Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ganguly, man-of-the-moment!

By John Cheeran
Honours are not strange to Sourav Ganguly.
Ganguly has been selected as the man-of-the-series at the end of the India-Sri Lanka one-day encounters. Three good knocks (62, 48 and 58 not out) with bat would not have gone unnoticed anyway though the quality of Sri Lankan bowling attack was pretty ordinary.
On his comeback trail, Ganguly has showed willingness to work hard for his runs and it has given the Bengal batsman a series of scores that should stoke the fire in his belly more.
Ganguly is the man-of-the-moment.
What’s remarkable in Ganguly’s second innings is that he has not overcome his weaknesses as a batsman but has played within his limitations. He has batted lower down the order in Tests and should consider himself lucky that a magnanimous team management has given him the opener’s role in one-dayers in appreciation of his good work.
This is important when you consider the fact that India can easily have quite different one-day opening pairs among Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa and Virender Sehwag.
By assigning Ganguly opener’s role, the team management had to cajole Tendulkar to recalibrate his game for the challenges that middle-overs throw up. The genius that he is, Tendulkar has hammered a century in his new role against the West Indies.
An interesting aspect that has been on view in Ganguly’s comeback, both in Tests and one-dayers, is the batsman’s inability to come up with real, big scores. Well, no Indian batsman scored a century against South Africa in Tests either in Tests or in one-dayers.
A century has eluded Ganguly so far in the one-dayers where he enjoys a better run-record, and it only shows how much of a tough task scoring runs has been for this tenacious performer. May be, the World Cup in the West Indies would see a long-lasting Ganguly at the crease.
Opening on sleeping beauties is Indian batsmen relish in 50-over games.
Sensible batsmen such as Ganguly and Tendulkar have made use of the advantage of opening and built themselves runs in excess of the much-coveted 10,000 mark.
Youngsters such as Robin Uthappa should do well to take a leaf out of the soiled books of Tendulkar and Ganguly and learn not to fritter away the golden opportunities to kick start the Indian innings on batting paradises. A super-charged 50, of course, thrills the stadium, but for India as well as for his own career, Uthappa should learn the art of making hay while the sun shines.
Ask Ganguly and Tendulkar for details.

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