Wednesday, November 29, 2006

When hope is spelt as Ganguly...

By John Cheeran
Anything that happens on Port Elizabeth on Wednesday will be a bonus for Indian cricket.
After two crushing defeats, the level of expectations has come down many notches and with the national selectors meeting the very next day (on Thursday) to wield the axe, each one of the players will be scrambling to ensure his survival in the team.
That includes India’s stand-in captain Virender Sehwag.
Being the vice-captain of the side has helped Sehwag a great deal to cling on to his team ticket as captaincy helped Sourav Ganguly in a similar manner in the past.
Now things have hit rock bottom that the befuddled Indian selectors are planning to recall Ganguly to rescue Indian cricket. God save Indian cricket!
Indian batting’s repeated failures at home and abroad, injuries to Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh have created this pitiable situation. With youngsters such as Suresh Raina, Mohammad Kaif and Dinesh Karthick letting opportunities fly away, Mr Experience is likely to rear his ugly head.
Bringing Ganguly back into the Indian dressing room now is going to be a regressive step and I will write this again and again at the risk of getting branded as biased.
Such a move will neither help Indian cricket nor Ganguly himself.
Assuming that selectors, led by the wooly Dilip Vengsarkar, make the blunder of recalling Ganguly on Thursday and in the event of Dravid missing out the first Test, the Bengal batsman will get an opportunity to put on the pads for India.
And then?
On Tuesday night Ganguly was relishing the thoughts of a recall and spit out words befitting a yogi. He said how it (his recall) all depends on team’s performance and captain and coach’s requirements. De-fanged by the events in the past 12 months, Ganguly certainly has improved his behaviour, but I doubt whether he has burnished his batting to merit another innings.
It is not that selectors did not recall Ganguly after his adventures in Zimbabwe.
He was recalled for the Test series in Pakistan and proved an embarrassment on the crease when Pakistani bowlers confronted him.
May be the mere prospect of having Ganguly back in the dressing room should stir the youngsters in the Indian side to reinvent themselves and play for their lives in Port Elizabeth today.
If Ganguly returns, as a ghost of his former self, it will be the end of hope for Indian cricket.

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