Friday, December 01, 2006

What lies ahead of Ganguly in South Africa

By John Cheeran
The Indian cricket team management in South Africa has taken an insurance policy from Calcutta and critics by letting the door open for Sourav Ganguly.
It is going to be an arduous Test series. India’s chosen batsmen with large dollops of experience have been utter disappointments. It is natural then that the kind of wooly critics we have in India should pine for thoughts such as ‘if only Ganguly had been in the side.’
Skipper Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell now get that insurance cover thanks to the knee-jerk selection policy with no underpinning philosophy from chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar.
If Dravid recovers in time for the first that begins at Wanderers, Johannesburg, on December 15, it is quite unlikely that Ganguly will make it to the XI.
The XI for first Test should read as Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Sreesanth.
With Laxman selected as the vice-captain there is no longer any middle order slot vacant in the side especially when Dravid and Chappell are very keen to go in with five bowlers.
That makes finding room for an unwelcome visitor such as Ganguly all the more costly.
Sourav Ganguly will be competing with Virender Sehwag, who is out form and now out of favour. But Ganguly’s pussyfooted approach to fast bowling is legendary and even if Sehwag fails in the Johannesburg Test no sensible selector could ruin India’s chances by giving promotion to Ganguly as an opener for the remaining matches.
Sehwag stands to play in the Johannesburg Test ahead of Ganguly precisely because despite his failures has been familiar with the South African pitches thanks to exertions in the one-day series.
How far Ganguly will travel in South Africa will depend on his performance in the four-day match that is scheduled for December 7-10 at Potchefstroom.
Also, though the series has been lost, the fifth and last one-dayer in Johannesburg on Sunday now offers Indian batsmen a chance to play without care and rediscover their batting form.
If Sehwag and Dinesh Karthick could stitch together a decent innings, that again should make Ganguly’s days in South Africa highly interesting.
All this, if you remember, thanks to that political king maker Sharad Pawar in New Delhi and Chairman of selectors, Dilip Vengsarkar.
Vengsarkar soon might get a call from Bollywood to twist quite a few scripts.


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Sreekanth said...

4 balls in Cape Town...
22 balls in PE...
29 balls in J'Berg!
And you call that familiarity with the pitches? You're funny!

John Cheeran at Blogged