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Here we go again....
Blog Entry - Blog Sunday, 20 January 2008 09:57
Contributed by Sreeram Ramachandran    (3660 views)

So let's make this very brief, since the general line of criticism and complaints here is going to be extremely similar to rants in the past such as the ones that followed when Dravid was dropped. Let us just dwell on the few points that are a little different and merit separate attention.

For the rest a link will be provided to a piece written when Dravid was excluded, since several of the arguments overlap.

Saurav Ganguly has scored 1240 runs in his last 12 months of test cricket, at an average of 44.28, with only four other players in International cricket doing better. Suresh Raina is not one of them, neither is Gautam Gambhir (no disrespect intended to the players mentioned).

The line 'building for the future' is one of the most abused, misused and misdirected statements in Indian cricket. If you want to build a company for the future you don't do it by asking the CEO to take a nice long walk, and getting a junior employee to fill his seat. You make the young promising turk an understudy to the CEO so he can replace him smoothly when the time comes. Rushing towards the 'future' and being blind to the present is a concept you have to wonder at. One gets the impression Matthew Hayden and the rest of his mid-30's mates from the Australian team would be glad they weren't Indian cricketers.

The other explanation being farmed around is they are trying to build a 'young fielding side'. Nice thought, but how about run-scoring? That is not the primary requirement then, apparently. Fielding is extremely important but good luck to you if you are going to place that over batting and bowling. It might be an interesting exercise to ask a cricket-literate Sri Lankan to consider replacing Arjuna Ranatunga in the 1990's Lankan side with someone with a 32 inch waist and watch his reaction.

Not looking to get on to Gambhir's case, but just to offer an illustration, Gambhir averages 35.22 in 2007, and while Ganguly is clearly someone you might try and hide on the field, he cannot possibly be too much worse than Gambhir, can he? Not so bad that it outweighs the extra value Ganguly adds with the bat.

Ahh, we are already beginning to run into rather obvious arguments that should be visible to anyone, especially the selectors. There really is little more to say that hasn't been said before, so here is the Dravid-omission article as promised....
An interesting argument was raised earlier on this website about how relevant, or irrelevant, this whole debate about experience and youth is. With the recent turn of events, this debate has suddenly become relevant, so here is the article



  • Ramesh  - Ramky

    Must say you are right. But the crassness of it all is astounding. The BCCI could have at least asked Kumble who anyway has retired from ODIs by his own volition, to talk to the seniors and perhaps the five of them could have addressed the media together in order to make the team more united, the youngsters to respect them more and the media to have no grist to its mill. Kumble could have swung it, considering the manner in which he has handled what (needlessly) became an international cause diplomatique. Of course, Rahul and Sourav have the steel in them to make a statement with their bats at Adelaide, and so does Lakshman. But one despairs. Why can't, oh, why can't the BCCI be more professional, civilised and caring? Even Pakistan has begun to look after its cricketers with greater care. Look at the way in which they have handled the injury of Mohammed Asif. Or for that matter, the way in which the Sri Lankan board handles succession. What the BCCI needs urgently is a child psychologist to counsel the BCCI how to handle young persons.

    Agree with you that the test is all. The one-day series is for the ignoscenti. Hope the teams bands together and wins, for test cricket's sake. If they do, this series will be spoken of in the same breath as the tied test series of 60-61.
  • Ramesh  - ramky
    Jaideep and sreeram,
    What baffles is the timing of the announcement. Why such hurry when the team needs unity to overcome the fearsome challenge that a stung Australia is set to pose at Adelaide? Everyone (nearly all non-Australian cricketing fraternity) wants India to win at Adelaide. But the BCCI for some reason wants to create as much problems for Kumble as possible. Is is because they want to take away the halo that has emerged around Anil's sound head? Is it that they would be satisfied with a draw? Kumble is not a BCCI favourite. He has been the players' spokesperson in pay negotiations with BCCI. His dignity and grace is not BCCI cup of tea whose feudal lords know nothing about thinking, sophistication, articulation and grace under pressure. Take the inarticulate Ratnakar Shetty who embarrasses every Indian the moment he opens his mouth. Any autorickshaw driver in Bangalore would make a more articulate and suave Secretary of BCCI than Ratnakar Shetty or the other guy, Nair.

    Kumble was selected as captain not because BCCI wanted it so, but it had no options. Rahul had quit and BCCI wanted time to think. India was to play Pakistan and Australia and there was not much time to throw up a successor to Dravid. For the BCCI money is everything and pride can stuff itself. One feels that it simply did not care about the implications of announcing the one-day team in such unholy hurry.

    Another factor that could have weighed with BCCI in jumping the gun is the fact that the seniors have done well. The seniors are tough to deal with. Kumble speaks his mind. Rahul does so with his actions such as quitting the captaincy in disgust although no one expected him to. Ganguly, of course is a handful. Lakshman has in the past said what he thinks of the selectors and by implication the BCCI. The BCCI, like dictators anywhere else, does not like dissent and challenge. Hence the introduction of newcomers who can be manipulated.

    If age is a matter of concern, how come the BCCI does have age criterion for its office-bearers? How come the youngest among Australian players who can bank on his place in the team, Brett Lee is 31?

    All that BCCI has done is provide great relief to the Aussies who were looking scared. The announcement of the ODI team would definitely damage the combative unity and purposive focus that Kumble had brought about. How will the seniors focus on the game knowing fully well that they have been dumped? The best way to face Adelaide is for Kumble, Rahul, Ganguly and Lakshman to return home and allow the newly selected one-day team to play the test.
  • jaideepv  - unfortunate
    Having separate captains for ODIs and tests is actually a dream situation for the members of the BCCI, and the selectors, who are nothing if not political. Divide and rule is so much easier now.
    This is the unfortunate legacy of the T20 win unfortunately. Suddenly, the selectors don't have to take any more "attitude" from the senior players and can enjoy the benefits of two power centres. It is difficult otherwise to justify getting rid of two of the greatest batsmen India has produced before they've reached anywhere near the end of their game. In tests, which requires superior skills, they are both thriving still. Indeed, the Matthew Hayden example is very apt that you make. Not just Ganguly and Dravid, it would have made a lot of sense to have Laxman in the 16 too, because these are acclimitised players, top-class ones, and IN FORM. "Building a team for the future" is all very fine, but when that future is always mixed up with teh present, it becomes difficult to swallow.
    Instead of demoralising Dravid and Ganguly, let's hope this spurs them on to great things in Adelaide, to prove their point. Because, and let's have no doubt about this - this Adelaide match is about 5000 times more significant than the silly tri-series to follow.

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