Posts Tagged ‘Sourav Ganguly’

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

In a dramatic twist of events leading up to the Adelaide Test, former Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly has done a Shahid Afridi and has announced a sensational return to International Cricket, citing Paul Scholes of Manchester United as an inspiration to make this decision.

“Coming from the state of Bengal, football is followed with an equal intensity as cricket is. I have been playing football with a cricket ball for some time now, combining my two loves, and it has helped me sight a cricket ball now like a foot ball. When a friend of mine called me from Kolkata and said that the streets are flooded with posters calling for my return and citing Scholes as an example, I told myself that if Scholes does it, then Sourav does it too” announced Dada at a press conference outside Perth airport.

Dada returns from the saloon to save Indian cricket

“And it wasn’t just about Scholes. It was more. I averaged 53 this domestic season and even blew out Delhi’s tail in a terrorizing spell of less-than-medium-medium-slow-reverse-swing bowling where I took 3 for 1 off 7 deliveries. Besides, I am in fine nick playing Howzat cricket online. Of course, I wanted to step up for what I represent – Pune Warriors. They haven’t got anyone playing this series. Yuvi is out injured, as is Tim Paine,” he added.

When asked whether he’d be captaining the side at Adelaide, a thoroughly pleased Saurav said “I would have thought that was obvious. Now that Dhoni is suspended, I will be filling in. Coming to think of it, why do you even think Dhoni was suspended in the first place?”

When questioned on how he feels his form is, Dada looked pleasantly surprised. “I scored 135 against Haryana – any of you read that? Haryana is Kapil Dev’s state, and I’ve literally scored 135 runs against one of the greatest all-rounders the game has seen. Do I need to justify my selection anymore?”

Tom Moody, who was present at the vicinity, was pleasantly surprised by the nature of the announcement.

“I had no idea Saurav would do something like this,” said Moody when questioned whether his co-commentator during the series had shown any signs of interest in returning to International Cricket. “All he kept mentioning was Dinda, Dinda and more Dinda – Dinda bowls faster than Umesh, Dinda bowls craftier than Zaheer, Dinda can spin the ball better than Ashwin, Dinda is taller than Ishant, heck, he is even taller than you Tom … and every now and then, he questioned why Dhoni wasn’t bringing Dinda in to the attack.”

ESPN STAR Network, on the other hand, acknowledged that they were informed about the decision made by Saurav by his agent the previous day.

“Dada’s agent called us the previous day to inform on his decision,” said an unknown representative of STAR. “He has a commentary contract to honor – and he said he’ll stand by it. He will commentate while on the field in Adelaide – while batting, bowling and misfielding. He will even stop the cricket when the replays are being shown so that he could dissect them to closure and call the umpire names should he get a decision wrong – in the capacity of an expert. It is understood that it will not be considered as dissent. He will also hold up play till all commercials in the ad breaks are complete and ensure cricket resumes only after that.”

Meanwhile, a delighted Harbhajan Singh was seen running around Jalandhar, bare-chested, twirling his shirt with more vigour and spin than his bowling has seen in a decade. He was heard screaming that his shin had healed miraculously and reckoned he was worth his place in the Indian team as a batsman alone given his overseas batting record is as good as any of the Indian top-order. Also, re reckoned that he will unleash his new mystery delivery – the reverse-spinner – on Ponting & co very soon.

Reactions from the Indian camp are awaited.


Prasad Moyarath

An Australian tour always provided an ultimate test of character for any cricketer and remained a tough frontier to conquer for any team. The pace and bounce of the Australian pitches combined with its bigger boundaries intimidated the batsmen from the subcontinent to such an extent that a big innings in Australia is epitomised as his ability to play quality fast bowling. Off-spinners struggling, fast bowlers bowling a wrong length, fielders struggling with their throw from the boundary, wicket-keepers fumbling are all common problems faced by the teams from the subcontinent in Australia. The Australian media are well known for their attack on opposition captain and almost all sub-continental teams have had some bitter experience in the past.

Yet another Australian tour is round the corner for the Indian cricket team. Indian selectors have announced a 17 member squad for the four test series which looks strong and well balanced in paper. But for any cricket connoisseur, this team does not inspire any confidence. Though this team has a set of talented youngsters and established stars, the way this team has been groomed as a unit and its preparation for this tough tour has raised the eyebrows of many. Having followed many Indian tours of Australia particularly the last two in 2003-04 and 2007-08, this team for me, does not look strong enough to conquer Australia even with their new look side.

Sreesanth and Harbhajan are known to get under the skin of the Aussies. They might be missed. © The Indian Express

India drew the series 1-1 in 2003-04 and lost 2-1 in 2007-08. Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Zaheer who were part of those two tours are still there in this team. Dhoni toured Australia in 2007-08. Team with 6 experienced players should have an upper hand against a new look Australian squad. But a look at the performances of the 6 Indian experienced stars makes me jittery. Zaheer is coming out of an injury. Though Sehwag has scored a few half centuries after his come back, his performances have not been convincing. But Sehwag is unpredictable and can fire any time and India’s performance in Australia depends to a great extent on the innings he plays there. Dravid has been in great form and should continue his dream run in Australia. The whole nation is waiting for a century from Tendulkar and this expectation seems to affect the great master. Despite his big knocks in India, Tendulkar does not look to be in a good rhythm. Laxman has always produced some wonderful performances against Australians, but age seems to have caught up with him. His feet are not moving like in his younger days and with his slow reflexes, he can be a burden on the field in Australia. Dhoni has a dubious batting record outside the sub continent and his keeping has also not lived up to the expectations recently. Australians are well known for their meticulous planning and they are sure to exploit the above weaknesses of Indian stars.

It will be the first test series in Australia for Gambhir (though he impressed in the one-day series there back in 2008). Kohli is yet to cement his place in the test squad and his weakness against short pitched balls which became evident in West Indies will be exploited by Australians. He needs to display how he has rectified this short coming. Rahane and Rohit Sharma are yet to make their debut in test cricket and don’t expect to play any part in the test team unless any of the batsmen gets injured. Only one among the two spinners will play in 3 test matches except in Sydney. Praveen Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron will relish the conditions and it is up to them to make their presence felt. Saha will be a mere passenger unless Dhoni gets injured. India needs to play Umesh and Varun in all the test matches and knowing the leadership style of Dhoni, it looks a distant dream.

What is lacking in this “strong” team compared to the previous tours? To be honest, this Indian team lacks characters, those who have the guts to fight it out in the middle and those who can inspire others with their cameo. India will surely miss players like Saurav Ganguly, Sreesanth and Harbhajan. It is not that these players should be included in this squad, but this team lacks “something” which these players have which will help them fight against all odds.

What could have been done to improve India’s chances? The West Indian tour to India ahead of this Australian tour is a big blunder. The flat pitches here did not help the cause either. The Indian selectors and the team management never bothered to groom the players. Rohit Sharma was identified as a test batsman very late and the captain did not have the courage to play him in place of an established star even after winning the series. Same is the case with Rahane. The Indian selectors have still not identified the players to replace the 3 greats. They should have played Rahane and Rohit by resting Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman in rotation. Now it is suicidal to blood these batsmen in trying conditions in Australia in case of a crisis. Parthiv Patel as a reserve keeper would have solved the batsmen’s injury worries considering his experience in Australia. Why the selectors don’t consider him as a batsman despite some crucial knocks against Brett Lee and Shoaib Akhtar is still a mystery. By denying a chance for Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron to bowl in tandem in Mumbai, the Indian team management missed a golden opportunity to groom a new fast bowling pair. With a captain who wants the Indian test pitches to assist spinners from the first day onwards, this was not unexpected.

The years 2003 and 2007 left the Indian cricket lovers broken hearted due to the Boxing Day test matches in Melbourne. The year 2011 seems to end in the same note. Unless the Indian openers give a sound start and our team management gives up their defensive thinking and our new fast bowlers rip through the Australian batting line up, this Indian team don’t seem capable of presenting a happy 2012 to its fans. Good Luck Dhoni and team.

 Srikrishnan Chandrasekaran

 30 August 2011

Indian cricket players have failed to make an impression on any of the three key areas of cricket during this series (batting, bowling and fielding). Each of these attributes fell short of their standards day after day and each one of them is interconnected to the other. The series has shown not only lack of preparation from our players but also their responsibility towards alerting their board on their fitness. They really forget about the billions of people who will be cheering them up on their matches.

The time has come for Indian cricket board to form a team for the next generation. The series against England gives the opportunity to the selectors to pick the right talent for the coming years. The trio (Sachin, Laxman and Dravid) have been serving Indian cricket marvelously over the past two decades, but are now more closer to the end than ever before. Therefore it is imperative for them to groom the younger generation to build a stronger Indian team before they make their way out.

Time is running out on India's big three. It's imperative they groom the next generation before they leave,

In the recent times some of the top emerging teams have got a higher proportion of young blood with an eye to form stronger teams for the future. The Indian team needs to work out a plan to reduce the one man dependency either on both bowling and batting. Retired cricketers like Kumble and Srinath need to come up with a plan to design young talent into spirited and well organized bowlers. May be, putting Kumble’s blueprint for Indian cricket into practice could be a good place to start for the board.

Out of Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag, only 2 or 3 of them should be picked up in the playing XI. These players have already proved to the world how wonderful players they are and immensely contributed to the Indian cricket over the years. The next 2 years their focus should be towards building a stronger Indian team for the future. Many players can score centuries or win tournaments for the country, but only few players can sacrifice and help to build a strong team.

Each of these experienced players should be ready to play at different batting positions in the test cricket to give the opportunity for the young generation to play along with them in the Test cricket. This will really help to groom 3 to 4 young players into the team. Players like Kohli, Raina, Mukund, Rohit should be given more opportunities to transform their talent into performances in the longer format of cricket. As these young players are very good on the field, they will also improve the fielding standards drastically.

On the bowling front Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Ashwin have shown enormous talent and proved their selections match after match. Apart from these 3 players Ohja and Amit Mishra have improved a lot. These players should be given additional guidance and enough chances to be in playing XI.

Wishing the Indian cricket all the very best and expecting the Kumble, Srinath, Ganguly and Gavaskar to train and utilize the right talent to form a next generation cricket team so that the fans around the globe will enjoy the immense talent the Indian youth have on offer.