The Sinister Cabal And The Batting Virus

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You would have thought that with Sourav emerging the leading run scorer in South Africa, playing comfortably and at a fair clip (in the last innings) on the same pitch that other great batsmen struggled to score after Sourav’s departure in the process surrendering India’s advantage and a chance at history, even his worst critics would not grudge him a place in the World Cup side, even more so because of the pathetic form of Sehwag.

No.

After the 4-0 defeat in the one-day series, the pressure on Dravid will intensify, especially with a section of the media covertly campaigning for Ganguly’s reinstatement.

Thus speaks Dilip Premchandran, one of the main men behind Cricinfo. A little context for those who came in a bit late. Dileep Premchandan and his co-journalists at Cricinfo were clearly upset at the coterie of Bengali newsmen to whom they felt Ganguly gave special quotes to [which incidentally is totally a player’s prerogative as to whom he gives private quotes to as long as he discharges his official press interactions which Dada unfailingly did]—the coterie they referred to as the Politburo (a thinly disguised allusion to the CPM). When Sourav was at his lowest point, Premchandran said: “The coterie that once surrounded him, and contributed in no small measure to the media disenchantment that cost him the top job, stayed at a respectful distance” thus suggesting it was the power of the “quote-deprived” journalists which had a big part in bringing him down. Whether that be true or merely a delusion of grandeur, I leave you to judge.

And now this—the innuendo that it was not Sourav’s performance but the “covert campaign of a section of the media” (i.e. the same Politburo) that could possibly bring Dada back into the World Cup side. In other words, this unbiased journalist just cannot accept the fact that Sourav can come back into the team without backroom machinations and media manipulation.

[Addendum: Debashish points out that Dileep may be talking about Sourav’s reinstatement as captain. Now this is the first time I have heard Sourav being a captaincy candidate and even the possibility of Sourav being considered for the captaincy at this stage is a huge stretch, even more so since his coming back to the World Cup side is not certain by any degree of imagination. But whatever the meaning of “reinstatement ” be, the point remains: Dilip Premchandran accuses Sourav of playing politics without providing a speck of proof.]

Now things are different when it comes to Rahul Dravid. Though this is totally irrelevant to the issue under discussion, I should mention that Dravid was on the cover of the inaugural Cricinfo magazine issue with his vision for Indian cricket and has dropped into the Cricinfo office at least on one occasion. In a piece that savages Sachin Tendulkar’s batting, Sambit Bal writes a rather interesting few lines.

And he (Sachin) seemed to have infected Dravid with his approach, because runs dried up from the other side too. Dravid had scored 36 from 88 balls when Tendulkar came in. He made only 11 from the next 46 and hit no more fours. The fourth wicket stand produced 24 runs in 15 overs, to which Tendulkar contributed 9 in 45 balls. It was worse than tentative and diffident, it was supine and unbecoming.

That is Sachin injected a full syringe load of the slowness virus into Dravid’s butt when he was looking at the scoreboard. I do not know much about cricket but I would never have thought if one partner plays badly, the other person automatically gets “infected”. Note that if this contagion theory be true, it never occurred to Mr. Bal that Sourav Ganguly may have infected Dravid with his fast-scoring approach as a result of which Dravid scored at a fair rate when Dada was batting and that once Sourav was out, Dravid reverted back to his own slow-scoring self and infected Sachin with his tortoise virus.

I would have thought that when Sachin came in and found it tough to score, Dravid (having already been “in” for some time) would have taken the initiative of keeping the scoreboard ticking and taken the pressure off the new batsman and that knowledgeable cricket writers would understand that fact and appropriate responsibility fairly.

But again no.

Not the wise and objective experts at Cricinfo.

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123 thoughts on “The Sinister Cabal And The Batting Virus

  1. I refer: http://history.enotes.com/famous-quotes/dada-doubts-everything-dada-is-an-armadillo

    Dada doubts everything. Dada is an armadillo. Everything is Dada, too. Beware of Dada. Anti-dadaism is a disease: selfkleptomania, man’s normal condition, is Dada. But the real dadas are against Dada.
    – Tristan Tzara

    Attribution: Tristan Tzara (1896–1963), Rumanian-born French dadaist. repr. In The Dada Painters and Poets, ed. Robert Motherwell (1951). “Dada Manifesto on Feeble Love and Bitter Love,” sct. 7, La Vie des Lettres, no. 4, Paris (1921).

  2. I tend to agree that Dilip Premchandran has been biased against SG in his writing. But in this article, are you sure he is talking about Sourav’s place in the one-day side when he talks about “a section of the media covertly campaigning for Ganguly’s reinstatement” ? I thought he might be referring to the captaincy there..

  3. @footballnath: heh.

    @Ranjan: A reviewer from the American Art News stated that “The Dada philosophy is the sickest, most paralyzing and most destructive thing that has ever originated from the brain of man.

    @Debashish: Ahem not clear. But yes it could mean Sourav’s captaincy which as we all know is never going to happen….sinister cabal or not. Dont you think this is highly irresponsible of Dilip Premchandan to make such kinds of accusations without providing even a bit of evidence? And it is accepted that if Sourav becomes a regular member of the team, Dravid will be under pressure not because Ganguly has a realistic chance of being re-instated but because some members in the team may be leaning more on Dada on advice than on him.

  4. hey,

    gr8 blog. absolutly true that the cricinfo folks cannot quite come to terms with dada being back into the side. i can agree to the fact that he didnt do too much to get into the side -heck all the other indian batsman were falling like nine pins in the onedayers- but he has definately secured his place in the team, on the back of performances alone. He is much better than the kaifs, rainas and venugopals.

  5. Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it (Sourav becoming captain again) cannot happen. 6 months back I (and probably you too) did not think Sourav would ever be back in the team either. Yes, it would be nice if Dilip Premchandran did provide some examples to back up his statement.. whatever else they may be alleged to be, pro-Ganguly campaigners (unlike the anti-ones) are seldom covert 🙂 I actually thought that in this article Premchandran has been forced to praise Ganguly. And I think these writers’ biases may often be because of their ego and nothing else.. all these writers, ex-cricketers turned commentators (and actually everybody else too) consider themselves experts on cricket and they hate to be proved wrong.. so since once they said “Ganguly’s days are over” they were very unwilling to accept that maybe they are not over after all.. until a series like this leaves them no option.

    But anyway its really very interesting how the Ganguly affair has played itself out. Ganguly’s comeback is because of 2 factors: the India batsmen chosen by Chappell et al started to play very very badly, and Sourav himself regained his batting form (no mean feat given the amount of pressure on him at every appearance). I did not really expect any of these 2 things to happen to the extent they did. By now its clear that even if one were to overlook his anti-Ganguly bias and dictatorial style, Chappell’s worth as a coach is hardly anything.

    So far Dravid is not seen as someone whose captaincy has a major effect on the team or on individual players, unlike Ganguly. So Ganguly in form and back in the team is more pressure for him.. what I found most interesting was how just before the SA series Dravid made a statement like “I take input from everybody, but in the end its my decision, it always ends with me”

  6. Have a look at this.

    Chappel absolutely refuses to hear anything against Sehwag doesn’t he? Great logic for not including Harbhajan…”Harbhajan had also not bowled for nearly a month.”… I’m not saying he should have been included. I’m just pointing out that going by this logic he can never get into the team.

    Why did I ever expect anything better from him?

  7. Some facts : Cricinfo is headquartered just off MG Road in bangalore . And as a true “Kaandian ” they have decorated their billboard in “Kanada”. The fact that Dravid is being outsourced to their state , is not important as long as he speaks the ” golden” language patronised by the supposedly gr8 “Dr” RAJKUMAR.
    So according to the logic of the cricinfo virus , these journalists are infected by the “Kanadian” virus , so they have a oblongated view bout dravid , which somehow like the reflection in a convex mirror is absolutely accurate.
    Long live the “Kanadians”

  8. If you follow the live commentary on cricinfo, you will notice this repeatedly. When Sachin tendulkar was out in second innings of the last test, commentrator said, “He is a goner.” I suspect cricinfo recruits some sensible people in their office.

    And it was widely believed that Sachin could have been timed out. It was Ganguly who would be given timed out if Smith had asked for it. Why they did not ask Laxman to put pads on? And why two batsman were not ready?

    By now they should have learnt that when Sehwag goes to open, BCCI team is already one down. I call it BCCI team and it is. Last to last year in a clash between government of India and BCCI, BCCI clear stated that it is not a national team. Players are contract players for BCCI. That is why Govt. of India asked to remove indian flag from kits and dresses. Even it happened about indian flag on Sachin’s helmet.

    So people don’t get crazy. Players are like horses running on race-Course. Organiser is BCCI and people are betting on them.

  9. GB, I guess Amit Varma mentions ‘politburo’ because he considers himself a crusader against left politics. He writes for the Indian Economy blog (I doubt he has any deep knowledge about economics, other than passing one-liners on our human condition and the kitchen sink). Another anarcap (anarcho-capitalist, for beginners), I guess.

  10. GB,

    I disagree with the second part of your post. Dravid, at the best of times is not someone who can accelerate easily, till Ganguly was around, he was scoring nicely. As soon as Ganguly fell, Tendulkar just choked up, he didn’t rotate the strike and suddenly pressure was on the Indians. You can certainly claim that Ganguly had a positive effect on Dravid, I have no objections to that but to discount Tendulkar’s role in this debacle is not correct.

    Tendulkar was the biggest reason why we lost this test-his role was much worse than just losing his own wicket cheaply.

  11. @Greatbong
    Nice piece. I do believe that Sourav has a great chance of making it into the team for the World Cup, no matter what anyone at cricinfo says. After all, they are not the ones who will select the team. He remains, after all, one of the best players to ever grace the Indian team.

    However, you seem to insinuate that Dravid gets all the attention (the right kind, at least) from Cricinfo. Maybe true, but isn’t it the same as Dada discharging his fourth estate obligations with a certain set of journalists [may or may not be true] and them supporting Ganguly with not so charitable views of Chappell and Dravid? Probably in this case, Cricinfo remains more popular and wide-read than the other publications, thereby disenchanting several Ganguly supporters.

    @Anirban
    1. It’s a law in Karnataka to have a Kannada signboard along with the English one. Every Company has it. Not just cricinfo.
    2. Bringing an aspect of regionalism into a national sport is just plain obnoxious. If you believe the guys at cricinfo are doing it, and that it’s wrong, why on earth do have to stoop to their level by making sarcastic/vitriolic comments on a whole race?
    3. It’s “Kannadigas” dude.

  12. It’s largely the ego playing its part here – once Dilip had written off Sourav, he finds it very difficult to digest that he was wrong … this is a very typical “journalistic” behaviour.
    Also it’s very common for journalists to hit out at people who haven’t supported them with “stories” … after all, that’s what journalists survive on. Not that this still justifies Dilip’s action.
    Again, if you look at it from Sourav’s point of view, he’d only get close to those journalists he feels comfortable with – and has every right to behave that way. May be he just didn’t find Dilip trustworthy enough for some reason ………

  13. I already saw one or two articles about the captaincy issue – but accepted that it’s not really something even being considered. And I guess only Premchandran himself can clarify whether he was referring to the captaincy or a place in the ODI team, his language in the article is not clear enough.

    Premchandran may be biased, but still isn’t it a bit excessive to assert that his use of the phrase “a section of the media covertly campaigning for Ganguly’s reinstatement” is tantamount to him accusing Ganguly of playing politics? Earlier in this same article he seems to speak positively about SG when talking about India’s batting in this Test series. That can only remind the reader that Ganguly now deserves a place in the ODI team and does not need to play politics. If he did want to hint at Ganguly himself playing politics (and not just a section of the media) to get into the ODI team, its hard to see why he would also say anything that clearly undermines that argument. Unless he is just that bad a writer and couldn’t see the inconsistency. And again, I’m talking about this article only and not other occasions where he may have obviously intended to make such accusations.

  14. I don’t know why the discussion should surround around Sourav. That could be one reason why we aren’t able to focus on cricket and have the killer instinct we badly need.

  15. And what about our great cricket reader and commentator, Mr. Ravi Shankar Shastri? He has changed colours on this issue faster than a chameleon.

    The bottom line remains that class speaks for itself and Sourav shows his class once more.

    The coming two one-day series are going to be interesting affairs — off the field and in the commentary box. Watch out for the soap opera!!!

    By the way Arnab, I am a different person to the other Anirban who has commented before on this issue. I am a relative newcomer to your blog and have commented a couple of times before this. Wish you a (belated) Happy New Year.

  16. Dada as a part-time captain anyone..?

    I mean that seems to be where we are headed now… Karthick as a part-time batsman, Sehwag as a part-time spinner…

    Anyone for Kiran More as a part-time clown…?

  17. All these just proves that regionalism and the parochialism in the Indian cricket team that SG fought so hard to get rid off is alive and well. Albeit with a little help from the Indian cricket press.

  18. @Anirban
    Awsome logic man. This is the same kind of logic as “bengali’s suck because in the word bengali, there is ‘gali’.”

    Such logic is disgusting. Hope GB takes not of it.

    Good one GB, now I am waiting for one on “Great” Chappel 🙂

  19. Can Greg Chappel answer the question why he never tried to correct Ganguly’s technique against short-ball (Greg himself being a left-hander). Everybody complains that Dada favored a few group of players, but what about sticking with Kaif, Raina, Sehwag even when they have been repeatedly failing? Why nobody is demanding for Sachin’s removal from the team?

  20. @Anirban : Please don’t do regional name calling. Bangalore can have kannada signboards, cant it? Plus whichever way you look at it, Karnataka’s contribution to Indian cricket has been more than Bengal’s.

    @Hariprasad:yes naturally…Bengali politburo was against CRicinfo propaganda. You hit the nail on the head. It was through Cricinfo that Amit Varma popularised his blog…so it definitely helped to write similar thoughts in both places. But that was a long time ago…since then a lot of water has flown even along the small Cauvery river and by a strange quirk of fate, Amit Varma himself has been sacked by Cricinfo for indolence and doing as little as possible.

    @GB- DP wrote that for London Times. Now I have not read even a single sentence in even any Bengali publication asking for Ganguly to be the captain. But here you see the example of the author molding his writing to feed the British public. Now they are not going to verify if what he’s saying is true …they are just gonna read and say ” Awww…that Gan guuly episode….its a huge controversy. Now Dravid the captain is under pressure”. He assumes a different tone in Cricinfo , although in an extremely begrudging manner.

    And from Ganguly’s point of view, its better if he stays as a player rather than a captain. It was only a matter of time that Rahul Dravid felt the pressures of captaincy. Not everyone can bat like a Ponting. Read the comments about captaincy affecting batting by Kepler Wessels here ….very very true.

    But as I had said earlier, we mention and analyze DP because of his visibility. Also you are going to see a verdict from him every day when India plays as hes the senior journo now. If 2 Indian journos go to WI , one will definitely be DP while the newcomers fight out for the 2nd spot, much like young software engineers who fight for their chance to go onsite. The only person who is not in the equation is S. Rajesh. He is trated rather shabbily, never gets a pay raise and if he tries to relax after a hard day’s work of compiling statistics after the rest have written their verdicts, is threatened at gunpoint to find out statistics about Ganguly…like how many times he has been dismissed off short pitched deliveries and so on. More than anything, GC is DP’s childhood idol and he gets personally hurt when he reads anything said about GC. It also seems that Anand Vasu has been completely eclipsed by DP. He now has to fight with the hard working newcomers to stay afloat. I have also noticed a tendency of Siddhartha Vaidyanathan to say a few kind words about Ganguly from time to time. It is high time he stops doing so….Sambit Bal can only take so much…he will just conduct just one more anti-Ganguly brainwashing workshop…and if SV doesn’t reform and start spreading the propaganda, then he will lose his job.

    But enough of Cricinfo….I guess the regular follower knows what coming from whom after a bit of familiarity. Plus they have a business plan involving RD.

    Regarding Saurav, from a very very objective viewpoint, he was partly to blame for the debacle at day 4 on Cape Town. If you are the in form batter, its your responsibility to carry the innings forward. That open faced shot to gully was very bad as were the dismissals at Durban. To be fair to him, he ran out of partners at Cape Town 1st innings and Joberg 1st innings, otherwise a century was very much on the cards. But what courage…and under this kind of pressure..shows the guts of the man.

    From an Indian viewpoint, Dinesh Karthik was a revelation and should be included in ODI’s as well. To be honest, the Indian middle order cant force the pace at test cricket when required due to the nature of the batters there. Sehwag ….the less said the better. Have you seen the last ODI between SL and NZL? If other teams play like that, India cannot progress beyond super 8 even with many miracles.

    I however would agree with Confused about Tendulkar. That Dravid-Ganguly partnership was unique in the sense that strike was rotated. With Ganguly gone and a Tendulkar who is 1/20 of what he was in late nineties, Dravid went into a shell and hardly had the strike. The conclusive proof that Sachin is finished however came from Ravi Shastri. The feed I was watching was from SABC, not ESPN and Barry Richards asked ” Do you agree or not..Brian Lara is the best batsman of modern cricket?” Shastri agreed mournfully and could only say ” He is not the old tendulkar …be hes very hungry and still wants to play for India for a long time”. Now thats hardly surprising, except Sunil Gavaskar and a few others, others had to kicked in the butt to show them that they are not good enough including Shastri, Kapil and many others. Even though Sachin is still valuable in the team, the way hes batting provides a handicap situation in the situation that he can bat only at the top in odis and that too sans the flourish of the old. If he fails, as he does regularly in important matches, along with 1/2 other wickets, the pressure is automatically exerted on the middle order.

  21. @GB: Disheartening to see misguided emotions come in through these posts. Ganguly is back in roaring form and can’t we just all be happy about the fact that in a failing batting order we had at least one man who had the gumption to fight back, instead of creating an issue out of every little line? Yes Dileep and co might be biased but I would have liked much more to see a piece by you on the joy of watching the left-hander’s glorious return to form.

    Also, have to totally disagree with the second part of your piece. What Sambit’s piece rightly pointed out is that Tendulkar ( for all his experience and talent; 7 years of more international cricket than Dravid or Ganguly) of all people ground the innings to a halt by making a rocky mountain of the crumbling molehill of Harris’ bowling. His piece, if you look at the title too, was more to do with Tendulkar’s embarassing batting display that put pressure on Dravid and rest of the batsmen. To quote these lines to paint a certain picture of Dravid is stretching it a notch.

    Of all your pieces of writing, the ones you write defending Ganguly are really disappointing because often you assume the same tone of personal/regional bashing of the writers whom you criticize. Your post would have been just if not for the picking on Dravid/Tendulkar et al. I am no supporter of Ganguly as a person but I admire his courage in believing in himself to play back into form and definitely do not grudge him a place in the team. He deserves it based on his oustanding series in SA. Just like Tendulkar may not deserve his based on his recent form.

  22. Crookinfo has another soft target now. First it was Ganguly, now it is Sachin. I can bet that one day they will turn against their very own Dravid. Why can’t they write positive stuff and always attack players of their shortcomings. Agreed the Sachin-Dravid phase was VISIBLY the period when India lost the match & the series. But can someone justify sending Sehwag as an opener and expecting him to score some quick runs when he is not in form. For once I will not blame Sehwag but the brains behind this strategy. What was required was a good start and not some quick runs !!
    Greg-da, you listening? 😦

  23. Dada is surely back; I don’t think we need to agonize over that. His return has both been a factor of his own performance and the performance of the others. It’s clear after South Africa that he’s playing almost as well as he did in his prime; the same assurance, determination and aggression. But I wish to draw attention on another player. Sehwag.

    I think the selectors are not being fair with him. I know what the reaction to this will be — he hasn’t been dropped, has he? So, where is the question of lack of fairness? You bet there is. The way the so-called think tank and selection bosses have been shooting off their mouths, it’s scrambling his mind. Imagine this: after the third day’s play, Times of India reported that Sehwag will not play in the World Cup; instead Sachin & Ganguly will open for India. Sehwag had just scored 40-odd runs at 6 down — it wasn’t his best inning but it showed that Sehwag wasn’t a write-off yet. And then comes this `news’. I am given to understand it came from none other than Dilip Vengsarkar.

    Now, everyone is not Ganguly. Not everyone is made of the same stuff, has the same heroic determination, canny sense of politics and a sense of destiny to prove everyone wrong — both enemies and friends — and script his comeback. Perhaps, a guy like Sehwag isn’t. And yet we know he is one of the match-winners for India. If Sehwag clicks, he takes the match away from the opponents. He is a gamble that we need to take, esp when there’s no bright star on the horizon with the WC 3 months away. Instead of giving him the requisite confidence, instead of quietly mentoring him, our cricket bosses are discussing him openly and in the process have f—-d his mind. I hear Guru Greg has even changed his batting grip!

    Dada has been salvaged. I hope so is Sehwag.

  24. Dileep P. is an ass. His daily ‘Verdict’ column from South Africa was becoming unreadable by the day by his use of inane metaphors e.g “two teams determined to end the series victorious slugged it out like two weary boxers on sun-baked canvas.” or “Built like a boxer, Boucher has the heart of a bar-room brawler,…..”

    Someone remind the guy that he is simply writing a cricket report (and even then he is no Peter Roebuck) – not competing for the Bulwer-Lytton prize.

  25. Indians ( anywhere ) not only watch cricket- they themselves play loads of cricket hence level of understanding is quite high( not performance :-))
    I don’t think people take these writers seriously ( nor do selectors or advertisers).

  26. @GB: Dude, do you actually go out of your way to find one-liners that you perceive to be insulting to Ganguly. Ganguly, when he was dropped, deserved to be dropped because he was not performing. His performances in SA will surely result in a call-up for the next ODI series against WI and SL (at least), and he deserves that. I don’t think he will be (or should be) made a captain for the World Cup – do you believe Michael Vaughan is really a better choice at this juncture in English cricket than Andrew Strauss or Flintoff. The guy can’t even hold his place in the team, and he’s being made captain. Same with Dada – let him reestablish himself in the ODI team first, and then the question of captaincy can come up (if needed).
    Coming to your second point, I think it was one of the most one-eyed pieces you have ever written. If you want to see Dileep Premachandran bashing Dravid, here you go:
    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/rsavind/content/current/story/275743.html
    Shreyas makes a good point above. Dravid at the best of times is a slow scorer, and he was facing Pollock for the major part of that partnership. Tendulkar was evidently not at peak fitness during that innings, but whoever saw the match would have no doubt that he treated Paul Harris with far too much respect, and did not show a will to score at all. That period of ~15 overs is where India lost the game. I am a big fan of Sachin, but you gotta a spade a spade. He has to take the biggest blame for India losing the game, followed by Patel and Dravid.
    Please keep a little control over your emotions – not everyone is out to bash Ganguly. And Cricinfo may not be spotless but it is the best option we have since it does actually do a much better job than any other cricket website (please give me *one* example of a better website/newspaper for following cricket – just to broaden my scope)

  27. I don’t think many Indians read Cricinfo for cricket news/views. They read newspapers. Cricinfo is really an issue for the diaspora.

  28. @Supratim: That SG was certainly better than Venugopal Rao and JP Yadav who came in as his replacement was never in doubt.

    @Ranjan: Ah of course !

    @Pri: 🙂

    @Debashish: Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility in Indian cricket. With regards to Chappell, my main problem with him is not his philosophy of trying out new cricketers, it’s that he lets his personal likes and dislikes dictate whom he kicks out. There was no objectivity in his condemnation of SG last year as came down to the level of making unsubstantiated accusations that SG fakes injuries and that he loves to make money. By doing so, GC created an unhealthy environment within the Indian dressing room where cricketers knew that either they toe the line or GC comes up against them in a very personal, unprofessional way and does his level best to finish their careers.

    @Joy Forever: GC is very un-Australian-like with his assessments which seem to defy logic.

    @Debu: Heh.

    @Aditya: Dada as captain you mean?

    @Anirban: But Cricinfo’s readership is the diaspora…it is not a local Bangalore newspaper ! Plus why this parochial tone in the comment?
    @Abhijit: As far as I remember Laxman was in the restroom at that time. I desist in making any further conjecture !

    @Hariprasad: I would think this is just because the CPM is known to be close to SG.

    @Confused: I did not discount Sachin’s role in the event. Kindly re-read. All I said that Sachin cannot be held responsible for Dravid’s hapless batting. On the contrary, it was Dravid who needed to take the initiative as he had gotten his eye in and he could see Sachin struggling. This is a team game and batsmen are expected to cover for each other.

    @Vinayak: Agree. Absolutely. SG has his favourite journalists and RD has his. Fair enough. My problem is that Cricinfo acts holier-than-thou when it comes to the SG camp while remaining shamelessly in the RD camp.

    @Bonatellis06: Very true. Noone likes to be proven wrong especially web-journalists because Google remembers their predictions and assessments for eternity. At least in the good old days, print journalists could expect the raddiwala to wipe out old memories.

    @Pradeep: Why not? SG is vital for India….more so because of the killing instinct his captaincy brings in.

    @Anirban: One of the things that struck me was the South African commenters, throwing all objectivity to the winds, trash-talking Indians and being extremely harsh on any Indian failing. While commenting on Zaheer’s running between the wickets, one of them said “Ravi I bet you and I can outrun that fellow” and you should have heard Ravi Shastri laughing at the joke as if “Sure!”. Having been old enough to see Ravi Shastri’s running and his fielding (he would never attack a ball, just take the barrel position and wait for the ball to come into his hands), even I had to laugh.

    @Kunal: More is a full-time clown…..

    @RahulGhosh: Aaah the original point I made a year ago in my Indiatimes article.

    @An Ideal Boy: Which logic was the disgusting one? If Cricinfo says that Calcutta journalists conspire for Ganguly, why is it disgusting to say that bangalore journalists do it for Dravid? Mind you I am not saying either is true…. And logically, it doesnt make market sense for Cricinfo to support Dravid because he is a Kannadiga because unlike the Kolkata newspapers whose readership is Bengali, Cricinfo’s readership is extremely cosmopolitan.

    The reason is simple: Dravid is more accessible to Cricinfo staffers

    @Kishor: Mm…Greg Chappell was always a right-handed batsman.

    @Yourfan2: Interesting link where SG does not come into the list of  Premchandran’s greats…despite his awesome record in ODI.  Now as to SG’s culpability, I will agree. Taken singly and without reference to the peformance of others, as a middle-order batsman it was contingent upon him to keep one side up especially when he was playing so well. Which is why I would not say that SG has returned gloriously.

    Now I disagree with Confused and you regarding this. The ball statistics given by Dilip shows that Dravid did have the strike…what was preventing him from rotating it? As you point out SG’s culpability in not continuing to a big one, I think it was primarily Dravid’s responsibility to keep the scoreboard moving , given the fact that he could see that Sachin was playing one of the worst innings of his life. I am reminded of an incident long ago…David Gower was batting and was in woeful nick (the man was an amazing touch player), the commentators were deliberating when he would get out. In comes Alan Lamb (I might be wrong here..it could be Gatting also) and he too starts struggling. But then Lamb hits out, gets a few streaky fours, there is a drinks break and when they come back, Gower is playing like a different person. Lamb gets out soon but Gower totally dominates. The reason I say this is sometimes there are phases in the game where no matter how great you are, you get caught in a rut. It is then contingent on your partner to try to get you out of it.

    @Shreyas: 1. This is not a glorious return. This is a workman-like return, made important by the failings of others. Glorious was his Lords debut, the innings at Adelaide and the mauling of Murali at Taunton. And oh yes there is a post called “jai ma kali” where I did talk about SG’s successful comeback.

    2.Yes I understand the point about Dilip’s article. However to say that Sachin also contributed to Dravid’s misadventure reeks of fatherly love “My son isn’t bad that nasty kid made him do it” .

    3. If anything I write that you do not agree with makes it disappointing then there is not much I can say. It is a pity that you found nothing disappointing in a journalist making unsubstantiated allegations that would be out-of-place in the corner tea-stall discussion but instead all your disappointment is directed at me for pointing this out. This piece was not about SG or ST or RD but in showing the consistent bias of Cricinfo

    @Asterix: Indeed. Sending out Sehwag was a horrible idea…his confidence is shot and the thinktank sends him out to face the new ball once again.

    @K: BCCI standing up to its players? Now that would be a first. Brown nosed gnome…baah !

    @Karim: I hope so too. He is one of my favourite players and a real match-winner.

    @BongoP’o’ndit: Neville Cardus he is not.

    @Sam: Disagree. Many people understand cricket reading the Premchandrans of the world….and people outside India who cannot follow the games live are forced to see things through the eyes of these people.

    @Ravi: Let me start with that link.

    That was bashing Dravid? Huh? All it stated was a fact….even Cricinfo cannot make up his runs. SG’s paragraph is riddled with “nightmare in Durban” (just because he made a 0), “distinctly ungainly”…there is not a mention of how he looked the most comfortable of all Indian batsmen most of the time….

    As to whether SG should be made captain for WC…he definitely should. Because he is the best captain in the side that’s why. Because he has the record to back it up. Because he can inspire. Because the players (sans a few) love him. Because he has led India to the finals before. Because I think RD will back to his glorious batting best. If people had the interests of India at heart and not whether Dravid would feel “hurt” at having the captaincy taken away from him, SG would be the captain. Remember he was removed not because he ceased to be a good captain but because he ceased to be a good batsman. Now that he has regained his batting touch, his captaincy *should* be given back.

    Of course I realize thats not going to happen but this is in reply to “Ganguly should not be made captain.” If this statement is not an expression of emotion, I do not see what is not. Because cold logic dictates that SG should be leading India.

    Again kindly read what I wrote. Sachin may have played horribly but he DID NOT MAKE Dravid play bad. Dravid did that *on his own*. There is a difference between scoring slow and total stagnation. It’s the second that happened to Dravid.

    ST takes the biggest blame for India losing the game. Followed by Patel?? Munaf Patel is more responsible than Rahul Dravid? Boink ! How so? Is it because Munaf was injured and so he could not run in the field? But Munaf did not come into the team holding a gun to Dravid’s head…it was Dravid and the team management that selected him ! Ergo it is Dravid’s responsibility that he played a man with an obvious injury. Talking about culpability, what about Laxman getting run out when we were saving a Test, taking on Pollock’s amazing throwing arm? But no. The second most responsible for India’s defeat is poor Munaf Patel. And I am the one emotionally supporting SG while others are being ‘objective” about Dravid !

    The only thing I agree is that there is no alternative to Cricinfo. I used to love the site and it still has the best cricket writing out there. Which is why I am disappointed by its declining journalistic standards.

    @Rani: True. But that number is not small by any means.

    @Raghuram: True. We need all the help we can get.

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  31. GB

    And you forget that Dravid has a bad series-a rare failure. In that case it was certainly Sachin’s responsiblity to take a greater role.

    I also disagree with your point about one player not being responsible for the other. Fast bolwers are known to hunt in pair. No?

  32. @Bongo: Prem@rediff would strongly disagree with you about the inanity –

    Like two out of form boxers each trying to get away from the ring without sustaining lasting damage

    link: http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2007/jan/04indsalead01.htm

    link for DP’s article from which you quoted:
    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/rsavind/content/current/story/275187.html

    Would love to know the direction of internalization of the stupid metaphor (team game/solo sport). And don’t remind me how sad it is that I even notice this crap.

  33. @Confused: In case of bowlers, such an argument makes slightly more sense because one bowler through bad bowling can relieve all the pressure the other bowler created. But it wont be fair to say for instance that Bowler A kept bowling wides because Bowler B was also bowling wides.

    What counts in the middle is who has got his eye in. It has got nothing to do with the last innings or the innings before that. Dravid had his eye in, Sachin had not. Dravid was the senior partner and it was he who had to shepherd Sachin through the tough overs. At the very least to even suggest that it was Sachin who made the set batsman lose his bearings is quite counter-intuitive.

  34. @Confused. Indeed, shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath make a great fast bowling pair, So do Richard Hadlee and Tom/Dick/Harry.

    Oh yeah, if you didn’t notice – GB wasn’t really talking about Dravid’s failure, but about cricinfo bias, which is so apparent now.

  35. @ Ravi : if this was bashing then i think my maths teacher gave me 7 capital punishment in every day . Ya i’m still alive =)) to write this.

    @ (Kanadian) Anirban : Its a rule that every state govt is making, to have the companies name in the local language. All most all offices in Bangalore have their names written in Kannada. Love Dada but doesn’t mean hate Dravid. Yes, doesn’t like cricinfo but read it every time to see how far DP & co get the balls rolling.These cricinfo guys should be payed with spanking for writing craps. Strongly feels with yourfan that cricinfo has a business plan with RD. Someday they are going to dump him surely.

    Arnab, an article on Greg’s turn arounds and Mithun da haven’t been here for a long time.

  36. @GB: Sorry about the strong tone in my earlier comment. Guess its the Monday mood 🙂
    Ganguly should not be made the captain for the simple reason that WC is only 8 ODI’s away. He is coming back into the team after close to (more than?) a year, and it is unfair on him, as well as the rest of the team to make him the captain. I mentioned Vaughan for the same reason. No “emotion” there, just “cold logic”. On current form, SG is a FAR FAR better option than Sehwag for opening, and he does deserve to be in the WC team (pending his performance in the 8 ODI’s in between, of course)

    ““distinctly ungainly”…there is not a mention of how he looked the most comfortable of all Indian batsmen most of the time….”
    I beg to disagree. Most of the time throughout the series SRT and VVS looked much more comfortable than SG (maybe that image of SG flailing to the slips is imprinted on my brain). Which is what makes SRT’s go-slow all the more galling.

    Dravid had his share of culpability (not bringing on Sehwag & SRT on the last day, and playing Patel in the first place), but at least he scored runs, and handled the (rest of the)bowlers well. What did Patel do? His bowling, even on the third day was insipid – jogging in and letting the ball go – and his fielding was atrocious. Not to speak of his ‘loft to mid-off’ off that seventh ball, when he should have tried to hang around with Karthik (now there’s one delicious selection headache!). I don’t know whether Chappell is to blame for his predicament or Gloster or whoever else. But the lack of effort and interest during bowling/batting/fielding was extremely unsatisfactory

  37. Just think…. our friend DP… states that Ganguly was only marginally better than Wasim Jaffer … who made two composed twenties and worse than karthik (bby DP’s logic, Irfan Pathn should have been the pick of India’s batsmen in the longer version of the game.. he got a century in the only game he played)… for gawd’s fuckin sake… and ganguly… if nothin else… was distinctly ungainly… am feeling sad for him… wondering if he ever touched a bat in his life… when every ex test cricketer , mohinder amarnath… ajit wadekar… sunil gavaskar included… have lauded ganguly’s comeback as one of the best ever… believe me it beats (in sheer bloody mindedness)… connors run to the 91 US open… DP is still on his own personal agenda…. and i havent heard from sambit bal or anand vasu yet…

    i think that sachin had an ordinary series, but he was still india’s second highest run-getter to be fair and i think he grafted when he needed to and he is being unduly criticised… true in that fourth innings he froze… but what justification does VVS have for running himself out… or for the rest of the batting for doing nothing…

    guru greg is having a tough time.. most importantly it would be difficult for his poster boys (pathan bowled miserably in the ranji game he played…but he can be played as a batsman, just as Karthik was… kaif has made less runs that the alphabets in his name… ) to come back… cricinfo is still extolling youth (whereas other than shreeshanth… the people who performed were SG, zaheer, laxman (crucially) and yes… tendulkar…

  38. “Sachin injected a full syringe load of the slowness virus into Dravid’s butt when he was looking at the scoreboard” … too good
    Anyways, now it will be crime not to include Sourav in the ODI team.

  39. To ,
    Saurav – ‘Jo jeeta wahi sikandar’ – Ganguly.

    Good to see you again. We missed you.
    Get us the world cup please.

    Regards,
    Puneet

  40. @Arnab: Don’t you think you’re giving cricinfo and its bunch of jokers (aka correspondents) too much importance? In the end, Sourav made his way back into the team despite the worst that they could come up with. I’d rather he answered them with good scores and a solid contribution in India’s victories. That will rub their collective noses in the dirt better than your or our cribbing about their obvious bias.

    And what the heck, it pains me that Sourav has to hypocritically praise Chappell and his cronies, but if that’s what it takes for us to see his awesome lofted sixes once again (and I remember seeing it with awe for the first time 23 years ago), I’ll take it any day.

  41. I too was exultant that Dada had come good but isn’t it too soon to be saying that Sourav deserves to be in the ODI team? True, he scored more runs than anyone and he showed amazing grit. But he is still prone to the short ball especially if it is really dug in. He took everything on the figurative chin (the helmet, really) and he took his eyes off the ball quite a few times. Plus, he threw away his wicket when he was rolling along smoothly. He should have converted the 50s, 60s and 40s into hundreds. He needs to address these problems if I am to regard him as the Ganguly of old. Nothing else will do it for me.

  42. This is my take (I sat up all night watching it 😦 )… the left-arm-orthodox bowler had bowled only three overs before Ganguly got out. (He got hit for a four over mid wicket in one of those overs by Ganguly).

    After Ganguly got out this guy got a chance to bowl the notorious leg stump line. We all know Dravid at the best of times is not some one who uses his feet against spinners. (He tends to spank the short balls by quickly stepping back and across more often). Moreover, Sachin was clearly suffering from back problem and those delectable lap sweeps were kinda out of the picture. He seemed to struggle to bend low or go on his front foot. They had a very fine, fine leg position – I think Smith was there at that position most of the time. Also it has been some time since Sachin has really taken on any spinner by stepping out ( The last guy I remeber was Warne). On the other end, they had Pollock and Kallis bowl (When Ganguly was batting it was Ntini and Steyn) – who were considerably more precise than Ntini and Steyn.

    Hence the drop in run rate. I really think Rahul should have stepped out and hit a few runs or atleat rotated the strike- So should Sachin have ( I mean SA were supposedly playing to our strength – spin bowling). There was a period of 30 minutes play when 2 runs were scored – 1 off the bat and the other a leg bye. When Rahul finally realized the situation and tried hitting one after stepping out – he stuck it flat to the Paul.

    I think we should seriously talk about Indian batsmen’s fallibilty againt left-arm-orthodox bowling pitched outside the leg stump, just like we talk about Ganguly’s difficulty against short pitched stuff angled into his ribs.

    To conclude (in my point of view), it was not Dravid effecting Sachin or vice verse. It was case of smart planning by SA and both Rahul and Sachin not taking initiative against these bowling change by Smith – Which is SUCH a shame. I vowed I will never watch cricket again that day – I might break by vow though:)

    Sorry for taking so much place here!

  43. @Soumya
    Ganguly’s The 60 and 50 was with the tail. In the third test he was the last out in the first innings.
    The only time he did not convert was the last innings when he got out on 46 and then we were reminded of gavaskar playing his first one day game. My question is will we actually see ganguly in the team in the next series especially when Yuvraj is back from injury?
    On the other hand he should convert his starts. If only he had scored a century in the last innings it would have definitely have been a resounding comeback. But from the looks of it i would say Prem panikar has been a lot more direct http://specials.rediff.com/cricket/2007/jan/08sld1.htm

  44. Great write-up, Arnab !!!
    Interesting comments, too. 😉

    By the way…haven’t read anything from Sambit Bal yet on SG’s comeback.
    Why is the great Bal quiet?

  45. @ Vinayaka : I am living in this god forsaken land for last 4 years , i know a little bit of this language as well . I just love calling them Kanadians out of pure love I say !!!
    @anIdealBoy :We give gali to you smaller beings for your upliftment so that someday in the near future your ppl can be as broad minded as the rest of the world and think outside the red yellow flag

    @yourfan2 : Regionalism is forced down our throat every hour min second out here , ppl outrightly speak how justfied it was to oust SG and put Dravid into the leashes of Greg Chappel . Problem is Kanadians still love to be dicatated by Gora’s is what i have observed during my stay here . They have a genetical advantage of not having their backbones , which makes them stoop to any level they desire . Regionalism and politics was removed by

  46. GB,

    Agree to disagree on this one. (again!)

    Sanjay,

    Thanks for telling me what the post was all about. Thanks for pointing out that Aussies only had two bowlers, and of course the West Indian greats never existed.

    Now, in future, am I allowed to comment on this blog without seeking inputs from you regarding what the post is all about? If I have any doubts, I will ask the author.

    Aurite?

  47. @Ravi

    >>”Dravid had his share of culpability (not bringing on Sehwag & SRT on the last day, and playing Patel in the first place), but at least he scored runs, and handled the (rest of the)bowlers well.”

    Huh? Were we watching the same match? Really your defence of Dravid is approaching ridiculous proportions. He scored runs? Umm…when was that? Handled the bowlers well? I suppose that was when he didn’t give Sehwag and Sachin the ball on a turning pitch, right?

    “Share of culpability” indeed! He was wholly and totally culpable, being the Captain of the team. And we are not even talking of the totally invisible, bland, uninspiring, insipid captaincy. Contrast that with Sourav’s style and it is obvious to all except the most biased eye that Sourav is a far more effective captain.

    It’s not that we did not like Dravid. But his being an accessory to the blatantly prejudiced and shameful treatment meted out to his erstwhile captain has irreparably damaged his standing. He thought he was as good a captain as Sourav, right? And evidently you think the same right? Then know this:

    What will (and has) happened now that every step he takes will be compared to Sourav, every achievement as captain, or lack thereof, be measured against Sourav’s. Everytime he talks to his men, his man management will be contrasted with Sourav’s. Everytime he tries to motivate, his motivational skills will be pitted against Sourav’s. Everytime he backs a new player, their calibre will be compared with Sourav’s finds.

    Oh yes, and when he captains the team for the WC, every match they win, every stage they progress to, will be flailing against Sourav’s achievements.

    Let’s see if your man is up to the comparison. So far, decidedly not.

  48. Why has no one written about the pathetic form of Dravid? He has been in awful touch and couple with some bad luck, he was easily India’s second worst player of the series.
    I have said this time and again. Dravid is bull-headed. He wants to wrest control of the team management and being on Chappell’s side lets him do it. Chappell being the egomaniac that he is will let anybody rule as long as they heed his commands.
    I think Dravid showed such good captaincy when Sourav was injured or suspended because it was his only chance to show BCCI and the world. Now that he has full-time captaincy, he has become complacent and knows that Sehwag is not a guarantee in the team let alone a rival for his place.
    There is only one solution according to me and that comes from our old friends the Caribbean.
    I think it is amazing how the Windies had turned things slightly. They had this problem with leadership as well. Chanderpaul, Sarwan and even Sylvester Joseph were made captains for a while. Then they did the unthinkable and restored Brian Lara as captain. Lara’s star was fading and age was a worry but the captaincy gave him a reason. It kept him motivated. It showed in his batting. He wants to lead from the front. His teammates are backing him and it is a solid unit unlike the factions of the past. Lara had broken all batting records. He did not have to prove to anyone that he is a class act. What he wanted to do was do something for WI. His captaincy was brilliant in the Champions trophy. The best of the lot. He has batted like the old Lara.
    I see a parallel in Indian cricket. We cannot sideline Tendulkar like we are doing. Make him the core of the team. Give him a new life. Make him captain and we will see a new Sachin. Who is the oldest member of this team? Why not do something orthodox for a change and give him the seat at the top of the table. Time and again Chappell has told that Sachin is a mentor for the youngsters. Why not actually let him do it.

  49. read this…

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070106/asp/sports/story_7227496.asp

    Footnote: Sourav and Dravid featured in an 84-run partnership for the third-wicket, but the captain didn’t appear very pleased with his predecessor’s over-involvement with the bowlers, particularly Sreesanth. “Jyada nahin, dadi… jyada nahin” is what a stump mike picked up. Sourav was heard responding “maine bowling ki baat nahin ki… bowling ki nahin…” Hopefully, there’s nothing more to it.

  50. I agree that cricinfo may be biased……but so are you. I am a great fan of Dada but I dont get why bengalis take this “in and out” circus so seriously…..

  51. 1.Glorious vis-a-vis the way the other batsmen. Glorious because of the sheer guts it takes for a man to return to form after being out of it for close to a year.

    2.This will be an endless debate. If you believe that the batsmen on pitch play independent of each other and that one batsman’s ridiculous handling of an easy pitch/bowlers does not have an effect on the other (who also happened to be the captain in this case), there is no point going on with this.

    3. My disappointment stems from the fact that I am a fan of your writing, especially the humour pieces and it is saddening to see you indulge in the kind of biased writing that you accuse others of. I repeat myself, the ‘if-he-did-this-to-me-why-not-to-him’ kind of nitpicking is what ticked me off.

    Adios

  52. @sd, good observation & analysis.

    @Anirban, aahh….peace. Go watch the latest Bollywood movie. Oh, did you say its illegal in Karnataka to release till after

    4-6 weeks? Well, such is life 😦

    @All-who-dont-want-Ganguly-In-ODI
    Isnt it a no ball to ball too many bouncers in an ODI? How will the bowlers give the chin treatment to Ganguly then?

  53. @yourFan2,

    >> Amit Varma himself has been sacked by Cricinfo for
    >> indolence and doing as little as possible.

    I suppose he left cricInfo, he wasnt sacked. Yesshh, Amit Vormo ish a shtupid Boshtord. 😀 Aune do kolkoto me, morega ush shaule ko.

    >> Now I have not read even a single sentence in even
    >> any Bengali publication asking for Ganguly to be the captain

    You will see it soon. They might still be euphoric over Ganguly back in the team.

    @Ravi ,

    >> Ganguly, when he was dropped, deserved to be dropped
    >> because he was not performing.

    Very true. Going by his current performance, he is back to scoring single digits after that initial burst. In fact, Ganguly had it too easy, he stayed on for two years despite mediocre performances, as compared to others like Laxman and Kumble(except the century in Zimbabwe, which GreatBong pointed out earlier in Maa Kali post). Tendulkar atleast has the distinction of being given wrongly out most number of times, Ganguly did not leave any doubts regarding his dismissals. Tendulkar and Sehwag should be given rest, they have been underperforming for a long enough time. Tendulkar should get back to managing his overpriced restaurant and advertizing. I am wondering if Ganguly will also be joining them soon.

    Replacing the three now will also mean that we have no time to let the new replacements settle in the team before the World Cup.

    @GreatBong,

    You have a very good case for Saurav Ganguly as captain. His record is the best, and he has been the best captain of India, and he was scoring well, and more importantly, scoring when needed badly, unlike Tendulkar(in general). But then he must not be a non-playing captain. He needs to score too. We need 11 players on the field, not 10 plus a captain. Which was what was happening, until the decision to rest Ganguly.

    @Shan,

    Yeah, exactly. Why the hell didnt Dravid give the ball to Sachin, who was getting such good turn.

    @Anirban,

    >>Regionalism is forced down our throat every hour

    Well, it sure is. But then, dont you think Bengal supporting Ganguly to the hilt is another example of regionalism. Yeah, Ganguly may be wronged, but then should Punjab take out morchas and andolans if Yuvraj is kicked out, or Muslims, if Kaif is sacked. I admit, Maharashtra does support Tendulkar but then, in contrast, Sachin is booed by the same crowd at his home stadium, if he doesnt perform well.

    And may I dare say, Bengal loves to be dictated by the Chinese.

  54. @Partha: An article on Mithun-da? Emm…was thinking of a magnum opus on the Gunda-Loha saga over multiple posts but nowadays I get mail from people saying I am getting repititive.

    @Ravi: Regarding Munaf Patel, the responsibility of his selection is Dravid and Dravid’s alone. The selectors pick the 16 but it’s the captain who pencils in the name during the toss. Munaf is a capable bowler and his performance in the Third test is because it was obvious he was still very much injured. Maybe Gloster goofed up but the final responsibility is the captains. You talk about Munaf’s lack of interest during batting ! He is a No 11 for God’s sake. Please. I also note, with amazement, that while Munaf comes up for so much vitriol, VVS Laxman running himself out in a display of sheer idiocy and irresponsibility does not even warrant a mention.

    @Dealer: Yes I loved the “composed twenties” line. When you want to find positives, let not the magnitude of the score get in the way !

    @Amardeep: 🙂

    @Puneet: Aaah..we wish.

    @Sayon: Cricinfo has to be given importance because a lot of the diaspora form their idea about cricket and make their evaluation of heroes and villains from the stuff they read from there.

    @Soumya: Too soon to say he deserves a place in the ODI team? Have you seen the other options?

    @SD: Waah ! Minutely observed. Indian batsmen arent good sweepers which is why a leg side line causes problems.

    @deBoLIN: Possibly playing beach cricket with Guru-ji.

    @Nikhil: Sachin as captain? The main thing is that Sachin has way too many injury problems for now…a captain cannot be going out and coming back in.

    @Indranil: Read it before? Who is “Dadi”— is this the latest insult to be heaped on Sourav?

    @Aditya Sehgal: And how I am biased? Just because I point out biases? And why did my Bengali-ness come into the picture? Here we get into the regionalism once again !

    @Aditya Kuber: Hmm.

    @Shreyas: Glory does not come from that. A glorious return was Mohinder Amarnath in 82/83. After having been felled by a Hogg bouncer due to his pathetic technique and being laughed at by the Aussie commentator, he worked on his game and came back with 2 “glorious” series against the two best pace bowling attacks of the time: Pakistan and West Indies on their own soil….he totally dominated with big centuries. Now that’s glorious !

    “My disappointment stems from the fact that I am a fan of your writing, especially the humour pieces and it is saddening to see you indulge in the kind of biased writing that you accuse others of. I repeat myself, the ‘if-he-did-this-to-me-why-not-to-him’ kind of nitpicking is what ticked me off.”

    Biased writing? Against whom???? And where is the “if-he-did-this-to-me-why-not-to-him? Kindly support your allegations.

    @Shadows: Back to old-fashioned anti-bengalism with the Bengali accent arent you? The regionalism is tough to control isnt it? And FYI Sourav has been booed many times at the Eden…of course I dont expect you to know that. But I waste my time with you when I as a Bengali should be cavorting with the Chinese.

    In conclusion I find your equations Bengali=Dada fan and bengali= “Communist who supports Chinese” rather pathetic.

  55. @Debolin: Language, my dear fellow!

    As one of the targets of Shadows, I have to admit that enjoy his vibrant style of writing, so clear, so precise and so asinine.

    He provides a valuable function on various threads – unites us into a close knit community – we forget who supports Mohun Bagan, East Bengal or Manchester United (thank god they do not have a ladies team!) and unite in the defence of Arnab/Bengal/Sourav/whatever.

    I mean, we have many an argumentative Indian, but seldom one who takes it to this level of ‘eeNre torko’, if you’d pardon my vernacular. You have to admire it, folks!

  56. shadow- yesh you and your brethern are true boshtards 🙂 ashamed of your own background and identity & mimicing others who at least have an identity. and a bastard in any ek cent (accent) is still a bastard. ohh shorry bohstard.

  57. ‘Regarding Munaf Patel, the responsibility of his selection is Dravid and Dravid’s alone. The selectors pick the 16 but it’s the captain who pencils in the name during the toss. Munaf is a capable bowler and his performance in the Third test is because it was obvious he was still very much injured’

    Not even! As Gloster pointed out that despite all fitness tests, a player can get away with lying with his fitness levels. Patel actually did and that’s why he was selected. In other words, he lied. And that’s why the board might punish him by not selecting him for the 8 one day match.

    Players lying about their fitness level is nothing new and to blame the capitain is incorrect in my opinion.

  58. @Shan: My aim was not to defend Dravid to death, but to make a comparison of the relative culpability of Dravid and Patel. If I were making a comparison between RD and, say, Sreesanth or Dada, I would have offered many of the same points as you did. And yes, for the sake of Indian cricket, I do hope that RD turns out to be an even better captain than SG with an even better team performance.

    “…He scored runs? Umm…when was that?…”
    47, in the innings we are all talking about. He did turn out to be the topscorer in that innings, followed by SG’s 46.

    @GB: Yes, the captain has the final say on the team composition, but does this absolve the player of all responsibility? Evidently, I’m not the only one upset at Munaf’s lack of effort: http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/current/story/275892.html. Of course people might have opinions on Niranjan Shah, or the fact that this news item too was reported by Cricinfo, but there’s not much I can do about that…
    And yes, I agree that VVS was an idiot to take on Pollock’s arm when he should have known about his running limitations.

  59. @Confused: “Not even! As Gloster pointed out that despite all fitness tests, a player can get away with lying with his fitness levels. Patel actually did and that’s why he was selected. In other words, he lied. And that’s why the board might punish him by not selecting him for the 8 one day match.”

    Ahem. Firstly this is clearly the case of Gloster trying to pass the buck. From the first ball that Munaf bowled he ran in tentatively…I wonder if he was such a master actor in front of Gloster then how come his facade did not last even one delivery? Did Munaf Patel move like a hare in front of Gloster so much so that Gloster certified him 100% fit? Players can lie about certain types of injuries but not ankle injuries—you can either do 5 laps or you cannot.

    Dravid himself went on record saying that Munaf could have been played in the 2nd test itself but they wanted to give him more match practice. Munaf got a practice game . Did he act there too?

    How about this?

    Rahul Dravid, appointed captain till the World Cup, will now start to feel the heat. Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar is unhappy with decisions Dravid took. The first being to play an unfit Munaf Patel, the second to play Sehwag for his bowling abilities, and the third not to play Harbhajan Singh.

    And this?

    Munaf’s inclusion is a calculated gamble, given that his last international outing was at this very ground more than a month ago. “He pulled through well after the eight overs he bowled the day before yesterday,” said Dravid. “He came and practiced yesterday and bowled a few overs. We’ll take a decision tomorrow morning based on how he feels, how confident he is, and whether he can last the course of the Test match.”

    Acting? Oscar-worthy?

  60. GB,

    You say that from the very first ball Munaf was running in tentatively. I didn’t watch the match so I can only comment on the scoreboard. During the first inning, he bowled 20 overs giving away 43 runs and claimed one wicket. By any yardstick, these are not bad figures. Are they? It is clearly a case of Munaf not having enough juice to last the whole match.

    And how about this-

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/current/story/275892.html

    In a more damning statement, Shah, speaking for the BCCI, laid the blame squarely at Munaf. “Then we were surprised, when Dr Anant Joshi conducted tests, and Munaf complained about pain. Joshi then advised a couple of weeks’ rest,” he said. “Here I am a little concerned about the player himself. The player himself should be honest enough about his own fitness. The last 5% has to come from the player. The doctor cannot say how much pain you are experiencing. Many players can play even with a big injury but some players cannot play even with a small injury. The honesty of the player – at least in the case of Munaf Patel – is in question

    And even more damning-

    Interestingly, Dr Joshi, the board’s consulting orthopaedic doctor, has not spared Munaf either after examining him. “Clinically he has full range of ankle motion, good joint stability, and no appreciable swelling. His ankle seems to be normal as compared to the non-injured side,” wrote Dr. Joshi in his report to the board. “The X-ray did not reveal any significant pathology. Going through his medical record in South Africa I find that the treatment given to him has been top class. It appears that Munaf continues to be apprehensive about the injury, more psychological than physical. He needs to overcome this problem himself.

    How can Dravid be expected to get inside’s someone’s head?

  61. @Confused: Again, it is very easy to make Munaf the scapegoat.

    1. I watched the match. From the very first ball, he ran in very differently. The South African commentators were saying he does not look match fit from the third ball itself.

    2. Shah trying to protect Dravid and the team management at the cost of a young cricketer is also a possibility no?

    3. The story needs to be straight. Was Munaf acting (i.e. he had pain but was not showing it so that he can get into the side)? This is what I first thought it was. Or is it because Munaf, for some reason, is concerned about an injury that he does not really have. In that case I fail to see why physiotherapy is needed for the next 2-3 weeks (the next line in that blockquote which you did not mention).

    And how come this mental aspect of Munaf’s injury was not understood by Gloster—did he not have the requisite equipment to see that there was nothing really wrong with Munaf?

    4. The reason he bowled one over was also because India needed to keep going for the kill with so little runs to defend. There was no scope to use an obviously underperforming Munaf when so much was at stake.

  62. @ shadows: why make accent an issue … It is not their mother tongue. Everyone speaks hindi differently, based on their language and dialect. Bring in some proper arguments and facts to make a healthy discussion.

  63. Strangely, most readers of this blog went up in arms when Shadows dared to mock the Hindi accent of Bongs, but nobody seems to mind the borderline racist comments of Anirban (a Bong, I think?) about Kannadigas. The regular readership of this blog doesn’t seem to be all that cosmopolitan after all.
    Sorry about the divisive comment. But don’t tell me you didn’t notice that…

  64. @Anonymous : Leave your name behind. “Peeth Peche nahin. Ma ka dudh piya hain to samne aake bol” ( Guess my Hindi is better than the obscured shawdowed “Ghati”

    @Shadow @ Ghati : The first person who should have been dropped was Sachin Tendulkar ( reason obvious ) . He is like Queen Victoria now ( maan na maan meri jaga to pakki hain team mein) and Chappel’s reservations against his performance is always reserved . Reason : He loves the paypacket the ghati Pawar gives him .
    Now to the issue about my ” borderline” racisim . You are correct but as always being a ghati slightly mistaken.The fault is not in you but in your DNA strands ( no pun intended). The term coined for me is “bodyline” not “borderline” .
    I like Chicken Chowmein and Chilly Chicken and so also a lot of bengalis . Thas why we have the best chinese restaurants in Kolkata , a China Town , a chinese newspaper and ohhh i almost forgot Mainland China chain of restaurants is also owned by a bengali . And yes given a choice we would love to play chinese chequere with your gillotined head. However for that i need to become the prime minister or Chief Minister , which i will become in the near future i guess. So be prepared !!!!!!!!!

  65. Greatbong,

    1. Well, the first inning bowling figures don’t seem to prove your point. And South African commentators? I would rather NOT trust their word.

    2. Yup. I have no respect for Shah and you are entirely right that he migt just be trying to protect his favorites. But the medical opinion is from Dr. Anant Joshi-a respected Sports physician in which he cites X-rays. I find it a trifle difficult to believe that someone as high priofile as Dr. Joshi would stake his entire reputation by deliberately giving a wrong opinion.

    About advising rest-no doctor in the world can contradict a patient when he complains of pain. He can say as Dr. Joshi has done that there is no pathological cause but that’s about it. If Munaf claims he is in pain, then Dr. Joshi or any other doctor will prescribe treatment.

    Gloster is a physiotherapist, he is not a doctor. To expect him to have the same expertise as Dr. Joshi would be incorrect. And as I pointed out above, it all boils down to Munaf. If he says there is no pain then the management will believe him.

    Finally, your argument that Munaf was not bowled because of the low score is incorrect. He gave away 43 runs in 20 overs in the first innings and in the only over he bowled in the second inning, he conceded just two runs. Not bad, right?

    I entirely agree that selecting Munaf was a mistake on a spin friendly pitch but I don’t agree that he was selected despite Dravid knowing that he was injurd.

    Amardeep,

    You should read some of the comments. GB and few other commentators have criticised Anirban for his remarks.

  66. @Anirban: Can we leave out the abuse please? I think you do no favour to the rest of us by indulging in the same abusive behaviour that we are condemning in folks like Shadows and a few others.

    You’ll realise that the abuse of language, rather than add to the power of your expression, tends to get even readers who agree with you to get antagonised.

    Which is probably why this blog is so popular – Arnab uses sarcasm, irony and wit much more effectively than many bloggers, or even writers to get his point across.

  67. As to Dada laying politics – I have no problem in him doing so. I think with the SA tour he handled things expertly and was able to charm everyone in his way while keeping up the image the the belligerent, tough-as-nails Sourav was still very much a part of him. He has learnt from his mistakes in a way that makes him deadlier as far as his opponents are concerned.

    I can envision the day when Dada declares his candidacy for the chief ministership of W.Bengal to break the shackles on CPI(M) from the state. A leader who even (Mamta) Didi dare not challenge – Buddhadeb Bhattacharya can be intimidated by her shirtless hunks, but Dada? No way, he can take it off too, and swing it over his head 😀

  68. @Anirban,

    >> You are correct but as always being a ghati slightly mistaken.
    You are highly mistaken. I am not from that place you assume I am from :). In fact, I dont belong to any region or state. That also gives me the advantage of looking at things from a third person perspective, without any regional allegiance. You may make fun of Kannadas or Maharashtrians or Gujaratis, it does not affect me.

    >> He loves the paypacket the ghati Pawar gives him.
    Agreed. Pawar is a ghati. A typical greedy politician. He has no interest in cricket or BCCI, he is just there for the money. Dalmiya did a much better job at BCCI.

    @GreatBong,

    >> Back to old-fashioned anti-bengalism with the Bengali accent arent you? The regionalism is tough to control isnt it

    No offense meant, GreatBong. Now havent we all made fun of Gujju accents here. And note, I am not making any fun of you. I am not anti-Bengal or anything. BTW, I am a part of a community that has been stereotyped here. Very wrongly stereotyped.

    >>And FYI Sourav has been booed many times at the Eden…of course I dont expect you to know that.

    No, actually I dont. Regarding comparisons, well, you may delete my comments. Didnt really want to offend anyone.

    @AmarDeep,

    >>why make accent an issue … It is not their mother tongue. Everyone speaks hindi differently, based on their language and dialect. Bring in some proper arguments and facts to make a healthy discussion.

    Well, Ok, so many comments trashing me. Let me admit – I was just having some fun with yourFan2, who seems to be a real abusive person, with strong anti-non-Bengali feelings. No offense meant to anyone else. He has been abusive to me on many threads. I used to ignore, but now I just thought I must give it back to him in his way. See the coward scurrying away now that the tables have turned. 🙂

  69. Ok, I did read a few more comments.

    @Debolin, bengali boy, anirban etc

    Well go ahead abuse any community you like. Doesnt matter to me. To really abuse me, you need to abuse Indians as such. Thats the good part of not belonging to any region or state of India, having no native language to speak, and basically belonging to a culture that is Indian, rather than PUnjabi or Gujarati or Bengali or Maharashtrian.

    That also allows me to abuse Sehwag, Ganguly, Pawar and Tendulkar equally without any regional considerations tugging at my heart. 🙂

  70. @All: I want to publicly say I defend Shadows. Call me the Ram Jethmalani of the blogosphere but I defend Shadows. Let me categoriclly say he’s not anti-Bengali or anything like that. Let me demo. OK we start with his use of the term boshtard. Now that’s no cuss word, is it? It’s a scientific word. Let’s analyse what he’s been saying… wow, I get it. He’s talking Ornithology! After illuminating Physics the man moves to Biology. What genius! Here’s what he’s saying… focus on the birds, i.e. focus on the environment in Bengal. I mean, Rajasthan has a bird called the great Indian bustard, but I didn’t know that it had been brought on the bhujia train from Bikaner to Kolkata till Shadows pointed it out: yes, he keeps on saying it, now Bengal has a responsibility to this rare and endangered bird and we must rise above petty junk to get this point home. So Bustard in Bangla = Boshtard, Boushtard, etc., all of which he points out painstakingly and lovingly. SO you guys are misconstruing his love for Bengal, it’s people and its environment and berating him. Second, he talks about China. Again, the environment. He says, letting the Salim group run amok and letting all the global players in to the economy will be bad for the environment. Be careful, nurture the bustards. What love the man has for Bengal and its people! Finally, he speaks a great truth about something divine: He belongs to no community but one that has been wrongly stereotyped…. Hmmmm… now that may seem like a logical conundrum but it’s not. It’s just a divine riddle thrown in by this great man. So, Shadows, GO FOR IT!

  71. That’s call the spirit, Dada ne dikha diya. No hurdle could stop him. Maharaj the born leader will came back again with his fury of magical batting skill. From last few months he had continuously hurt by selectors, team members, commentators. He felts tremendous pain. But nobody could console him. Each and every player became puppet of so called coach Mr. Chappel. Even juniors were made comments regarding his form. At present they are in off form. But still they are in the team India. Sehwag is now too busy for his new course to learn captaincy because we all know that he is our future captain. Dada proved his guts many times. Now its turn to Mr. Dravid to prove himself as an average captain (though he doesn’t have this ability), Sachin had already failed in this exam.

  72. Debolin & anirban : (To really abuse me, you need to abuse Indians as such. Thats the good part of not belonging to any region or state of India, having no native language to speak, and basically belonging to a culture that is Indian, rather than PUnjabi or Gujarati or Bengali or Maharashtrian.)

    look look what shadow said. dont forget. he ish true indian. he was discover in garbage can wrapped in a newhspaper. Place where all people bongs gujjus punjus etc dumped their garbage. sho he ish more indian than all of us. and a boshtard too. 🙂 no vonder that he keepz using the term again. sho he sayz that he ish indian ash if we are all pakistanisz. shad thing iz even though his body wash taken out of confine of dustbin, hish mind was permanently there. that narrow and that dark. now i know why shodow hatez yourfan. when yourfan said boshtard shadow was served grim reminder of his identity. ho ho.

    anirban

    (The fault is not in you but in your DNA strands ( no pun intended). The term coined for me is “bodyline” not “borderline” .) 🙂 🙂

  73. GB, Srikanth has made an interesting observation above; topless males (hunky or otherwise) in the arenas of sports, films and politics do seem to be more frequent now than ever before. Since the shirt (kameez) and other sewn fabrics were popularized in India through Islamic incursions, is this a sign of Hindu revival? A social psychologist can throw the sex/power equations into the analysis and brew a real heady cocktail here. (Personally, I would love to write an appendix on the genomic evolution of Indian male chest hair.)

  74. Confused and someothers seem to blaming Munaf on the fitness issue, Perhaps they should read Greg Chappell’s comments on 6th Jan in the post match interview :-

    “There was never a choice between Harbhajan and Patel. We were looking for a batting and bowling balance. Harbhajan hadn’t bowled for a month. I don’t think there was any fitness issue with Munaf. He didn’t bowl because after the break Zaheer was fresh for another spell. You would have to ask Rahul the reason for it”.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/htcricket/8145_1891238,001601400002.htm

    Now same report is on cricinfo as well, and guess what Cricinfo leaves the part where Greg asks the reporter to check with Dravid on why Munaf didn’t bowl much in 2nd innings.

    Needless to say – The story has complete changed since, and now Munaf is accused of not performing or hiding his injury. And trust cricinfo to beat up on that in order to protect his man’s behind.

  75. In assorted comments the name of Niranjan Shah has cropped up. He is the BCCI secretary; his job is to call meetings, make minutes and execute orders. Only in India can the secys behave like Vincent George and think they run the show. I am alluding to Shah’s sundry observations on Munaf’s injury, and even more exasperating, his comments on whether Sehwag should play or not. He has let out that he won’t play in the ODIs against WI. We will know in the next few hours if that’s true.

    My larger point is that why are so many people, in some ways limpet-like hanging on to the goodies of Indian cricket, allowed to speak on subjects that should be the sole business of selectors, coach and the captain? Why can’t they be disciplined? How can they allowed to play games against players, who talent-wise are giants compared to them, like Sourav and Sehwag? There should be a debate on this. The rotten state of BCCI must be set right first before we can see logical and sporting reasons prevail in cricket.

  76. @GB, All: Ranadeb Bose needs to be in the team. He’s in the form of his life and the time is now. &/24 agst Hyderabad and his 5 wkt haul against Rajasthan. Ranadeb, Sreesanth, Zaheer, Singh can be a great pace attack.

  77. “Ganguly is back in this team after missing 41 one-dayers. That might have dented his bank balance a bit but it certainly made him a better cricketer”… so speaks Anand Vasu, whats with him and Guru Greg anyway? they sound like mutual fund analysts…

  78. @Ranjan – Yes definitely. even if his exclusion from the one day party wasn’t that surprising, the fact that he doesn’t feature in the 30 shortlisted for WC is baffling.

  79. @Dealer: Yes even I was zapped by that line. WTF ! The only damage Ganguly suffered was the monetary one ??As usual the Big Bal is trying to hint that the only reasons SG plays is for his bank balance (a statement almost dictated by beach-cricket friend Guru Greg)

  80. @GB, All: yourfan2 and I see the same thing. Why is Ranadeb not in the WC 30? Let him not fall to the wayside like scores of others like Utpal Chatterjee and don’t give “them” the opportunity to say that apart from Sourav Bengal produces no talent which is why we are into Dada, yada, yada, yada…. Please write about it. Ranadeb, Sourashish both waiting, performing, waiting….

  81. Meanwhile, on Cricinfo’s reports today, I was surprised to read at a couple of places how in times of previous management there was a player raj, where you couldn’t do anything to non-performing seniors: “In the past, senior players have been virtually untouchable, despite suffering from poor form or carrying niggling injuries. But if a senior Indian board official is to be believed, this is set to end quickly.” (Anand Vasu) That must be big bad Ganguly running roughshod over the meek Wright & the corrupt Dalmiya 🙂 There seems to be a lot of “these cricketers are getting too big for their boots, time to show them who’s the boss” mentality here.

    More strangely, Chappell has escaped all censure. Everything is the fault of this group of ‘seniors gone wild’. Is that the Rudi Webster-inspired Sehwag they are referring to? And Harbhajan ‘foodfight’ Singh? Isn’t it strange how these things started happening when Ganguly came in? He must be the one poisoning their minds, the Langda Tyaagi of Indian cricket (heavy sarcasm here, btw). Fortunately, Mr. Chappell will stay on to pick up the pieces after our what looks like an inevitable WC demolition, if Cricinfo is to believed. I am sure they have Niranjan Shah & Lalit Modi on their speed dial, & I have no reason to doubt them.

    Also, why isn’t VVS in the ODI team against WI? He gets called in for the SA series, & after a first ball duck is out of the reckoning again? Bizarre!

  82. Read –

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/indvwi/content/current/story/276249.html

    “Ganguly is back in this team after missing 41 one-dayers. That might have dented his bank balance a bit but it certainly made him a better cricketer. The kind of knocks that Ganguly played in South Africa, and the conditions they were played in, is ample proof that he’d regain the stomach for battle – which might have been weakened somewhat by years as captain of the side.”

    forchrissakes, bank balance!!!!

    Anand Vasu ————-> what a neat stoned sonofabitch that guy is.

  83. @yourfan2: Thanks.
    @GB, All: Come on all you guys! Ranadeb needs to be in the WC 30. He SHOULD BE in the 30! He’s now India’s Number One in number of wickets, and, moreover is in the form of his life. GB, write about it… It’s happening all over again! Make a difference before it’s too late. Otherwise we’ll sit around lamenting something 50 years after the fact while the rest of India sit and snigger in their ignorant arrogance!

  84. Anand Vasu writes

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/indvwi/content/current/story/276249.html

    Ganguly is back in this team after missing 41 one-dayers. That might have dented his bank balance a bit but it certainly made him a better cricketer. The kind of knocks that Ganguly played in South Africa, and the conditions they were played in, is ample proof that he’d regain the stomach for battle – which might have been weakened somewhat by years as captain of the side.

  85. Apropos of the last post , check this line out:
    “That might have dented his bank balance a bit but it certainly made him a better cricketer”

    So we have the great line trotted out by Greg Chappell that Ganguly was primarily suffering financial ruin by being thrown out of the Indian team, faithfully repeated by the cricinfo staff.

    So Ganguly is doing all this just to make as much money as possible ? This is all that is at stake ?

    Why do we have such an asinine bunch of writers to cover Indian cricket at Wisden/Cricinfo ? Premachandran doles out platitudes and cliches in a manner I have not seen since I was in school; to think he shares webspace with someone like Gideon Haigh reels the mind….

  86. if dada is indeed using a coterie of media guys to fix questions in the press conferences (refer to the cricinfo link), it is indeed a sham .. its alright to give exclusive quotes outside official press conferences .. but fixing PCs .. too good ..

    though dada wud not be the first n the last media-fixer but again it doesn’t make his actons any less disgusting.

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