Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ganguly's attitude comes under scanner

Editor's note: This report first appeared in
NEW DELHI, April 3:
The post mortem of India's World Cup debacle is a fire that refuses to blow over. Team India truly never had it so bad - divided between the prima donnas and the youngsters who didn't know which way the wind blew, the unhappiness in the Indian dressing room was probably the perfect recipe for disaster.
And now, soon after the revelations of team coach Greg Chappell on the strong divide within the Indian team between the senior players who rule the roost and the youngsters who are mere pawns come new shocking revelations from a member of the team management to Times Now - about the senior players.
The revelations come in the form of another report, also from the team management that will be presented along with Chappell's report on April 6 to the BCCI. Sources within the team management have told Times Now this report too focuses on the senior players in the team.
Sources close to Sanjay Jagdale who will present the report, say the report speaks of how some senior players defied the pre-decided team strategy and went on to the field to play individual innings, throwing off-gear the entire game plan. "Ganguly not following team strategy" Amongst the tainted, is comeback man Sourav Ganguly. This might sound shocking for a batsman who on the face of it has averaged 68 in his last ten games and hit 2 half centuries in the World Cup games.
But a closer look at his innings, sources say, reveals that his game was against the overall team strategy. In the game against Bangladesh, although the pitch was conducive for batting, Ganguly played a very slow innings and struggled against the left-arm spinners - the very bowlers he was supposed to take on as per the team strategy. Surprisingly in the game against Bermuda his strike rate at the end of the 10th over was 52, whereas much-maligned Virender Sehwag had a strike rate of over 100.
This continued in the next 10-over period, till Captain Dravid sent out a stern message from the dressing room to accelerate the run rate. In the end Sourav Ganguly’s innings was littered with 70 dot-balls.
The perception is the Ganguly was too keen on getting his hundred - to the detriment of the team’s performance. Against the Lankans, the supposedly in-form Sourav he stood exposed to left-arm seamers even as Sehwag was scoring freely in his short innings of 48.
Sachin's attitude a problem? In fact the team member adds that even Sachin Tendulkar's strained relationship with Chappell ever since the South African tour when the little master averaged a paltry 23 in four One-dayers, was hurting team.
The source has also told Times Now that Chappell also believed the master blaster's repeated failure was hurting the team's chances. "The senior players just have to understand that they are playing for the country and not for their personal glory," said the source. The source tells Times Now that Chappell also had differences with Sachin regarding his batting position - Sachin was keen to open the innings with Sourav, but Greg Chappell wanted him to bat lower down the order.
And when the team management decided to bring him lower in the order, it irked Sachin no end. And that is not all - what further rubbed the coach the wrong way was the constant meddling with the batting order just to please the senior players. Team not fit enough Add to that, the poor fitness of senior team members - two frontline pacers and three top order batsmen - haunted the team's performance.
All in all it was hardly a fit squad for an event like the World Cup and explains why this team is cooling its heels at home.
Now the pressure is clearly on the BCCI bosses to pull Indian cricket out of the mire Meanwhile with so many leaks around, coach Greg Chappell who presents his most debated report to the BCCI panel this Friday, is expected to shy away from taking names. After all, the fear of Greg Chappell and leaks is not new one.

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