October 2, 2008

Many questions, no answers

India's selectors had a lot of explaining to do, particularly about the inclusion of Sourav Ganguly, but there was no open, transparent media interaction
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Kris Srikkanth was, for once, short of words © AFP
 

The moment this sorry saga came into sharp focus was when Krishnamachari Srikkanth was caught by the media mob outside the BCCI headquarters after he had overseen his first selection meeting. Srikkanth is among the more loquacious former cricketers and on any other occasion he would have given a stream of soundbytes. In his new avatar, though, he was forced to rein himself in: "I would like to explain but the board has issued instructions that we are not to speak," he began, before adding a couple of non-sequiturs about the squad he had picked.

A pity, because there was quite a bit of explaining for Srikkanth to do. The summoning of Amit Mishra from the cold, for example, or the exclusion of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma. Most significantly, though, he would have been asked for the logic in retaining Sourav Ganguly, who yet again became the focal point of a pre-series selection committee meeting.

Ganguly's inclusion - following a build-up fairly dramatic even by his own standards - is surprising, and ultimately controversial, because it flies in the face of all indications of the past two months. After a dismal series in Sri Lanka, Ganguly's neck was on the block; when he was excluded from the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup, and then for the Board President's XI to face the Australians, the writing was fairly clear on the wall.

Now, within four days of a new selection panel taking charge, he's back.

It's that 180-degree change that requires an explanation, though of course the BCCI has never been known for its transparency - or, in terms of player selection, consistency. Remember, this is the second time Ganguly has benefited from a change in selectors: when Dilip Vengsarkar took over as chairman two years ago, Ganguly returned from the exile imposed on him by Greg Chappell.

This sudden about-turn in position can be unsettling - for the player, for his team-mates, his captain and coach, and for the system as a whole. Ganguly now finds himself on the fast track to match fitness via an India A game; his captain, Anil Kumble, and coach, Gary Kirsten, will have to change their game plan for the first Test somewhat. It is likely they would have planned that match without him, perhaps using as their template the Irani Cup where the fielding of Mohammad Kaif and S Badrinath lifted the Rest of India side.

It is also a mixed message on the overall selection policy. Is it targeted towards youth, as the previous panel indicated? In fact, Ganguly's exclusion from the Irani side was meant to be a "signal" to the rest of the senior players, as one selector of the day told Cricinfo: the first step towards dismantling the Fab Five. Wednesday would have been the perfect opportunity for Srikkanth to set out in public the agenda he and his colleagues plan to pursue over the next few months.

It is fair to say that every selection panel should have the freedom to carry out its own policies, but the point is that Srikkanth's panel had to pick a side for arguably the most important Test series of its tenure, four days after taking charge. Couldn't Vengsarkar's panel have picked the squad for this tour and then gone out? Or, a far more subversive thought, is there really a need for selection panels to change along with the administration?

An open, transparent media interaction with Srikkanth could also have helped dispel the growing speculation that Ganguly's inclusion was part of a "deal", an exit package. A Test series is not the place to make "VRS deals". You do not compromise the selection process, and thereby the most important series for India, because you want someone to "retire gracefully".

Finally, it could have enabled some questioning of the wisdom in choosing Ganguly - a player unarguably out of form and in the twilight of his career - over a youngster in the middle order so that three years down the line, when these two sides next meet in Tests, the spine of India's batting would not be completely new to the Australian way.

 
 
Couldn't Vengsarkar's panel have picked the squad for this tour and then gone out? Or, a far more subversive thought, is there a need for selection panels to change along with the administration?
 

That would have been the way ahead, and Ganguly, in the present circumstances, offers the best opportunity to blood a youngster. Of the so-called Fab Four middle-order batsmen, Ganguly's case is the weakest. In the last Test series, against Sri Lanka, VVS Laxman scored the most runs among the four, followed by Rahul Dravid and Ganguly. The three rank in the same order on runs scored in Tests played since January 1.

The difference is accentuated by the add-ons. Ganguly is not a close-in fielder; he has to be hidden on the field and can be an embarrassment in the outfield. Dravid and Laxman are both excellent slip catchers; the first is statistically India's finest slip fielder ever (and closing in on the world record), the second has been in exceptional form of late.

In any case, Laxman is one of the first names pencilled into any side facing Australia, and he also has time on his side; he is more than two years younger than Ganguly. Dravid is several streets ahead of Ganguly in terms of Test batting achievements and also has a better record against Australia, both of which ensure he deserves a longer rope in the middle of a horrendous batting slump.

Playing Ganguly is not a disaster. He does have the weight of experience, he knows how to get up Australian noses, and in the most recent series against them scored two half-centuries and two spiky 40s. His performances at home over the past 12 months haven't been half bad either. And, for those who say he should quit while he's still ahead, he has the unerring, maddening habit of proving his detractors wrong.

Yet he has not threatened, since that epochal double-century in Bangalore last year, to build on the starts; rarely did those half-centuries, except a gem on a Kanpur minefield, look like they were centuries nipped in the bud. He has looked like a player running on his reserves, not one for the future. Was there no one in better form, or with better confidence, greater promise for the future, to walk out at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on October 9?

So many questions, and not for the first time, no one to answer them. The more the board changes, the more it remains the same.

Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of Cricinfo in India

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jimbond on October 3, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    Against good bowling, Ganguly has always appeared the most suspect among the four. It is only in the current Srilanka tour that all four have appeared equally falliable. Ganguly's poor fielding is visible to all, and its difficult to justify this by referring to the fielding lapses of others. And somehow, over the years, Ganguly seems to drive a wedge within the team- and his inclusion doesnt seem to add to the teams morale-the days of inspired captaincy seem to be over. And yes, against some serious fast bowling- which is Australia seems to have, Ganguly is easily the weakest among the four. And in fact it is this unreasonable protection of Ganguly which is helping the other three survive, and it is high time, that they slowly make way. Ganguly unfortunately should be the first.

  • rubbishmedia on October 2, 2008, 18:36 GMT

    This is one of the worst, blind and biased analysis I have seen in recent past in cricinfo. This is the best example of how you can tweak and twist statistics in your favor. It is very clear to everyone that in Indian cricket we dont have professionalism and different benchmark is set up for different players. I am not a Ganguly fan or Fav5 fan but if we shouldn't single out one person when a team has failed collectively in a series. We need to look into the future and inject new blood to Indian cricket team but by now it is clear that noone is an automatic replacement. We hear a lot of noises from some younger players that dont get too many opportunities. How many did Fav4 needed? 2-3 opportunities were enough to show what they were capable of. So young players need to understand test cap has to be earned its not easy as piece of cake.They have got opportunities and will get more, for sure, but its not a good logic that they shud be in the team just becoz they are young.

  • Koushik_Biswas on October 2, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    Dear Jayaditya, you tried very hard to stick to "questioning the selectors for their U turn" agenda, but your bias against Ganguly showed through. There is a reason why writers with a purely personal agenda should not be allowed to write in public forums. You sounded no different than a Pakistani fan who thinks only about religion, or an Aussie fan who thinks that Sachin is overrated just because he was born outside an island called Australia. Your bias turns a blind eye to statistics, logic and orthodoxy. I will not quote the statistics, but Ganguly happens to be the highest run getter among the fab four since our last South Africa series. His last test at home saw him score a brilliant 87 when all others failed. Please keep your bias to yourself and do not try to spread it amongst other intelligent people at the risk of looking foolish. Thanks, Koushik.

  • sanjayg on October 2, 2008, 15:20 GMT

    Jayaditya Gupta's biases can be forgiven, but more honesty is expected of an Associate Editor of Cricinfo. In order to establish that Sourav should be dropped but not Rahul, he chooses to cite their records since Jan 1 (in which Rahul has a marginal edge, but not over the last 12 months (during which Sourav scored 1066 in 24 knocks as against Rahul's 754 in 23). In fact, he even splits up the Indian tour of Australia so as to leave out Sourav's superior performances in the early part of the tour. Over the last 12 months, Sourav has much the highest aggregate of the Fab Four, though Sachin was injured much of this time and I would be the last person to recommend the omission of Laxman in a series against Australia. As for fielding, who dropped the catches and missed the runouts in Srilanka? Not the Fab 4 but Karthik, Gambhir, Parthiv, Rohit and Ojha, our superfit, superagile young guns.

  • abhra1808 on October 2, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    At least do some homework. Raina never played for the ROI side. And don't pretend to be blind when you are not. At least mention Sachin Tendulakar and his recent achievements in TEST cricket and the current status of his physical fitness while discussing the phase out plans for the fab-4.

  • heruramba on October 2, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    if u want to sack ,sack 4 of them. frankly speaking we where flummoxed by a weak Sri Lankan team. but one must also know that they produce world-class bowlers. we must blame the fab four for putting up poor performances. ganguly has done well in indian conditions for the past 2 series .u must tell concious that who has performed than these 4 guys.look badri, rohit and yuvi failing .there is no perfect replacement. it was funny to see they way badri performed against aussies in a practice match.

  • Rampersad on October 2, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    I'm not sure if Sachin Tendulkar took part in the last Sri Lanka tour, but according to your reasoning, he should'nt have been included in the players selected for the first 2 tests against the Australians. Firstly, if he did take part in that tour, then he scored less runs than Ganguly, and secondly, if he did not participate, then one would have to go back somewhat (maybe the last 12-18 months) and see where Ganguly stands in terms of runs scored by the fab-4 during that time. I don't have the figures in front of me, but I will hazzard a guess that he has scored more runs during that period than at least one of the others. By the way, you don't drop one of your best players over the last ten years just because he did not produce in the last series - if that was the case, you may have to come up with a completely new 11 to play from now on. Good article, all the same.

  • Vinod.M on October 2, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    Hey guys just relax. All are bothered about why Ganguly is back in the team. Let me ask you all why is Tendulkar there in the team then? We all tend to pass the buck on to save the other. I will for sure say it is times up for the FAB 3 sachin,dravid and Ganguly. Sachin is first here followed by Ganguly and then dravid. Rohit, Virat and Raina are the ready replacements. So Jayaditya ask the question out properly dont single one person. Open to discussions still.

  • mvsrnm on October 2, 2008, 11:53 GMT

    Sorry to read Gupta's review on 'Inclusion of Ganguly' into the team. Guess, he must have overrlooked Ganguly's performance since his return into the team in 2007. Ststistics indicates that Ganguly is on the top among the Fab four since 2007 with an Avg 82/match (inspite of bad performance in Srilanka). No doubt, his fielding skills are not impressive but his experience is very much important for Australia tour. He definately deserves another chance before his retirement. Also, Gupta's review did not mentioned anything about Tendulkar's performance. His saga of "Injuries" continues since 2005 and yet, his inclusion in the team without 'fitness' should rise several questions on the transparency of selection team. Looks like, executive editor's review is biased to some extent and sure, it must have surprised many CRICKET followers.

  • rvenkat on October 2, 2008, 11:28 GMT

    "Playing Ganguly is not a disaster". Shocking statement!! how can u first of all relate Ganguly with disaster. He was/is and will be( read as,for the aus series) the man to pull out India from any disaster. Be it the 144 in Brisbane or the recent 87 against south africa on a minefield where, without his 87, we would have been embarresed in spite of playing on the track that suited our style of cricket.secondly, what explanation you expect from Srikkanth for inclusion of ganguly. ganguly was in the team for the last series against Srilanka and now he is in the team. Since his comeback, he was the top run getter among the 'fab four' leaving out the srilankan series where all the four failed to make impact.i dont know why only Ganguly is the main target of you ppl(mediapersons).Sachin has not played well for the past year,but not a single person dares to question his place. Rahul Dravid is out of form of late, but no questions asked about his form. its time u ppl stop writing about dada.

  • jimbond on October 3, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    Against good bowling, Ganguly has always appeared the most suspect among the four. It is only in the current Srilanka tour that all four have appeared equally falliable. Ganguly's poor fielding is visible to all, and its difficult to justify this by referring to the fielding lapses of others. And somehow, over the years, Ganguly seems to drive a wedge within the team- and his inclusion doesnt seem to add to the teams morale-the days of inspired captaincy seem to be over. And yes, against some serious fast bowling- which is Australia seems to have, Ganguly is easily the weakest among the four. And in fact it is this unreasonable protection of Ganguly which is helping the other three survive, and it is high time, that they slowly make way. Ganguly unfortunately should be the first.

  • rubbishmedia on October 2, 2008, 18:36 GMT

    This is one of the worst, blind and biased analysis I have seen in recent past in cricinfo. This is the best example of how you can tweak and twist statistics in your favor. It is very clear to everyone that in Indian cricket we dont have professionalism and different benchmark is set up for different players. I am not a Ganguly fan or Fav5 fan but if we shouldn't single out one person when a team has failed collectively in a series. We need to look into the future and inject new blood to Indian cricket team but by now it is clear that noone is an automatic replacement. We hear a lot of noises from some younger players that dont get too many opportunities. How many did Fav4 needed? 2-3 opportunities were enough to show what they were capable of. So young players need to understand test cap has to be earned its not easy as piece of cake.They have got opportunities and will get more, for sure, but its not a good logic that they shud be in the team just becoz they are young.

  • Koushik_Biswas on October 2, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    Dear Jayaditya, you tried very hard to stick to "questioning the selectors for their U turn" agenda, but your bias against Ganguly showed through. There is a reason why writers with a purely personal agenda should not be allowed to write in public forums. You sounded no different than a Pakistani fan who thinks only about religion, or an Aussie fan who thinks that Sachin is overrated just because he was born outside an island called Australia. Your bias turns a blind eye to statistics, logic and orthodoxy. I will not quote the statistics, but Ganguly happens to be the highest run getter among the fab four since our last South Africa series. His last test at home saw him score a brilliant 87 when all others failed. Please keep your bias to yourself and do not try to spread it amongst other intelligent people at the risk of looking foolish. Thanks, Koushik.

  • sanjayg on October 2, 2008, 15:20 GMT

    Jayaditya Gupta's biases can be forgiven, but more honesty is expected of an Associate Editor of Cricinfo. In order to establish that Sourav should be dropped but not Rahul, he chooses to cite their records since Jan 1 (in which Rahul has a marginal edge, but not over the last 12 months (during which Sourav scored 1066 in 24 knocks as against Rahul's 754 in 23). In fact, he even splits up the Indian tour of Australia so as to leave out Sourav's superior performances in the early part of the tour. Over the last 12 months, Sourav has much the highest aggregate of the Fab Four, though Sachin was injured much of this time and I would be the last person to recommend the omission of Laxman in a series against Australia. As for fielding, who dropped the catches and missed the runouts in Srilanka? Not the Fab 4 but Karthik, Gambhir, Parthiv, Rohit and Ojha, our superfit, superagile young guns.

  • abhra1808 on October 2, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    At least do some homework. Raina never played for the ROI side. And don't pretend to be blind when you are not. At least mention Sachin Tendulakar and his recent achievements in TEST cricket and the current status of his physical fitness while discussing the phase out plans for the fab-4.

  • heruramba on October 2, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    if u want to sack ,sack 4 of them. frankly speaking we where flummoxed by a weak Sri Lankan team. but one must also know that they produce world-class bowlers. we must blame the fab four for putting up poor performances. ganguly has done well in indian conditions for the past 2 series .u must tell concious that who has performed than these 4 guys.look badri, rohit and yuvi failing .there is no perfect replacement. it was funny to see they way badri performed against aussies in a practice match.

  • Rampersad on October 2, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    I'm not sure if Sachin Tendulkar took part in the last Sri Lanka tour, but according to your reasoning, he should'nt have been included in the players selected for the first 2 tests against the Australians. Firstly, if he did take part in that tour, then he scored less runs than Ganguly, and secondly, if he did not participate, then one would have to go back somewhat (maybe the last 12-18 months) and see where Ganguly stands in terms of runs scored by the fab-4 during that time. I don't have the figures in front of me, but I will hazzard a guess that he has scored more runs during that period than at least one of the others. By the way, you don't drop one of your best players over the last ten years just because he did not produce in the last series - if that was the case, you may have to come up with a completely new 11 to play from now on. Good article, all the same.

  • Vinod.M on October 2, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    Hey guys just relax. All are bothered about why Ganguly is back in the team. Let me ask you all why is Tendulkar there in the team then? We all tend to pass the buck on to save the other. I will for sure say it is times up for the FAB 3 sachin,dravid and Ganguly. Sachin is first here followed by Ganguly and then dravid. Rohit, Virat and Raina are the ready replacements. So Jayaditya ask the question out properly dont single one person. Open to discussions still.

  • mvsrnm on October 2, 2008, 11:53 GMT

    Sorry to read Gupta's review on 'Inclusion of Ganguly' into the team. Guess, he must have overrlooked Ganguly's performance since his return into the team in 2007. Ststistics indicates that Ganguly is on the top among the Fab four since 2007 with an Avg 82/match (inspite of bad performance in Srilanka). No doubt, his fielding skills are not impressive but his experience is very much important for Australia tour. He definately deserves another chance before his retirement. Also, Gupta's review did not mentioned anything about Tendulkar's performance. His saga of "Injuries" continues since 2005 and yet, his inclusion in the team without 'fitness' should rise several questions on the transparency of selection team. Looks like, executive editor's review is biased to some extent and sure, it must have surprised many CRICKET followers.

  • rvenkat on October 2, 2008, 11:28 GMT

    "Playing Ganguly is not a disaster". Shocking statement!! how can u first of all relate Ganguly with disaster. He was/is and will be( read as,for the aus series) the man to pull out India from any disaster. Be it the 144 in Brisbane or the recent 87 against south africa on a minefield where, without his 87, we would have been embarresed in spite of playing on the track that suited our style of cricket.secondly, what explanation you expect from Srikkanth for inclusion of ganguly. ganguly was in the team for the last series against Srilanka and now he is in the team. Since his comeback, he was the top run getter among the 'fab four' leaving out the srilankan series where all the four failed to make impact.i dont know why only Ganguly is the main target of you ppl(mediapersons).Sachin has not played well for the past year,but not a single person dares to question his place. Rahul Dravid is out of form of late, but no questions asked about his form. its time u ppl stop writing about dada.

  • StJohn on October 2, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Perhaps more transparency & candour about the reasons for including Ganguly in the squad might have been good. But selections in the sub-continent, particularly in India & Pakistan, have always been somewhat political, provoking controversy and excitement - no doubt due in part to the great passion for cricket in those countries. But the Indian selection panel is not a democratically elected body and there is no duty of public accountability & oversight of such decisions. Ganguly's inclusion is not so wild, freakish or out-of-left-field that it demands justification. Frankly, I would have been more suprised if he hadn't been included. Let's just see what happens on the field now and get on with it!

  • StJohn on October 2, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    All this debate about the Indian team & selections is becoming very repetitive & self-absorbed. Picking Ganguly, or not picking him, makes very little difference. There are very good arguments for including him & there are very good arguments for picking someone new. First - it's only a squad of 15 for a Test match: Ganguly isn't even in the final starting XI yet; if Badrinath plays, will it matter at all that Ganguly was picked in the squad? Second - whether it's Badrinath, Ganguly or anybody else batting at number 6 - it's highly unlikely that it will determine the outcome. Everyone seems to write like this one team position is crucial to the outcome. Well, it isn't: it's up to the ten other guys in the team to do their part too. Just pick what you think is your best team and get on with it. The sun will still rise tomorrow whether you win, lose or draw, and whether or not Ganguly plays.

  • FIASNAHK on October 2, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    This is a very silly topic brought about by the media. Ganguly has actually done very well after his comeback in 2006 scoring a few hundreds. But right after one poor series there is a call for him to be axed. Mendis is in a league of his own and apart from sehwag and gambhir, all the batsmen struggled in that tour. Why not axe dravid? or tendulkar? let ganguly play a few more matches before judging.

  • SKUMAR2009 on October 2, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    All the comments I read against the inclusion of Ganguly, I ask them to go through this following statistics: 2007 S.C Ganguly 10 Matches 1106 Runs R.Dravid 10 Matches 606 Runs VVS Laxman 8 Matches 496 Runs SR Tendulkar 9 Matches 726 Runs

    2008 S.C Ganguly 9 Matches 459 Runs R.Dravid 9 Matches 542 Runs VVS Laxman 9 Matches 640 Runs SR Tendulkar 7 Matches 511 Runs

    Average Runs per match S.C Ganguly 82.36 Runs R.Dravid 60.42 Runs VVS Laxman 66.82 Runs SR Tendulkar 77.31 Runs MS DHONI 14 matches 712 Runs @ 50.85 Runs per match. It proves that he much ahead of other 3 in scoring runs. So how can he be dropped before R.Dravid or VVS Laxman. I am sure that he will reply to all his critics by performing agianst Australia. So it is not the Runs or performance, it is merely regionalism which is writing against him. I strongly agree that who ever performs should be retained in the team irespective of his age.All four are all most same ages

  • shakalya on October 2, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    Well I am really dissapointed with this sorts of views and the entire article itself ur just lavishly and indirectly blaming Sourav for his inclusion, well he has nothing to say as he is a cricketer of such great stature and he had proved it again and again how many more times do you guy's need him to show his caliber, it just ridiculous from your part the new selection committee has done a great job and saying about future can you find anyone who is at least as disciplined let alone performance as this seniors those guys Yuvraj,Raina,Rohit Sharma the future they used to party the whole night before any crucial match or finals and the end result we lost the match as in case of Asia CUP 2007. Firstly teach them how to behave then they can compare with the seniors.Further I don;t know whether u know the stats that Sourav is the highest run getter in Indian soil since his comeback at avg. of 77 almost with the highest score 239 at Bangalore itself so pls know the stats and then critisize

  • sray23 on October 2, 2008, 9:20 GMT

    No doubt about it that Ganguly and the rest of the 'Fab Four' aren't getting any younger and therefore, logic states that they must be phased out of Test cricket. We sometimes forget though that India is not the most logical place in the world where daily life runs in a planned way, like say an Australia. Therefore it is not necessarily true that this very logical solution of phasing out seniors would apply in India. We are essentially a people used to growing up in a chaotic environment and I believe more than meticulous planning it is organised chaos which brings out the best in us, albeit sporadically. Ganguly is streets ahead of Rohit Sharma or Badrinath and therefore should play against Australia. I believe India has more of a chance of unearthing new gems after these four retire (most probably at once) and organised chaos surrounding batting selections well and truly begins to reign.

  • njr1330 on October 2, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    While Ganguly's selection may be controversial, he can make the Australians hate him with just one word or a look...this is a talent never to be underestimated !

  • arunrajaram on October 2, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    Ganguly has been the hot topic in all discussions. I'm not sure why such a hype surrounding Ganguly's selection. Did anyone from BCCI told that Ganguly will be dropped for Australia series? It is all Media hype that was created when he was dropped from the Irani trophy squad. The whole indian team (save Sehwag & Gambhir) failed in SL and we lost the series. Ever since we lost that SL series everyone started to give their opinions. Lets put some thought to what we are all speaking. Dhoni and his men are a new becoming a stronger force in ODI and T20. But, Dhoni himself hasn't proved himself in test cricket. We have to think of replacements for the experienced folks, but there has to be a plan. Yuvraj would have been the right choice for ganguly. What happened to him? We sacrificed Sehwag & Dravid to accommodate Yuvraj. He was completely mesmerized in Australia. Media pundits can demand for younger blood but the reality is they are still not good at the test level.

  • amoghm on October 2, 2008, 8:09 GMT

    contd..... Aussies dont produce great teams & players continuously for nothing. They waited on Shane Warne (remember his 1st test?), Heyden, Langer, Mcgrath, Gillespie, even Ponting.... every1 did not start with a bang ... not to mention Steve Waugh... so obviously the point is (age old pain for Indian selection) .... is that let the selection be on merit basis and also the selection of selectors be on merit basis.

  • spinkingKK on October 2, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    Well said. Can't be anymore precise. Honestly, for India's sake, I hope Ganguly comes out and score centuries after centuries and prove all of us wrong. But, even then, if the team loses for lack of fielders, how good are those centuries? Srikanth was a good fielder in his days. But, he gave no importance to the fielding in his selection. Vengsarkar was doing a very good job. Sorry to see him go. These Dravids and Ganguly's don't mind failures anymore. They seems to be just go out and play for the sake of playing and get out and blame for good bowling, horrible pitch etc. At least Tendulkar got some motivation to get lots of records and Laxman got the motivation to always get some runs so that he doesn't get axed next match. Time to change Dravid and Ganguly. I can't see India winning with this team.

  • amoghm on October 2, 2008, 7:30 GMT

    Its obviously change of policy but nothing surprising as far as Indian cricket is concerned. Not for the first (also the last) time that the team composition changes with changes in selection panel. Nothing wrong but the bad part is that it brings in more regional angles. How do you explain otherwise replacement of Rohit Sharma by Badrinath? that of Piyush Chawla by Mishra? While Rohit has done reasonably well in ODIs and T20 & is waiting for his chance in test, player like Chawla needs to be given confidence. Dont judge (or ouster) him with below par performances in 1 or 2 series. Everybody knows & says its takes time for a leggie to develp & settle. This not the way to develop world class players. Same thing applies to many players who have represented India in last few years. Many fast bowlers came & went away , now I think its time for batters & spinners.

  • Farce-Follower on October 2, 2008, 7:21 GMT

    Yet another article without a word about Sachin Tendulkar. Why expect the selectors to be open about Sourav Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman, when the media itself is mum about the most over-hyped player in India. When was the last time we won because of Tendulkar. His century against Pakistan in Mohali a couple of seasons back was so laboured that Pakistan had much less time to negotiate for a draw, when we were in a commanding position. Let Sachin hit 83 on a minefield and earn us a victory, it will be enough to keep him in the team for a couple of years.

  • cyborg909 on October 2, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    "That would have been the way ahead and Ganguly, in the present circumstances, offers the best opportunity to blood a youngster. Of the so-called Fab Four middle-order batsmen, Ganguly's case is the weakest. In the last Test series, against Sri Lanka, VVS Laxman scored the most runs followed by Rahul Dravid and Ganguly. The three rank in the same order on runs scored in Tests played since January 1.

    The difference is accentuated by the add-ons. Ganguly is not a close-in fielder; he has to be hidden on the field and can be an embarrassment in the outfield. Dravid and Laxman are both excellent slip catchers; the first is statistically India's finest slip fielder ever (and closing in on the world record), the second has been in exceptional form of late. "

    If I follow writer's own logic then surely Sachin should be the 1st to be dropped, eh;) but alas! can't touch that. Talk abt bias lolz

  • Saint.Hari on October 2, 2008, 6:55 GMT

    Am surprised that you talk about the FAB FOUR but omit the fourth ... Sachin. His fitness has been a sticky issue of late and his form hasn't been as reassuring as it could be. Saint

  • Roy_Red on October 2, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    There are some fundamental flaws in your article...(i) there is no absolute replacement for Ganguly... new blood either Badrinath or either of Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina... the former looks like someone who needs 3-4 tests to settle down... and the latter duo dont even have domestic runs to back them up... lets face it Gambhir was in the fringes for half a dozen years... Sehwag for all his explosive talent, played his first ODI in 99 and had to wait 2 years to become a regular... an Australian tour is not a place to experiment... its the place to hedge your bets... and in India Ganguly has a fantastic record in tests.... forget the double century.... remember his match winning 80 odd against the South Africans on a hostile pitch... you can experiment all you want in ODIs and nonsensical T20s.. but in tests you need batsemen... not two bit whippersnappers....

  • SajinVarghese on October 2, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    As all say and write,Ganguly is nearing retirement by the end of this crucial series.Like a intense cricket fan,I was eager to see that some young blood have been drafted for this series so that we can slowly build a team for the next generation,however,there was no major changes except the induction of Badrinath & Mishra.I strongly believe that a sudden change in the fab four isn't going to benefit unless we could find an equally competent players and this series was the perfect stage for the beginning of gradual change. Nevertheless,the test team will remain same as we are seeing since past few years and the so-called future players will chit-chat in the reserve bench.Now,the cricket god knows, what will be the future of Indian test cricket-isn't for drowning in T20/IPL's deep ocean

  • L4zybugg3r on October 2, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    One bad series for a player doesnt always merit a dumping, so in Ganguly's case the Sri Lanka series was really just the last straw. Sure since his readmission he has averaged well but it appears that he makes a lot of starts that become wasted - ie not converting fifties to hundreds (and beyond). Essentially he doesn't really look like playing a matchwinning innings too often anymore. Also often the shot selection looks a bit rash, like in the recent Aus series he always tried to attack Brad Hogg. The sad thing is that half of Hogg's wickets in that series were that of Ganguly (4 out of 8). Ganguly is very lucky to be in the side.

  • Percy_Fender on October 2, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    Krish Srikanth was a daring opening batsman who as everyone knows was the pioneer in creating the philosophy that agressive hitting in the first few overs unsettles the bowlers as nothing else. Much the same has been followed by Sehwag and the world has seen how fearless and aggressive he can be. But from the days of having been a fearless player of fast bowling, Srikanth has mellowed considerably. In his media role one could notice how uncommitting his views were. This is indicative of an unclear mind.Of one who will not take risks or even be forthright.In his first foray as Chairman of selectors he has been no different. He probably did not want to fall foul with the Ganguly supporters who were pretty strident when he was dropped sometime ago. He must realise that though Ganguly has been very good in his time, it is time to let him be for someone else younger to be groomed. The groundswell of support that Ganguly has is that of having been India's most successful captain,not player.

  • Siddharth_Pandit on October 2, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    This is one of the better decisions taken by the selectors in recent time. Ganguly had to be in the team if we seek any realistic chance of winning against aussies. His form has been better than laxman and dravid or for that matter even sachin. He performed against Aus and SA recently and come on you can't keep a player out of team in tests because of his fielding. Are those youngsters going to save 100 runs on the field? Cut the crap - The fact is that sourav has done much better in recent past than others. Moreover we don't have anyone in indian team at present to replace any one among fab four.

  • amarta on October 2, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    This is a ridiculous article.Mr Jaya, please check your facts or at least think before writing such an article. I see no reason as to why sourav should have been the weakest link to the fav 5.He has the highest runs among them(the star 4)in the last one year.Not only that we time and again forget one thing whenever we say that he is the least fittest of them; we forget his bowling. Time and again he has chipped in with important wickets when chips have been down.Also, please Mr. Jaya kindly name the batsman who will replace Sourav or for that matter any of the other three -did you have badrinath in mind? why he just scored 2 of 21 balls in today's match against the aussies. Or do you have the tried and failed yuvraj or the talented yet no first class runs Rohit in mind? Please elaborate.

  • vaidyar on October 2, 2008, 6:11 GMT

    Ganguly's return was expected. If they had blooded Bardinath or Rohit Sharma and if they had failed, then we would've seen an article about why Ganguly should have been part of the team for his experience and these youngsters could've debuted against England or in Pakistan... If it was a VRS scheme so be it. It is time we treated players with respect. Australia, for the record, offered such schemes to 3 players. Mark Waugh and Ian Healy took it and announced their retirements before they were "dropped". The third, Steve Waugh went on to create history by playing on for 3 more years. Well, he was a different man altogether.

  • BHARATLIFE on October 2, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Srikanth, today you have shown justice!Ganguly unfairly comes under the scanner for his liability on the field,i get a nauseating feeling it is a hackneyed item!In a test match,SLIPS are not present for eternity,especially with the type of wickets you get nowadays there is less chance of attack,add to that the mercurial nature of our Indian pace and intermitent form of spin,then the seniors are pushed to long on's and third man's.If Ganguly's level of fielding is quoted "lethargic",then so is Laxman's,and add his bowling.Consider 2008,Australia was not too bad,South Africa vs India,very good considering the Kanpur pitch!Just one series he does not contribute,and he should be axed?With the exception of Ghambir and Sehwag,who has?I don't think a player can day in day out be "threatening",a player like Ganguly,maintaining an average of 42+ should get those "gems",does Sachin scores fifty every day?Is Dravid as "impenetrable" as he was?No!I think then no bias needed

  • rssampat on October 2, 2008, 5:14 GMT

    It's ok if some players who have been built into icon's by the media contunie to be treated like god's, even if the fail so consistently that it becomes shamful even to watch. Please dwell on the performance of the so called Great Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the recent seris agnaist south africa, australia and sri lanka in tests and see how he compares to the others performance. mediocare to say the least, but no one has the guts to say so, least of all Mr.Gupta.

  • SHANTIRATNAM on October 2, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    Ganguly is at the end of his cricket life-cycle, its unfair for the pundits to expect him to be India's match winner, the fact that there is so much expectation from Ganguly proves how critical he is as a player in the Indian team. Don't compare GANGULY now VS Badrinath or Rohit Sharma. Are these youngsters as good as Ganguly or Dravid when G & D made their test debuts? Srikanth has done the right thing, he has picked a player who has performed well in the last 20 test matches with an average of over 45 runs per innings. You cannot pick or leave out Ganguly for his fielding..there are youngsters like Shewag, Gambir, Dhoni and the bowlers who can look after the fielding, whilst Ganguly is a handy bowler who has broken several crucial partneships. Why no one talks about that. Well Done Mr.Srikanth.

  • samarthdada1 on October 2, 2008, 5:05 GMT

    How rather carefully you ignore the case of Sachin Tendulkar and leave him out of the comparisons between Laxman, Dravid, and Ganguly. Oh thats right, Tendulkar is God and we are mere mortals to even be foolish enough to bring his place in question. Perhaps some hidden motive/agenda of your own here? And exactly how long do you expect to extend this "longer rope" to Dravid, who has been so woefully and sadly out of form for the past 2 years that he neither deserves nor warrants to be called as the "Wall" anymore. The man doesn't build his innings, but rather crawls in his new, almost pale avatar. Look at the statistics for a change Mr. Gupta. The same people who had called for Ganguly's head during the Chappell era were forced to eat humble pie after he completed a remarkably miraculous comeback against Pakistan the last time India played at Bangalore, with that knock of 239 that you speak of. Perhaps, you should've waited till Oct. 9 to publish this, lest you be forced to eat pie..?

  • ivanjoseph on October 2, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    You are so wrong about this. Every selection panel must choose the best side possible and this is the wrong time to get rid of a tried and tested performer. Let's not talk about the SL series where only Sehwag and Gambhir performed - if you look at performances before that Ganguly has been very good. This is the right choice and I say to the selectors - well done!

    The premise that if you pick someone now, in 3 years when the two sides meet again the batting will be better is a leap into the uncertain future and does not hold water. Teams must always be picked on the ability to win that particular series. Experience must not have to pay a tax and youth must not be given a subsidy.

    I am more energized than ever about this series now - the Indian veterans after famous battles over so many years now have a chance to win a big one against their most famous adversary. Good luck to them and special luck to the much maligned Saurav. He deserves every success that comes his way.

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  • ivanjoseph on October 2, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    You are so wrong about this. Every selection panel must choose the best side possible and this is the wrong time to get rid of a tried and tested performer. Let's not talk about the SL series where only Sehwag and Gambhir performed - if you look at performances before that Ganguly has been very good. This is the right choice and I say to the selectors - well done!

    The premise that if you pick someone now, in 3 years when the two sides meet again the batting will be better is a leap into the uncertain future and does not hold water. Teams must always be picked on the ability to win that particular series. Experience must not have to pay a tax and youth must not be given a subsidy.

    I am more energized than ever about this series now - the Indian veterans after famous battles over so many years now have a chance to win a big one against their most famous adversary. Good luck to them and special luck to the much maligned Saurav. He deserves every success that comes his way.

  • samarthdada1 on October 2, 2008, 5:05 GMT

    How rather carefully you ignore the case of Sachin Tendulkar and leave him out of the comparisons between Laxman, Dravid, and Ganguly. Oh thats right, Tendulkar is God and we are mere mortals to even be foolish enough to bring his place in question. Perhaps some hidden motive/agenda of your own here? And exactly how long do you expect to extend this "longer rope" to Dravid, who has been so woefully and sadly out of form for the past 2 years that he neither deserves nor warrants to be called as the "Wall" anymore. The man doesn't build his innings, but rather crawls in his new, almost pale avatar. Look at the statistics for a change Mr. Gupta. The same people who had called for Ganguly's head during the Chappell era were forced to eat humble pie after he completed a remarkably miraculous comeback against Pakistan the last time India played at Bangalore, with that knock of 239 that you speak of. Perhaps, you should've waited till Oct. 9 to publish this, lest you be forced to eat pie..?

  • SHANTIRATNAM on October 2, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    Ganguly is at the end of his cricket life-cycle, its unfair for the pundits to expect him to be India's match winner, the fact that there is so much expectation from Ganguly proves how critical he is as a player in the Indian team. Don't compare GANGULY now VS Badrinath or Rohit Sharma. Are these youngsters as good as Ganguly or Dravid when G & D made their test debuts? Srikanth has done the right thing, he has picked a player who has performed well in the last 20 test matches with an average of over 45 runs per innings. You cannot pick or leave out Ganguly for his fielding..there are youngsters like Shewag, Gambir, Dhoni and the bowlers who can look after the fielding, whilst Ganguly is a handy bowler who has broken several crucial partneships. Why no one talks about that. Well Done Mr.Srikanth.

  • rssampat on October 2, 2008, 5:14 GMT

    It's ok if some players who have been built into icon's by the media contunie to be treated like god's, even if the fail so consistently that it becomes shamful even to watch. Please dwell on the performance of the so called Great Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the recent seris agnaist south africa, australia and sri lanka in tests and see how he compares to the others performance. mediocare to say the least, but no one has the guts to say so, least of all Mr.Gupta.

  • BHARATLIFE on October 2, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Srikanth, today you have shown justice!Ganguly unfairly comes under the scanner for his liability on the field,i get a nauseating feeling it is a hackneyed item!In a test match,SLIPS are not present for eternity,especially with the type of wickets you get nowadays there is less chance of attack,add to that the mercurial nature of our Indian pace and intermitent form of spin,then the seniors are pushed to long on's and third man's.If Ganguly's level of fielding is quoted "lethargic",then so is Laxman's,and add his bowling.Consider 2008,Australia was not too bad,South Africa vs India,very good considering the Kanpur pitch!Just one series he does not contribute,and he should be axed?With the exception of Ghambir and Sehwag,who has?I don't think a player can day in day out be "threatening",a player like Ganguly,maintaining an average of 42+ should get those "gems",does Sachin scores fifty every day?Is Dravid as "impenetrable" as he was?No!I think then no bias needed

  • vaidyar on October 2, 2008, 6:11 GMT

    Ganguly's return was expected. If they had blooded Bardinath or Rohit Sharma and if they had failed, then we would've seen an article about why Ganguly should have been part of the team for his experience and these youngsters could've debuted against England or in Pakistan... If it was a VRS scheme so be it. It is time we treated players with respect. Australia, for the record, offered such schemes to 3 players. Mark Waugh and Ian Healy took it and announced their retirements before they were "dropped". The third, Steve Waugh went on to create history by playing on for 3 more years. Well, he was a different man altogether.

  • amarta on October 2, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    This is a ridiculous article.Mr Jaya, please check your facts or at least think before writing such an article. I see no reason as to why sourav should have been the weakest link to the fav 5.He has the highest runs among them(the star 4)in the last one year.Not only that we time and again forget one thing whenever we say that he is the least fittest of them; we forget his bowling. Time and again he has chipped in with important wickets when chips have been down.Also, please Mr. Jaya kindly name the batsman who will replace Sourav or for that matter any of the other three -did you have badrinath in mind? why he just scored 2 of 21 balls in today's match against the aussies. Or do you have the tried and failed yuvraj or the talented yet no first class runs Rohit in mind? Please elaborate.

  • Siddharth_Pandit on October 2, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    This is one of the better decisions taken by the selectors in recent time. Ganguly had to be in the team if we seek any realistic chance of winning against aussies. His form has been better than laxman and dravid or for that matter even sachin. He performed against Aus and SA recently and come on you can't keep a player out of team in tests because of his fielding. Are those youngsters going to save 100 runs on the field? Cut the crap - The fact is that sourav has done much better in recent past than others. Moreover we don't have anyone in indian team at present to replace any one among fab four.

  • Percy_Fender on October 2, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    Krish Srikanth was a daring opening batsman who as everyone knows was the pioneer in creating the philosophy that agressive hitting in the first few overs unsettles the bowlers as nothing else. Much the same has been followed by Sehwag and the world has seen how fearless and aggressive he can be. But from the days of having been a fearless player of fast bowling, Srikanth has mellowed considerably. In his media role one could notice how uncommitting his views were. This is indicative of an unclear mind.Of one who will not take risks or even be forthright.In his first foray as Chairman of selectors he has been no different. He probably did not want to fall foul with the Ganguly supporters who were pretty strident when he was dropped sometime ago. He must realise that though Ganguly has been very good in his time, it is time to let him be for someone else younger to be groomed. The groundswell of support that Ganguly has is that of having been India's most successful captain,not player.

  • L4zybugg3r on October 2, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    One bad series for a player doesnt always merit a dumping, so in Ganguly's case the Sri Lanka series was really just the last straw. Sure since his readmission he has averaged well but it appears that he makes a lot of starts that become wasted - ie not converting fifties to hundreds (and beyond). Essentially he doesn't really look like playing a matchwinning innings too often anymore. Also often the shot selection looks a bit rash, like in the recent Aus series he always tried to attack Brad Hogg. The sad thing is that half of Hogg's wickets in that series were that of Ganguly (4 out of 8). Ganguly is very lucky to be in the side.