A Cricket Rant

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Okay you nincompoops and asinine asses who call yourself the “Lok Janashakti” ( English translation: lynch mob) Party. Lay off. And get a life. Seriously.

A group of people, claiming to be supporters of the Lok Janshakti Party, on Monday vandalised the house of cricketer Mohammad Kaif after his poor show in the ongoing One-day series against South Africa.

Kaif scored 8 and 10 in the two One-dayers against South Africa who drubbed India in both the matches, leading to strong criticism back home.

“A number of them tried to storm the house, broke some electric bulbs and plastered the name plate with mud,” police said.

[Times of India]

If there is anything worse than watching Ajit Agarkar bowling short-and-wide or Dinesh Mongia at the crease flapping about like a pomfret fish out of water, it has to be the sheer imbecility of the “passionate Indian fan”—–specifically the ones who think that the physical safety and personal property of the player and his family are fair targets for their so-called anguish.

Incidentally, on the subject of idiots and half-wits, back off Somnath Chatterjee. And Vijay Kumar Malhotra. And Amar Singh. And all those “agitated”, apparently jobless members of parliament who are out to score political points and get their names in the headlines by fanning public hysteria and asking for immediate recriminations against the team management. Quite frankly, honourable members of the august houses, the last persons who should be speaking of performance and accountability are you people—at least the Indian cricket team has and will have days of glory. Which is more than I can I say about any of you.

Team India’s 106-run loss on Sunday has sent political tempers blazing. On Monday, Members of Parliament (MP), cutting across party lines, attacked coach Greg Chappell over his comments following the thrashing that Dravid and his men received at the hands of South Africa. One of them even threatened a privilege motion against the Australian.

“If MPs are willing, a privilege motion can be moved against Chappell,” Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Choudhary told a private news channel.

Chappell, on Sunday evening in Cape Town, had said that he was not surprised by the sharp criticism from the MPs, following India’s poor show in the One-dayers so far.

The elected leaders were doing their job, the Australian had said. “I am not surprised. They (MPs) are paid to do so in Parliament,”

[Times of India]

Dear Ms. Chowdhury —- here is a simpler suggestion. Rather than passing a motion against Chappell, just say that the great Greg mentally harassed you, a woman, by casting aspersions on your character—–i.e. by supposedly hinting that it is your job to emit hot air. And book him under the new Domestic Violence Act. Just like Azim Premji was summoned by the court for harassing the wife of a Wipro employee because Wipro paid men “dating allowances” (whatever that means).

In all honesty, Ms. Renuka, Chappell was not calling MPs paid protesters. If he really wanted to say that, he would have just shown you his middle finger. What he was doing was singing that eternal favourite from “Amar Prem” to console the dejected Suresh Raina, who was upset at MPs criticizing his batting style:

Kuch to log kahenge,
Logon ka kaam hain kahena,
Choro bekar ki baaton main
Kaheen beet na jaaye Suresh Raina.

Which brings me to Greg Chappell. More specifically his pathetic man-management skills, his vindictive, authoritarian streak which brooks no dissent and his propensity for stating the obvious in a pedantic, management-guru “ponytail” style. One of the bogeys he has is “performance”—an Australian ethic which his supporters in the press (more of them later) go ga-ga about. If anyone points out one more time how we need to bring the Australian ethic where an Ian Healy and a Steve Waugh and a Bevan are eased out ruthlessly the moment their performance dips, then I swear I shall start singing “Chilai Chun Chun”. The reason why this works in Australia is because they have exceptional talent waiting in the wings—a Gilchrist, a Hussey and a Michael Clarke.

We however have Badrinath and Hemang Badani and Venugopal Rao. Which is why we need VVS Laxman chalked in to the side (something that is being done but too late), despite the fact that he has shaky knees. Because he has a greater chance of surviving and actually scoring on a South African pitch than specialist batsmen like the Mongias and the Rainas, whose higher fitness level counts for zilch if they spend most of the batting time inside the pavilion.

This is where Chappell has really hurt Indian cricket talent. Using the bogey of performance and fitness, he has gotten rid of people who do not see things the Chappell way and in their stead concentrated on packing the team with more pliable, younger men with no baggage and no trenchant opinions. Some “management-friendly” players like Kaif, the perennially underperforming old “young” man, have been put on a long leash while a few others have been sought to be weeded out, based on rather dodgy considerations.

Which brings me to the press. No I am not talking about the pearls of wisdom of Ravi Shastri like how Gautam Gambhir would be sending the South Africans on a leather hunt. I am talking about India’s leading cricket-themed website Cricinfo and their cricket experts. This is what I said about them once, long ago.

And Cricinfo. Man I used to really like these guys—unlike the guys at TOI they understand their cricket. They still do I think but in the Ganguly issue have totally lost their objectivity.

Ever since I read that Ganguly does not give them quotable quotes and instead pampers to a select coterie of journalists —I knew that the staffers were waiting with their knives out ready to plunge it in when he slipped up. And slip up he did and out came the daggers. A picture of Cricinfo staffers with Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Kaif, who had dropped in for a casual visit, kind of hinted which way the PR river was flowing.

Anand Vasu opines:

For all he has contributed to this team, Ganguly deserved a better farewell – if indeed that’s what this is – than being abruptly dropped. He deserved to walk away into the sunset, head held high, not be nudged out, first by coach, then the media, the public, and finally the selectors. But then again, with his batting, his behavior and his almost stubborn refusal to let go, he barely gave anyone a chance to do any better by him.

What behaviour Mr Vasu? The bad behaviour of snubbing Cricinfo reporters?

And also this very illuminating sentence from Dileep Premchandran, Cricinfo journalist.

The coterie that once surrounded him (Ganguly), and contributed in no small measure to the media disenchantment that cost him the top job, stayed at a respectful distance,

Yes. It was “media disenchantment” that cost Sourav the job.

In sharp contrast to the way Cricinfo staffers were falling over themselves to critique everything Sourav did when he was the captain, this time they have been refreshingly “balanced’. When Rahul Dravid pulls out with an injury at a time when the Indian team is in the pits, Cricinfo calls it an injury and leaves it at that.

Rewind. October 31, 2004. Just before the Nagpur test, Sourav pulls out. Cricinfo reports it:

Ganguly, 32, pulled out on the morning of the Nagpur Test, which Australia won by 342 runs, complaining of groin pain. Medical investigations – bone-scan, MRI and diagnostic ultrasound – “revealed intra-articular pathology of the right hip joint noted by increased synovial fluid accumulation,” which translates in layman’s terms to an injury or inflammation of the hip joint leading to an increase in the lubricating fluid around it. And it can cause pain to radiate down to the thigh and even to the knee.

So far so good. Now comes the barely-concealed innuendo.

The diagnosis has not entirely placated certain sections of the Indian media, who have called Ganguly’s integrity into question after his sudden withdrawal from the Nagpur Test. One Mumbai paper claimed he had pulled out in “a fit of pique”, when he discovered that his request for a spin-friendly surface had been denied

The more charitable of us would chide Cricinfo for giving publicity to a questionable, unsupported allegation. The more cynical of us would say that the reason Cricinfo mentions it is because they are also part of that “certain section”.

But now, things have changed (Sambit Bal from Cricinfo with Chappell on the left) and there is “no media disenchantment” with the captain or coach. Everyone is everyone’s friends and the reporting is collegial and forgiving. Chappell’s numerous tactical gaffes are not commented on, uncomfortable questions are not asked and an injury is reported as an injury and not as a contributory factor to any defeat that may follow. (In contrast Sourav’s profile on Cricinfo says: “The beginning of the end came in 2004 at Nagpur – when his last-minute withdrawal played a part in Australia clinching the series”).

Concluding, and it has been a long post, things are indeed dire. We have been at the receiving end of two more than 100 run-margin drubbings. We have been getting defeated on subcontinental soil pretty regularly in recent times. We would have collapsed to a sub-100 score against Australia had it not been for the rain. Our best batsman is injured. Our best young player may not be available for the World Cup. And our coach —well you get the picture.

More than anything else, we need inspiration at the crease. From where it will come from, I do not know.

But we need something even more than that.

And that is for people to understand that while Dravid’s men may be just losing matches, it is the “passionate fans” engaging in violent protest and the useless politicians fanning the frenzy for self-publicity who are, in the final analysis, the real losers.

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135 thoughts on “A Cricket Rant

  1. Thank you for calling Cricinfo out. Check out their snarky comments on Ganguly in the weekly domestic cricket roundup that was posted today – http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/270075.html.

    Another incident I recall of their double standards was when Ganguly was drafted in to the team in Pakistan. Cricinfo claimed that to accomodate Ganguly Dravid had to open the innings, but Dravid got out early & started the slide. Ergo we lost because of Ganguly. Later Chappel opens the one-day batting with Dravid (with Ganguly nowhere in the team) but Cricinfo doesn’t seem to mind that much any more. Not a word about the batting order!!! I even remember after we lost to Pak in Bangalore (when Ganguly was captain), they claimed that his bad form affected the entire batting line up. Ergo, one bad apple (Ganguly) spoilt the entire batting order. It’s so sad that it’s funny…

  2. We need Dada back…
    We dont need a technically perfect captain… we need a captaiin who thinks from his heart not from mind…
    and the name comes to my mind is the lion hearted ( tiger hearted) dada…

    Thanks,
    Ezaz

  3. I agree entirely – Chappello is a liability, and I knew as much when he dumped Ganguly because he wasn’t a pliable yes-man. What upsets me is that he’s sucked Dravid into his intolerance of dissent, and the entire Indian team is paying the price.

    As I said over a year ago, I hope India exits after the first round from the World Cup and unceremoniously at that. Chappell could have no more fitting send-off.

  4. Confused,

    No, not at all. I just realise that short-term pain can lead to long-term gain.

    Current methods and ideas about coaching are never going to work for the Indian team, as has been demonstrated time and again over the past 18 months. Chappell is a wacko, and the sooner he’s out, the better it’ll be for Indian Cricket in the long-run.

    Given a choice between an Indian team that makes the semi-final of the World Cup and one that wins Test series on a regular basis home and away, I’d go for the latter. I don’t think we can achieve either with Chappell. The way things work in BCCI administration, though, you need something big to get rid of a favourite son. And a World Cup collapse would be just the thing.

  5. Drinker,

    Fair enough.

    However couple of points:

    a. India had initially performed well under Chappell.

    b. When was the last time India was winning series abroad, I mean consistently?

    I think we have to accept that we simply don’t have the best team in the world. The real short sightedness is in preparing spinning pitches at home-then obviously India comes up short on pacy wickets. That my friend is the story of Indian cricket.

  6. Good points all around. I especially agree with your comments on Cricinfo’s reporting in recent times. Add Prem Panicker & Co at Sightscreen to the group who have suddenly run out of points to criticize the team on.

  7. Confused,

    a. India really did well under Chappell? Away from home, against decent opposition?

    b. Between 2002 and early 2004, India drew series in the WI, England and Australia, and won in Pakistan. OK, we won in the WI this year, but other than that, has there been anything to rival those two or so years of performance since? (Besides which, we’ve also lost to Australia and England at home, IIRC.)

    c. I accept our team isn’t all that great – but given current players and resources, I maintain it could be doing better than the abject humiliations it’s currently being subjected to in South Africa. If they’d lost a series like Australia lost the Ashes in 2005, I’d praise them for their fight and persistence against strong opposition. Lately, though, they’ve just been stupid.

  8. a. India had initially performed well under Chappell.
    >Actually India only performed well against weak teams and at home. Lanka’s record in India is dismal and so is England’s ODI overall record in last few years. Only place where we did considerably well was in Pakistan in ODI.
    BTW do remember that we couldnt defeatd English in Tests and lost to Pakistan in Pak.

    b. When was the last time India was winning series abroad, I mean consistently?

    >>No winning the series but for a good time under S/JW India did quite well in both forms of game. Here are some highlights.
    Twice reached ICC champion trophy final
    Reached WC final
    Drew the away test series against England and Ausstralia
    Won ODI and Test series in Pakistan.

  9. Nice Post. As abominable as this act of vandalizing Kaif’s home at Allahabad is, I think that this would not have been a bolt out of the blue for Indian cricketers. Shastri’s home was vandalised too after his “superb” batting in 1992 WC, Pataudi’s hair was pulled in 67, I myself saw some Bengalis call Saurav horrible names when he fielding beside the boundary at Bangalore…Kapil ..even Kapil was not spared as far as abuse goes, and we all know how quickly the flower garlands turned to cow dung cake ones as fortunes fluctuate. Yes it is fickle…as is the sudden euphoria and eulogizing when the team wins 1 series. This is therefore an occupational hazard of the Indian cricketer and one that he can do nothing about. No amount of editorials like ” are we true cricket lovers? ” aint gonna change nothing…..even a blind man can tell on which venue is a match being played from the crowd reaction to when a boundary is hit – Chester-le Street or Guwahati.

    The same goes with the reaction of MPs too. For some hot masala discussion, watch this video…

    http://videos.streetfire.net/video/4e609509-e3bf-40fb-bbd7-988500e48b15.htm

    Coming to Cricinfo…its an interesting story. When they started targetting Bengali journalists back in 2004 for relentlessly backing Saurav, the accusation was valid. Saurav was like a golden goose on whom the sales of dailies depended. But as you (GB) raised, why were they so peeved that they were backing Saurav. The answer was simple…Ganguly didnt give two hoots to Cricinfo. But Cricinfo’s writers have shown their true colors and alleigances after Dravid’s bad patch. ….I mean…after their allegations they sounded like …”We are high priests of journalism…fearing or favouring none…expect nothing short of objective reporting from us”. That mask has long been swept away …..the Cricinfo- Dravid- Chappell threesome pointed out by GB with customary insightful perspicaciousness….also say minor everyday stuff like turning a blind eye to say stuff like Dravid’s tactical errors after having SA on ropes at Newlands…the match report would have been radically different if you swapped SG and RD as captains.

    That brings to the question as to what makes say a Dileep Premachandar or a Anand Vasu’s opinion so heavily discussed compared to say some ever changing TOI correspondent or an IE journalist. The reason is visibility or exposure. Most people outside India who dont see live cricket depend on the speed of the internet to gather their views on what they missed. So they read the bulletins and the “verdicts” and try to visualise what happened on the field. Cricinfo has very slyly carried out a ‘Dravid and Chappell is God” agenda and given a rather distorted (but successful) view of Ganguly is the root of all evil theory. Now whether thats fair or not is another question…but a regular reader knows what these guys are gonna say even before they read the report. Do you read match reports if u see a match telecast…I dont…unless its a great journo or an expert. But Cricinfo is here to stay and so are these men….in a world of outsourcing….the Andrew Millers are slowly gonna be replaced by the new Indian kids …in fact so much so that I seriously think that Jenny Thompson should seriously consider marrying one of these newbies to ensure a long career at Cricinfo. It is upto the reader therefore for discernment when choosing what to read and what not to when reading Cricinfo. I listen to Ian Chappell’s podcast 3 times a day but never go near a Tim De Lisle blog. You decide what you wanna read…but always judge for yourself. There are plenty of websites online which show cricket…and even more which show highlights.

    Notice the tone now….”are you trying to say they are not trying their best? ” when Dravid is under the cosh; in stark contrast to the adding-fuel-to-the-fire reports when Ganguly was suffering. Now the roles of the sycophant and the objective person has been reversed in a strange twist of irony.

    India always performs badly in SA true….but never this bad in odi’s. I fondly remember the polishings that Sachin, Dravid, Azhar and even the man- who-cant play-fast bowling leftie to bowlers like Pollock or Ntini. Sure we lost….but the batters out there didnt look as impotent as most of them out there now. So let unruly fan behaviour obfuscate the fact that Chappell has achieved very little in his tenure. Criticism is therefore inevitable..especially when its due. You backed a bunch of young players who didnt perform…the tactics didnt come off…unimaginiative captaincy…all these are to be seen. Why should therefore Chappell or Dravid be above criticism ..even if criticism just like “verdicts” dont serve any purpose? I only pray from a WC point of view (as Chappell is immovable till March 2007) India with or without any particular player turns things around from here. Otherwise…its back to square one.

    “Kuch to log kahenge,
    Logon ka kaam hain kahena,
    Choro bekar ki baaton main
    Kaheen beet na jaaye Suresh Raina.”

    Lol…made my day. 🙂

  10. Thank you for calling out Cricinfo. As yourfan pointed out, people like me who don’t live in India depend on them for almost all cricket news. So when I read things like this snarky dig at Ganguly (twice) in Sreeram Veera’s weekly update on the Ranji scene – http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/270075.html – I have to wonder what exactly is going on with them.

    I have seen so many instances of Cricinfo’s double standards I have lost count. When Ganguly made his (brief) comeback in Pakistan, they claimed that to accomodate him Dravid had to open the innings, but he got out cheaply & so we lost. Some months later when Dravid opens the innings in ODI’s & we lose, there is not a mention of anything being wrong with that strategy. Why, when India lost to Pak in Bangalore, Cricinfo’s theory was that having someone like Ganguly in the team made all the other batsmen impotent since there was too much pressure on them to succeed. Umm, what about Tendulkar & his failures? India wins the toss in a turning pitch & let’s England bat in Bombay & we get wiped out by what by then has become their second 11. But does Cricinfo criticize Dravid’s stupidity in chosing to field? Then again when Chappell flips a bird to the Calcutta spectators & then brazens it out, Cricinfo doesn’t mind. After all it’s not Ganguly getting into pangas with match referies for slow over rates…

    To me Cricinfo has lost all credibility as a trustworthy, independant news source. Unfortunately, I then have to depend on the desi papers for Indian cricket, & they are as bad. At least the Cricinfo guys have their grammar & composition fundas correct!

    Regarding yourfan’s theory of the origins of Cricinfo’s Ganguly hatred, this item on ex-Cricinfo writer Amit Varma’s blog bears it out – http://indiauncut.blogspot.com/2005/03/sourav-ganguly-and-politburo.html. Ever since that I have been watching out for the number of exclusives that Cricinfo gets with Dravid & Chappell :-).

  11. Greatbong, great post as usual. My 2 cents on the subject of dada. I am a Bengali and I was never a fan of Dada’s till the whole universe and Chappell turned against him. Unlike a lot of Bengalis, I am not a blind worshipper of Dada even though I support his determination to come back into the team at all costs. I have always been a supporter of underdogs & truth be told, the Royal Bengal Tiger is, at this moment, an underdog. But I donot see Dada like a God-like being…..just a human being, albeit with diminishing skills but the heart of an lion. Like all humans, he has his strengths and weaknesses. I have no doubts that dada used politics to his benefit when it suited him. When Kumble was being touted as an alternate, viable captain during one of several run-less pathches of dada the captain, he pushed the case of Harbhajan with all his might to such an extent that Kumble no longer was assured of a place in the playing eleven, forget about captaincy. Same with Laxman, there was time when VVS was also being touted in some circles (check out Prem’s coverage of Challenger’s in 2002) as captaincy material. But when VVS’ form slipped, Dada pushed Dinesh-what-do-I-do- Mongia into the team (remember the WC 2003 omission of Laxman). Dada also has no small ego, after all he also suppressed, the best that he could, the career of Murali Kartik, who had given Dada an expletive laden send-off in a Ranji match after dismissing him (that kartik is not up to International level is besides the point). The point is, dada is no doodh ka dhula hua insaan and those who live by the sword die by the sword.

    That’s what happened when Dada confronted another man with an even bigger ego than his, Greg Chappell. the rest, as they say, is history. Aided and abetted by Cricinfo staffers (pen is mightier than sword has never been truer than in this case), Rahul-boo-hoo-i-wanna-be-captain-boo-hoo-Dravid ( I couldnot believe this guy had the balls to backstab dada, but like in an agatha christie novel, it’s always the guy you least suspect), Anil-disgruntled-Kumble, and a few “management-friendly” players, Chappell displaced dada from captaincy.

    Now it is Dravid who is in the hot seat, but uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Already he is feeling the heat. And no matter what Cricinfo says, things are brewing in the Indian camp. Cricinfo may try its best to make things look hunky-dory with the squad… but is it? Already we have 1 story, denied, as usual in an interview with Cricinfo, that Dravid had a serious altercation with Chappell before the 3rd one-dayer. Team is losing consistently, “processes” are not working, Dravid/Chappell cannot spot match-winners like Dada could (e.g. Sehwag, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Balaji, Yuvraj, Kaif, Irfan the bowler, Dhoni by Dada vs Raina, Rao, Powar, Irfan the batsman by Dravid/Chappell) and lastly, bottomline, Dravid is just not good enough as captain, no matter what statistics people come up with. Just ask 1 question to yourself, even Dada-baiters, if you had to choose a Captain (Not batsman) to play in a match that would decide whether you live or die, who would you choose: dada or Dravid. I bet any amount of money that if this scenario ever happens in real life, all these Sambit Bals, Premachandrans and Vadyanathans would pick Dada to save their asses.

    Dravid should also remember “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” and learn from Dada’s history. Those who don’t learn from history are apt to repeat it. And history shows that Dada was back-stabbed for power/captaincy by someone he trusted. And same can happen to Dravid. dada had self-lessly backed and made the careers of almost half of the players in the Indian squad/periphery of the squad. Due to the autocratic nature of the current regime, most of them are quiet….. for now…..but they know what actually happened during dada’s ouster (not the Cricinfo version). And most of India agrees that Dada’s ouster, although correct in terms of performance, was UNFAIR and UNGENTLEMANLY. Dada has his supporter’s in the squad (remember the gag order on players in October 2005…… if all team members were unanimous that Dada had to go, then why the Gag order) and don’t be surprised if Dravid gets a dose of the same medicine that he gave Dada.

  12. Getting inspired by editorial from Times of India about shunning cricket :-))

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/OPINION/Editorial/TODAYS_EDITORIAL_Republic_of_Cricket/articleshow/606210.cms

    May I suggest, lets rename BCCI to BBCCI i.e Board of Baseball and Cricket Control in India.

    There are lot of advantages of promoting baseball in India.

    1) Indians can easily switchover from cricket to baseball, as basics remain the same.

    2) New advertising source for pepsis and cokes.

    3) New grounds, new kits, new referees, new commentators, new critics etc. hence overall job generation.

    4)India will come more closer to America and Japan.
    ( Call centers guys can discuss yesterdays match before asking for credit card details )

    5) More politicians can get involved in sports (whomsoever feels left out ).

    6) Not in many nations is baseball popular hence competition is less, “field is open for India”. ( Not like Soccer or Footie or Tennis ).

    7) We all will be saved from age old debate about “making turning or bouncy pitches”

    8) India loses in baseball …”OK , we are new to this game, we require at least 30 years to be world class, we are what Kenya is to world cricket “.

    9) Bollywood movies on theme of baseball can find new a market among Hollywood studios. Hollywood -Bollywood synergy. New Lagaan on theme of baseball can surely win academy award.

    Last but certainly not the least …

    10) If we loses in Cricket, we can say ” Oh! this is dying game in India, no one is interested in Cricket, NO ONE IS PASSIONATE about cricket”.

  13. Interesting perspective there, GB. I am not an obsessive cricket follower, so the cricinfo behavior is news to me.

    Ganguly and his friends together are his own worst enemies, I think. His supporters are often over the top – as you can see the Left MPs behaving. Looking at them taking his name at every juncture, it is not easy to be objective about Ganguly.

    Even objectively, Ganguly is out of his prime, methinks. I used to feel despondent just looking at his body language in the field when India was doing badly. The entire team looked like they were on the way to their own funeral. Dravid is only slightly better, but then he looks forlorn even when he is winning.

    The D & G team is not giving any good results, I agree. I just don’t see any options. It is infuriating to see India losing a match, and within an hour, you have a Left MP on TV saying, bring Ganguly back. Can anything be worse for Ganguly’s popularity except in Bengal?

    Tell me one thing — “I am not surprised. They (MPs) are paid to do so in Parliament” I fail to see anything offensive here. Isn’t it a matter of fact statement? Isn’t it just an English statement which is culturally OK in the West, but when translated into Hindi in our minds, becomes more offensive than it is intended to be?

  14. @ Thanks GB for raising some real concerns. We can endlessly crucify Chappell, and call Dravid a back-stabber, or bring about thousand points to justify whatever was done to Saurav to strip him off captaincy was unfair – but the real issue is what can we in the next few months to atleast hope that Team India would stand to a respectable status in the world cup which is knocking at the door, or I will have to curse myself for the money that I might spend for cable subscription for the world cup.
    First of all the selectors who pick-up and drop players (like potatoes and tomatoes from vegetable market) should be made answerable – even fined a portion of their own salary if they fail to identify the right talent and their selection fail. Why should we talk about performance based appraisal for cricket players only? Identifying the right talent for the right place is their job.
    I remember Dilip Vensarkar saying after the selection committee meeting that the selection was “not tough at all”. Link below –
    http://www.cricketnext.com/videos/21454/selection-was-not-tough-vengsarkar.html

  15. Enough has been said about GC,RD,Kaif,Raina etc but nobody seems to care for Agarkar. Our famous allrounder(?)

    In the last match he was the most expensive bowler and as usual a duffer with the bat. He bowled expensive overs when the only thing that was needed from him was a 3-4 rpo spell especially with Kumble bowling so well from the other end.

    GB you summed it up really well. reason why I keep reading your blog 🙂

    And yes, I want Ganguly back as a captain.

  16. Pingback: This is not cricket at Nerve Endings Firing Away

  17. My two cents ..

    Barring Australia & to a certain extent, England & Sri Lanka , all the other teams have never had exceptionally clued-on coaches.
    Does anybody remember who was Lloyd’s team manager/coach, Mike Brearley’s team coach, Imran Khan’s team coach during the ’80’s or any other succesful team’s coach ?

    The concept caught on with Bobby Simpson’s tenure in the late ’80’s to the ’90’s , Dave Whatmore had a wonderful stint with Sri Lanka,though Ranatunga was bigger than Whatmore on attitude & tactics.

    Cricket has not benefitted with coaches as much as in other sports.
    Captains have always made the difference.

    The way, India is playing , Dravid will never be able to match Ganguly’s aggressive intent on the field.
    And Chappell is just going not getting into the groove despite his positive intentions.

    As is said,its better to be ‘Tough & Nice’ than ‘Nice & Tough’.

  18. Well, the most shocking piece of news for me was that Azim Premji bit (GB, you misspelt it as Aziz by the way). How come I work in Wipro and don’t get the ‘Dating allowance’? This isn’t fair at all. And to think that some married guy is misusing that while single people like me are avoiding dating in fear of the expense. Pure double standards. 😦

    Jokes apart, there is really nothing to be said anymore about GC and Cricinfo. It is out in the open now, and clearly, these people (GC, RD, Cricinfo) don’t care anymore as you have summarised in that excellent song. When Ganguly was dropped it was because they were looking at “long term goals” like WC’07. They wanted to put more young cricketers into the side. Today that long term goal is looming near, and what do we have? A team that reminds us all of the WC squad of ’92. Why doesn’t anybody ask the question: are we supposed to select the youngest eleven or the best eleven? And can being a good fielder compensate for being lousy with the bat, especially when you are going as a specialist batsman? I really wonder what GC has in mind.

    @confused: India had performed well under Chapel initially because that squad still retained some of the spirit that Ganguly nurtured. Remember, how some of them said that they wish Dada would be back and were told to shut up? Now we are back to the India of the 90’s— not a team but a collection of individuals. People are again turning off their TV sets once Sachin is out (and this Sachin is no more that Sachin, to make matters worse). If you remember, in the Natwest Trophy final, Kaif’s own parents had gone to watch a movie after Sachin departed, and had missed the incredible fightback by Kaif-Yuvaraj. That was the spirit that SG infused. in the last 18 months it is finished.

    And yes, vandalising Kaif’s home is a shameful incident, and being an Allahabadi myself I strongly criticise it in no uncertain terms. Whatever be his performance on the field, it does not warrant this kind of attack on his house.

  19. The worst pasrt of Dravid’s captaincy is that when on field Dravid’s demeanour suggeests that he is thinking of stuff to say during the presentation when the MC calls the “losing captain”….I think Dravid has stopped responding to “Rahul” and started responding to “the losing captain”….but seriously speaking…Dravid is in no way a leader of men…..and definitely not in the same league of Ganguly as a captain…

    Regarding the statement about the politicians…the only way Chappel can get off is because it was a generalized statement about politicians….if there even was a mention of “Indian” in the remark of his I bet that would be curtains for him…..

    Anyways…this horrendous state of affairs shall last only a couple of months as I dont think there is any way (barring the case if we win the world cup…which is as probable as a Rajnikanth film not going housefull on its first day in Madras) …chappel is out of the Indian dressign room….Amen….

  20. Is Sourav’s penchant for the Eastern journos is the reason why all the South Indians are against him? I know it’s a terribly politically incorrect thing to say, but the names Dileep Premachandran, Anand Vasu, Sreeram Veera, S Rajesh, R Mohan, Prem Panicker all suggest that there might be a regional elephant in the room…

  21. Renuka “vindictive vegetable” Choudhury- ko gussa kyon aata hai ?

    Bong-da, we deserve idiots like Chappel..and probably his middle finger, too. Half the country is going nuts about how he gets the gall to insult the “people’s representatives” by saying- they get paid to make noise (which probably isn’t too far from the truth anyway), the rest are attacking Kaif’s house, but…
    The scum made a comment a couple of days back- which went almost unnoticed. He warned about the dangers of ignoring the grooming of young talent, saying that would send cricket the “Indian hockey way”.

    Appropriate, ain’t it ? Sitting on a pile of money, and a disgusting track record, Cricinfo’s holy cow comments about a bunch of guys- sweaty, rustic, lower middle class- who look for clerical jobs paying a couple of thousand rupees more between breaks of representing India in a World Sport (usually defined as a sport in which more than eight-and-a-half countries take more than a club level involvement). It’s a different question altogether where Guruji’s overpaid stock would stand if as many countries playing hockey played cricket- but who cares ? Hockey players don’t have a parliament to shout “rabble, rabble, rabble” from- and most of the country is too happy to forget that they actually exist, anyway.

    So it’s fine for an overpaid non performing outsider to pass words of wisdom on our national game- and why not ? Try googling up something like “Greg Chappel Indian Hockey” and see how many hits you get. That’s right, I’m making it all up. Perhaps even the mercurial Dhanraj Pillay (who sometimes vents off his frustration about the state of affairs) would overlook this one- he is too busy trying to figure out a way to feed himself and his kids.

  22. Arnab: reg Sambit Bal …

    I think his first name signifies what he has lost … and the surname what he IS 🙂

    I don’t mean any personal attack – not that it would matter – but I’ve always held that Cricinfo needs to get people who understand the game to write for them. While the style of writing may be good, the content is is pathetic at best.

  23. Solid rant. Particularly enjoyed the sections on cricinfo and our performance-obsessed politicians. be nudged out, first by coach, then the media, the public, and finally the selectors and media disenchantment that cost him the top job – great finds. The narcissistic self-congratulatory tone can hardly be concealed.

    To the long list of losers, I will hesitantly add the Calcutta cricket journalists as well. They are the ideal foils for cricinfo guys. Milking the soap opera with front page headlines for months and presenting everything cricket-related under the sun in the light of SG-GC duel might be good for the circulation of Anandabazar, Telegraph and Aajkaal, but it quickly gets very boring.

    And finally to GC. I agree that GC’s ego seems to be too big for him to be successful in a tricky job. The strategy of introducing regimented changes in Indian cricketing culture at the highest level in an authoritative top-down manner is a dubious one at best. Such a strategy is more likely to be successful if started at school level and other domestic tournaments. Also he talks too much and you rightly pointed out a lot of it to be just psychobabble. I read that crap on facing WI fast bowlers and then looked up his average against WI. 56 is not bad, but I wonder what the-older SG, with an average of 65 against pretty much the same WI attack, will think about that essay.

    One quibble though. Implying GC’s focus on fitness and performance to be just a pretext for getting rid of the trouble-makers and fill the team with yes-men seems harsh. I will give him the benefit of doubt that he was honestly looking for players who would fit with his ‘vision’ – probably flawed – and he could not possibly know how much the Badrinaths, Raos, Badanis and Rainas would suck at the top level without trying them out. We have to remember that form-wise he did not quite inherit the team that scared the Aussies in Australia and won 7 in a row in WC. The team was already in a slump. Since world cup, in 47 matches SG led, India’s win rate was 49% with 1-6 against Australia, 1-2 against England, 5-8 against Pakistan, 1-2 against Sri Lanka, 1-1 against South Africa, 2-2 against New Zealand. Not a very impressive record and trying out new ideas did not look like a terrible idea then. SG averaged 31.5 in those 47 matches and was not in a position to win that power struggle.

    We should definitely call GC out on his mistakes and hold him accountable for the results, but probably should refrain from ascribing motives which are impossible to prove.

  24. Incidentally, most of the journo-jerks of Cricinfo belong to a certain part of India where quite a few people (not all) hate Ganguly and strongly believe that it was only because of him that Dravid never got his due recognition despite being such a great player. This ‘naarth yendian bangali fella’ had been stealing the limelight from him since 1996 and he should never have been made the captain ahead of Dravid.
    Exclusion of Kumble from the ODI squad every now and then only strenghtened this feeling.

    By the way, did you know that Cricinfo has finally come back home??

  25. @dipanjan:
    reality is that the Calcutta cricket journalists – in particular Gautam Chakravorty and Lokendra Pratap Sahi – are probably among those “rare” crickets journalists who understand anything about the game of cricket.

  26. @ Bonatelis: I agree they understand cricket. Just tired of the Sourav-angle in everything they write. I have fond memories of Gautam’s (Bhattacharya not Chakravorty, right?) Khelar Khuchro Khabor column in Desh from decades ago. If I remember correctly, I once met him in a sports quiz as well.

  27. Agree with most of the rant, but then I have stopped caring about cricket, cricketers and their crazy fans for some time now.

    Just a nitpick:
    “I am talking about India’s leading cricket-themed website Cricinfo and their cricket experts.”

    Cricinfo may be popular in India, but it is actually owned by England’s Wisden. Their real bias is against BCCI for daring to take on the old world establishment of England and Australian boards. This was all too apparent during the recent tussle between BCCI and ICC over the signing of world cup agreement. They used to hate Dalmiya too for the same reason. Ganguly came under attack only because he used to be seen as being close to Jaggu.

  28. Ganguly stopped batting well long long time ago. I don’t think a player who doesn’t perform well should captain a side. I think Dravid should be a lot more aggresive. I think Sehwag needs to be sent home to meet his wife and stay home and change his “natural game” of getting out before he’s 20. I think someone (coach captain) needs to crack the whip on the indian team: seems they are not serious while training, while the opposite team is running around and doing drills, indian players, earphone splugged r busy on their phones.

  29. You have a point- cricket selection as with anything in corporate life is reduced to PR,corporate sponsorships and media handling.

    We do like to think that cricket is different but there is money here..and the decisions are always decided by the ‘Path of money’

    The best example of the influence of corporate sponsorship and media was the selection of Parthiv Patel even after he was an hopeless embarrassment and cost the Indian cricket team a famous series win in Australia. It took an angry Kumble to convey to the media the ineptness of this sorry pretender to wicketkeeping

    Ganesh- the cricket astrologer

  30. as you see, today I have not much else to do … 🙂

    @Sriram:
    I don’t think people are touting for Ganguly to be named captain again. Indeed true, to lead a side you need to fully back it up with performance.
    But given the quality of (his replacements) very few people should argue that Ganguly still does not merit a place in the side. Surely, even someone as blind as a bat can see that he’s infinitely better than Raina or Kaif or Mongia … or Karthik, for heaven’s sake!!! And he’s just scored a century in domestic cricket (against Delhi?)

    There has been innumerable instances of cricketers having lost captaincy but have been retained in the side – Shaun Pollock, Jaisurya, Lara, Tendulkar from the current lot to cite some examples. So why not Ganguly?

    I think Dravid as a captain has not shown innovation and I would question his ability to think out of the box. I also get this feeling that he visibly cracks under pressure – just the way he did in the last match. Some of his decisions during that last match was quite pathetic.

    @debolin: thanks 🙂

    @dipanjan: yes, I think is Bhattacharya … only i don’t think he’s that senior that he’d be writing for decades … he just crossed 40, if I am not mistaken (he used to sit barely 20 yards from me when I used to work for that media house many moons back).

  31. I see deja- vu happening here.. remember the last tour to NZ just before the world cup and the shaky start to the world cup…Its just like those times..Last time Gangully and wright were criticized ad this time it is dravid and chapell nothing much has changec

  32. Without getting into arguments and counter arguments, Ganguly’s time was done, when he was dropped. He wasn’t performing. Same as Sehwag’s time is done (in one day internationals) today.
    Also I haven’t heard ONE remark (I didn’t read all comments tho) about Ganguly’s mental games with Laxman about the number 3 position. That if true, is the sickest thing I have heard in my life.

    Personally, I like Ganguly, am a huge fan. He has done more for Indian cricket than all Indian cricketers past and present (Tendulkar included) put together.

    But face it, his time is done. Picking him would be regressive as would be picking Laxman and Kumble. We tried that in the 90s having talented SUPER UNFIT cricketers a.k.a Kumble, Laxman, Manjrekar. It does not work. It just does not work. Unless you are Inzaman 🙂

  33. @Tipu: Fine point about the opening issue and Cricinfo’s double standards of analysis. And yes I have read the politburo (note the dig at the CPM antecedents of Bengalis) article before….I wonder how lolling in the sand with the team coach is spun.

    @Ezaz: Well leonine thinking wont get Raina to play pace better. The most important issue is the question of competency of each of the top order batsmen.

    @The Drinker: I would not agree. I would still hope India wins the WC07 (a pipe dream no doubt) and for it to vindicate Chappellism than to see it lose. After all, GC has nothing invested here—-he will just leave and laugh at the amount of money he got from us without having to show any results.

    @Confused: a. “India had initially performed well under Chappell. ”

    Against very substandard opposition—Sri Lanka was going through a remarkable dip of fortune at that time.

    b.When was the last time India was winning series abroad, I mean consistently?

    The series in which Sourav lost his captaincy….India won abroad. Yes it was against Zimbabwe but before we had lost to even them in Zimbabwe. And during 2002–2004, we performed far better abroad (winning Tests) than we have ever done during our cricket history—in 2003 we almost defeated Austalia in Australia….how many teams in recent times came even close? I am not saying it was because of GC but yes GC marshalled his team superbly during that series: his 144 on a really fast track was definitely the highpoint of his career.

    @BongoPondit: Prem Panicker describes dismissals beautifully. And let me stop at that.

    @Yourfan2: Agree. The Anand Vasus and the Dileep Premchandans define cricket opinion for NRIs—what they say today is what is parrotted tomorrow in the computer lab. One of my most enduring memories of that-man-who-cannot-play-fast bowling was stepping out and slashing sixes over point off Shaun Pollock when he was really fast.

    @Captain Haddock: I would disagree factually with a few of your points. Bhajji was pushed by Dada for the Australian series 2001 when Kumble was injured. The choice was not Bhajji vs Kumble but Bhajji vs Sarandeep Singh. The selectors wanted Sarandeep—–they felt Harbhajan while being the better bowler was too much of a bad boy (he had been chucked out of training camp). So accusing Sourav of backing Harbhajan to finish Kumble is an unfair allegation. Secondly, the time when VVS was dropped in favour of Dinesh Mongia was when Dada was at the height of his influence—–noone was talking about VVS as a captain then. All the VVS talk that Prem Panicker made was just before Dada took over and some whining subsequently. And with respect to Murali Kartik, I think that his lack of class is the issue—even RD does not champion him.

    @Sam: :-).

    11. Himesh Reshammiya’s baseball cap won’t look as funny anymore.

    @ Matt: True. The Leftist Bengali MPs who raise the SG slogan dont help his cause. Absolutely. But I dont buy that SG looked despondent…..look at him fighting with Mohd Yousuf as testimony to his Dadagiri even when his personal form had hit rock bottom. SG never looked defeated on the field.

    @ Amit: Well Vengsarkar is right. Selection is fun. Stay at nice hotels. Eat nice food. Get a nice daily allowance. And the players—well they are lobbied for by their regional reps on the committee. And no accountability.

    @ Ferrari: :-). Yes had totally forgotten that sleight of hand the BCCI tried to pull….

    @ An Ideal Boy: Said this before. Will say it again. Ajit Agarkar is an allrounder because we cannot determine what he does worse—batting or bowling. I think I read in Cricinfo RD saying that in the match against Australia in the ICC trophy the bowlers missed the “guidance of Agarkar”…WTF !!

    @ Anon: But there is also the example of Woolmer. And John Wright. They did make differences to SA and India. Woolmer has also been a positive influence on the Pakistanis in spite of a slap or two.

    @Joy Forever: Mistake corrected. Thank you. I have been told by a reader that there is something called the “dating allowance”….maybe you should ask your manager why you are not being considered. The WC team of 92—abiding images is Srinath dancing midpitch thinking the match against Australia is over and getting run-out because of that!

    @ Kabaddi Kabaddi: Dravid’s problem is that he lets his worries come to the fore. He is obsessed about his personal form and the high standards he sets for himself. When that falters, he retreats into a shell and becomes defeatist. Dada on the other hand never let his failures affect his captaincy—even when he was getting single digit scores he would come just as hard at the opposition. Many people would call it arrogance and shamelessness but hey it worked !

    @Shan: I once wrote to a prominent rediff cricket writer in 2000 pointing out certain flaws in his anti-Sourav tirade. He wrote back one simple sentence: Why do people with only one kind of surname find my viewpoints against Sourav objectionable? (Not the exact words but pretty close). No reticence there you see !

    @Anoymous: I don’t mind him insulting the people’s representatives as long as he does what he is supposed to do. I don’t see the “how dare the foreigner point finger” argument. Chappell is a professional. His country is irrelevant. Whether he is an outsider or insider is moot.

    @Bonatellis: Extremely biased is what’s sure.

    @Dipanjan: Regarding your quibble. Why I ascribe motives to GC is that even after GC realized that these fit and firm young men were not competent enough, he still kept shut the door on the people he did not “like”. Zaheer for long. And of course Dada. Everytime Ganguly’s name has come up, RD and GC have shouted it down—these people do not want to even give him a chance….even after their experimentations have flopped. Same goes with VVS—it’s now when RD and GC have lost their voices due to the successive drubbings that he is being brought back in. This leads me to believe that Chappell’s main motivator is not performance or fitness per se but pliability.

    @dEBOLiN: I would not ascribe regionalistic sentiments here—let’s avoid that. Regionalism comes into cricket journalism only when you are a conventional newspaper who needs to think of local circulation. Which is why Calcutta newspapers are pro-Sourav and South Indian ones pro-David. That is not parochialism but simple commerce. Cricinfo, being a web entity, does not have a local base to pander to. And so I do not think that their biased reporting has anything to do with the region they come from. However it may have something to do with the accessibility they enjoy under the Chappell regime vs what they used to have during the Dada years.

    @Mohan: When I said “Indian” I did not mean ownership but readership (which is what guides content). I did not have figures when I called it “Indian” (just an educated guess that most of its readers will be Indian) but thanks to deBOLiN, here are the figures.
    Almost 60% of Cricinfo.com’s support-base of 20 million users are Indians. About 25% are based in India while the rest (35%) are located in North America (US west coast, Canada), UK (South England), Australia and Middle East,” said Cricinfo.com CEO, Tom Gleeson, who has shifted to Bangalore from London, along with his 100 strong staff.

    [Source: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=147052%5D

    @Sriram: But they do get always injured during drills right? Yuvraj, Sehwag…and countless others. I dont think that the Indians do not practice —I think GC works them to the ground. And please do understand, the Indian cricketers do care about their performance. At the very least because of sponsorships and prize money. And at the least because noone likes to read bad things about themselves. It’s a very easy thing to do—-to say these players do not care. They do.

    @ Ganesh: Parthiv, in his defense, was a good batsman with a technique who regularly scored 50s in Australia. That fact kept him in the team even when it was fairly obvious that he had serious technical problems in keeping wickets.
    @ Clairvoyant: The pitches in NZ were very different—they were portable pitches of dubious quality and the NZ board decided it would be a good idea to experiment it on the Indians. These pitches on the other hand are excellent pitches with good bounce and carry which offer bowlers and batsmen of all kinds to prosper. Which is why the NZ series kind of didnt count. This one does.
    @ Amit Behere: Games with Laxman for the No 3 position? Kindly elaborate.

  34. The general trend in the comments seem to be that Ganguly was a great player who was bacstabbed and removed. Well I disagree. The Sourav Ganguly we knew and appreciated whose cuts were a treat to watch and who sent the crowd into raptures whenever he danced down the wicket and smashed the ball over the boundary is a far cry from the Ganguly we know today. Someone whose stats look like these in the last 20 one dayers

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St

    20 514 90 27.05 0 4 0 – – 0 6 0

    and whose stats look like these in the last 10 tests

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St

    10 408 101 31.38 1 1 1 1/68 153.00 0 6 0

    the above includes a 88 against bangladesh and a 101 against Zimbawe and who after scoring a painstaking century against Zimbawe claims a century is a century(too lazy to link to this story). You can check his performances at any other period of time and compare.

    Most often or not whenever a discussion about Ganguly starts people resort to adhoc arguements. If you want to argue then do so with actual figures. And why the heck do people go after Rahul Dravid. Maybe he should have refused the captaincy out of respect to our dear ex-captain. Then I guess he would be hailed as an exemplary example. There are three things which should be clear about Ganguly’s removal. One, he was not performing. Two, he was politicking with the team composition. Three, there was politicking in his removal. Four, just blaming Chappel and Dravid for the whole fiasco is rubbish.

  35. @Aryan: No I wouldnt like to join forces with you. Kindly take your South Indian /dark skin bashing elsewhere sir. I take objection to your language and the tone. I am moderating your comment as it is hate speech and it is not allowed here at RTDM.

    @TracerBullet: And I had stats (which forgive me I do not have now as it was fwd from a long time ago) which compared the last 30 innings of SG with his contemporary batsmen and showed it to be rather complimentary to SG. Now I do not want to reply to your unfounded Ganguly-hatred (“he was politicking with the team composition) because we have been there before.

  36. Ever since the SG-GC spat it appears very few people are able to be even 50% objective in analysing the captaincy of SG, RD, GC versus JW’s methods, etc, so I’ll stay out of that debate for now. But I’m commenting on this blog again after a very long time because, nevertheless, I have always found somewhat intriguing this whole allegation (which rears it head every now and then) that Ganguly played around with Laxman’s career to “make his failures as a batsman look less bad” and so on.. I would say that this theory is a bit “out there” to begin with, but I’ve heard it so many times that maybe we shouldn’t dismiss it outright. So here is an interview with Laxman where he appears to speak positively about Ganguly. This is an interview that took place after the SG-GC spat, when SG had already been relieved of the captaincy, so it can’t even be said that Laxman was saying anything positive about SG to stay on his good side. If anything, he risked antagonising Chappell, but what the heck, I’m quite sure this won’t make the SG bashers think again. Here is an article on Laxman’s axing from the WC 2003 squad, and the resulting souring of Laxman’s relationship with JW. It doesn’t appear Ganguly had much to do with it, but SG haters would say that he could gave orchestrated it behind the scenes with Dalmiya’s help.. which can hardly be proved or disproved.

  37. Few days back in one of your posts somebdy named Shan made an excellent comment

    “Rahul Dravid now knows how uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. It is easier to (back)stab Caesar with the help of Cassius Chappell and Casca More, than to rule like him. Oh, but Rahul is an honourable man!”

    As far as the “Bengali Politburo” is concerned, yes there are times Lokendra Pratap Sahi goes overboard on Dada and how Dada can never go wrong. But cricinfo is stil way ahead of anybody else in biasesness. Newlands was not a fluke. Before that India lost Lahore Test against Pakistan after Pathan had taken hat-trick in the very first over. But not a single criticism over tactical errors.

    Nobody has been given more chance than Agarkar in Indian cricket. And time and again he has disappointed us. He’s like Hick or closer home Vikram Rathore. Yuvraj was dropped during dada’s era and dada nurtured him and made him sort of automatic choice. Forget about Yuvraj, Dravid himself got back into the team thanks to dada. People who say that Laxman was not in WC.03 squad coz of dada, are either ignorant or just follow wht they actually want to see or believe. Dada had time and again expressed regret over LAxman’s omission.

    But amid all this rant against Dravid, perhaps we forgot that it was Sehwag who called up Dravid and said “Kya Bangali ko phir se captain banna diya?” when dada was captain after one-day series with Pakistan in India.. The Indian Team is just as muddled with politics as the Indian Governemnt

  38. Chappell needs a quick ticket back home. If there is one guy whom I will point my fingers to for my waning interest in Cricket, it has to be him without a shadow of doubt. I think his media obsession cannot be matched even by Brangelina hehe 😀

    That said, politicians need to stay out of the game – pathetic wretches that they are, of all things important, they find Cricket to talk about. All this political makes me feel Dalmiya though corrupt was still a better ambassador of sport than this crooked bastard that Sharad Pawar and his bunch of cronies are turning out to be.

    S

  39. ANTI-DADAISM:
    Anti-Dada is an influential modern version of an ancient art form, perfectly developed in garish colours, with untrammelled racial passion, invoking primordial feelings of envy and rage to splash itself in volcanic self-expression. Anti-Dadaists tend to use modern media, though brush and tar are still the origins of this primordial art form. Prevalent in the Western and Southern portions of the subcontinental landmass, where electronic media are vehicles of this expression, it has several adherents in the North and the East as well. The latter, or late anti-Dadaists have discovered that it is an ideal medium through which to package their non-regional credentials, and earns them friends and approval in the aforementioned sections of the landmass, especially as an aid to continued employment. Anti-Dada is a magical-realist movement, with deconstructionism at its center, the manifestation of which is the performance of the Indian team. Anti-Dada has few knowledgeable followers in the Western world, who look upon it as ugly and primitive, but it does have notable Australian votaries, who tend to mesh it with Modern Psychological Theory and hence make it more palatable for yet to be educated audiences worldwide.
    —- Not from Wikipedia

  40. greatbong –

    i have nothing against south indians except their parochialism and narrow mindedness.
    its just that i hit them where it hurts most, when i do. no, i am not utopian when on the offence.

  41. @Tipu: Read the ‘politburo’ thing that you mentioned. Heh! Damn funny. Pot calling kettle a pot! But you must remember that those were the days when Amit Varma would stoop to any level which included taking nasty jibes at fellow journalists for his blog. He would not have written that post now. In fact hes a classic example of a person who used the Cricinfo brand name to make hay.

    I also agree with you about the abysmal level of cricket coverage elsewhere. That financial times article actually corroborates what I said above. However other websites cannot compete with Cricinfo because of 3 things:
    1> Stats database.

    2>Ball by ball
    3> Wisden halo.

    But off late Cricinfo has taken some positive steps which include kicking indolent scribes who didnt write much but lived like locusts and inducted hard working fellas like George Binoy. Also the ridiculous cricket writer’s roundtable has been replaced by expert’s rountable…in short in-house shit is slowly being cleaned.

    @Anon between ideal boy and Joy Forever: You have a point but I would disagree. Simpson was possibly the best coach ever..and in modern day cricket a coach really does have to offer a lot to the team. In fact the coach helps the team and takes a lot of burden off the captain’s shoulders. Buchanan, Woolmer (what a coach!) and Fletcher, despite Boycott’s rant and his stubbornness are examples. Lets not forget what John Wright did for India. But if the coach tries to throw his ego around..and influences team selection based on his biases…its a sad state of affairs. Thats one reason why a certain individual should not be vested with all power….what if his prejudices and biases and stubbornness to the point of blindness runs contrary to the interest of the team? ..in Australia the selection commitee decides…and prevails over the coach and captain…I still remember how Allan Border was disappointed after Geoff Marsh was dropped.

    However a coach should be diplomatic too….and im 100% certain that Tom Moody, if he was selected would not have done what Chappell did. India may have missed a trick indeed by picking Chappell over Moody. The BCCI’s attitude to coaching the national team is a bit like our government’s attitude to reservation. Instead of pumping more money into domestic cricket, making world class pitches…..they think that a big Aussie at the top will be a panacea. Naturally, when the big guns of top 11 go, you have replacements like YV Rao while Australia has Hussey. I was watching the highlights of a recent one dayer in the Aussie domestic competition between NSW Blues and WA Warriors..believe me…the intensity and quality on park was to be seen to be believed. The outcome of the match was so tight…so keenly fought…that you could virually see how Australia fights so well at the international level…its all in the system. If today Gilchrist goes, Haddin would seamlessly replace him. Just watching the Australian team shows that they are like finished products of a good factory, while the Indian greats are more like freaks of nature rather than products of a strong cricket system…say Tendulkar (Test debut at 15), Sehwag etc. If Greg Chappell is really such a great coach who can teach you aspects of cricket hitherto unseen by anybody, BCCI should induct coaches like him at u-19, A team level…..they have the money to do it….why they have the money to hire a panel of experts..arrange classes with great square of the wicket players like say Alec Stawart, De Silva, or umpteen Aussie cricketers who will teach young cricketers skills of playing on bouncy tracks …make tours to Aus and SA etc. It is wishful thinking to expect Chappell would change the techniques and abilities of seasoned test cricketers in 1 year. At best he can try to optimize his resources at hand. But the BCCI initially elevated him to such a god like status instead of a coach that he assumed draconian powers. In a strange way, this neglect for domsetic cricket by the BCCI which is in a shambolic state ascompared to countries like Aus and SA kinda mirrors the attitude of the central govt who think that reservations at institutes of higher education would annul the neglect of primary and secondary education.

    But its fruitless to expect anything from the BCCI in other things than making money. This is reflected in the dwindling number of tests which India is playing annually. A cricketer’s basic skills at international level are accrued in the arena of test cricket….on different pitches and not in 5 match odi tournaments on flat tracks. If England are guilty of ignoring Odi’s altogether, BCCI takes ODIs so seriously that Tests are just an excuse.

    @Shan…..you said it straight as an arrow. 🙂

  42. @GB- You summed it up beautifully to answer Dipanajan’s question.

    @Bonetallis: Ho ho. 🙂

    Imagine today’s Cricinfo Quote-Unquote section headline:

    “Arnab: reg Sambit Bal …

    I think his first name signifies what he has lost … and the surname what he IS :)”

    Bonetallis D portrays the other side of Cricinfo Editor. 🙂

    “I don’t mean any personal attack – not that it would matter – but I’ve always held that Cricinfo needs to get people who understand the game to write for them. While the style of writing may be good, the content is is pathetic at best.”

    True true…you said it. Way to go.

  43. Giving Ganguly another chance is not a bad idea. But not what they did in Pakistan. Playing him in one game and forgetting about him. There is just too much political crap revolving Ganguly. Let him play 5 matches in a series, and if he doesn’t prove anything positive then drop him. That goes for Sehwag. His average in the last 20 matches is in the twenties. Thats sickening. He shud have been giving warnings long time back so that they don’t have to drop him like a hot potato 10 matches down the line, and send him into obscurity. But i really doubt any of the selectors will consider him before he’s 38 and its too comfortable to forget him. Thats sad.

    Now, if not Dravid, and surely not Sehwag, does anyone see anyone else in the team who can lead the team? (I personally think Dravid should be given some more time and guidance)

  44. @ Sriram Venkitachalam: I am afraid that you are just speaking the selectors lingo. If we keep on “match testing” players like that (Let him play 5 matches in a series then drop him), then by the time we are done with our final team, we would have lost many matches. Any tom, dick and harry can look at the past records and say who should have been picked and who not – the greatness of the Selectors, captain and above all coach is to predict who is suitable and who is not given the current situation.
    It is because of this talent that they should posses that they are being paid. Otherwise I can be also a national selector, and run my latest Pattern Classification Code on the available data and give the best team.

  45. Dileep P has finally steeled himself to face the reality that the team may after all have no option but to recall Ganguly for the test series. But of course he makes it sound like Ganguly is very lucky to be given this aakhri mawka, & is benefiting from the team’s misfortune. Aarghh!
    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/rsavind/content/current/story/270219.html

    Ranjan – “Anti-Dadaists tend to use modern media, though brush and tar are still the origins of this primordial art form.” – 🙂 LoL! Awesome!

    Apologies for the double posts above. I didn’t realize the first one had got posted.

  46. Chappell’s email/mail to the board had some very serious allegations about Ganguly’s behavior.

    One that I remember is : Ganguly told Laxman that Chappell had informed him as to how he didn’t think Laxman was upto Test standards anymore (when in fact chappell had done nothing like it). Ganguly supposedly did it to undermine laxman’s confidence !!!
    http://www.cricketfundas.com/bccinewssep27.html

    Btw..again..I think Greg Chappell is a pompous, self indulgent, SOB. However I doubt he would lie about such things.

    The above link is not ideal, but if you read up again on the whole Ganguly-Chappell saga you will realize that the main reason Chappell wanted Gagunly out was because he considered him a disruptive influence. The above example being a case in point.

  47. @Anonymous and Yourfan2: Thanks

    @Ranjan Chakravarty: You really should put ‘Anti-Dadaism’ up on Wikipedia. Seriously. It’s damn good! 🙂

    @Arnab: The selectors seem to making the same mistakes again. Word is that they might pick Sourav for the Test Series when it is clear to everyone that Sourav is better suited for the ODIs.

    The objective right now should be to select the WC team, right? And we all realize, as does perhaps even Dileep Premachandran, that regardless of GC and Rahul’s Brave New Words (“The WC team is practically already in place”), that the reality is otherwise.

    We do have other ODI series before the WC, right? I hope it will dawn upon the mules to let Sourav play a full ODI series as well so that he can legitimately stake a claim for a slot in the team.

  48. @Tipu and Shan: Thanks! But seriously, Anti-Dada has ceased to be invective, it’s now a legitimate art form. Of course it barely conceals what it really is, and Amit Varma’s piece attests to the virally popular (a Greatbong original term) influence of the movement. 🙂

  49. Oh and read this sentence by Dileep P in today’s Cricinfo article:

    “India’s stuttering form in the one-day arena may have an unlikely beneficiary: Sourav Ganguly is in line for a recall to the Test side, nine months after he was jettisoned followed the resounding 341-run defeat at Karachi.”

    Got it? Who was responsible for the “resounding” defeat in Karachi? Why, Sourav Ganguly of course!

    Brilliant. Just abso-freaking-lutely brilliant!

  50. As you said, there are no good players. So, why give players like laxman or ganguly another chance who have already earned a lot.
    Sack every highly played goose. Bringin all those ranji trophy players. Let them also earn something.
    Damn!!! Why is so much sound (read noise) about a stupid game?
    Robinson who is the best player and also the captain of indian team announced retirement because he was not satisfied with BFI for not providing even the basic facilities for practice. Nobody cares. isn’t it?
    If you r gonna ask me who is Robinson or what is BFI, i peg ur pardon, i am saying all this to a wrong guy.

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  52. Anther hilarious article by Cricinfo. This time directed at Sehwag.

    http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/270220.html

    ————-
    He may not possess Dravid’s cerebral acuity
    (except for Dravid no one else has any intellect)
    ——
    It seems he’s out of sync with the Chappell-Dravid philosophy -his run-ins with Chappell are common knowledge – and one media report today quoted a team official as saying that Sehwag could have played the second ODI “if he wanted to
    (wonder which media source it is …..)
    ——–
    Ironically, it appears he wasn’t even the automatic choice for vice-captain; the selection committee was apparently split about his appointment for this tour. Indeed, he seems to have got it by default.
    (as if India has an abundance of talents to choose from)
    ————-
    Given India’s surrender in the previous two games, Sehwag has nothing to lose, starting his captaincy campaign with zero expectations. It may actually work to his advantage, giving him a chance to attack, both with bat and head. A lucky slash here, a fortuitous reprieve there can be the difference between a disappointing score and a sizeable one.
    (if India wins any match under Sehwag, it will be a fluke. And Cricinfo is never wrong)

  53. One good thing about this whole slump in cricketing fortunes in India is that I have totally lost any interest in cricket. And it gave me an opportunity to follow other sports, which I guess works well for me. I am enjoying the EPL, staying up late for the Champions League, keeping track of tennis tournaments.

    @GB, one thing I would like to mention is that this whole Ganguly fiasco has gone on far too long as well. There has been far too many rants on Ganguly’s greatness and people are getting tired. I am a bengali, but even I have had enough of the “Aajkal-Anandabazar- everyone-is-anti-bengali” stuff. When I go home and read some of the stuff that comes out in Bengali newspapers, I guess that is no less than what comes out in Cricinfo in terms of blatant biasness. I distinctly remember once when Kapil mentioned that Dada should give up captaincy in Tests while retaining in one days (I thought that was a fair comment), aajkal published the most disgusting article I have ever read – name calling Kapil, accusing him of suffering from mental disorder and other such stupid, juvenile stuff.

  54. @GB Shouldnt stats represent a player’s form. If you take Ganguly’s careere stats they look real good. But his form when he was removed was nowhere near what it was when he was in his prime( a point which I have made before).

    But if you accuse me of hating SG then you are going way overboard. I would be realy delighted to see SG play for India again and make(lead) India win. My perception is still the same. Was SG really as innocent as you would like to portray him. I believe insecurity had eaten far intoSG by the time of this fiasco. His actions intentional or not portrayed him in bad light(to me atleast). I really need some more data to believe that he was above the rboard in what he did. But I see a lot of GC bashing. Any hard reason apart from the fact that he removed SG. He might be a very bad coach. True. But this kind of hatred?

    But you have a point in that Indian Cricket has no glut of talent. A fact that might be dawning on GC now. There are very few players in the team who can really claim a place. Let me post some more stats of several players this time

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St

    RD 20 675 105 35.52 1 5 – – – – 12 0

    SG 20 514 90 27.05 0 4 0 – – 0 6 0

    VS 20 507 97 26.68 0 4 4 2/31 57.75 0 10 0

    ST 20 666 141* 37.00 2 2 3 1/27 71.00 0 7 0

    YS 20 728 107* 48.53 2 4 7 2/32 31.71 0 5 0

    MK 20 304 66* 20.26 0 3 – – – – 8 0

    SR 20 441 81* 25.94 0 3 0 – – 0 9 0

    VVSL 20 484 107 26.88 1 1 – – – – 9 0

    Just look at these averages. This is the quality of the Indian batting lineup (supposed to be better han tha bowling). So your point that SG deserves a place is validated.

    @everyoneelse
    Saying RD is a backstabber is sort of stupid and blaming GC is also pathetic. A simple fact is this team is nowhere near the Indian team in say 2003 or 2002.

  55. “I don’t mean any personal attack – not that it would matter – but I’ve always held that Cricinfo needs to get people who understand the game to write for them. While the style of writing may be good, the content is is pathetic at best.”

    Well, the answer is easy – and the same applies to all of you who sit on the sidelines and bellyache. Rather than moan about the content and writers, USE ANOTHER WEBSITE. Nobody is forcing you to read it, you haven’t paid a subscription. Get a life and find an alternative.

    And as for the guy who wrote “Cricinfo may be popular in India, but it is actually owned by England’s Wisden. Their real bias is against BCCI for daring to take on the old world establishment of England and Australian boards.”

    Yeh, right. So they have their head office in India and they are waging a war against BCCI as some pseudo colonial revenge mission. Grow up and stop peddling your petty regional agendas.

  56. They’re attacking the wrong households. Shouldn’t Lok Janashakti be vandalising the houses of selectors instead? Direct those molotovs at the houses of More, Vengsarkar instead.

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  58. To Greg

    aaj kal tere meire piyar ke charche
    har zaman par
    sab ko malom hai
    aur sab ko khaber ho gii…

    Every night in my dreams
    Isee u I feel u!
    Tht is how I know u go on!

    Far across the distance
    and spaces between us
    You have come to show u go on!

    Tere Bina Zindagi Mein Koi
    Shikva Tau Nehi Shikva Nehi Shikva Nehi
    Tere Bina Zindagi Mein Jeena
    Jeena Tau Nehi Jeena Nehi Jeena Nehi

    -from Rahul

  59. “if there is anything worse than watching Ajit Agarkar bowling short-and-wide or Dinesh Mongia at the crease flapping about like a pomfret fish out of water”……….it is this:

    since the time india has been regularly losing,the general mood of the public as i travel in trains and buses in kolkata is really shameful.gone are the days when every commuter in kolkata had a quite depressing look in their face after every loss.now they seem to be enjoying it whole heartedly.the thinking is as long this patch continues their stand (that chappell be sacked and sourav reinstated) will be vindicated and the board under fire will have to fall back upon ganguly-a process nearing completion.

    the worst is,this is not some isolated issue but quite the rule in every cricketing discussion of the bengali babus.i have come across dadas in para clubs and people crowding beside sony worlds cheer in unison as a rd wicket falls- a reminiscence of the infamous booing by the eden crowd last year………..

    forget about politicians(rightly they are paid for that),if the general public takes such a grim view,it is most depressing…..

    i would like gb (being a fellow bengali) to comment on this issue…….

  60. @TracerBullet:

    “Saying RD is a backstabber is sort of stupid and blaming GC is also pathetic. A simple fact is this team is nowhere near the Indian team in say 2003 or 2002.”

    Do you see the inherent contradiction in your statements? The fact is that the present team is nowhere near the team of 2002-03 is because RD and GC decided to carry out their ‘purge’ of all players associated with (and evidently owing allegiance to) SG. If the list of omitted players isn’t enough to drive that through your thick skull, then there’s nothing more to say.

    What is clear is your deliberately blinkered and slavish refusal to believe anything bad of the ‘good boy’ Dravid and schoolmaster Chappell. You faith is touching, and yes, PATHETIC!

    @Arnab (not Greatbong, the commenter): The humiliation heaped upon Sourav by the board and by the GC-RD combo was so stark and so undeserved, that it has has shocked even the most jaded of cynics. Till now we had politics and feuds (Gavaskar-Kapil is an example), but never was such opprobrium heaped on a successful player by the coach, vice-captain, and the board. This has completely divided the country into two camps. People are so shocked that what GC (and more importantly, Dravid) can do that now the battle has become personal.

    Secondly, this schadenfraude at India’s losses is also a factor of the GC’s big mouth, arrogance, and the seeming absolute surety about his methods. He has casually dismissed everyone who has raised a question, muzzled players who had different opinions, dropped cricketers who were in a previous team – and all without any explanation. Plus he has shown the finger to crowds, made statements that have irked, and yes, written a patently false e-mail to the board in a naked (albeit successful) coup attempt. It is but natural that many people are just happy to see him get it back finally.

  61. @shan

    what you have said generally sums up what the plebian minds are thinking right now in the streets-and exactly what which has rattled me time and again.chappell has repeatedly done something that has aggrieved us mentally,but i believe he was perfectly in his right to write whatever he felt about any player as long as the correspondence remained a matter between the board and him…but which didnt happen because of the leak orchestrated by some filthy minded ones,for which he cant be blamed…so i think it would be unfair to censure him on this issue..(though not for the others u’ve mentioned)

    and i fail to understand why people look at dravid,as if he is the new age brutus….true,he has remained mum on the whole ganguly-chappell issue but dont you think saying something would necessary aggravate the morale of already beleaguered team?and dravid is the kind of guy (maybe that shouldnt be) who distances himself from contentious issues……and remember dravid was easily the trump card in all the overseas tours under sg’s reign,and without him ganguly could have been a forgettable captain (i am not taking any credit away from the skipper)….so dravid’s intentions should not be questioned…

    as far my apprehensions are concerned,praying for india to lose for a ganguly recall is as sadistic as wishing the spouse to die while relishing an extramarital affair…

  62. @shan

    Well Well. Since you are falling all over yourself in defending SG I am not able to decide whose faith is more touching. Of course one cannot question our dear dada.
    Giving a verbose and belligerent display of your knowledge of English vocabulary isnt going to make your arguement any better :-}
    There is no contradiction in my statement. If you had paused to think for a moment before replying then you would have realised what I meant was about the form of the players and not the constitution of the team.

    @eveyonne
    And can anyone please list dada’s boys. There seems to be talk of a purge and I am really interested to knowabout the victims. Unrelated to all this who does Ajit Agarkar owe allegiance to. He seems to perform really pathetically and still finds a place each time in the team.

  63. @yourfan2:

    “Hmmm…..SG and Chappell to celebrate new year together in SA.”

    Unless they bite each other’s heads off before that 🙂

  64. @Arnab (the un-Greatbong):

    Plebian I might be as opposed to the patrician you, but the fact remains that the leack of the email did us all a great favor by exposing how petty, churlish, and outrightly mendacious Grag Chappall was as a person. We are supposed to believe tha within the span of a year, our most dynamic and beloved captin had become a disruptive influence on the team and who now wanted to be in the teal just because of the financial gains? Please. Sometimes plebian minds can see things clearer.

    And as for Dravid, I am sure you are mistaking him for Sachin. Sachn stays out of controversies, and does not say a word. Dravid, on the other hand, might not have made statements to the media but has definitely and strongly opposed Sourav’s return to the team in each and every selection meeting ever chaired by Kiran More. And that makes him akin to a Brutus. Nothing new age about it. Just a good old backstabber.

    @Tracer Bullet:

    Oh you meant that did you? Funny how the your entire comment seemed to imply otherwise. Maybe you also need some more verbosity in your writing, at the very least some clarity.

    And yes, my faith might be touching, but yours still remains pathetic.

  65. Why do people equate cricket with patriotism? If Bengalis rejoice when BCCI Cricket team loses, then that doesn’t mean they are committing treason.Remember,BCCI have themselves submitted before a court that the cricket team represents an independent body,not the “blue billion”.And all those accusing Bengalis of treachery would do well to go back to their history books and see the Bengali involvement in the freedom struggle.
    And please don’t tell me that’s old hat.

  66. Well i think with selection of Ganguly and Laxman to the Test squad,the most stinging blow has been delivered to Greg Chappel, his media chelas like Prem, Dileep, R.Mohan and co, Kiran More and all those cheerleaders of GC”s weird tactics. Forget about ODI series, its as dead as a Dodo now.Ashok :Ganguly is also an equally good Test player sir. He has scored test centures in England, Australia, both of em very tough places. Yes he has scored more runs in ODI”s compared to Tests, but that doesnt in any way take away from his Test record. Yes it would have been great if Ganguly had been called for ODI”s also.One thing, we are not telling that had Ganguly and Laxman been there in ODI squad, we would have won the series 4-0, only a fool would make such predictions against S.Africa. But the series would not have been so one sided like this. We wouldnt have lost 3 matches by huge margins. We already had to deal with Yuvraj”s absence.
    Had Yuvraj, Ganguly and Laxman been there, we would have at least witnessed a contest. Not this farcical no contest, where the Top 4 batsmen cant even last 20 overs. Come on let stop making excuses that S.Africa is a tough tour, in that case, lets fix only easy tours with Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Kenya, to bolster our records. We played on same S.African pitches during WC2003, how come we made it all the way to the final. and its not that the pitches we have played on are minefieds. If u leave out Durban, both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, are good batting tracks. Herschelle Gibbs can temper his agression to score a patient 93, why cant our guys, its not pitches or bowling, its simply lack of application. When in every match we have guys giving catching practice to the S.African fielders, those guys dont deserve our support there. Except Durban, in none of the other two matches, have batsmen got out to beauty of deliveries.

  67. Let the cricketers remember that we stay up all night or sometimes get up in wee hours of morning, to watch them play. We want to see em go out and compete on the field. We want to see em make the opposition sweat for victory. Guys Sri Lanka is certainly not a better team than us, how is it that they gave a tough competition to Australia in the Tri Series and actually beat S.Africa to reach the finals. That”s coz the Sri Lankans play cricket as it should be, as a game and with passion. Chris Gayle hammered Pollock, Ntini & co, in the Champions Trophy semi final, is he more talented than Sehwag or Tendulkar. WI beat Australia in the first match of Champions Trophy, and in fact they have beaten the Aussies 3 times so far, they are not a greater side than India. Guys u need to go and fight with a spirit, we need the passion from u, and we dont see that passion, it irks us no end.
    NDTV has started some farcical campaign called Support Indian cricket team. Goddamnit, Team India is not doing badly, because of lack of support from fans. Otherwise we wouldnt be cutting work hours, staying up all night, or travelling to stadiums to see them. But we are not going to tolerate this sort of lackdaiscal approach, no way. Pat Symcox, Allan Donald, Mark Boucher have all wondered why Ganguly and Laxman are not playing in the team. Do we call em as guys with blinkers on, they are not fools, and they dont gain anything by supporting Ganguly, they are guys with years of experience behind em, and they dont make statements just like that.

  68. Sourav Ganguly is back! 🙂
    I would have loved to see Kiran More’s face when he first heard the announcement and I hope and pray that Rahul Dravid has not injured another finger wringing his hands in despair.
    As for Greg Chappel , what an almighty ‘thappor’ ! LOL.

  69. @ Rima:

    Well, fortunately I did have the privilege of seeing Kiran More’s face right after Niranjan Shah announced that Dada was recalled on Aaj Tak.
    Ever since the new selection committee has taken over, More has turned 360 degrees….not very long ago he had said ‘Ganguly is an outstanding cricketer and can come back to the national squad at any time’.
    Yes, it is the same Kiran More who had openly announced that as long as he was leading the selection committee, Ganguly would never make it to the team.

    Today he said Ganguly was a strong contender for a test berth this time but then had Dravid and Yuvi been fit to play, he might not have been recalled. Twice in his 3-minute-long interview More implied that it’s only the crisis that the Indian team is in right now which has paved the path for Ganguly.

  70. @dEBOLiN

    Thanks for the info. I live thousands of miles away so the only Indian channel I get to see is CNN-IBN on the net.

    Well , Kiran More’s volteface is news to me . The man changed colours faster than a chameleon!!

  71. @Twice in his 3-minute-long interview More implied that it’s only the crisis that the Indian team is in right now which has paved the path for Ganguly.

    Whats strange in that? of course its Yuvraj’s and Dravid’s injury and the baaad form of the others which brings him to the team. Ganguly has not been hitting double centuries or anything of that sort.

  72. @Debashish: This “SG kicked out VVS” is an urban myth that has been spread around, through dropped hints and innuendo, by some honourable writers. The reason SG commands such respect and love from his colleagues is because he has never played politics with their careers. Sure he has played politics (and it is impossible in India not to do so) but not with players.

    @Anon:

    But amid all this rant against Dravid, perhaps we forgot that it was Sehwag who called up Dravid and said “Kya Bangali ko phir se captain banna diya?” when dada was captain after one-day series with Pakistan in India..

    Source?

    @Suyog: Yes GC so much wants to be in the news himself.

    @Ranjan: Priceless as usual. Now let’s have another for pro-Himeshism.

    @Aryan: When you say “i have nothing against south indians except their parochialism and narrow mindedness.” it is you who are being parochial ! Parochialism means attributing a certain negative stereotype on a group of people based on a common trait and asserting one’s group’s superiority with respect to that trait. The parochialists on the other side also make similar broad generalizations replacing “south Indians” with Bengalis. Both are equally objectionable.

    @Sriram: Sehwag hasnt done badly in Tests…its his ODI form which has been strangely consistently horrible.

    @Ravi: Did he? Well the medical reports show otherwise.

    @Mr. V: Nice? Hmm

    @Tipu: Heh.

    @Amit:

    Btw..again..I think Greg Chappell is a pompous, self indulgent, SOB. However I doubt he would lie about such things.

    GC also said that Sourav faked injuries. And Sourav produced medical certificates and convinced the board that he did not. GC was caught in at least one lie. Why should we believe that his other allegations were true?

    @Shan: I agree. SG was, even in his best days, a mediocre Test batsman. Its ODIs where he is an all-time-great and the selectors have got it all wrong by recalling him for the wrong form of the game.

    @Ram: Ranji trophy players? I suppose we have all brought them in, by turns.

    @Rajeev: Media sources? Heh. Cricinfo’s media sources are they themselves: after all they are media and they are “sources”.

    @Joy Forever: LOL. Nel charges in and so does Sehwag. Do the Dew.

    @Dipesh: The AP and Aajkal are squalid rags that play on injured pride to boost circulation. However they are not the only ones….most newspapers in India overtly and covertly do that.

    @ TracerBullet: Hatred towards GC? Sure. Not because he removed Dada. It’s how he did it. It’s his personal war of vendetta where he says that SG didnt want to quit because of financial reasons. No coach does that….he is a vindictive man who has shown he will stoop to any level. That is why he has no respect in my eyes.

    @Sriram: Let’s not even go there…

    @Mali: Dont see your point here. We are not asking for Cricinfo to be banned —-if we did what you say make sense. We are free to criticize anything that is in the public domain and using our own space. Well following your cricket team, why criticize the Indian team? Get a life and support Australia.

    @SlashGod: No they shouldnt be attacking anyone. Really.

    @Rahul Dravid: I thought your middle finger is injured. Doesnt it hurt to type?

    @Arnab:

    i would like gb (being a fellow bengali) to comment on this issue…….

    Curious. Why? Why as a fellow Bengali do I have to comment on it? Am I the spokesman of Bengalis? Do I run a site like IndianMuslims.in where I claim to represent the issues of my community? If you read my previous posts, you would notice that my point is that what pissed me off when I used to watch cricket matches in mixed company of Indians was how I, being a Bengali, was made to feel responsible and answerable for each of Sourav’s failures while no Mumbai-ite was made to feel the same way for Sachin’s follies (and there have been many).

    Now with respect to your point, I personally always support Team India irrespective of who plays. I have great respect for RD as a batsman and I would expect all Indian cricket lovers to support their team always. While not justifying the reaction of “Bengali Babus” , the problem isnt that SG is dropped but the way he was mistreated, made to grovel, how the coach made unsubstantiated allegations about faking injuries and how the board while giving SG a clean chit took no action against the coach caught in a lie—it was fairly evident that they just did not want SG out, they wanted to humiliate him and sully his legacy (by planting fake stories about him through mouthpieces like Cricinfo). Many Bengalis (and I do totally not support this line of reasoning) take this personally especially in a historical context, where many talented Bengali players were discriminated against by the trenchant regional lobbies in the BCCI for decades. [The destruction of the career of Subroto Banerjee being the most recent example]

    @An Ideal Boy: Agarkar is the comic relief of the Indian cricket team—the Johnny Lever if I may say.

    @Arnab:

    ,but i believe he was perfectly in his right to write whatever he felt about any player as long as the correspondence remained a matter between the board and him

    No sir. You cannot make unsubstantiated allegations. You cannot hint at financial conspiracies without proof.

    and i fail to understand why people look at dravid,as if he is the new age brutus….true,he has remained mum on the whole ganguly-chappell issue but dont you think saying something would necessary aggravate the morale of already beleaguered team

    I agree. RD wants the captaincy. And he doesnt want to lose it to SG. Simple. That’s very human. However the problem is when Cricinfo goes all sanctimonious on us anf portrays RD with a halo and says that its the only filthy SG that plays politics and covets captaincy. Both SG and RD covet their captaincy. Nothing wrong in it.

    @Indranil: For the wrong form of cricket.

    @Neeladri: Poor Sehwag.

    @Sourya: Well I am surprised my old friends “Indian” and “AnotherIndian” havent shown up with their “Bengalis are cowards who dont serve in the Army” line….

    @Ratnakar: Yesterday’s match the way Sachin got out was pathetic…..trying to move his bat away and poking to the slips….I mean what can we say ! No sense in blaming the pitch or the ball for that..

    @Rima: Kiran More….oh man that….more than anything the moment I think of him I remember him shouting at Kirmani and calling India’s greatest wicketkeeper a “goalkeeper” because Kirmani didnt consider Parthiv Patel to be India’s great new hope.

    @dEBOLiN: Ahem. I thought Mohd Kaif was More and Chappell’s choice to be the replacement batsman in Tests…why then is he being sent back? What injury has befallen the Kaif?

    @Asterix: Eeeeh….very dirty.
    @ Sriram: The point is that none of More’s boys have delivered. Its not they “lost form”…they cannot cope.

  73. @shan

    what made u think i am patrician??by plebeian of course i meant the common mass (and not as in vulgar)…….so couldnt get your salutation!!

    as for ur dravid bashing is concerned,it will be easier to pull up statistics and defend myself.but can do it urself…the point is under sg dravid has been more succesful in overseas tests than sachin,and just look at the test matches india won in the last 5 years from wi,australia,england,pakistan it has been a one man show….and dont forget dravid kept wickets in the wc just because sg insisted it for the sake of the team…and i can say it loud and clear that without dravid the then india would not have reached the heights india scaled with sg……..and after all that to call the man a backstabber,is to dwell heavily on the uncricketing notions you’ve gathered in your life…….

    and one more question for u-did u get the vip passes in all the selection committee meetings..winner of hutch contest???

    @sourya

    if ur comment was directed towards me then let me clarify.i have never accused bengalis of being treacherous….what i said was we should not look at cricket with any sort of regionalism.we bengalis have been quite intelligent in all sporing issues and as a community we are quite emotional too on cricketing matters….but wishing for india to lose for a sg comeback is quite a disproportionate reaction from the people.

  74. @Tracerbullet, I am inspired. In order to support you I presents Ganguly’s stats. In the last 13 ODIs played by India, they speak for themselves:
    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St
    13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    See?

  75. I am missing YOURFAN here. Pleassssseeee do come back. Don’t let the ghost of the discussion in an earlier post hold you back. I have always loved to read your comments, so please do come back 🙂

  76. @Yourfan, I second that. Apart from GB, yourfan2, Shan, Sayon, Swati and Tipu, your comments are what makes this experience so complete and brings us all back to the blog. Come back, please. This one from me.

  77. Food for thought: Guess which of these 2 writers is a World-cup winning coach and which is a sycophant?

    Sambit Bal in today’s Cricinfo
    (link: http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/270520.html)
    “Indian cricket, you could say after reading the names in the Test squad, has completed a full circle. Prima facie, it would seem that the Greg Chappell-Rahul Dravid revolution has ended, or at least been temporarily suspended, and India are back to where they were 14 months ago.
    Youth has been jettisoned, the process (emphasis) has been buried and, quite incredibly, Sourav Ganguly is back. And all this has happened so suddenly that it has left a lot of us struggling to comprehend its wider implications.”

    Bob Simpson in this week’s Sportstar
    (Link:http://www.sportstaronnet.com/stories/20061202010701200.htm)

    “The Indian selectors and Greg Chappell seem to be trying to change Indian cricket to fit in with their theory of how the game, and in particular one-day cricket, should be played. While more theories abound today than ever before, cricket is still a simple game that is only made more difficult by well meaning theorists.
    My whole theory on coaching the cricketers is based on improving the natural talents of the players and the culture of their game.”

    The level to which Cricinfo is stooping to downplay SG’s achievements and elevate GC/RD combination is pathetic. A month or so ago, Greg Ritchie called Ponting/Buchanan the Abbott and Costello of Australian Cricket.

    Unlike Ritchie, I haven’t played any Test cricket, but after promising so much and delivering so little, I christen GC/RD as the PRE-bhooter-raja dilo-bor Goopy Gyne-Baagha Byne of Indian cricket (with my humblest apologies to Satyajit Ray)

  78. A quiz question: Match the following to quotes to their authors. Hint: One quote is by a World Cup winning coach and the other by bloody sycophant and a raving lunatic.

    “The Indian selectors and Greg Chappell seem to be trying to change Indian cricket to fit in with their theory of how the game, and in particular one-day cricket, should be played. While more theories abound today than ever before, cricket is still a simple game that is only made more difficult by well meaning theorists.”

    “Indian cricket, you could say after reading the names in the Test squad, has completed a full circle. Prima facie, it would seem that the Greg Chappell-Rahul Dravid revolution has ended, or at least been temporarily suspended, and India are back to where they were 14 months ago. Youth has been jettisoned, the process has been buried and, quite incredibly, Sourav Ganguly is back. And all this has happened so suddenly that it has left a lot of us struggling to comprehend its wider implications.”

    To the discerning reader, it will come as no surprise that the first quote is by Bob Simpson (Link: http://www.sportstaronnet.com/stories/20061202010701200.htm) and the 2nd quote is by Sambit Bal, Sh.D. (Doctor of Sycophancy) (Link: http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/270520.html).

    This is just a quick post from office. A detailed rant follows later today in this column.

  79. @Anon- oh…I didnt think about that. 🙂

    Amidst all the news around Saurav’s recall, I cannot but help but feel sorry for 1 Indian cricketer who has no Godfather – Akash Chopra….although I dont know whats his current form, the way he was phased off (and yes SG was responsible to a large extent for that) was quite inexplicable to me. Boycott often laments that modern batsmen have forgotten the art of crease occupation – and Chopra certainly knew how to do that after getting set.

    In a way, it ceratainly smells of old times …:) (sniff sniff)… a middle order of Sachin, Saurav and VVS. (but where is the future middle order? )

    Meanwhile, Sambit “Bal” has come up with a knee-jerk reaction to Saurav’s inclusion- a thing which he describes as “knee jerk”.

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/270520.html

    The Cricinfo office must have been the saddest place in the world yesterday. After repeatedly hammering words like ‘cant play fast bowling’, ‘disruptive force’, ‘peevish touchy’, ‘kicked vvs’, ‘shirked at Nagpur’, ‘politburo’; they must have thought that they had seen the last of him….remember the words ” golden sunset….fade away with a bang rather than a whimper” etc….just as when they thought that they had they delivered the last nail in his coffin, out comes the man and kicks the balls of these Chappell sycophants.

    So shell shocked is “Bal”, that the best riposte that he can come up with is:

    “So what does one make of it? A knee-jerk reaction to a batting crisis? The irony cannot be missed: Ganguly, whose decline as a batsman has been attributed primarily to his vulnerability to the short ball, has now been picked to strengthen a batting lineup that has been systematically dismantled by the surgical, relentless use of bounce.”

    Yes the irony really cannot be missed…even if it aint the one that “Bal” was trying to point to.

    But even “Bal” concedes:

    “The truth is that once again Indian batsmen have been mercilessly exposed on harder pitches, and the selectors didn’t really have too many options after the young men in whom they’d placed their faith failed make the grade. The selectors had the choice to let them learn from their failures or opt to try damage control. The passions involved in cricket in India are just too high for the selectors to be able to ignore the immediate. And the reality is that beyond Ganguly there was not much to look at anyway.”

    But I agree with “Bal” when he says :

    “It is now up to him to script his final chapter.”

    During the time he was left out to pasture, Ganguly repeatedly said ” I want to play in WC 2007″. Heres the chance Saurav….to be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul…and fulfill your dreams..and the hopes of many others.

    N.B.
    For people who did not get Bonatellis’s comment above: Bal in Bengali slang means ahem…specific type of body hair.
    Which is Mumbai’s biggest boxing venue….the Gymkhana? I want to organize a boxing match between Bonatellis and Bal. What…Rocky? Jake La Motta?…forget it…this one has enough animosity to fly sparks which would Ali and Frazier look like kids. 🙂

  80. @Tracer: This will sound cliched, but I will still draw your attention to this age old saying reg your comments on Sourav’s form: “Form is temporary, class is permanent”. As Sidhu said yesterday, for someone who has scored over 15,000 runs and 35 centuries in international cricket, Sourav DOES NOT have to prove anything to anyone.

    Now on a different note:

    Sourav Ganguly made a very valid point on TV yesterday, and it is something everyone should note.
    He said this is almost the same team that has done so brilliantly over the past 3-4 years – including beating Pak in Pak, levelling against Aus in Aus and reaching the WC finals in 03. (Read this as: still my team, so is there a leadership issue?!).
    He continued, so there was no reason why this team shouldn’t do well … supporters must back the team when in need. (Should you interpret this as: I am being politically correct; but if I perform, I will stake a claim for captainship again)

    The point is, is it necessary for the captain to be the best player in the side … for him to be the best performer. A leader is one who ensures that the TEAM delivers the best performance, and one who can get the best out of his tea. There is a corporate jargon on this: “ensure the sum of parts is bigger than the whole”.
    Isn’t that what we look for in a leader?

    I’d say it is not necessary for Ganguly to be the highest scorer – he is the only one in the current lot who’s shown that he can get the best out of his players … and, as he said, with the same bunch of players. The same Sachin, Veeru, Kumble, Yuvraj, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Laxman …. And note, Kiran More admitted on national television (Times NOW) yesterday that it was a mistake dropping Ganguly!!!!

    Every player has a shelf life, and if Ganguly can show he can still score, why not give him back the captaincy? Dravid is probably the best batsman, but he has proved he is NOT the best captain. Groupism or the World Cup, which is more important?

  81. And I support GB’s point here – that the reason people find GC despicable is because of the manner in which he had SG removed with the Board’s tacit support … it was pure personal vendetta.

    Look at his remark on SG’s recall: “Good – till he plays.” I say that sums it all up – it’s just personal for him.

    Why is the man allowed to remain in India??? For he’s clearly not doing Indian cricket any good!!!

  82. Yourfan2, it was very irritating reading Bal’s opinion piece on Cricinfo today. I agree with all your points. I noticed how Bal pointed out that Cricinfo was the first to break the story (as if that forgave the sore loser tone of the rest of the rant). Do you remember Cricinfo’s outrage when Ganguly ws chosen for the Pak tour? They had confidently predicted he won’t make it, & then he did. It made my day 🙂

    Bonatellis, to continue your point that the highest scoring batsman in the team doesn’t necessarily make the best captain, look at Tendulkar’s only stint as the captain & Lara’s first one. Look at Brearly, or that long period when mark Taylor’s form dipped. I can see how More would have justified – waise team to achha khel raha hain, sirf yeh Ganguly run nahin banaa raha hain. Usko nikaal do, ek achha fielder le lenge. Chappell bhai bhi wohi bol rahen hain, aur woh free mein Baroda team ka coaching bhi karengey.

    GB has moved on to Nitish Kumar, & the test team has been chosen, & we have lost the ODI series. I guess it’s time to call it a day till Dec 15th.

  83. The lines below from Sambit Bal’s latest piece in Cricinfo (link: http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/current/story/270520.html) establishes why I said “… and the surname (exemplies) what he IS …” of the man!!!

    “The average Indian cricket fan might have been fooled by the team’s success in the last World Cup in South Africa but it wouldn’t have been lost on the discerning few that the pitches were flat, almost designed to give India a good run.”

    I suppose Mr Bal will suggest next that the South African cricket board had conspired with Sourav during the last WC to propel his career!!!!

    A good writer but in the wrong field – should focus on fiction.

  84. Sorry, this is belated…my feeds were unattended for a while 🙂

    BongoPondit you say: Good points all around. I especially agree with your comments on Cricinfo’s reporting in recent times. Add Prem Panicker & Co at Sightscreen to the group who have suddenly run out of points to criticize the team on.

    I would request you to elaborate on that accusation, please? Preferably with some references to the alleged ‘bias’? You are free to explore the archives at Sightscreen (even the one at http://sightscreen.blogspot.com) for that.

    As the Bihari MLA would say ‘humne nahi kiya, kuchh aur log kiya’ 🙂

    And in this case, I don’t even see kuchh aur log on SightScreen who have indulged in the bias. Prem Panicker, along with Harsha Bhogle, is the most matter-of-fact cricket critic in India.

    Btw…one has to appreciate the fact that we, commenting from our couches (or workdesks!) would not have the same access to information as the professionals would. We can argue with their opinions, but hardly with the facts.

  85. @Tipu: Yes. 🙂 It seemed so out of place. “Cricinfo broke the story first”..oh..remember readers …you read it here first..hush hush…off the record…and on the QT..aha…and yeah I do remember the outcry when he was selected for Pakistan….but that was the back of facile home victories against Sri Lanka and drawing against SA….so Cricinfo was on a roll, so to speak.

    If you havent read it yet, read Ashok Malik’s piece here:
    http://dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp?main_variable=EDITS&file_name=edit3.txt&counter_img=3

    A strange family is this Indian team now – a larger than life egotistical coach who is under pressure and finds himself with his adversary in the dressing room, a captain who is verge of breakdown, and 2 people who were history are suddenly now in the team. Anil Kumble may …and has every right to think…why VVS as VC…why not me? Also if media reports are to be believed, Sehwag has incurred the wrath of everybody in the team. Add to all this the pressures of losing…umm…getting raped virtually. Till now we used to hear that Pakistan or the West Indies were the most factious team ie. there were many teams within a single team. India look all set to snatch that title well before the start of WC 07.

  86. Hilarious article by Anand Philar. Read these statements….

    http://sify.com/sports/cricket/fullstory.php?id=14341496

    “I am still not convinced that Ganguly is the right choice to shore up the batting given his abysmal track record in South Africa . Anyway, there is little that can be done, now that the squad has been announced. One can only hope that Ganguly would justify his selection.

    Thus, the selectors seem to have atoned for the “sins” of their predecessors by bringing back Ganguly and promoting Laxman who, in the first place, should not have been dropped for the one-dayers.”

    “Ganguly may have been granted his wish to bid farewell to international cricket in a befitting manner.”

    WOW. I mean even before Ganguly has started playing his obituary is written and as for Laxman, he should be always part of the playing 11 !!

  87. Dealer: So Cricinfo moves from anti-Ganguly to anti-India category then? Aren’t they then rubbishing not just the victories (which supposedly belong to Ganguly) but also the individual achievements (like Sachin breaking a decade of Pakistani shackle at Centurian).

    The biggest downside of the whole SG-Chappell affair has been that a lot of Indian fans have started smelling fish in *everything*.

    Btw, did you watch the world cup games? Were the pitches same as we are getting now?

    And isn’t it surprising that the same article goes on to give due credit to SG?

    Indian cricket, then, was not *just* about SG…neither is everything in Indian cricket today about Chappell.

  88. Excellent writing GreatBong. I wasn’t too sure about the Cricinfo bias and was thinking it could be because of incompetence / riding with the tide that they wrote what they wrote. But now when ganguly is back look at the way they write. Its glaringly obvious now that Cricinfo hates Ganguly.

    The headline of this article looks like an obit to Ganguly.
    “Ganguly’s rise and fall – a timeline”

    and the accompanying pic has this statement below “For Saurav Ganguly such triumphs are now merely the stuff of memory”

    Stuff from memory? Rise and fall? I say, what the FCK, Ganguly has just made a comeback. Don’t you Cricinfo guys get it?

  89. Any comparision between the batting disaster this time round and the one in NZl before 03 WC is wrong. Those odi’s were played on lottery wickets…like the mohali pitch on which SA played Pak in Champions trophy. India actually could have done better if they won a couple of cruitial tosses. Batting was a virtual lottery. Even nzl batters struggled.

    The piches this time round are nowhere bad as then. Yes its early season in SA….the pitches are more lively than they would have been in feb or march. But Sambit Bal has cleverly shifted the blamed on pitches rather than the ineptitude of the batsmen like Raina and Kaif. Same old story…ourtside off stump ball..straight to 3rd man, slips or gully, strangle on off stump with short of length balls…and they will themselves find a way to get out. Indian batters faced better SA attacks on previous tours…but did not crumble like this. If Kallis bounces you out with his pace, whats the use of such facilities like bowling machines etc. What was required was application and preservation of wickets. SA actually are different..their top order always fails.(except a brief period with Kirsten at the top)..but their middle and lower middle order …since 92 to now…Mcmillan, Richardson, Klusener, Rhodes, Cronje, Cullinan, and now people like Gibbs, Pollock, Hall and the fantastic Kemp…all are there to rescue. India’s odi success has mostly been based on top order achievements. But the top order cant even bat for 20 overs….and at 80-4 its just too much to expect Dhoni to bail them out.

    And KKD Karthik playing in the top order shows either or both of bad selection or bad planning by team management. I was reading a column by Barry Richards where he was saying that Nel and Ntini have horrible records against left handers. Australia showed that over the last southern hemispherical summer. Even though Yuvraj aint there, couldnt the batting order be shuffled a bit….whys Gautam Gambhir in the test side and not in the ODI side…why? Perhaps its better not to analyze a horrible one day performance any more.

  90. Anand Vasu again at Cricinfo conjectures:

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/rsavind/content/current/story/270664.html

    “Another factor that probably came into play was, ironically, Ganguly. There was a real danger (since abated) of Rahul Dravid not being able to lead the side in the first Test, which would have left Sehwag leading a team including Ganguly. The fear was that Ganguly would then lead by proxy and with this in mind, the selectors named VVS Laxman as vice-captain.”

    These writers are merely venting their own fears as selection commitee thought processes. Another one..out of millions like this last year…of Cricinfo’s skewed journalism. If Rahul Dravid is out for one match, would it be a sin for Saurav to captain it considering that he has been India’s most successful captain ever. But when Vasu says about “the fear factor”, hes actually manifesting his own fears. Rahul Dravid can always come back after being fit and taken back the captaincy. Its a cynical way of saying that SG is a unwelcome guest who should be given only the meat, not the champagne. “Lead by proxy”…..thats some fucking stretch of imagination.

  91. @yourfan2 – I completely agree with you that its the fear of the mollycoddlers at CROOKINFO thats being mainfested in this piece by Anand Vasu. And as Shan has said, at a risk of being politically incorrect I do think there is a little South Indian lobby at play here. I could sense it when I used to watch these games in a decidedly South Indian milieu, the anti-Sourav and its offshoot the anti-Bengali feelings just simmered away, waiting to explode. My presence there used to keep it from being a complete hate-fest

  92. There were two banners at the match (finally!!) yesterday which caught my eye:

    1. You can’t hold me back
    I am the Bengal Tiger

    2. Rahul Dravid
    India’s Best Batsman
    But
    India’s Worst Captain

    … well …

  93. Greatbong, no matter what you say….Debu is right. there is parochialism going on at Cricinfo, sorry, Crookinfo. How else do you explain the following names : Anand Vasu, Dileep Premachandran, Sreeram Veera, Siddharth Vaidyanathan…… it’s apparent to me that all these writers at Crookinfo are from, ahem, a particular region in India. There used to be a Rahul Bhattacharya but he’s disappeared. The thing about South Indians is that when we Bengalis support Sourav, then it is because he is from West Bengal and we are supportng him blindly just because we are from same region as Sourav.

    But when these distinguished writers at Crookinfo, who emanate from the South India, like our “venerable” captain, try to gloss over Rahul Dravid’s obvious captaincy deficiencies and eulogize every move of his….. that becomes an articles in objectivity. Bhai, Bengali karey toh balatkar, baaki karey toh chamatkar.

  94. @Cptain Haddock – Rgd Crookinfo — a website having a page called “Dravid Zone” – makes it’s objectives clear doesn’t it ? You will get to see the same bias in TOI’s sports journos like Bobilli Vjay Kumar – who have started talking about how this South African tour will take care of Ganguly “for good” !! (http://cricket.indiatimes.com/Team_cautious_about_Ganguly/indiainsaarticleshow/677852.cms)

    Can’t agree more with, “Bengali karey toh balatkar, baaki karey toh chamatkar” !!

  95. @ Captain Haddock

    >The thing about South Indians is that when we Bengalis support Sourav, then it is >because he is from West Bengal and we are supportng him blindly just because we are >from same region as Sourav.

    I hope you are refering to the South Indian analysts on Cricinfo and not South Indians in general. Bong-bashing and in particular SG-bashing is not confined to SI – its lot more pan Indian (for various reasons). In fact I have seen this more in the Mumbai, Delhi regions than in Hyd/Chennai.

    btw, I was a big SG fan during his initial years (more so after the series in Canada where we beat Pak comprehensively). After WC 2003, I moved on to the SG-bashing camp. The reasons (I think) were purely cricket. Facts like some minister of WB going on record that dropping SG is an insult to Bengalis didnt help it either – it only reinforces the stereotype. Its not an accurate comparison, but when Laxman was dropped repeatedly, forget about ministers, not even the teulgu newspapers gave it any anti-telugu colors.

  96. @Vamsi: Again not supporting the politicization of the Ganguly issue. But one has to understand that this “against Bongs” mentality isnt something that just came out after the Ganguly issue. It is true that there have been many deserving Bengal players who have been left out of the Indian cricket team because of regional lobbies….many careers ruined right from Shute Banerjee to Subroto Banerjee. Now I do not want to conjecture that this was because of some inherent hatred towards Bengalis but was most probably more due to the safeguarding of regional interests. Leaving aside cricket, there have been other political factors like “freight equalization” and a consistent policy on the part of the Congress party to discriminate against Bengal because of politics that contribute to the seige mentality among a section of Bengalis—–something that comes out in these Ganguly protests. Naturally people in other parts of the country find this rather beguiling as they fail to understand the history behind the protest marches. Again I am not saying that Bengal politicians are not politicizing the whole thing or that the Ganguly issue is the appropriate lightning rod for conducting all the angst.

    While it is true that politicians did not come out in support of VVS Laxman or call his dropping anti-Telegu, the Hyderabad cricket control board did dash off angry letters when VVS was dropped. If there was no “our boy mentality” on their part, I do not think that should have happened.

    And this is my point. Regionalism exists in all parts of India and it is futile pointing fingers on this issue.

  97. yourfan2 – I read Crookinfo’s conspiracy theories about Sehwag (the one you referred to). The first thought that came to me is what did Chappell’s friend Dr. Rudi Webster do to help him overcome these fears & insecurities? I read (again, at Cookinfo) that Dr. W succeeded in getting through to him in the WI tour, & it was because of that ‘success’ that BCCI paid him a retainer for more of his services. Or is that more Chappell Inc. BS? The 2nd thing that came to mind was the possibility of a bloodless coup initiated by Sehwag & Ganguly during the first step, a la Thailand. Suddenly during the drinks break, Ganguly plants a flag on the offside boundary with a roaring leaping tiger on it 🙂

    Btw, read Ashok Malik’s article, & found him a worthy antidote to The Bhogle.

  98. @Vamsi, I was referring to the South India writers at Cricinfo. I don’t believe in stereotypes, such as labelling all Muslims as terrorists when only a few misguided muslims carry out jihad. Same way, I will not say that all South Indians are rabidly against Ganguly & blindly worship Dravid. But based on the evidence from South Indian Crookinfo writers, such an extrapolation can be made.
    Please I do not want to get into regional name calling. My point, in case you missed it, was that when Bengalis support Dada, it is supposed to be based purely on regional motives and not on Dada’s performance. But when South Indian writers at Crookinfo blindly support and praise every move of Dravid’s, whether right or wrong, that is supposed to be a balanced support of Dravid and not regional support.

  99. @greatbong:-
    One small thing – Subroto Banerjee played mainly for Bihar (1987/88-1995/96). He played for Bengal only for two seasons (1996/97 – 1998/99) . He’s plying his wares in minor leagues in Australia

  100. @greatbong
    Exactly – You haVe said “it is true that there have been many deserving BENGAL players who have been left out of the Indian cricket team because of regional lobbies….many careers ruined right from Shute Banerjee to Subroto Banerjee” and I meant to say that no just Bengalis from Bengal but Bengalis from other states too had been discriminated against.

  101. Greatbong, can you comment/post your opinion about who could it be “leaking” information to Crookinfo. If you go through most of their so-called articles, they seem to be quoting some team insider or referencing some “senior” team member.

    Here are some nuggets

    From Slings, arrows and the short stuff by Dileep Premachandran

    “Raina’s plight evoked a passionate response from one of his seniors. Clearly smarting from the criticism directed the team’s way, he said: “I find it astonishing that so much of the anger and ridicule is directed at the junior players. It’s the big boys who win you games. And when they’re not performing, why pick on these boys?”

    The article then goes on, with this “senior player” taking a direct pot-shot on the abilities of Ganguly and Laxman
    “Those called up for the Tests have been imbued with the qualities that only messiahs possess, and this player could only laugh when asked about the clamour for change. “What are our options? Which players have been so outstanding in domestic cricket to demand a place? Those returning have been tried before. It’s not like it’s their first chance.”

    And this paragraph:

    “When a player is out of the team, I hear of him having qualities that we were never aware of before. It was the same with me and several others when we were dropped. One minute, we’re the worst thing to happen to Indian cricket, and when we’re out of the side there’s a huge sympathy wave to bring us back.”

    This paragraph has a key sentence that to me reveals the most likely person to be the “insider”.

    “It was the same with me and several others when we were dropped.”

    Now who all in the One-Day team were making combacks. If I remember correctly, they are Zaheer, Dinesh Mongia, Dinesh Kartik, Kaif and Kumble. Let’s take them one by one

    Zaheer is a known Ganguly man (the main reason why he has been out of the team till he put on such a performance that he just couldn’t be ignored any more). So he is out.

    Mongia got a lot of support from ganguly during WC 2003. Can’t see him in this role.

    Kartik is too junior to be a “senior”.

    That leaves Kaif and Kumble….. both open members of the GC-RD clique and anti-ganguly-ites. Kaif, like Greatbong said, is the perennial old “young man” of the team and he does have a grudge against Dada, that is, Dada was holding onto a middle-order slot that was his for the taking.

    But my money is on Kumble.

    Those of us who followed Crookinfo coverage of the GC-Dada saga in Sept-Oct of 2005 in Zimbabwe will remember all sorts of inside information and sources being quoted by the website in all their articles. I remember (sorry but couldnot find the article) one article clearly saying the source being a “senior bowler” who didnot want to be named.

    My putting two and two together leads me to suspect Kumble rather than Kaif. For one thing, Kumble always had captaincy ambitions but never got the chance after Dada took over from Tendulkar. Kumble was several times overlooked in favor of Harbhajan in matches. Basically, Kumble had more of a grudge than Kaif does against Ganguly.

    What say you?

  102. @Captain Haddock: When I read the piece(before you posted it as a comment) the first name I thought was of Kumble. It is in fact fairly obvious. However there is the other alternative: there is in actuality no “secret” source —this is just a way of getting across the personal opinion of the correspondent through the voice of a fictitious “senior player”.

  103. Actually, we can have a shadow site for cricinfo… there is so much shit written there everyday… u feel like yellin at them whenever u read it… what say chaps? blogspot called crookinfo.blogspot.com? am sure there will be enuff to keep us busy….

    heres the latest pearls… it appears that after dravid has been removed by a somehow timely finger injury… (no comments on that from cricinfo)… the latest messiah is VVS Laxman (a player i love watch batting incidentally…) who will keep Ganguly from leading by proxy… how noble… heres a captain who won u tests in australia, england, pakistan…. of course he cannot give advise on what a being thulped Indian side can do… anyway what does our friend DP say?

    “Laxman eased into his drives straightaway, upright and elegant in his full-sleeved shirt. Along with the strokeplay, there were enough occasions when he let the ball dart past the off stump. On pitches of this kind, leaving the ball is as much an art as picking the right one to hit….” Shawn Pollock’s first ball… snicker… snicker..

    “This is a boy who helped win you games in Pune [against Sri Lanka], Pakistan and on a very tricky pitch at Faridabad [against England],” he continued. “And now I hear that he’s completely useless. I guess you expect it in India, where we tend to have very little perspective.”

    yes yes and yes… remember someone who scored 10,000 one day runs… who won u a 100 matches… how long did it take cricinfo to designate him as a failure and a fool….

    chaps… feedback on the shadow site 😉 .. what say arnob? [don’t worry will make sure no legal hassles….]

  104. “Crackinfo, Crookinfo, Cookinfo, Creekinfo, Croakinfo”- those guys are getting a bit desperate these days. Two of their newest jewels, from today’s live commentary-

    “As expected Dhoni gets promoted up the order – excellent move this from Dravid.”
    Incidentally, Shewag was leading.

    After his dismissal,
    “Karthik on his way back shows us that he should have played that ball with a straight bat – hopefully the selectors are watching.”
    Showed us ? No kidding- that’s like- almost as good as a test hundred, ain’t it ?

    It’s a talent- trying to squeeze out the very last drops, regardless of how hopeless the situation is ?

  105. Anon, wanted to add this one when VVS got out first ball:

    “Can’t blame Laxman really, he’s just arrived and the South African bowlers have just been too good.”

    Though to Crookinfo’s defense, they didn’t have much to keep the hopes for the test series alive on 🙂

  106. I find this – “As expected Dhoni gets promoted up the order – excellent move this from Dravid.” – rather intriguing!!!

    Dhoni started playing for India when Ganguly was the captain. In his initial few matches, till Ganguly was dropped, he was either opening (during Sachin’s absence) or can at No. 3. That really gave us a formidable top 6 (now it would appear formidable only on paper) – Sachin, Sehwag, Dhoni, Sourav, Dravid and Yuvraj.

    It was only when GC and RD took over the reins was Dhoni dropped to No. 7 and No. 6, with Dravid moving up to No. 3 (and sometimes even to open the innings) …. I presumed the duo did that because they presumed that that was an “excellent move” !!!! Looks like GC and RD are having to reverse all their previous decisions!!!

    Incidentally a snap poll on Star News said that 61% of respondents thought GC was responsible for India’s debacle … anyone surprised?

  107. “If anyone points out one more time how we need to bring the Australian ethic where an Ian Healy and a Steve Waugh and a Bevan are eased out ruthlessly the moment their performance dips, then I swear I shall start singing “Chilai Chun Chun” ! ”

    Thank you for bringing that song back into my life.

  108. In the spirit of the Himess thread I am going to support Cr–info with Ganguly’s stats. In the last 13 ODIs played by India, they speak for themselves:
    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St
    13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.
    Now doesn’t that prove RD is no backstabber, Guru Greg is bathed in Pura milk, and Ganguly is a loser! Just look at the stats. Hah! I say! That Ganguly fella is a match winnner it seems!

  109. Ganguly is THE Dada of Indian Cricket. Scrores a half century (83 runs) today when the top half is wiped off.

    Hopefully he will be included in the WC’07. Though I understand fully that it will not enable India to win the WC, but atleast it wont be last in the table.

    Long live Sourav Ganguly.

  110. Venugopal Rao is a classy player. Ask the England A side comprising Sajid Mahmood, Matt Prior and Simon Jones (All current England squad members). Venugopal hunted down a target of 501 runs in the fourth innings of a four-day match. You probably have not heard about him, let alone seen.
    He is also a very capable captain.
    But nobody cares about a grafter in the day and age of Twenty20. We all want Mark McGuires who can slam the ball out of the park with every slog. The craze for Dhoni is testimony to that.
    Please do not bash someone just because they have not performed up to the standard in a few matches.
    And Badrinath has not played for India ever. He has a decent List A record.

    I do agree with your point about Cricinfo going to no end to back Chappell-Dravid. Dravid has been a woeful captain and made glaring strategic mistakes. He has very rarely used conditions well and was very lucky with the powerplays when he started so everyone was praising him. Now we can see he has no clue what to do when things aren’t going INdia’s way.
    Take for example the ODI series in SA. Kemp murdered the bowlers and he did not have any solutions in the 3rd ODI.
    I hope the test series is better. I hate ODIs nowadays. I love Tests and watching Kumble bowl and used to love watching Dravid play for whole days. Now I have nothing but contempt for the captain. He has become bull-headed and it is showing.

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