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.
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 Gangulyâ€™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.