All the bongs get together here and masturbate…..

  48. Conclusion after reading the last comments: There should be certain IQ/ perversion thresholds before you’re allowed to own an ethernet card.

  49. Just look at ICC ratings of players. You will find Ganguly below Shoaib Malik and Daniel Vettor, lower than 40th spot!

    The cricket politics is an independent issue. With or without politics, Saurav Ganguly does not deserve a space in the Indian team today, possibly he didn’t deserve one in 2003 too.

  50. Yeah, exactly. After the player is out of action for over 6 months, “look at his ICC rating”.

    One for Sardar jokes.

  51. Harvinder – despite being out of team for over 6 months, He is still above Wasim Jaffer, Yuvraj Singh, Md. Kaif, Gambhir, Dhoni and that makes the entire Indian batting lineup – Dravid and Lax.

  52. Hi Dude,

    Think you are supporting Ganguly just bcoz ur a fellow Bong.How long u expect to keep a non performer in a team? When you want to comeback all you need is a match winning innings or a superb century say when was the last time he produced either of this?Yes i agree his removal from the side reeks politics but then wat when he himself was playing the samething? Remember Chapell’s letter about VVS Laxman? to this day neither SG nor Laxman have denied that ever happnd!

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