August 20, 2008

Stumps for Sourav

For the Indian middle order, it has become a matter of survival, and Ganguly is the most vulnerable
103



'Faltering ambition can have various outlets: mental, physical, even technical. All of them point towards a player no longer able to take that extra step' © AFP

Sorry Sourav, but the sands of time have run out. It's been an extraordinary career that deserves to be saluted and celebrated, but all good things come to an end. How many captains have led their team to a series victory over Australia, and also to a World Cup final? How many leaders have presided over a transformation in the fortunes and reputation of their team as Ganguly has done over India's? It has been an honourable contribution, but the sporting life is transient even as its memories are imperishable. All too soon the indispensable becomes the expendable.

If it is over then it brings to an end a notable and productive period in Indian cricket. Beyond argument it is as captain that Ganguly will chiefly be remembered. It is not intended as an insult to his deft work with the willow, rather a recognition of his achievements as a leader. From the outset he shared with Sunil Gavaskar and Arjuna Ranatunga a willingness to pull the beards of western presumption, an amusing diversion but also a way of instilling self-esteem in his charges. To him it was not serious, for he lacked the resentment that drove along these feisty predecessors. Popularity appealed to him, but he had no truck with populism. It is not in his nature to curry favour. Insofar as he was aristocratic of manner - though not birth - it lay in his refusal to be petty or to hold grudges or to take much notice of debate. He had the confidence to be himself. It sent a powerful message to players inclined towards modesty.

Yet it is a mistake to regard Ganguly as a cricketer from another age, as a man of leisure, out of place in a hectic period, an amateur lost amid professionals. After all he prospered in this age, and must therefore have fulfilled most of its numerous requirements. He has been tangential to his time, not apart from it. He has never wanted to be mechanical, yet retained respect for the hardworking run-collectors. Just that originality was his way forward. He could not succeed as another man.

It doesn't mean, though, that Ganguly lacked cunning. Often his apparent disdain worked in his favour. Certainly it had a marked effect on opposing fast bowlers. Somehow the very sight of Ganguly strolling out to bat, looking disconcertingly pleased with himself, caused them to commence snorting and pawing the ground. Opposing leather flingers felt themselves affronted and vowed vengeance. Line and length were abandoned and bone-shakers were sent down, few of them directed at the stumps. By and large opposing captains encouraged the assault, and only afterwards counted the cost. Probably Ganguly had irritated them beforehand. Provocative fields were set, and the crowd became involved, egging on the aggressors or barracking for their man. Ganguly usually managed to look perplexed by all the palaver. But he knew what he was about. He had put the bowlers off their game on the way to the crease.

 
 
As a rule, the lower a player bats the weaker his position. Nor is Ganguly a reliable catcher at slip, which makes him even more vulnerable than his contemporaries. Moreover his career figures give him less leeway. Dravid averages roughly 12 more runs an innings than him, and he has mostly batted in the critical position of first wicket down
 

Had Ganguly been remotely as frail as he seemed, he could not have lasted as long, would have been broken in transit. Along the way, too, he played some of the most rousing innings the game has known. His inspirational hundred in Brisbane all those years ago confirmed the strength of his backbone, while his introductory hundred at Lord's pointed towards the sweetness of his timing. However vulnerable he looked, he kept taking the lonely journey out to bat. He advanced towards the fire, sometimes fanned its flames.

Even now, his nerve has held. It is not his courage that has faltered, or his eyesight. Rather his feet that have slowed, and sometimes nowadays shots must be played before the correct position has been assumed. Perhaps, too, desire has waned, for a man only has so many performances in him before he starts feeling the pinch. Faltering ambition can have various outlets: mental, physical, even technical. All of them point towards a player no longer able to take that extra step.

In the field Ganguly has become a plod. His running between wickets is similarly sluggish, so much so that an alarmed look comes over his face when a partner so much as suggests a quick single. A devotee of silence might as well be given a gossip magazine. It all points towards the lowering of the curtain.

If the Sri Lankan series is anything to go by, India cannot wait any longer to shake up its prestigious middle order. Yet a collective deterioration was already underway. Although it did not get much attention amid the other hue and cry, Ganguly and Rahul Dravid faltered in Australia. In Dravid's case bad luck played a part in his downfall; his dismissal in Perth was questionable and his ejection in Sydney was downright disgraceful. No such license could be given to Ganguly, who was dismissed at the SCG by a catch that may have been doubtful - though the edge was clear-cut. Meanwhile others scored piles of runs, not least Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. It'd be madness to drop either of them.

But the setbacks in Sri Lanka brought matters to a head. Several factors lay behind the failures. Obviously it is easier to open the batting in that neck of the woods than to walk to the wicket with two clever spinners operating in tandem. But Test batsmen must adjust their games to meet whatever challenges arise. These senior players did not apply their experience or live up to their reputations. Nor did their outfielding or work between the wickets have much to commend it. By and large Ganguly was the worst offender.


Ganguly is a batsman who gets under the bowlers' skins easily, but his leadership will remain his biggest legacy © Getty Images
 

Accordingly the time has come to break up the most resourceful and capable middle order India has known. Since several batsmen failed it might seem unfair to pick on Ganguly. As a rule, though, the lower a player bats the weaker his position. Nor is Ganguly a reliable catcher at slip, which makes him even more vulnerable than his contemporaries. Moreover his career figures give him less leeway. Dravid averages roughly 12 more runs an innings than him, and he has mostly batted in the critical position of first wicket down. Much the same applies to Tendulkar. India ought to think long and hard before replacing him. Laxman, too, batted superbly in Australia, and sometimes held the lower order together in the most recent series. It also worked for him that he did not play as an icon player in the IPL. Failures of any sort take a toll on a player's morale, and both Dravid and Ganguly fell short of expectation. Nor has Jacques Kallis fully recovered from his poor showing.

If Ganguly's time is indeed up then he deserves to be remembered as one of the mightiest warriors to take to the field in the colours of his country. That he did not much resemble a warrior added to the effect. He has been underestimated, even resented by those inclined to confuse sweat with effort. His ability to get under the skin of his opponents was matched by a talent for getting into the minds of his players. He did not seem to worry what anyone thought, so long as his players retained faith in him and the cause. He provoked opponents as a means of showing his youngsters, especially, that there was nothing to fear. At his best he gathered his players into a potent force. It was only when he backed off that it went wrong, for then India played a tentative and doomed game. Mostly he was audacious and adventurous, and India rose with him. But Ganguly's stint as captain ended long ago, and ever since, he has been on shaky ground.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • div_bell_2003 on August 22, 2008, 21:10 GMT

    Yes Sourav should be dropped because his name is not Sachin Tendulkar , got the drift , mate ? An unimaginably low-on-substance article from Peter Roebuck, although BCCI might follow his suite since Ganguly somehow happens to be the favorite scapegoat, come what may. One bad series and everyone is shouting "Drop Ganguly" although ( as someone here has rightly pointed out, after his comeback he has been the most successful cricketer in India. But Ganguly might still get dropped, because it's India and it's BCCI !!

  • Harichandra on August 22, 2008, 19:13 GMT

    Mr. Peter, eventhough I agree on few things, but still I do not support you or anyone who talk about players they should retire based on their performance, thats not your or my job, its upto the cricket association to decide, yes sometimes, players perform well and sometimes not, they disappoint fans, thats okay, thats part of the game. What would be nice is to give some tips how to handle the situation rather than critisizing.

  • t.singh on August 22, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    There is no way Sourav's career is over. It will be wrong on the selectors' part if they drop him for the Australia series. All the Fab Four failed, so why does the axe have to fall on him alone? He was recently given the Best Asian Cricketer Award, and that was for his performances. He played well in the three series against England, Pakistan and South Africa. He was shown the door from the ODI side, that too when he was giving decent performances. Now, if he is axed from the Test side, it will be one of the most cruel things things done to a great cricketer and a fighter.

  • shenbaga on August 22, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    Saurav's 2003 WC team probably scored lowest Indian total in WC (125 against OZ). It conceded highest total scored in finals of all WC. His team scored lowest total against minnows in that WC. So, to me, it's apt if we say India reached finals despite saurav's captaincy and not because of. Also lowest Indian ODI score belong to saurav captained team. I think peter is quite generous. Secondly, there's all talk of how saurav has come back and scored over his detractors. To me, his come back was not from his willow. There were so many fighting his cause; fans, politicians. I remember saurav met BCCI pres just before his recall. Lastly, saurav played maximum deliveries in recent WC at WI with paltry strike rate when India was drubbed and failed to reach second stage. To me, atleast 3 out of the Fab4 could've been dropped even a year before.

  • Krishna2007 on August 22, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Ganguly made a big error in not countering Mendis with his footwork, and I do not mean his pads! Ganguly has always played spinners by coming down the wicket to meet the pitch and smash the daylights out of the bowling. Dravid's style is different. In Sri Lanka all the Indian batsmen looked mesmerised by Mendis. These guys are the best you can find in the world and armchair criticism is the easiest occupation. To suggest how they have to play the bowling is certainly beyond our competence. We have to give credit to Mendis for having had the measure of this lot. Kudos to him. However, given the same set of people and a change in venue, ie. in India, the results would be something else. Time is running out for the big four and I am not sure that they will encounter Mendis again in tests. All the same one bad series is not enough to say it's curtains for any of them. Aistralia always brings out the best in the Indians and it will be interesting to see how the Big 4 play. Am sure they will

  • Zahid263 on August 22, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    I totally disagree. Ganguly is brilliant player.he should be given a permenent fixture in the team (both in tests and ODIs). Players of his quality are rarely found. Dhoni is not upto the standard yet. Ganguly has proven it many times that hes the best.. so i dont think there should be any confusion regarding this.

  • Ram.Narayan on August 22, 2008, 2:49 GMT

    There are some very valid things mentioned in this article, ganguly's passion and sprit as leader is unquestionable , his membership ability in ODI 10,000 club ( along with sachin and Dravid from india ) has made him one among top scorer.. so he needs to get a chance in ODI one more time (say another 15 matches) if he proves with more than 45 Aggregate he can be given fifteen more same thing applies to other two Dravid and Sachin. again in TEST cricket Ganguly is not as best as SACHIN and dravid ( Both re in 10,000 club) so he can be given with one series to prove his ability. and few series to sachin and dravid. Morever ganguly you need to work hard for fitness bcos that is the main criteria for any sports... all the best ganguly

  • adnanusmani on August 21, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    Well its not a good time for Ganguly to say good bye. Every one wants to have an exit like the great Shane warne and Mcgrath does. Both were in a tremendous form when they announced their retirement. Ganguly might be expecting the same thing, but yes, he needs to deliver good performance in Test cricket quiet often and then opt to retire. Any ways he will be remembered for his legendary leadership and the success he gives to india during his regime. Again, if he decides to play for more years his performance should contribute more to the team.

  • Rivu on August 21, 2008, 21:38 GMT

    I dont' understand how people can still go on saying that the fab four should retire... Chasing a mere 140 odd, the youngsters lose seven wickets!!! Rohit Sharmas n Rainas are all good, but look at the opportunities that they have been given... Playin more than 30 ODIs n compare them with the likes of the FAB 4... They might have slowed down in the field... A Raina may save 10 extra runs in the field, but a Ganguly or a Laxman can enthrall the world with their impeccable stoke play n will give us innings to remember....

    Just ahead of the Aus series, imagine a middle order from no. 3 in the following order: Raina, Yuvraj, Sharma. Kaif, n Dhoni!!!

  • Perfect_11 on August 21, 2008, 21:23 GMT

    I totally disagree with Peter, though the article is clearly written with some facts I really doubt the end of his career. He, as really as a tiger will pounce on the target at times of crisis like this. And as a hard cocre fan of Ganguly am too waiting for that time. Neverthless Tendulkar did not also shine like Dravid and Ganguly, however he is still with the team.. Is it because of his ability ? Is it because of the huge fan support ? Is it because of Records..A million dollar question !!Ofcourse time is near, young age should be groomed, but not by chasing the legends but by giving them honor with couple of more chances... This could inspire young age in addition..Please selectors give him 1 last chance..and see the outcome. You should respect him as a successful Captain!!and a successful batsman! at many cases..Who can forget the timing sixes he hit..who can forget the fours he clears in offside with ease though the entire opponents field in offside..Lets give him 1 more chance..

  • div_bell_2003 on August 22, 2008, 21:10 GMT

    Yes Sourav should be dropped because his name is not Sachin Tendulkar , got the drift , mate ? An unimaginably low-on-substance article from Peter Roebuck, although BCCI might follow his suite since Ganguly somehow happens to be the favorite scapegoat, come what may. One bad series and everyone is shouting "Drop Ganguly" although ( as someone here has rightly pointed out, after his comeback he has been the most successful cricketer in India. But Ganguly might still get dropped, because it's India and it's BCCI !!

  • Harichandra on August 22, 2008, 19:13 GMT

    Mr. Peter, eventhough I agree on few things, but still I do not support you or anyone who talk about players they should retire based on their performance, thats not your or my job, its upto the cricket association to decide, yes sometimes, players perform well and sometimes not, they disappoint fans, thats okay, thats part of the game. What would be nice is to give some tips how to handle the situation rather than critisizing.

  • t.singh on August 22, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    There is no way Sourav's career is over. It will be wrong on the selectors' part if they drop him for the Australia series. All the Fab Four failed, so why does the axe have to fall on him alone? He was recently given the Best Asian Cricketer Award, and that was for his performances. He played well in the three series against England, Pakistan and South Africa. He was shown the door from the ODI side, that too when he was giving decent performances. Now, if he is axed from the Test side, it will be one of the most cruel things things done to a great cricketer and a fighter.

  • shenbaga on August 22, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    Saurav's 2003 WC team probably scored lowest Indian total in WC (125 against OZ). It conceded highest total scored in finals of all WC. His team scored lowest total against minnows in that WC. So, to me, it's apt if we say India reached finals despite saurav's captaincy and not because of. Also lowest Indian ODI score belong to saurav captained team. I think peter is quite generous. Secondly, there's all talk of how saurav has come back and scored over his detractors. To me, his come back was not from his willow. There were so many fighting his cause; fans, politicians. I remember saurav met BCCI pres just before his recall. Lastly, saurav played maximum deliveries in recent WC at WI with paltry strike rate when India was drubbed and failed to reach second stage. To me, atleast 3 out of the Fab4 could've been dropped even a year before.

  • Krishna2007 on August 22, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Ganguly made a big error in not countering Mendis with his footwork, and I do not mean his pads! Ganguly has always played spinners by coming down the wicket to meet the pitch and smash the daylights out of the bowling. Dravid's style is different. In Sri Lanka all the Indian batsmen looked mesmerised by Mendis. These guys are the best you can find in the world and armchair criticism is the easiest occupation. To suggest how they have to play the bowling is certainly beyond our competence. We have to give credit to Mendis for having had the measure of this lot. Kudos to him. However, given the same set of people and a change in venue, ie. in India, the results would be something else. Time is running out for the big four and I am not sure that they will encounter Mendis again in tests. All the same one bad series is not enough to say it's curtains for any of them. Aistralia always brings out the best in the Indians and it will be interesting to see how the Big 4 play. Am sure they will

  • Zahid263 on August 22, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    I totally disagree. Ganguly is brilliant player.he should be given a permenent fixture in the team (both in tests and ODIs). Players of his quality are rarely found. Dhoni is not upto the standard yet. Ganguly has proven it many times that hes the best.. so i dont think there should be any confusion regarding this.

  • Ram.Narayan on August 22, 2008, 2:49 GMT

    There are some very valid things mentioned in this article, ganguly's passion and sprit as leader is unquestionable , his membership ability in ODI 10,000 club ( along with sachin and Dravid from india ) has made him one among top scorer.. so he needs to get a chance in ODI one more time (say another 15 matches) if he proves with more than 45 Aggregate he can be given fifteen more same thing applies to other two Dravid and Sachin. again in TEST cricket Ganguly is not as best as SACHIN and dravid ( Both re in 10,000 club) so he can be given with one series to prove his ability. and few series to sachin and dravid. Morever ganguly you need to work hard for fitness bcos that is the main criteria for any sports... all the best ganguly

  • adnanusmani on August 21, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    Well its not a good time for Ganguly to say good bye. Every one wants to have an exit like the great Shane warne and Mcgrath does. Both were in a tremendous form when they announced their retirement. Ganguly might be expecting the same thing, but yes, he needs to deliver good performance in Test cricket quiet often and then opt to retire. Any ways he will be remembered for his legendary leadership and the success he gives to india during his regime. Again, if he decides to play for more years his performance should contribute more to the team.

  • Rivu on August 21, 2008, 21:38 GMT

    I dont' understand how people can still go on saying that the fab four should retire... Chasing a mere 140 odd, the youngsters lose seven wickets!!! Rohit Sharmas n Rainas are all good, but look at the opportunities that they have been given... Playin more than 30 ODIs n compare them with the likes of the FAB 4... They might have slowed down in the field... A Raina may save 10 extra runs in the field, but a Ganguly or a Laxman can enthrall the world with their impeccable stoke play n will give us innings to remember....

    Just ahead of the Aus series, imagine a middle order from no. 3 in the following order: Raina, Yuvraj, Sharma. Kaif, n Dhoni!!!

  • Perfect_11 on August 21, 2008, 21:23 GMT

    I totally disagree with Peter, though the article is clearly written with some facts I really doubt the end of his career. He, as really as a tiger will pounce on the target at times of crisis like this. And as a hard cocre fan of Ganguly am too waiting for that time. Neverthless Tendulkar did not also shine like Dravid and Ganguly, however he is still with the team.. Is it because of his ability ? Is it because of the huge fan support ? Is it because of Records..A million dollar question !!Ofcourse time is near, young age should be groomed, but not by chasing the legends but by giving them honor with couple of more chances... This could inspire young age in addition..Please selectors give him 1 last chance..and see the outcome. You should respect him as a successful Captain!!and a successful batsman! at many cases..Who can forget the timing sixes he hit..who can forget the fours he clears in offside with ease though the entire opponents field in offside..Lets give him 1 more chance..

  • mukund111 on August 21, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    The article rakes up an interesting issue on what would Ganguly be better remembered for - his captaincy or his primary skill of being a batsman? While the article stresses on the cavalier leadership style of Ganguly, showcasing him as a "leader of men" type of a captain in the mould of a Ranatunga than a tactically brilliant captain like a Brearley or a Warne (who it could be argued was a golden mean between the two), it would be foolhardy to stress less on the touch play that Ganguly brought. We've had no less than the articulate and usually conservative Dravid quoting famously "On the off side, there's God and then Saurav"..At his best,he was also a menace against spinners of all kinds and would repeatedly step out and smash the ball out of the ground...However, on the issue of him calling stumps, I would agree with the author in that his skills have faded drastically and to add to it, fitness and technique have never been his best aides unlike a Dravid or a Sachin

  • pruffhill on August 21, 2008, 7:43 GMT

    Ganguly showed his worth during the IPL, even scoring a brilliant 91 on one occasion. How can you forget that beauty of a knock he played against Kings XI Punjab? His unbeaten 87 [in Kanpur against South Africa] showed that he still has the flair and ability. You are talking about one Test series where he hasn't done so well. What did Tendulkar do?

    This man should be in the ODI squad. For me his Test spot is safe as houses. He played well in the seris in Australia earlier this year, where he was a victim of a couple of harsh decisions. He scored a double century against Pakistan and he played unbelievably well in ODIs last year. In the IPL, his fielding had improved and he looked like the complete package.

  • Ravi-CV on August 21, 2008, 7:22 GMT

    Without getting into the merits or demerits of the article, let me state that it is too early to call for Sourav's ouster. He was the only batsman other than Sehwag not to lose their wicket to Mendis in the entire Test series against SL, which tells a story.

  • ppramesh on August 21, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    I am agree with writer. I think Ganguly should be dropp from test squad as well. In case of Tendulkar, he is a great player if he falls again against Australia in home series he should be take a retirement from cricket but just after 6 worst innings You can't dropp Tendulkar. As a Tendulkar fan I want to see him as highest run scorer in Test cricket. Tendulkar can't dropp. VVS should be part of test squad. Dravid has to perform to stay in squad. I think Dhoni should be dropp from test squad. Ya he deserve a cap for India in test squad as a wicketkeeper. But his charecter in test is totally difference. I cant remember any test match won by India because of his ablity. I think Sehwag should replace kumble as a captain of test cricket. I dont like Dhoni as a test captain. I am sure Dhoni will fell to handle test team if he gets oppertunity.

  • VijayBritto on August 21, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    a well written article I must say - however very conveniently ignoring anything that weaken's the author's case - the SA comeback, the england series, the pak series and SA at home - heck even the first half of the OZ series was good too!!!

  • Mustafa007 on August 21, 2008, 3:24 GMT

    I have seen and admired Ganguly since he started playing cricket. He is definitely one of the best captains and among the top 3 ODI players India has ever produced but I always thought he was never a great Test player. I think it is time for him to gracefully retire and let players like Raina/Badrinath take that spot.

  • samba041 on August 21, 2008, 2:48 GMT

    "Ganguly's time is definitely up" !! Be careful guys, this comment is not new.Everytime somebody made this remark towards the Bengal Tiger, he has come back roaring on all fronts. So guys i want to keep this message short n simple, before making any such comments towards this southpaw be careful that those words of your's dont come back to hurt you. Because its often that Ganguly proves his detractors wrong....isn't it??

  • vivman on August 21, 2008, 0:51 GMT

    Ganguly has been one of the finest indian cricketer ever produced. His temperament; skill; aggression is lacking in indian cricket today. I would rate him as one of the best captains in his day. The highlights would be the away series in Australia and England. Obviously his performance has gone down recently with age but I dont think his career is over yet. Lets see how he does against Australia and England now when they tour India in the coming months. If he struggles against them then it may be time for him to hang up his boots. As for ODI cricket - based on age and India's need to field fresh blood on the field, surpasses the need for him to be selected. His downside is his poor fielding and poor running between wickets which are of utmost importance in ODI cricket. So here I think is career is over. Otherwise his experience in test cricket should keep him in the side for some time more.

  • farushaik on August 21, 2008, 0:46 GMT

    I think the author just woke up from deep sleep! i just want him follow cricket rather than commenting on few innings where dada dint played well..why is he not talking about the innings where Ganguly made india win..i doubt whether peter has seen recent SA n Pakisthan series..and the author who hasnt played an international game started mocking a player whos been devoted by millions of cricket fans in a country where cricket is religion..get a life dude!..watch cricket..i think u have commented about sourav ganguly after he was dropped..and he slammed on the faces oof people like you who talk cheaply about players and same is going to happen again . Ganguly will come back into odi time and then your and curtains for life as Author..bad luk!

  • shim on August 21, 2008, 0:45 GMT

    I totally agree with Peter Roebuck's comment. It is time that we move on with younger players in the Indian test team. We have had enough sordid performances from the fab four. If we loose with younger players, atleast thye will gain experience and get better.

  • CricketCrazy08 on August 21, 2008, 0:31 GMT

    I agree with the general thrust of this article. The view, based on the evidence of Ganguly's recent performances since his return to the side post-captaincy, is compelling enough. The writer is not advocating that all of the fab 4 be replaced, but rather the start of a gradual process that will (painfully and inevitably) lead to the dropping of Tendulkar - unless he walks on his own terms.

    Ganguly was a captain/player in the Nasser Hussain mould - wore his heart on his sleeve and led from the front that left his team and the opposition in no doubt of their fighting prowess. Sadly, his time has come to move on. If Michael Vaughan has the foresight to do it, Sourav, so can you...

  • SriS on August 21, 2008, 0:02 GMT

    Thanks Peter for the respect shown to Sourav. Nevertheless, it was very much a biased article. When Tendulkar or Dravid were struggling in the Aus, England, SA series, Ganguly freed his arms and eased the pressure on them. Delightful batting. Ganguly's spirited comeback everytime he was shown the door could never be underestimated. I agree that we have to blood the youngsters but when Ganguly was singularly taken for a special treatment...yeah, very hard not to question the motive.

  • Sankar_Ravula on August 20, 2008, 22:27 GMT

    Saurav Ganguly became a target of media and crictics from WC 2003. I dont think that it is end of road for Ganguly. I would like to wish Saurav Ganguly good luck. Surely he will bounce back with flying colors ..

  • Dravid233 on August 20, 2008, 22:10 GMT

    continued, and his run feast against pakistan, and against SA. Second it is wrong to doubt his ambition and drive when he fought so hard to get back in the team when he could have retired and taken it easy with little more to prove. Perhaps the most important point is that ganguly had a bad series, simply because he did not read mendis at all. Whilst I am dissapointed with this as he is considered on of the best players of spin, none of the other fab four could figure mendis out either. Ganguly and in fact all of the fab four have still much to offer, and should be kept for at least another year or two, before, i agree, gradually ganguly is phased out first, followed by dravid, then laxman and tendulkar. Till then i suggest we watch his efforts against england and australia this year, ganguly hammering panesar at home will be a great sight.

  • Dravid233 on August 20, 2008, 22:00 GMT

    I disagree with most of this article. To suggest that Ganguly shold retire now is somewhat odd considering that no more than a year ago cricinfo writers were lauding his comeback. If numbers are anything to go by then Ganguly must be considered as important as any in the indian middle order (certainly he is not the weak link in batting). Since his comeback in late 2006 he has averaged 46, and if you consider just the 2007/2008 season he averaged 54. In comparison Dravid, laxman and tendulkar have averaged 35, 47, and 48 respectively since january 2007. By these numbers dravid is quite clearly the weak link. Yes his fielding leaves something to be desired, whilst the other three are impeccable in the slip cordon but few of the other can contribute with medium pace bowling averaging 40.

    The article has, as mentioned before, given a rather biased account of his failings, e.g. latter half of the aus tour, and sri lanka tour, but glossed over his achievements in SA,Eng, continued below

  • leo_v on August 20, 2008, 20:39 GMT

    Good article. I agree with Mr. Roebuck in that Ganguly was one of the best players/captains of India in past, but now is the right time for him to go; the reason being he is both mentally and physically weaker. I am surprised by people arguing about retaining ganguly because of how good a player he was in his haydays. If you go only by past statistics, then players like Lara, Waugh, Gavaskar and Saeed Anwar should have never retired. Just because somebody is very successful for 10 years, doesn't mean that he should be allowed 10 years of failure before asking him to retire.

  • cricketrocks on August 20, 2008, 20:18 GMT

    Ganguly's time is definitely up. A few more test series' for Dravid. I only hope Ganguly can realise this and bow out gracefully so that he will be remembered as one of India's finest captains, rather than wait till he gets dropped.

  • r1m2 on August 20, 2008, 20:06 GMT

    I think I agree with you. Gangs needs to go. The emotional blindness will kill the chance for India to restore their tests match strength, if not now, at least in the near future. Let's not forget that he's one of 3 bats whose age is on the wrong side of 35. His failure in Sri Lanka should be taken as a blessing in disguise by BCCI, because this gives them the chance to drop him for good for a younger player. I know he's been a great player and he should not be judged by his last series. But he needs to go to make way for younger legs. We don't know if Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina will be good enough at this level, but we can't know until they're able to play. If the seniors keep performing and get old at the same time it's tough decision. But if they have a bad series, that's the opportunity. BCCI should embrace it.

  • Unmesh_cric on August 20, 2008, 19:27 GMT

    I completely disagree with Mr. Roebuck here. Ganguly has probably been India's best Test batsman last year. After his comeback in 2006, he is a better Test batsman than before (just watch him leaving the deliveries outside off-stump which he used to poke at). I agree he did not do well in the recent SL series, but I think it would be a big mistake to leave him out.

  • Pradz on August 20, 2008, 17:10 GMT

    Not surprisingly though but again history repeats. India failed to deliver and again we are targeting individuals rather than the team. And as usual the finger has again been pointed towards Mr. Ganguly. As someone above rightly mentioned that the axe is going to definitely fall on Ganguly. I am not supporting any particular individual. But if Indian team really wants to perform well then they need to look into the larger issues than just figuring out a scapegoat to blame for the debacle. As far as Ganguly is concerned, I feel he deserves another chance both in tests and ODIs. Atleast till the point no one really comes up and so enough potential to challenge the his place in the team.

  • govind_115 on August 20, 2008, 16:50 GMT

    hello,i just want say only one thing,can u predict any great player bye just only one series? i think 'NO',he was man of the match in last SA series,he played a brilliant inning on that surface where mostly batsman were failed,due to only him india was able to have some respect.and today just due to only srilankan series you are saying he is axed?Mr peter you cant ignore his performance which he showed for india in last 12 years,he was the person due to which indian players can say any word in foreign countries especially against australia,he will b considered for his greatest comeback in indian history,and i m damn sure that he will again prove himself in next series...

    thanx

  • prjnua6 on August 20, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    Ganguly should be picked up for odi squad. He is one of the best opener u could ever find for test and odis......Instead of writing stumps for Sourav, he should write an article about Injustice to Sourav (not taking him in sri lankan odi).

  • athiqur.rs on August 20, 2008, 16:24 GMT

    I totally agree with Saibaskar. Unless you give chance to youngsters, the transition from Fab 4 to New 4 will be hard. In this course, India may loose few matches but it will not be as shame as with the Fab 4. IPL has proved lot of potential in the country. My voice is to conduct a similar domestic test series and find the right talent.

  • jeyanth on August 20, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    i just don't have to say anything..just look at the two pictures in the article..in the first one ganguly walks a little disappointed after having saved india from SA in the last match by scoring that fabulous 87.the second..his typical reply to stuart broad who got hit for a six the very next ball after his unwanted 'spat-show' with sourav.roebuck forgot to mention both the series where he showed his character,class,temperament and of course his aggression.he saved india from the blues against the proteas..almost steered india to safe in sydney against the faulty aussies..and his masterful strokeplay against pak ensured an indian win. in england he was a delight to watch both in tests and in odis.how can one forget his run a ball 57 in the second innings of the last test?.his approach left england searching for shelter under dravid who made an epic 96 ball 12!!

  • Nayaksai on August 20, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    Tendulkar has somehow not done that well in clutch situations abroad and Dravid is undoubtedly the most decisive Indian test batter of all times when it comes to winning or saving tests abroad. No doubt at all. Head and shoulders above Sachin though as a overall international(One dayers included) Sachin probably is the greatest of them all.If Dravid can even be 70% of what he was between 2002 thru' 2006 in Windies when he single handedly battled and batted India to a win @ sabina Park's minefield for a series win(unlike Sachin in India's 81 allout), We'll play him! Dravid (was) simply the best, better than all the rest put together. Only he can tell if he can go on and muster that kind of character. VVS Laxman should be okay for couple years more . He averaged 50 in England,46 in Aus, 43 in Lanka ,36 and 38 in S.Afr and Windies.We can work with that.

  • sust2001 on August 20, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    As an author on Cricinfo, how come Mr. Peter Roebuck made inappropriate comment about one of the most successful indian cricket players 'Ganguly'? Because of indian cricket board committee's dirty politics, Ganguly do not get chance like Sachin, Dravid, etc. to show his ability, otherwise Mr. Peter (so called sports writer) would not have chance to write injustice comment about Ganguly. Ganguly was the best, is the best and will be the best player in the world cricket.

  • karthikcsk on August 20, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    we've gotta understand and accept tat india does not have replacements who are good enough to play TEST cricket.odis is different, but we dont have players good enough to replace the fab 4 in the test team.unless we find out ppl who have proper technique to last 5 days on the field-something not required in t20 or odis. dhoni has to make his players understand the importance of tests and groom ppl for test matches instead of concentrating on the other forms. then, we can think about replacing players of dada's calibre

  • Arijit_in_TO on August 20, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    There is no shame in Sourav Ganguly hanging up his boots. He made mistakes, but who doesn't? Winning the toss and fielding against the Aussies in the WC comes to mind, but surely, what he bought to the team and Indain criket outweighs all eles. Perhap his greatest contribution was instilling some agression, pride and belief (particularly in the younger players).

  • Il_Duce on August 20, 2008, 14:58 GMT

    All that sweet talk about Ganguly comes to a nought when the actual intention to demean Sourav by talking nonsense comes forth in some absolutely biased sentences. Peter Roebuck conveniently forgets Sourav's decent string of scores in the first two tests in Aus while the others were still struggling. Even more glaring is the omission of the mention of the Ind-SA series where it was Dada who saved us the ignominy of defeat at home by first helping the team draw the Ahmdbd test and then being the architect of the win at Kanpur. It has been just 3 consecutive tests where he failed and everyone is calling for his head. Nothing new in that ofcourse, since SG has long been the favourite scapegoat of the BCCI or the Media or for that matter any Tom, Dick and Harry. But what is surprisingly laughable is that a writer of Peter Roebuck is following the herd mentality. I can understand this behaviour by Indians as we have a habit of pulling down our heroes but I thought Roebuck wrote some sense.

  • Sharma on August 20, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    I don't think Ganguly's career should be over just yet ... as seen from the Sri Lankan series, India needs openers, and Ganguly is as good as they come. Instead of hanging his boots he should be picked for ODIs and prove his worth one last time (before he retires).

  • anshul21 on August 20, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Quite surprising that Peter holds such a coveted position as an author on Cricinfo when he know so little about the game. Even more surprising is his lack of factual knowledge: 1. Ganguly has a better career average after his comeback than he had earlier. Dravid's dropped to 54 from 58, and his career is too huge for that average to get affected suddenly. 2. Ganguly played some match-winning innings in the IPL, with the bat and with the ball, unlike Dravid who failed miserably. Ganguly even led his team to a thrilling last over finish in his last match scoring 13 of the last over. 3. Everyone failed in Sri Lanka, so if the axe has to come down, it must be on the current weakest player, not the player who holds the lowest average. This most certainly has to be Dravid who was also responsible for missed catches in the slips along with his consistent poor form with the bat of late.

    To discard quality players before they are done is a luxury only Australia can afford.

  • Jose on August 20, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    You are right Mr. Peter. Sourav will be axed first if there are any changes in test team. However, he deserves few more chances in Tests at least. SL series hit all Fab-4 badly due to Mendis Menace. It is a transitional period for Indian cricket from old generation to new generation. So, it is important to find young Fab-4 for future of India. Sehwag is the only one who appears to have the ability to guide India through this tough period smoothly. Gambhir shows lot of promise to become next gen Fab-4. Dhoni do not have any impact in Tests yet, he is more focused on shorter version of games. There will definitely few more talents will come and fill the vacuum. Who knows it could be Badrinath or Raina or Shikhar Dhawan or Rohit or Swapnil ... Its just a matter of time.

  • guli75 on August 20, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    This article is one of the many eulogies written about Ganguly in the last 4-5 years. And everytime there is an unanimous feeling that Saurav the cricketer is finished, the man just bounces back with some incredible match/series winning performances. This sometimes makes the authors feel rather foolish when they have to eat their words (you know how that feels, don't you, Sambit Bal).The South African series, both home and away. He played exceptionally in Australia, and that spectacular home series against Pakistan, where he scored a gusty 91 on the last day, when batsmen from both sides were struggling on a crumbling pitch. I rate that innings higher than the 239 he scored in the first innings of the same match. Yes, he had a bad series and Peter Roebuck means well in showing the respectful attitude towards ganguly's achievements, while saying that his day in the sun is over. But Saurav Ganguly is destiny's child and when his back is the corner, he comes up again and again again.

  • Saibaskar on August 20, 2008, 14:12 GMT

    There is a Tamil (A language in India) movie where a crucial character sacrifices his life for the heroine and her kid. He holds the dollars she had given to him in his hand but has a fatal stab wound in his body. While dying he says 'American dollars but Indian sentiments'. I see a lot of similar comments here but the only problem is the wounded are not those who comment but it is Indian cricket. How long are we going to be sentimental about our yesteryear heroes? These sentimental comments matter because popular sentiments has a serious say in Indian cricket which is being run by seasoned politicians. All the 4 did well but unless we give a fair chance to current players (i am not using the word youngsters purposefully) how is the team going to move ahead?

  • prjnua6 on August 20, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    Ganguly is one of the odi specialist from the beginning. The reason for his low average compare to Sachin or Dravid in test is becuase he is batting at no 6 where he just reqauire to bat with low order batsman and he is not good with that since he is an opener in odi. Instead of hanging his boots, he should ask selectors to pick him up for one day squad and let him open the innings five to ten times and if he failed then he should retired. Young players are not doing fine right now against the Sri lankans in odi, how they gonna do good against them in test? GANGULY should be included in ODI Team.

  • vatsap on August 20, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    He He ... one little poke on the fab 4, especially the Prince of Kolkata and out pour begins. I wonder what will happen this time, if the selectors have the guts to drop Sourav, Kolkata will probably go on another strike. C'mon guys, it is time to phase out the fab 4, probably in the order of Sourav, Rahul, Sachin and Laxman, get some youngsters in so that they get guided by the other Seniors in the team. That would be the best thing to happen, if we don't want to go the Aussie way (1984) or the Windies way (1992). Cheers Vatsa

  • boris6491 on August 20, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Yes Mr Roebuck it is certainly high time that Ganguly hangs up his boots. No doubt his career and moreso his return to the international fold has been most inspirational. I lost all my respect for him when he left the scene but gained it all back seeing the way he paved his place back in the side and sustained it for a period albeit short. He was a superb captain during his reign. Yet now, it is really integral that he allows a younger player to assume his place. Yes one may argue it is too early. But surely the likes of Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are ripe for retirement. Dravid particularly, he certainly does not look like the Rahul Dravid I have watched and admired over so many years. This is the last service these two players can do for Indian cricket. It is high time that both of them call it a day and allow everyone to remember them for what they have achieved and not for the fact that they overextended their careers and took the gloss off them.

  • digitaleye on August 20, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    This whole fab 4 hoopla surrounding the Sri Lanka series has drained the commonsense out of writers and fans alike. Fans are in a mad scramble to raise to the defense of their favorite players and journalists are in an equal haste to write premature obituaries. Both these groups fail to credit the fab Sri Lankan attack which tore into the Indian batting line-up. Mendis looks like he is set to follow the path of his illustrious partner Murali; he bowls with great discipline- a perfect compliment to his mesmerizing finger spin, and Murali as always is attacking. Any batting lineup does not stand a chance for tall scores against an attack like this, especially on spinner friendly surfaces. Oh! never mind Ganguly, he has been written off more times than any other Indian player and has risen every single occasion, if he has any fight left in him, he will do so again, this time around time might be yet another adversary he will be fighting with. I wouldn't count him out yet.

  • indian_revolution on August 20, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    Agree to most of the stuff in the article. If the time has really come for Ganguly and Dravid, they need to set a last series date and then retire in grand fashion. What they have done for Indian cricket in the past few years is priceless. Seeing them dropped and given a chance and then criticized is just a shame. I want to see them take off in a ground where they are saluted for the one last time they walk on that field. For Dravid - He has lost his golden touch thats true but I would put 60% blame on the management, circumstances and badluck. He was so unlucky in this past series for the REVIEW option being used against him. Right after Ganguly-Chappel issue: Dravid you be the captian. Dravid you have to do the wicket-keeping too. Dravid you have to open the innings. Dravid you have to come at number 4 Dravid you have to come at number 5,6,7 Dravid you have to do anything and everything besides batting at number 3, where you are the best! Who has done more then him?

  • Ganguly_is_best on August 20, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    Ganguly was the highest scrorer in Pakistan series and did well in South Africa series. Also he did well in IPL too. Just wait and watch how he will fireback. Now Viru and Gambhir both are injured with no Sachin around, they should call Ganguly immediately to rescue team India. Remember he is a warrior. Just keep posting such scrap it will only encourage him to get more runs. Best of luck Dada. We are always with you.

  • arunpregash on August 20, 2008, 13:15 GMT

    I have been a fan of Peter Roebuck's articles. Yes I agree with him that every good thing should come to an end, but having said that, its not fair to judge a career on the basis of one bad series. I still believe that fab 4 are the best players of spin in the world. If they cant counter Mendis, then nobody else would do. It needs some time to analyse the rookie bowler. In my humble opinion Ganguly has done well after his come back. He is one player who plays for the country and not for the money!!. He takes a lot of pride in playing for india and I think he still has a lot in him.

    I dont see the selectors wielding the axe on any of the fab 4 anywhere in the near future.

    The selectors can carry their rotation ploicy into the test arena also and groom the youngsters under the guidance of the seniors.

    Long live Ganguly!!

  • drneilmukherjee on August 20, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    Mr.Roebuck, you say that the catch in Sydney 'may' have been doubtful. Thats something I dont agree with. As far as performance goes Dravid has shown a clearer downward trend than Ganguly. He cant score at even 2 rpo anymore!!! And Ganguly did save the SA series. I do agree with you in principle though. The fab4 needs to be replaced in the next 6-8 months simply for want of fresh air. You cant let the Gambhirs, Kohlis and Dhawans get old before their turn. Lets start with both Dravid and Ganguly and lets hope they will do it themselves. I still believe Ganguly should be retained in ODIs since we clearly see that none of this new bunch can hold their nerves. While Gangulys no Viv Richards he can certainly take you to victory from a winning position. Thats something that this spineless bunch of Raina, Yuvraj and Utthappa still cant do after already having played more than 15 ODIs.

  • chaitanya_lakkapragada on August 20, 2008, 12:51 GMT

    It's kind of funny how these heralded cricket writers make judgments based on a performance in a single series which they the time to watch. Anybody who has followed Ganguly's test career over the past 14 months would never say that his time is up.He was the "Asian Cricketer of the Year" and he played a delightful knocks in the Kanpur test against SouthAfrica on a snakepit of a wicket.Going back, he was by far the most convincing batter in England and piled on the runs against Pakistan at home. Though he did not contribute much in the final two test in Australia, he looked in very good touch throughout. In Srilanka, it was the collective failure of the middle-order which did India in.It's unfair to say that Ganguly's career must be brought to an end.Hope the middle-order does well at home against Australia, where the visitors will employ the same tactics as 2004 with in-out fields, tight fielding and two-short midwickets etc to dry up the runs(boundaries) and play on batters' patience.

  • concerned_cricketer on August 20, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    I don't understand what's meant by "Insofar as he was aristocratic of manner - though not birth - it lay in his...". The Wikipedia says: "The youngest son of Chandidas and Nirupa Ganguly, Ganguly was born on July 8, 1973 in Kolkata. His father ran a flourishing print business and was one of the richest men in Kolkata. He had a luxurious childhood and was nicknamed the Maharaja......"

    Other than that, I liked the article and was sort of reliving Ganguly's career while reading it. I agree that he is definitely walking slowly towards the sunset of a glorious career and may have quickened hsi paces a bit in Srilanka. But I would not want to make the mistake of counting him out, from a last hurrah against Australia in October. Good Luck, Maharaja!

  • vibhasm on August 20, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    it was nice listening to your comments, but then with Saurav it can be said that even after knowing that he has been a key performer for India for quite for close to a decade naw, we try to judge him on one failure and then his age comes into picture.But if we talk about last series none of the big four were able to make any impact.As far as his age is concerned is concerned lets look Sanath Jayasuriya he has proven that age actually does not matter as long as you have passion to play.

  • vswami on August 20, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    With people as old as 35 and above , one has to forget the history and only remember the last 12 months, examine their fitness, reflexes and motivation to decide whether they should be in the team or not. Of the fab four, Laxman looks the weakest in terms of fitness, while Dravid looks the weakest in terms of batting. Dravid has become a strokeless wonder since losing captaincy and is going downhill faster than anyone else. While Ganguly and Tendulkar can hit their way out of trouble, and Laxman flick his way, Dravid has nothing left in his arsenal to score at the pace the team demands if the bowling is disciplined. Dravid is only useful now if the game is to be saved and some one needs to bat out a couple of sessions. I would argue that Dravid should be the first one to go.

  • Ranadurjay on August 20, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    Why has Ganguly suddenly become the most vulnerable? Just because of one series? His batting average over the last one year is same as Sachin's and significantly higher than Dravid's. You make a ridiculous point about Dravid's career average being higher than Sourav's, thereby meriting the former's place in the side; shouldn't recent average count far more than career average?

    It is sad to see the finest cricket writer of our times become a victim of the same short-sightedness that plagues most other writers, who base their arguments on one series. Maybe, just like the cricketers they write about, cricket writers also have a shelf life!

  • Raman01 on August 20, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    This article only shows the Peter has no memory at all. SA series was drawn largely due to Sourav's attacking batting. He did well against Pak and decently against Aussies. But for the umpiring, he cud have saved Sydney test. Srilanka series was disaster thanks to Mahela's judicious application of the new referral system. I guess we have to give few more chances to him and to others' in the Fab four to make a conclusion. Seeing the way the so-called youngster's are playing in the ODI's, it is beyond doubt that M&M would have eaten them without any sweat. Having said that, all the Fab four need to show improvement if we have to beat Aus.

  • cricket_consultant on August 20, 2008, 11:59 GMT

    On shaky ground? Really? What a delight to see more Ganguly-bashing! This time from Mr.Roebuck who, for the sake of his argument, forgets to mention the series right after the Australia series--the one against South Africa--where Ganguly saved the Indian team, nor the series right before the one against Australia--where Ganguly scored bushels of runs. Conviniently enough, Mr. Roebuck also fails to mention that Ganguly was one of the leading scorers in one-day cricket this past year. I would have doffed my hat--not that I wear one--to any other piece from Mr.Roebuck. However, this time, I am not only disappointed in him, I am apalled!

  • sskjames on August 20, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    The entire Indian team failed in Srilanka, not just Ganguly. So it is not reasonable to point out him as though everyone else played their best cricket. Also Ganguly is a player with immense self belief and motivation and I bet you he will come back strongly in the next series. Just look how well he played in the recently concluded IPL when compared to the below par performance from Dravid and Sachin.

  • davedave on August 20, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    I don't believe this. For the man who has been playing since 1996 has always been criticised as the weakest of the fabulous four by the so called pundits. Look at the down most of his career that he has played still he has scored almost 7000 runs. He just had a bad series along with Dravid and Sachin, but that doesn't mean he lost his technique, temperament, etc. Since his comeback he played extremely well in the last five out of six series it has become a fashion for the pundits just to blame Ganguly everytime. Dravid is 100% technically right at the highest level but what is the use for the team to be honest Dravid is the only one who hasn't played well according to his level for the last 2 years but Mr. Roebuck has no comments about others.

  • spinkingKK on August 20, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    Well written article. Yes, the writer is exactly right. There needs to be change and Ganguly and Dravid are the ones comes to my mind as well. Ganguly (eventhough one of the greatest characters of Indian cricket history) should be dropped, full stop. But, Dravid also is on a downward trend for a long time. Even if he scores a century in the next series, one can not forsee many good innings coming from him anymore. I believe both should be dropped and Tendulkar moved to number 6 to accomodate more talented youngsters in th top middle order and bring some stability down the order. People like Badrinath, Mohd.Kaif, Raina should be given chances in the test matches. Dropping Kumble is foolishness. Kumble never had any good series in Sri Lanka. That alone can't be a reason to drop him. His critics should analyse the recent Australian series to find out how good Kumble is. Harbhajan doesn't have the same variety as Kumble and India don't have any other fearsome spinners.

  • avinashrajpal on August 20, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    I will remember Sourav as a good batsman and not a great batsman and only an average cricketer as his fielding & running between wickets were below par.Sourav's test average is 41 which is below par considering the pitches lately around the world have been slow and low and in favour of the batsman. All his contemporaries Sachin,Dravid,Ponting,Kallis,Chanderpaul etc. are averaging in mid or high 50's.He was a good captain and had a hand in grooming the youngsters like Yuvraj,Viru,Kaif,Zaheer,Bhajji.But then he made a mistake by not accepting test capataincy which was then given to Kumble.I think his time is now up and he should retire gracefully because his reflexes and footwork have slowed with age and an average of 41 will never win you test matches.The seniors need to be phased out otherwise the collective middle order failure will be a common sight and there is no chance fo a win if 4 batsmen fail frequently at the same time.

  • RDamodaran on August 20, 2008, 11:23 GMT

    Please show some respect to these experienced players (seniors/Fab4-the media way). I do believe India had their 6 best batsman playing in the SL series and they failed but against a superb spin attack in their own backyard against debutant mystery spinner and the review system which seems to be removing any benefit of doubt to the batsman. I will wait to judge their performance after seeing the Aussies play him. Back to the suggestions of young players in Indian team-these seniors although not athletic saving a 1 or 2 in outfield, they do catch safely than most new players (Ganguly is quite safe, Dravid and Laxman are exceptional at slips. These wonderful players have taken India to a next level playing crucial roles in overseas wins (recently against Eng, SA, Pak, Aus) and are worth their place in team (please convince me that yuvraj would have been better than Ganguly in handling spin). With exception of T20 success, these young players have not made crucial performances.

  • maddykash on August 20, 2008, 11:01 GMT

    All those praises just to compensate for the last line?! He might be vulnerable now, but not always since he lost his captaincy. Remember his assuring display on his comeback tour to South Africa? Or the double hundred he scored against Pakistan? It has been some time since that South Africa tour and vulnerable players just dont last this long.

  • SRT_Jammy_Dada_VVS_and_Anil_legends on August 20, 2008, 10:45 GMT

    Quite convenient of Mr Roebuck to miss out the series before the Australian one, where he scored a truckload of runs against Pakistan, and the series in between Australia and Sri Lanka, vs South Africa, where Ganguly gained us a drawn series with his exceptional 87 in the 3rd Test. Blaming Ganguly ignores the indifferent performance from the Indian bowlers in the series against Sri Lanka, and citing his average ignores the fact that statistics never tell the full story. they certainly don't tell of his battle against the villainous Greg Chappell and the fact that he fought back into the team from a seemingly lost position. Age is not a barrier to performance, indeed you only have to look at Jayasuriya to see that this is true. Indian cricket fans are very fickle, and lack the loyalty to support players through a slightly lean trot. I remember the "End-ulkar" headlines in the newspapers on the 2003-04 Aussie tour, and then Sachin scored 241*. So let's keep the faith with the Fab Four!!!

  • Supratik on August 20, 2008, 9:28 GMT

    One of the best pieces on one of the most interesting characters in cricket. I can only think of a couple written earlier by Dileep Prem. & another by Rahul Bhatta. Though mostly accurate and appropriate, there is the small matter of the SA series that you have missed Peter, where after Sehwag's guntotting 319, the batting, for the next 2 matches on much more difficult wickets was held together by SCG. And though one should agree that he looks the weakest link amongst the Fab4, is it time to call time? specially since he is unlikely to face 2 diabolical spinners for sometime yet. He has found new methods to tackle pace after his comeback, though his footwork definitely has looked dodgy in the last 6 months, ironically against spin; Brad Hogg, Murali & Mendis. Even if he wasn't the greatest captain of India he was the most inspirational and the most interesting. His batting, though was different, regal and silken grace married with vulnerability and awkwardness. He will be missed.

  • Sekhar_S on August 20, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    When a young cricketer scores a century in a match,it is hailed as a great achievement and that player is hailed as the 'future'.But when the team happens to lose a Test match,why does everyone point fingers at the senior players? Why doesn't anyone understand that it is a collective failure and that even the Yuvrajs and Dhonis should also be held responsible? It's high time the focus is moved from age to performance.By performance I mean performance over a few tournaments and not of a single match.

  • Longmemory on August 20, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    I've always felt Saurav never got credit for the length of time for which he handled the pressures of being an Indian captain - and how amazingly well he handled it for much of his tenure. Dravid was reduced to a puddle within two years as captain and chucked it up to focus on batting. Tendulkar's stint was a disaster for his batting and the team won diddley. Azhar was pretty good as a batsman when captain but does not have the overseas victories that Saurav has. Saurav had the longest stint of any Indian captain and amidst all the madness surrounding that job still maintained a decent batting average, and played a number of very crucial knocks.AND he did this in both forms of the game - tests and ODIs. To be able to do that while captaining India is a huge accomplishment. Remember that when comparing his batting average with that of Dravid or Sachin. Having said that, its time the Fab Four hung up their boots: all that remains to decide is the order and grace with which they go.

  • DsrtmAn on August 20, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Mr. Peter - give the FAB 4 a break and especially Ganguly. And please do not make statements like he is been on shaky grounds ever since he has lost his captaincy - it does not make sense! Players go thru turmoil periods during careers and they come out of it. So everytime when one of the player go thru bad phases - they need to go back to the drawing board and reassure themselves! So let them now focus for the next series and thanks for the article!!

  • mrgupta on August 20, 2008, 8:28 GMT

    C'mon Mr. Roebuck, it was just a Bad series and that can happen to anybody. I really dont see any youngsters challenging any of the Fab fours yet. Rohit Sharma looks good but is not consistent, playing Test Cricket is not like playing a T20 game. Raina hasn't done anything yet to secure place in ODI, Badri is yet to start his career at International level that probably leaves only Yuvraj, but he has been getting chances and he has performed pretty badly overseas. How can one forget the crucial match wining innings Sachin played on Tough Bouncy pitches in Eng and Aus recently and Saurav's crucial innings against Pak and SA...

  • VishyWish on August 20, 2008, 8:23 GMT

    It is a tough call Peter. I wouldn't say that one bad series or the IPL bingo should end one great career. As a batsman he still can get a place in the team, based on his `not so long ago' performances. But the point is phasing out the Fab Four. It would be great for the selctors to have a word with them, analyse goals if any and plan for future. For example Tendulkar may like to become the highest run getter in tests. He can then retire from test cricket and concentrate on shorter versions with the next world cup in mind. If there is no planning India will loose all the experienced players all of a sudden and it will be a big ask for the new guys.

  • Mina_Anand on August 20, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    In 2005, Mr.Roebuck, at the height of the 'Greg Chappell era' you wrote a piece in The Hindu :"Face the Facts" - wherein you had stated that Ganguly should be "tossed overboard ". History and Ganguly proved you terribly wrong. And will do so again !

  • DD123 on August 20, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    This is almost the end for Sourav. Indian Cricket administrators should give him a chance to reitre from Test Cricket. But don't forget the contribution of Anil Kumble also. He needs to be thrown from the team. Check his perfomance in the last 3-4 series. He won't even plan to retire from the team even if he become a grand father. He must be thrown at first..

  • Prats6 on August 20, 2008, 7:50 GMT

    Why is always Saurav made the scapegoat of India's failures ? There is no doubt that his career is nearing its end and I would love to see him go out on a high, but I guess Saurav should decide what lies ahead of him, Maybe a good performance against Aussies at home could see him bidding farewell to International Cricket.. But I think you need to show a bit more respect when you are talking about players of the stature of Saurav, you just cannot write someone off.. even if you happen to be Peter Roebuck .

  • sankar_sg on August 20, 2008, 7:39 GMT

    I strongly believe he can return to his form. This is cricket.. u dont need to be a athletic guy like football, tennis to play cricket. Timing and some muscle power is a key to play cricket. So, he will come back and answer to Mr.Peter by his bat and skills..

  • essel1 on August 20, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    I have always been a fan of Saurav Gangully, and I agree with most of the comments ,that he was phased out of the ODI team way to early. I dont think he was treated fairly first by Chappel and then by Dhoni. He could still be tried as an opener in the ODI side, where his bowling will also come in handy. He remains a cricketer who other teams fear, and definately feared more than the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Badrinath and Uthappa. The Indian Team is being selected by Dhoni, who wants his own Chamchas in the teams agaisnt the likes of true Greats because he feels they can/will undermine him in the team. Gangully should also have made captain of the Indian Test team instead of Kumble, but again the Indian Board and the selection comittee are as useless as their counterparts in my country (Pakistan).... The article by Peter Roebuck smacks of biasness as pointed out by Vaibhavtotla by the conventient use of statistics. Statistics tell the story but never the whole story. Cheers

  • Looch on August 20, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    I am amazed that he is still in the side. Sure he has been a magnificent bat, but lately his footwork has slowed considerably and his lack of effort and skill in the field should of counted him out of the side long ago. I hope he gives it away before he is thrown away, he deserves better.

  • scorprocks on August 20, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    I would like to question the integrity of this article. It seems the author has lost track with the facts and hence came up with a partially correct article. He was targeted by the captains and bowlers of other team because he was the only who used to speak up. I have never seen Sachin or Dravid standby his team. Without further straying away from the main track, Dada has played few match winnings and few match saving innings ever since he has come back. I dont remember Dravid playing any such inning, and for that matters I dont remember Sachin playing such inning too [ mind you his runs have come when it least mattered ]. I still think the fab 4 has lot in them , atleast for another year. Point I would like to make is (A). IF it is a necessity to write an article about something when our team loses a home series, then you might as well write on more controversial issues [ why dint dhoni play ? what happened to Kumble ? why cant we play the spin ? ]

  • LANKALOVER on August 20, 2008, 7:13 GMT

    The article would have made interesting reading if Roebuck had included the names of Sachin, Rahul and Laxman in "Stumps for Saurav".

    One is not sure how long would these persons continue to deny opportunity to deserving "budding" cricketers. If earning money is their only motive, then let BCCI shell it to them from its coffers.

    Its high time all four persons are shown the door.

  • vishwashg on August 20, 2008, 6:49 GMT

    No way,guys let him decide when he wnats to quit.there has been to many cries for his removal no one knows better then him.when he was left from the team he knew he can come back and he did it.so let us leave it for him to quit.every player as to callit one day.so leave it to him

  • jesseraiders on August 20, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    Though all this is true, we must not forget that previous to this series, Ganguly was the last of the fab 4 to play a MATCH-WINNING performance against South Africa. Surely we can't all of forgotbe heten that. This article proves that Ganguly is always the first of the middle orders men to get the finger pointed at him. Dravid has not played such an innnings for a long time, maybe he needs an article about him. Come on Sourav, I know you have a couple more gallons left in he tank!

  • sadid_hasan on August 20, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    I think there is still a lot of cricket left in Ganguly and soon he will reply all his critics with his shining bat. Go ahead Sourav leaving all tensions in your pocket, we are behind you.

  • sinfuldips on August 20, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    Before you say anything further Mr. Roebuck, please don't forget that Sourav has secured the man of the series in the last 2 series against considerable Proteas and Pakistani attacks. How can you discount such a man. I am in favour of blooding young talent, but who would replace them? Raina, Sharma, Yuvraj have each have their own problems and they have repeatedly struggled to combat M&M in the ODIs. How can you expect they will counter them in tests? Its very unfortunate that the whole world is after an individual who has faught a lone battle with media, so called critics, ex players, peers both from his country and abroad. Indian crickets problem does not lie in batting. If this series was a yardstick then a lot of players have to be dropped. However Mr. Roebuck you carefully ignore all these. Hasn't the so called young brigade failed to catch, ran themselves out? Please stop pleasing the mass and judge things as they are.

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 5:47 GMT

    contd ... the youngsters that are out have done exceptionally well. R Sharma despite his success at T20 and IPL has shown some significant frailties and even he will agree that he let down his team Mumbai in the Ranji trophy on numerous occasions with his irresponsible strokes. As of now one does not feel confident that the youngsters are ready for the big stage yet. Their time will definitely come but we cannot hasten it. Surely we do not want to get into a situation that we bow to popular demand and push the established experienced players out before their time is up and the youth brigade that comes in their place performs poorly consistently for a length of time. Believe me contd...

  • ndogcricfan on August 20, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    Though I see some unfair bias and inconsistencies in Peter's article, I can agree with the main point; Ganguly has had a good career, but time to throw in the towel while people still like you. I think the Fab Four + Kumble realize that their popularity is decreasing. That matters, because cricket depends upon spectators and fans. They should go out like Gilchrist and Inzy did, to applause after their final knocks. But if they persist to stay and fail, they'll be shooed off the field, harassed, booed and insulted as they approach the locker room. None of their careers, with the accompanying honors, deserve to end that way. So the faster Kumble, Dravid, and Ganguly realize that, the better. Tendulkar, in my opinion, should retire right after breaking Lara's record (or moving past it to 12,000 test runs). Laxman's a bit younger than the rest, but retirement should be on his mind too. He has time, more than the others, but not as much as we would like.

  • ani_00 on August 20, 2008, 5:10 GMT

    i think ganguly is one of the best captain in indian cricket history. BUT I dont understand one think why he is out ODI team beacuse he was doing well in Odi compare to yuvray and robin uthappa. I think dhoni isnt secure playing with seniors players, he even put his finger on sachin in CB series before the finals and i dont think Dhoni is capable to leading the team in test match and i dont think see indian team future in test matches after ganguly,sachin,dravd,laxman will walk out, i still fell ganguly should be in the team as a opener with sachin tendulkar.

  • funduz on August 20, 2008, 4:53 GMT

    Yes I do agree with the article on phasing out the fab 4 but please bear in mind no other team would have played M&M better especially when Mendis was in his first series. I am a big fan of Ganguly especially his off side strokes are matchless..hats off to bring India back on top of the cricketing world. But yes every good thing nears an end hope Dada comes back and replies with his bat once more or else BCCI should give him a heros exit not the one that was planned earlier. Indians need to appreciate their heros better. As mentioned earlier in one of the responses hope to see him contribute more to Indian cricket by coaching and mentoring and instilling the pride of playing for India in the future generations.

  • Rivu on August 20, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    Nice article... Hats off to Mr. Ganguly and his contribution to Indian cricket... But I think he is being made the scape goat for the SL series. Mendis and Murali were at their best, though it's not an excuse, but I think it is harsh to blame him for the debacle. As far as the youngsters are concerned, I guess they will definitely come in some day, but just ahead of Australia series is not the best time to test them. People should not forget on how Ganguly was responsible for saving India's face against South Africa in Kanpur, so one Test series isn't the way one can judge him. About Ganguly's agility, he was never a good fielder but as a catcher he was always safe and still remains one. Talking of IPL, his 80 odd run last innings was the best in the IPL. How many batsmen in the world cricket has won matches when 80 odd runs are needed of the last five overs, that too against a TEAM INDIA attack at a difficult pitch in Eden...If people still think he is OVER... I guess it's which is!!

  • vaibhavtotla on August 20, 2008, 4:26 GMT

    ...Else probably the three figure mark was there for the taking. And maybe then the innings would have been talked about a lot more.

    2. Another brave and remarkably positive 87 on a minefield of a track in Kanpur. Can already hear the sympathies pouring in for Dravid who was "unlucky" to get a monster of a ball from Morkel which almost broke his hand. This, again for record, won him the Man of the match award. Mr Roebuck, remind me again please when was the last time any of the fab four won a man of the match award in test cricket? Also see how statistics are conveniently used to suit your argument. When dada was in bad form in 2005, all you heard from critics was the last 12 months average. Now, suddenly, that is not important, but dravid's career average which is 12 runs higher than dada is highlighted. So whatever happened to guaging players on recent form?? Would have pardoned a rookie cricket writer for this, but a celebrated writer like Roebuck? Well, we expect better!

  • hornet18 on August 20, 2008, 4:19 GMT

    As an Aussie Ganguly used to get under my skin. But you know what, he was what India needed and he took the fight to Australia and he turned a fragile side into a fighting one. I believe his reign as captain ended way, way to early. In hindsight the man has my complete respect.

  • vaibhavtotla on August 20, 2008, 4:17 GMT

    A typical english man's oblivion to any test cricket played outside of Australia or England. If it is not the above, cannot see why Mr Roebuck, while arguing for curatins on Sourav's career through a story which is supposed to chronologically list Sourav's failures in test cricket starting from Australia in dec-07-Jan 08 to the recent Sri lanka series, conveniently choses to ignore the March 2008 Test series in India against South Africa. This was a series which had 2 stellar efforts from dada- 1. A gritty 87 in the second innings of the ahmedabad test. Mr Roebuck, would love you to look up a few statictics on when was the last time sachin put on any significant score in the second innings of a test. And since we are allowed to give batsman some sympathy credit for incorrect dismissals (given your argument on how bad luck was the reason dravid failed in Australia), for record, dada was incorrectly given out caught behind off dale steyn.

  • Kattadurai on August 20, 2008, 4:10 GMT

    Nicely written article. To be honest, I never thought Ganguly would come back to the test side after his first dropping from it. At the same time, I never felt that he should have been phased out of the ODI side that early either. Even though he is consistent in his second outing, he never convinced me to be a batsman to depend on crunch test match situations. But forever I would be thankful to him as an Indian cricket fan for the sheer professionalism and passion he brought to the game ( For me his bare-chested celebration on Natwest final is pure passion) and the match winners he unearthed. I hope the selectors would replace this doyens with matured cricketers with first class experience than young kids. Too much fore-sightedness is not that good either. Thanks for all you did "Dada"!

  • Roy09 on August 20, 2008, 4:10 GMT

    i completely agree with you peter here, there were times when ganguly and with him india look into eye to eye of the opponents and tell them we are not going to back off. arriving late for the toss to annoy steve waugh was a prime example, so was his taking shirt off at lords. he started a new team that said fear is nothing. go dada

  • Gilkabba on August 20, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Yes. His time has come. And its important that Ganguly himself realize this. Nobody expected him to give a comeback after the Greg Chappell fiasco but he did. Ever so marvelously, with a superb half century in South Africa. Unlike the first half of his Career, Ganguly was more successful in tests as compared to ODIs. But in 2006, age was on his side. Not any more. And as rightly pointed by Peter, his feet aren't moving that swiftly and he has found himself in awkward positions more often than ever.

    Its been a tremendous career till now. It was important that somebody rose to the occasion especially after the match fixing debacle that hurt a cricket fan the most. Dada will always be remembered. Be it the century on debut at Lords, the bare chested celebration or his enthusiasm while bowling, dada has always given his fans the reason to celebrate and at the most unexpected times.

    Thanks for the article, Peter.

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    contd....... in such a situation the same people would be baying for their blood. It is time for the selectors to show some sagacity and keep the fab 4 as well as jumbo in the series against Australia. Saurav with his daring strokeplay would dominate an Aussie bowling line - up that is bereft of McGrath and Warne and I am sure will give Ponting & Co. many sleepless nights. Please do not discount the fighting ability of the BENGAL TIGER when he is pushed into a corner.

  • whereisdada on August 20, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    Ganguly has averaged 44 in the last 4 test series against Pak, SL, South Africa & Australia. This is higher than his career average of 41. Nothing more needs to be said. God Bless Ganguly

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    contd.... the youngsters that are out have done exceptionally well. R Sharma despite his success at T20 and IPL has shown some significant frailties and even he will agree that he let down his team Mumbai in the Ranji trophy on numerous occasions with his irresponsible strokes. As of now one does not feel confident that the youngsters are ready for the big stage yet. Their time will definitely come but we cannot hasten it. Surely we do not want to get into a situation that we bow to popular demand and push the established experienced players out before their time is up and the youth brigade that comes in their place performs poorly consistently for a length of time. Believe me contd..........

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    I don't think I have to comment on Mr Roebuck's writing. As always it is excellent. But I really do not agree with all his observations. Barring the SL series Saurav has really played some impressive knocks. If you compare him to the youngsters than yes his running between the wickets and outfielding pales in comparison with them. But the youngsters have also been guilty of dropping some crucial catches, missing some run outs in the limited opportunities they have got. In the last innings at Lanka he was batting serenely in the company of Dravid and for a brief period of time it looked that he will pull India through. But for a momentary lapse in concentration he perished. It is not as if contd.....

  • TwitterJitter on August 20, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    Agree with the essence of the post. Its time to lower the curtain on Ganguly, Dravid, and Kumble before the end of this year. Their age is clearly showing on the field. Although they may not agree, it is clear to the people watching. The hunger, confidence, and passion has dropped and is visible to the naked eye. I hope for their sake that they are not pushed out but are phased out by the end of the year with time for them to say their good byes. They still can play in IPL for the next two seasons, although realistically I would prefer their owners to buy out their contracts - at least for Dravid and Kumble. It is sad to see them struggle like minions in T20 when it is obvious that they are a complete misfit in that format considering their fat contracts eat up most of the salary cap.

  • NiceKnotty on August 20, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    Roebuck's penchant for controversy carries on. I am amazed at his ability to score brownie points by feeding the masses with exactly what they want to hear...this is journalism at its crassest. He did that to Ponting and Co. after the Sydney test because Indians were just too pleased to shame them. He does that to Ganguly now because stirring this controversy will help his stock among readers. The collective failure of the entire batting line-up (save Laxman and Shewag) against a far superior spin attack is ignored. The fact that SCG bailed India out in just the previous series against the South African attack is also ignored. For once, let him be honest and admit that the two best batsmen of our generation had no answers to this attack! Let him also be honest and admit that all of those who failed are also past their prime and must also go! Otherwise, his overrated genre of journalism is merely opportunism at best.

  • Naresha on August 20, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    I thought this was a well written article by Peter Roebuck, as always. I only have problems with "As a rule, though, the lower a player bats the weaker his position." Perhaps Peter forgot to check the scorecard - Laxman batted lower than Ganguly five times out of six in Sri Lanka. However it would be "madness" to drop Laxman! I think it is certainly unfair to pick on Ganguly - Tendulkar scored lesser than him in Sri Lanka, though he looked quite assured at the crease. However, looking assured has never been Ganguly's style. Let's see what the middle order does against Australia and England, and how Australia handles Mendis and Murali in Sri Lanka, before passing judgement.

  • DeepPoint on August 20, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    Yes. Also remember the 2nd innings at Melbourne 2004 where he came in ahead of Tendulkar on a pair and short of runs - he was so direct about it that it did not offend anyone at all and showed the team he was willing to walk the talk. All good things must come to an end. I feel that the Fab Four need to be phased out in this order - Ganguly - Dravid - Tendulkar and Laxman, due to form shown in Aus and age as well. Ganguly has been the greatest Indian captain and Dravid and Laxman might not have been this bold and successful under anyone else - Zaheer, Yuvraj, Kaif, Harbajan - the list of match winners he has brought itself stands testament to his legacy. In a few years people iwll not remember this prodding in Lanka but only the booming sixes, the God on the offside and the great, great contribution to Indian cricket. I hope he coaches and instills future players with his fearlessness.

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  • DeepPoint on August 20, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    Yes. Also remember the 2nd innings at Melbourne 2004 where he came in ahead of Tendulkar on a pair and short of runs - he was so direct about it that it did not offend anyone at all and showed the team he was willing to walk the talk. All good things must come to an end. I feel that the Fab Four need to be phased out in this order - Ganguly - Dravid - Tendulkar and Laxman, due to form shown in Aus and age as well. Ganguly has been the greatest Indian captain and Dravid and Laxman might not have been this bold and successful under anyone else - Zaheer, Yuvraj, Kaif, Harbajan - the list of match winners he has brought itself stands testament to his legacy. In a few years people iwll not remember this prodding in Lanka but only the booming sixes, the God on the offside and the great, great contribution to Indian cricket. I hope he coaches and instills future players with his fearlessness.

  • Naresha on August 20, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    I thought this was a well written article by Peter Roebuck, as always. I only have problems with "As a rule, though, the lower a player bats the weaker his position." Perhaps Peter forgot to check the scorecard - Laxman batted lower than Ganguly five times out of six in Sri Lanka. However it would be "madness" to drop Laxman! I think it is certainly unfair to pick on Ganguly - Tendulkar scored lesser than him in Sri Lanka, though he looked quite assured at the crease. However, looking assured has never been Ganguly's style. Let's see what the middle order does against Australia and England, and how Australia handles Mendis and Murali in Sri Lanka, before passing judgement.

  • NiceKnotty on August 20, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    Roebuck's penchant for controversy carries on. I am amazed at his ability to score brownie points by feeding the masses with exactly what they want to hear...this is journalism at its crassest. He did that to Ponting and Co. after the Sydney test because Indians were just too pleased to shame them. He does that to Ganguly now because stirring this controversy will help his stock among readers. The collective failure of the entire batting line-up (save Laxman and Shewag) against a far superior spin attack is ignored. The fact that SCG bailed India out in just the previous series against the South African attack is also ignored. For once, let him be honest and admit that the two best batsmen of our generation had no answers to this attack! Let him also be honest and admit that all of those who failed are also past their prime and must also go! Otherwise, his overrated genre of journalism is merely opportunism at best.

  • TwitterJitter on August 20, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    Agree with the essence of the post. Its time to lower the curtain on Ganguly, Dravid, and Kumble before the end of this year. Their age is clearly showing on the field. Although they may not agree, it is clear to the people watching. The hunger, confidence, and passion has dropped and is visible to the naked eye. I hope for their sake that they are not pushed out but are phased out by the end of the year with time for them to say their good byes. They still can play in IPL for the next two seasons, although realistically I would prefer their owners to buy out their contracts - at least for Dravid and Kumble. It is sad to see them struggle like minions in T20 when it is obvious that they are a complete misfit in that format considering their fat contracts eat up most of the salary cap.

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    I don't think I have to comment on Mr Roebuck's writing. As always it is excellent. But I really do not agree with all his observations. Barring the SL series Saurav has really played some impressive knocks. If you compare him to the youngsters than yes his running between the wickets and outfielding pales in comparison with them. But the youngsters have also been guilty of dropping some crucial catches, missing some run outs in the limited opportunities they have got. In the last innings at Lanka he was batting serenely in the company of Dravid and for a brief period of time it looked that he will pull India through. But for a momentary lapse in concentration he perished. It is not as if contd.....

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    contd.... the youngsters that are out have done exceptionally well. R Sharma despite his success at T20 and IPL has shown some significant frailties and even he will agree that he let down his team Mumbai in the Ranji trophy on numerous occasions with his irresponsible strokes. As of now one does not feel confident that the youngsters are ready for the big stage yet. Their time will definitely come but we cannot hasten it. Surely we do not want to get into a situation that we bow to popular demand and push the established experienced players out before their time is up and the youth brigade that comes in their place performs poorly consistently for a length of time. Believe me contd..........

  • whereisdada on August 20, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    Ganguly has averaged 44 in the last 4 test series against Pak, SL, South Africa & Australia. This is higher than his career average of 41. Nothing more needs to be said. God Bless Ganguly

  • guptavipulv on August 20, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    contd....... in such a situation the same people would be baying for their blood. It is time for the selectors to show some sagacity and keep the fab 4 as well as jumbo in the series against Australia. Saurav with his daring strokeplay would dominate an Aussie bowling line - up that is bereft of McGrath and Warne and I am sure will give Ponting & Co. many sleepless nights. Please do not discount the fighting ability of the BENGAL TIGER when he is pushed into a corner.

  • Gilkabba on August 20, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Yes. His time has come. And its important that Ganguly himself realize this. Nobody expected him to give a comeback after the Greg Chappell fiasco but he did. Ever so marvelously, with a superb half century in South Africa. Unlike the first half of his Career, Ganguly was more successful in tests as compared to ODIs. But in 2006, age was on his side. Not any more. And as rightly pointed by Peter, his feet aren't moving that swiftly and he has found himself in awkward positions more often than ever.

    Its been a tremendous career till now. It was important that somebody rose to the occasion especially after the match fixing debacle that hurt a cricket fan the most. Dada will always be remembered. Be it the century on debut at Lords, the bare chested celebration or his enthusiasm while bowling, dada has always given his fans the reason to celebrate and at the most unexpected times.

    Thanks for the article, Peter.

  • Roy09 on August 20, 2008, 4:10 GMT

    i completely agree with you peter here, there were times when ganguly and with him india look into eye to eye of the opponents and tell them we are not going to back off. arriving late for the toss to annoy steve waugh was a prime example, so was his taking shirt off at lords. he started a new team that said fear is nothing. go dada