India v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Belfast June 29, 2007

'Ganguly has given a steely resilience to India' - Arthur

Cricinfo staff

"It still mystifies me how he [Ganguly] wasn't in the squad in South Africa," says Mickey Arthur © Getty Images

Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, has said that Sourav Ganguly's presence in the Indian team has lent more stability to the batting line-up. Speaking ahead of the second one-day international between India and South Africa at Belfast, Arthur said that he couldn't comprehend why Ganguly wasn't included in the one-day squad which toured South Africa late last year.

"I personally think Sourav Ganguly in the squad gives a huge amount back to India," Arthur told AFP. "Sourav still has a presence, I think he's a quality player and it still mystifies me how he wasn't in the squad in South Africa. I think he seems to have given a steely resilience back to India."

Ganguly lost the captaincy and was dropped from the Indian Test and one-day squads after repeated fall-outs with Greg Chappell, the former India coach. After a long layoff, he made a comeback for the South Africa tour, though only for the Test series, which followed the one-dayers in which India were trounced 0-4. He returned in style with a century in a tour match at Potchefstroom and followed it up with a half-century in the first Test at Johannesburg.

In 14 ODIs since his return, Ganguly's average stands at a healthy 65, with eight half-centuries. He started with a 98 in the four-match home series against Sri Lanka before the World Cup, bagging the Man-of-the-Series award as well. He also scored two half-centuries in India's disappointing World Cup campaign.

Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain, too agreed with Arthur's views on Ganguly and added that he was being treated like all members of the side. Ganguly failed in the first one-dayer on Tuesday, scoring 13, and Dravid banked on him to come good in the next two games.

"Sourav does bring a lot of experience and knowledge," said Dravid. "But at the end of the day you've got to get runs and take wickets. Each and every member of our team is equally valuable. He's played a lot in these conditions and on these type of wickets, so hopefully he'll fire in the next couple of games."