Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prince is back to the diamond country

Sourav Ganguly has been selected to join the Indian team in South Africa. There are many things to note here. While there have been the lingering doubts on why Ganguly should indeed be recalled, with many fans having written him off completely, there needs to be a bit of a retrospective reasoning on why he is back.

He is here because:

  • He has been performing decently in domestic Cricket, nothing earth shaking, but okay.
  • He has given a clear indication to everybody that he is here to stay, whether it was playing all the domestic matched with all seriousness or the Pepsi add about how he was trying hard to come back into the team or the interview where he says he never thought of retirement.
  • There is no proof that he is out of form, as is the case with those currently in the team - Kaif, Raina etc
  • Indian team is in absolute dumps for many many reasons, so the bar to achieve to get back into the team is too low.
The above points basically outline that Ganguly has not come back because he has proven beyond doubt to everybody that he should be in the team, it is because of lack of viable alternatives. Having said this, I feel there are two very important hurdles in front of him:

  • He actually needs to get into playing XI. This might seem insignificant given that India has no alternatives, but with Ganguly's bete noire Chappel still in charge, I believe it is still a hurdle to cross.
  • He needs to fire and fire big. And big means at least 2 centuries in the 5-6 innings he will get in the series and both should be gracious, elegant, Ganguly-Type centuries.
Add to this, that he has a bad record in SA (Avg of 32 in 5 tests, 2 50s and 49.50 in 25 ODIs). His ODI record might look good, but thats because of a lot of centuries he has hit against Kenya, SL etc in the WC and other multi-team competitions. Having said this, all is not bad.

He has some precedence to follow. Mohd Azharuddin was stripped off captaincy in 1996 and was struggling to retain his place in the team. The result: 3 centuries in 4 matches against SA. He was in great form all over again, managed to wrestle back the captaincy and then lead India to some memorable victories (1998 annihilation of Aussies in India, with the Chennai test being an innings victory; The Dhaka final victory against Pak chasing 300+) uptil World Cup 1999.

His own track record is quite motivating. After getting one look-in in 1992, he stayed out for 4 years before arriving with a bang in 1996. He should know how to do things in style. For me, its going to be infinitely more exciting to see him crack the SA bowlers all around than to rejoice on the fact that he is back into the team. I would again sign off by wishing Dada the best of luck for his SA safari.

ps: My wife is all smiles about Dada's return. :-)
Another comprehensive defeat for the Indian cricket team in South Africa. But the trend is good. The loss margin is coming down all the time giving hopes to the Indian Fans that things are going to turn around sometime very soon. As I wrote earlier, every defeat of the Indian team will give some more hope to Dada fans on his comeback. In a few hours, Dilip Vengsarkar and his committee will select the test team. Dada fans around the internet world are hoping for his comeback. While some news channels and news sites have even jumped the gun and said that Ganguly is "likely" or "almost certain" to make his comeback. I wish Ganguly the best for his D-Day.

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