April 14, 2010

IPL

The Sourav Ganguly self-help programme

Andrew Hughes


‘You haven’t even learnt how to bring the car up to the door properly, have you? You sicken me’ © AFP
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Have you got yours yet?

What do you mean you don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s the new IPL must-have product that is set to become a summer bestseller. Pull Yourself Together. Fast is a motivational course for office and home, from former Indian captain and self-help guru Sourav Ganguly. For a reasonable price, you get a book, a DVD and a signed photo of the author looking disdainfully past you.

Pop the DVD into your player and you will be immediately confronted with a close-up shot of the Kolkata captain’s face as he tells you that you are pathetic, that he can’t do everything for you and that if you carry on like this, God help your career. Apparently ITV are playing it to all their guest panellists, and though it hasn’t yet noticeably upped their game, it has reduced Graeme Hick to tears.

The book, meanwhile, takes the form of a motivational diary. Each of the 365 pages bears a personalised insult from the Maharaj himself. For example, in my copy, the entry for April 14th reads, “You write like an imbecile. Sort yourself out. Do you expect me to write your articles for you? God, do I have to do everything around here? Of all the appalling writers on Cricinfo, you are the most awful. Now get out of my sight.”

Firm but fair, I think you’ll agree.

You see, Sourav may look down on all of us (even you, dear reader), he may regard himself as the only Indian batsman who has ever been any good, he may have his purpley-gold clad troops cowering in their mini Perspex pavilion, and he may in his imagination picture himself ruling Kolkata from the heavens, wearing a gold crown and sitting on a throne of clouds and diamonds, but still we love him. Apart, that is, from those of us who hate him.

Over the weekend these anti-Gangulyites puffed themselves up in mock outrage at Sourav’s little cri de coeur before the Indian press. How dare he criticise his own players? What catastrophic effects might this public castigation have on the poor dears? Please Sourav, keep it in the dressing room! Have mercy! Think of vulnerable little Brendon and delicate Chris! Think of the children! This is no way to run a railroad (and so on and so forth).

Well, Anderson to them. What do you or I care for the morale in the Kolkata dressing room? I’m not on their staff, I’m not their mother, and frankly, I couldn’t give two hoots about whether Sourav is being “professional” or not. Was Kolkata’s performance against Bangalore pathetic? Maybe not. He could just as easily have tried “dreadful”, “feeble” or “inept”. But how joyful to hear an insider breaking ranks, throwing off the omerta of the professional cricketer and admitting his colleagues had acquitted themselves in a manner some distance removed from adequate.

Ganguly is a delightful mix of Little Lord Fauntleroy and Machiavelli. If he was English, he would be a Yorkshireman. From the posh end of Yorkshire, no doubt, but unmistakably a cantankerous inhabitant of the north, prone to high-handed rudeness and plotting in corridors. But just as the Indian selectors kept coming back to him, we can’t be without him either. He is part of the furniture of Indian cricket, an awkwardly constructed and slightly rickety side table with angular edges on which people regularly bruise themselves. The place would feel a little empty without him.

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Posted by Mel on (April 14, 2010, 14:22 GMT)

OMG. Loved this page - esp the comments made me laugh more than the actual content. ;)

Andrew, I too agree with your obseravations, but...had this article been written by an Indian author, it would fit-in, but you being an Englishman, your motive becomes questionable. ahem...But, please do continue following IPL non-stop every day, as already I see you fast becoming 'indian at heart' as seen by your writings for the past month. ;)

Posted by Vijay on (April 14, 2010, 14:11 GMT)

Well, to see if Ganguly still has the magic for T20 will have to wait and watch if he still remains the captain or even in the KKR side in next year's IPL! (IPL-4)

Posted by Gunjan Basu on (April 14, 2010, 14:08 GMT)

I felt reading this article as a sarcastic essay for a man who has lead India successfully during his reign. In IPL 3 he is among the top 5 run getters with a decent SR as well (above 120). The team that has been given to Ganguly is full of self egoists I guess most of the foreign specially Gayle and Maccullum are captains and are very poor at it. See the recaptincy records they have absolutely pathetic. They should listen to DADA for not only teams benefit but their personal cricketing benefit as well. I think the team needs a serious thinking about Agarkar and Ishant sharma they are bowling like amatuers. All in all the internal rift is highly visible in the team. My support to DADA will always remain. He was a good captain and he will remain so till he retiers.

Posted by Grinder on (April 14, 2010, 14:06 GMT)

a lot of people have no problems if Ganguly speaks his mind, but they have a problem when Mr.Hughes does so. Someone said that his KKR team has no good players; look at Rajasthan Royals: lesser team, better performances. When India won many matches, he was a good motivator..so when KKR loses many matches, he is a bad motivator... cogito ergo sum.

Posted by Adarsh on (April 14, 2010, 13:59 GMT)

Nice article, but you are courting a controversy, despite your efforts to be as mild as possible..

Posted by Rama Iyer on (April 14, 2010, 13:55 GMT)

@brahmii I was a fan of Ganguly for a long time but his overly selfish attitude is causing problems for the team he leads. I am not saying he is 100% at fault but as a captain if you take glory for good captaincy you have to take the flak for bad one. Given a choice to choose captain for India I will always choose Saurav/Kumble/Dhoni(due to luck factor). But the thing is in 20-20 platform building doesnt always work. Its important that if you are not able to hit in the powerplays send somebody else up the order to do the job (McCullum/Gayle) a good pair and then come 1 down or 2 down. That is good captaincy. I do agree that as a captain you can only do so much but publicly blasting your team in the press doesnt help. You can blast them all you want in private. Public bashing only serves to create animosity among team players.

Posted by Faisal Shaikh on (April 14, 2010, 13:52 GMT)

How u know, that people are taking it seriously, u must have read all comments, which mean u had also taken it quite seriously........!!!

Posted by Babul on (April 14, 2010, 13:47 GMT)

Ganguly is a player who has already proved his worthiness much much before. No doubt on his class. You may perform or not for a certain period but your class will remain as companion for you that is sure to make you overcome any situation. So as Dada is aware of his strength, no doubt he will be confident over himself. Being a confident pioneer of Indian Cricket, he can play a role to awake the youngsters. Whats the point of taking it otherwise?

Whoever comment on him, please show us doing at least one-fourth of what he has done.

Posted by Chittaranjan on (April 14, 2010, 13:46 GMT)

Off all the comments, Harpal is the Sarcastic one who doesnt understand the game I believe...If you think that every one is a captain in a cricket team as understood by your words then cricket would have been a individual game and you dont need 11 players to perform for one goal. I believe that you are a kid and understands less about the game. People who think that legends like Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly are past of Indian cricket and often considered as furniture as many of you said, then dont forget that they comforted you at one point of time. If you are hurt by the furniture then you are only responsible because the furniture does not move to hurt you , you only come closer to get hurt.

Posted by Aravind Sri on (April 14, 2010, 13:41 GMT)

Kudos.... A very light hearted and correct rant at the Prince...

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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