The selectors are at it again. Chopping and chipping away at a winning combination. Ganguly should consider himself really unfortunate to have been unceremoniously dropped for the ODI’s after registering the best ever comebacks in cricketing history.
Sourav Ganguly is sure to be in a quandary. He had registered one of the greatest comebacks into the Indian team. Scoring 1240 runs in ODI’s in the calendar year of 2007 at an average of 44, you could not have asked for more.
The Indian team were savoring the win at Perth when the bombshell was dropped by the selectors. Ganguly dropped from the team for the upcoming tri series against Australia and Sri Lanka. The in form Dravid and Laxman were ignored once again. The selectors seem to have made up their mind to go with youth for the ODI side. It might augur well for the Indian team in the future but in the present context, it could be disastrous for the Indian team.
The selectors could have made the announcement after the fourth test as there is gap between the tests and the ODI’s. Also there is a 20-20 match against the Aussies on February 1st, which the entire nation would be waiting for. But the team of selecters has acted as party poopers and has taken the sheen of the tremendous win at Perth. But perhaps the greatest impact it will have will be on the performance of the dropped players in the Adelaide test. Kumble will have his task cut out, in order to get Dravid and Ganguly to focus on the test match at hand which is a must win for the Indian side.
The selectors have infused youth into the side, dropping all the seniors except for Tendulkar. Ganguly has been replaced by Suresh Raina. Now, Raina last played an ODI in January 2007, more than an year back. His form in the domestic season last year wasn’t something to be proud of but yet he has found his way into the ODI squad in place of Ganguly. Ganguly had been the in form batsman for India as he made consecutive hundreds against Pakistan in tests and had looked one of the few composed batsman in the side in Australia. But yet he has been unceremoniously dropped. Is it the end of the road for Ganguly atleast in ODI? Only Ganguly can make the decision and it wont be an easy one.
We have an ODI squad which is similar to the 20-20 squad that had won the World Cup. But can these youngsters repeat their magical performance against the World Champions in their own backyard? There has to be a balance between youth and experience in the side which the selectors have not adhered to. And the high profile ODI series could definitely not be used for experimenting. The theory of being ‘in form’ in order to be selected seems to baffle me completely. If there was one player who has woefully out of form on the Aussie tour, it was Yuvraj Singh who barely troubled the scorers in the first two test matches. Dhoni too had not looked particularly confident against the rising ball. But both these players have been retained as vice captain and captain respectively. Virendra Sehwag has retained his place in the ODI side after a good performance in the Perth test. But is a single performance enough to cement your place in the ODI side? IF yes, then Ganguly gave us some of the best performances of his career last year. Why wernt they considered?
The only legitimate thing that could have gone against the former Indian captain is his fielding prowess or the lack of it. Ganguly is definitely not the most agile fielder on the park and he would be the first man to accept it. But, if fielding was all to be considered then with due respect Glenn Mcgrath, Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram and Inzamam ul haq would never have played for their sides, forget being the all time greats to represent their country. And Sehwag who has been chosen in the side, is not a terrific fielder too.
Ganguly should consider himself really unfortunate for it was his last tour to Australia and would have wanted to make the most of it. It might well signal the end of the road for the Prince of Kolkatta, a young prodigy who with his sheer grit and determination had scripted the best story of comebacks in Cricket at the age of 34. Dhoni may have got his desired team for the series, but it will be interesting to see if his bunch of young boys can perform against the mighty Aussies. And don’t be surprised if after a couple of failures, Sachin Tendulkar will find himself missing from the ODI side. In Indian cricket, anything can happen.