E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Cricket fans in Calcutta, aided and abetted by the Bengali television channels and television channels run by Bengalis, have started beating their Bengali breasts over the non-inclusion of the uncrowned prince of the Marxist republic, Saurav Ganguly, in the one-day team for the tri-series in Australia.
It’s only a matter of time before the Gang of Four—Brinda Karat, Somnath Chatterjee, Pranab Mukherjee and Mamta Bannerji—abandon all their concern for the salt of the earth in “Nondigrom” and Singur, and start armtwisting Sharad Pawar and take it all the way up to Sonia Gandhi if need be, to bring back Dada.
Till that mission is accomplished, the TV channels that are teeming with Bengalis will update Ganguly’s career statistics by the minute, hour and second so that nobody forgets the grave injustice that has been done to a brave son of the Bengali soil.
What a shame!
Rahul Dravid has won more matches singlehandedly than anybody in Indian cricket till date and that includes even Sachin Tendulkar. The HAL II Stage Wall played a big hand in each of India’s 10 victories abroad since 2000. In 17 innings, he has 1,248 runs at an average of 83.2, including three hundreds and six 50s.
Yet, who cries for Dravid, who is fitter than Ganguly, has held a phenomenal 165 catches, but who too has been “ignored” from the one-day team despite his stellar role in the Perth win? (Yes, try to remember the 93 in the first innings.)
Sure, Ganguly has had a fine run in the year gone by. As every cricket correspondent who pops up on television points out, it is “one of the greatest comebacks in cricket’s history”. Maybe, but that does that make him an automatic choice when his fitness and fielding is such a lottery?If you want a neutral opinion on Ganguly, it came on the last day in Perth. When Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey were hitting through the covers and point, one commentator said: “That’s Ganguly not moving again! Wonder what is he doing there standing in the covers instead of being somewhere at fine leg! The captain should ensure he has a fitter and committed person there.”
This came from Wasim Akram. The next ball, Ishant Sharma who had just finished bowling an over, dived and saved a certain four. The following ball, Dravid dived and saved another four at gully.
Since Indian cricket is not just about cricket, l’affaire Ganguly will burn the airwaves for a couple of days, while Navjot Sidhu‘s open challenge to Dilip Vengsarkar to justify Ganguly’s exclusion is telecast ad nauseam. But is this how we reduce a great game to a silly street battle?