Friday, May 11, 2007

The punishment for success

It's interesting that two of the most dangerous batsmen in the World Cup were both openers and left-handers who made comebacks. Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya is 37 and last year he had retired from the game after a long run of poor form. Similar was the return of Mathew Hayden at 33 after being dropped from the Australian team. Sound familiar? Sourav Ganguly, a left-hander and an opener, came back into the Indian team against all odds after Chappell and More forced him out, and with some justification because his game had gone to pieces. But, like Jayasuriya and Hayden, he used the break from international cricket to work on his fitness and iron out the flaws in his batting that had become the targets of bowlers. But that's where the similarity ends. Ganguly finds himself out of the Indian ODI side in spite of averaging over 60 in his last ten innings, being the man of the series against Sri Lanka before the World Cup, and doing better than most of the other Indian batsmen at the World Cup. Of course, 'resting' him for three ODIs against Bangladesh isn't a big deal, but it sends out the wrong signal - that performance and fitness, hard work and determination don't count for much in Indian cricket. Ad hocism rules. Why would Ganguly need a rest after cooling his heels for a year and a half? Give younger players a chance by all means, but let them take the place of jaded or non-performing players. In any case, Ganguly's replacement Gautam Gambhir has had several opportunities to prove himself and by now it should have been apparent that he does not have what it takes to make the cut. There are some players who make tons of runs in the domestic circuit on easy tracks against weak bowling but whose faults get exposed at the international level. Gambhir seems to be of that ilk and his failure in the first ODI against Bangladesh was a familiar sight. He might get a few in the next two matches but would prove nothing. It is Bangladesh, after all, even if we have made them look like Australia.


Anonymous said...

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose sidelined.
Sourav Ganguly sidelined.
Wonder why there has never been a bengali Prime Minister in India.
Is it high time West Bengal merged with Bangladesh?

Chandan said...

If this is only FOR bengalis, then I'm out of here. But if it is a cricket discussion, then I'd like to ask Sumit as to what he actually wanted was not clear. You didn't want to give rest to Ganguly. But who'd you have rested instead to try the new players, especially batsmen?

Rita said...

The answer to that is obvious in the article, Mr Chandan - why replace Ganguly with Gambhir - And why "rest" somebody just for the sake of "trying out" somebody, if that person is performing well, and has made such a spectacular come-back as Ganguly has --

As for "anonymous'" comment, just because one is a bengali it does not mean the writer is plumbing for a fellow bengali - read the article with an open mind instead and think of a critique to the points there, is my advice --

Sumit Chakraberty said...

Chandan, the premise that in-form players should be rested to try out new players is faulty according to me. Form can disappear just as quickly as it comes. So it's best if a player in form is allowed to keep going to maintain that form. A player should be rested only if he's injured, tired or jaded. Sourav Ganguly hardly fits that, having got back into the team after a long lay-off. The Aussies rested their star batsmen in the series against the Kiwis before the World Cup to give them a chance to recharge their batteries. They also 'rotate' their fast bowlers by picking different playing elevens, especially in a series that's already won. Those are intelligent uses of resting. To give a new player a chance by dropping or resting a an in-form player from a whole series also devalues the India cap which should only come up for grabs when a team member gets injured or loses form or needs rest. And, in any case, of what good is this chance that's been created artificially for the new players? Does a ton against Bangladesh on a placid track give us any indication that Gautam Gambhir has made sufficient progress in his technique to do well in the upcoming series against tougher opponents in harder conditions? In which case, now that Gambhir has clicked, will Gagnuly have to wait till they drop somebody else before he can get back in? It's a mess, and hardly the way to build a team. If the board sees no future for Ganguly's ODI career, it should give him a farewell, not a rest.

Chandan said...

Agree about valuing India cap and all that, but at the same time it is extremely necessary to see what each of the replacements shape up? Do they have potential to replace our great batsmen? Unfortunately, our domestic system is not strong to give any indication. Hence players with potential have to be tried to see if they have it in them to represent India for a long period or not.

I'd call it a rotation policy. It failed miserably because it wasn't used cleverly. gambhir has a number of shots but is too easy for any quality bowler to sort out.
Mongia obviously is useless.

Our selection panel should have blooded Tiwary (it was unfortunate that he got injured) and Rohit Sharma straightaway.

It was also criminal to bench Uthappa. So if Ganguly and Sachin missed 2 ODIs vs Bangladesh, it is not a big deal.