India in Pakistan, 2005-06 December 29, 2005

Ganguly's selection detrimental - former Pakistan players

Daily News

Former players feel Sourav Ganguly's selection will favour Pakistan © Getty Images
The contentious selection of Sourav Ganguly in the touring squad for the Tests in Pakistan - many former Pakistan players believe - will go in favour of Pakistan. A random survey conducted by The News after speaking to several former Test and international players and even some Board officials, who didn't want to be identified, showed the majority believes that Ganguly's selection will cause friction in the Indian dressing room.

"It is no secret that neither the Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain, nor Greg Chappell, their coach, wanted him in the team. Then he has been preferred over someone like Mohammad Kaif who has been doing well for them recently. It's obvious that his presence in the dressing room will not be the best thing for their team spirit in Pakistan," a well-known former Test player said.

"I don't know but it appears as they've problems there over his selection. And I think Ganguly himself will be under a lot of pressure to perform now given the circumstances in which he has been selected for the Pakistan tour," Mushtaq Mohammad, the former Test captain, said.

Rashid Khan, another former Test player pointed out the differences between Ganguly and the team management was well documented in recent months and even now there were problems over his failure to play a domestic match. "I don't know but all the signs are there that the Indian team which tours Pakistan this year and the one that came last year and won in Pakistan are going to be two different outfits," he stated.

Another Pakistan player still in the running noted that Ganguly had been captain for a long period of time and had enjoyed absolute power and authority as captain. "How he is going to adjust now to the changed circumstances where he knows the captain and coach are not in his favour will be interesting to see. But this tension will only benefit Pakistan team which is now a united outfit under Inzamam-ul-Haq," he added.

Ganguly was dropped during the Test series against Sri Lanka and this led to widespread protests in his hometown Kolkata and some other parts of India who burnt effigies of the selectors and Chappell to show their protest. Even sections of the Indian media have reported that Ganguly's selection was more a political appeasement move than anything else as in India regional politics was very strong.

"It'll be interesting to see where they bat him in the Tests given that Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh have all scored runs while they've also included two other openers in Gautam Gambhir and Wasim Jaffer," Mushtaq said. But he warned that Pakistan should not take the Indian team lightly because their batting was much stronger than that of England, saying the Indians were used to playing in Pakistani conditions.