Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ganguly - Those who live by the sword die by it

Note: People have this irresistable urge to label anything they don't agree as predjudiced. I think all blogs are prejudiced towards the author's opinion. For example Mr. Objective's blog would be prejudiced towards objective opinion. Everybody else's blog is certainly not Mr.Objective's opinion. Hawkeye's blog is prejudiced towards Hawkeye opinion. So if you are gonna use the 'p' word in the comment, it would help to understand towards what (in terms of ulterior motive) is my view prejudiced for or against.
I am laughing at the whole Saurav Ganguly sacking episode. Sort of deriving indescribable pleasure watching people passionately feel angry, wasting million megabytes in expressing their frustration. I will add more to it. You know as the saying goes! If it weren't for "time" everything would happen at once. The funny thing about time is that - it spaces two incidents so far apart. So far apart that people completely forget the earlier incident when witsnessing the new one. This always amazes me. People never stop to think if their views on a particular incident would contradict an older similar incident. So they say stuff which makes them look like fools.

So to compress time and juxtapose two very important things in cricket let me take you back to 1996. India had just lost the World Cup Semi-Finals against Lanka in Eden gardens, People were so over eager to have Sachin as captain and were blaming Azhar for "screwing up" by chosing to chase in Eden (when everybody were baying for his blood for batting first against SL in Kotla during the prelim games). Unsurprisingly Azhar was retained as captain until the England series.

After the World Cup India played a tri-series in Sharjah with Pak and South Africa. Sambran Banerjee was the selector representing East Zone. In those days people were hell bent on pushing a player from their zone. Much similar to now but then they were less subtle about it. So Sambran (who surprisingly was not critisized by experts for his lack of cricketing credentials - it is suddenly a big thing now) selected an East Zone player (Bhupinder Singh Jr (or something similar) ) for that tri-series in Sharjah. He failed obviously. I think Prashant Vaidya was the next obligatory team member, courtesy Sambran Banerjee, from East Zone for India's next tour to Singapore for a tri-series with Pak, Lanka. Rahul Dravid made his debut in this series (with a moustache and all). Then came the England tour. This was a longish tour for us. India had a month (imagine one full month of preparation) of 3-day 4-day games against several counties before playing their first International match. As part of India's holy tradition of selectoral/zonal politics another meritless player from East Zone was pushed into the Indian team. It was almost like a constitutional law. He had complete lack of merit (relative to Sharaths, Muzumdars and Laxmans in Ranji trophy). No business to be in the Indian team at all. But Sambran Banerjee pushed him in because India needed to have a E.Zone player. This player was Saurav Chandidas Ganguly.

What followed next was interesting for the next 30 days or so until the second Test at Lords, every reporter, journalist and commentator bitched about Ganguly's inclusion. Don't kid yourself - These are the very same people who are now mourning Ganguly's axing - Mohinder Amarnath, Yashpal Sharma, Srikkanth, Kapil Dev. Didn't know all this did ya? If you had forgotten, let me remind you. Everybody wrote at least 1 article or made 1 statement every day that Zonal politics was wrecking Indian cricket and that Ganguly's inclusion was the symptom of Zonal politics. Saurav, isnpite of being the most hated player then, played some tour matches. He played when Sachin captained a few tour matches. He would not have played in Lords if Manjrekar wasn't injured in the Edgbaston test and Sidhu didn't storm out the tour after a spat with Azhar. So he made his debut and scored a century. At this point all the people who were bitching big time turned hypocrites and said "He is India's future". I didn't like Ganguly even when he hit the century at Lords. Every time I looked at him for the next 9 years I thought - "he is a symbol of selectoral politics". The thing that surprises me was - how come the general Indian public are so stupid. Incredibly, unbelievably stupid. People have such short-term memory that it offends me that such people are allowed to watch cricket. How does one century change all the evil that happened before.

This has been and will be Indian cricket fan's major weakness. This stupidity of being emotional and calling that virtue a pride. I think its a sign of stupidity. Anything that focuses on emotion and not logic is stupidity. Ganguly scores 7 ducks and then he scores a century, people will say "look he proved himself - how can you say he is not a good batsman". The century does not erase the 7 ducks. It is still there. Look at the record books. Its still there. Thats why he is a bad batsman. Unsurprisingly, he turned out to be a below average test cricketer (mediocre at best) - who would have been dropped if he played for any other country way back in 2000 itself. In fact he made only 6 or 7 worthy contributions to Indian TEST cricket as a batsman. I can rattle of his contributions from the top of my head. Wait...In fact I will. In his nine year test career, the worthy contributions are - 2 centuries in England, 1996 (and a 99, 100+ in the next tour, 2002), 1 century in Australia, 2003, a 70 odd against Windies in POS, 2002, two 70's in the same test in Johanessberg in 97, a 90+ while chasing against SL in Kandy. This is all I can remember about him. I may have missed 1 or 2 innings. But in net - this is his contribution as a BATSMAN to Indian cricket. For a 9 year career - this mediocrity is so bad that it is almost offensive.

Having placed the context, let us watch the recent developments. He came into the team as an "allrounder". He was considered for a spot that Zaheer Khan was considered for and got selected ahead of Zaheer. That to me is again selectoral politics. But people don't notice it when he comes in. Selectors do not suddenly become biased or politics does not suddenly come into the picture. It has always been there, otherwise Ganguly wouldn't have played cricket at all. Gangulay is now dropped and replaced by an opener. So essentially Jaffer comes into a spot that Zaheer Khan was considered for. Ganguly is dropped because of selectoral politics. Yeah Dude "if you live by the sword you die by it". I have no sympathy for Ganguly. I think he fully deserves any kind of selectoral bias against him. There is so much catching up to do for his life to come a full circle. And where the hell would you play him in the squad? I dont think Yuvraj can be kept out NOW because 3 years ago Ganguly was considered a good player.

Finally, Everybody except Agarkar should be judged by performance to merit a place in the side. The captain should be selected after the team. There should be no doubt that a captain is a person who does his primary job well and then is good enough to take additional responsibility. Agarkar is the only exception. I think he should be made captain of the Indian team and also its Board President for the next 10 years. He himself is confused. While Ganguly is desparately trying to get in. Ajit wants to get out and he can't. Imagine that kind of a plight. Poor guy! He gets selected for a year based on just one good performance. He tries so hard to fail and by mistake he slips up and does well in one match and he again has to work hard to continue to fail for the next one year. In fact even the Lankan team wants him. Agarkar's incomptence is so attractive that board has given him permission to captain both teams.

We also must need to learn from Kolkata on how to be parochial. I in fact totally support parochiality. Look at them. They are very clear. Indian cricket comes second. Their man should be selected first. I agree with it. Maybe TN should do the same. Instead of standing up like old british ladies and applauding Pakitsan and Australia, Chennai should stop trying to earn the "sporting crowd" reputation. Tamil Nadu - has seen not once but twice, two captains go from being in captain in one test to either 12th man or out-of-the-squad in the next. Balaji is so casually dropped. Nobody even asks a question. Even the TNCA doesn't care to make at least one statement about Balaji's exclusion. Have you seen Andhra or Hyderabad make even a noise about Laxman's exclusion or Ambatti Rayudu being ignored? Seeing this I feel, Ganguly's issue is going to the parliament is ridiculous.

And another thing: Nobody HAS TO be given a decent exit. Its a privilege Kapil Dev, Viv Richards, Healy, Border, Miandad, Pataudi never got. You earn an exit that is worthy of your cricketing life. Imran Khan, Waugh and Gavaskar to an extent got it. Just to bring in a person back because he has to be given a decent exit insults the person more than the board. On top of it - all the idiots who have been talking about past acheivement - SHUT UP! Kapil Dev has 434 wickets and won the world Cup before, should he be playing NOW based on that historical fact? Should we then by the same account go and dig up Bradman from his grave and put him on the pitch? After all - Nobody has got a better record than Bradman. So shut up with the past acheivements thing. Everybody has an expiry date and Ganguly's seem well past his.

It reminds me of a the rich kids who come to play cricket with us when we were kids. they bring the cricket ball, stumps etc. If you dont let them play for long they will take back the ball, stumps and go home. We had one rich kid who was so obnoxious that we refused to talk to him. He went and complained to his father, who talked to the teacher. The next day the teacher told in class that we had to include him in our friends group. We were like... a nice way to become friends. Ganguly is in a similar situation. He can't survive more than a test if he is not a captain or if he does not have a zonal selector voting for him. The big daddies are trying to force his way into the Indian cricket team, which neither wants him nor needs him.

If he enters the team again, this will not be the first time his selection was influenced by politics. He is the only batsman who has never been judged (by fans, selectors or anybody) based on the runs he has scored. Funny word this - R U N S. Given that Ganguly is a "batsman" does anybody care to look at the R U N S he has scored? Its always -- "look what he has done for India, he made us fighters, he is passionate". But what about runs? Can you spell this word r u n s? Whats he done in that department?

Post Script: Despite the fact that I mentioned TEST cricket in capital letters, somebody will leave a comment talking about his ODI performances. Re-enforces a fact that many Indian fans are not educated enough to distinguish the two.

Somebody will talk about "patriotsim" throw out a couple of "mera bharat mahaan" kind of statements. I am not very sentimental about this kind of crap. I would have shown the middle finger to fans who performed my last rites when I am still alive. I totally agree with everything Greg Chappell has done. And I think he (and Dravid) will do a lot more good to Indian cricket than all the stupid "patriots" put together.


Charu Majumdar said...

hey, agree with you 100%. this is all sheer stupidity. wonder when people will stop being (i) emotional (ii) short sighted (iii) short memoried !

i like your posts.. good luck in your MBA and life in general !!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bharath,

My comment does not concern cricket but the attitude your statements convey.

Let me declare something before - I don't really care if ganguly currently is in the team or not.

But my question to you is - why does it surprise you when people change their minds based on a performance, isn't that the way the world should work. If you still hold on to the same opinion about a person even after his performance changed... for nine years - that is what is called as pre-judice.

It is difficult for anybody to write entirely opposite view from what they have been advocating all along - but facts changed so they had to swallow their ego and do it.

Just because his entry point you think was biased you are overlooking his career for nine years!

Pre-judice is written all over this blog.

I have seen ganguly play pretty good 3 years ago and was one the THE successful captains. If he is not performing well now, he has to be out of the team - no two opinions about it.

But that does not take away his performance all these years - which your blog simply refuses to acknowledge.


Hawkeye said...


2 simple things

1) 1 good performance does not erase all past bad performances. you cannot say "i knew it all along that he was a great player. he was never bad" because if u say that u can also say " i knew it all along he was a bad player" when he scores his next duck! this is where consistency comes into play.

2) By your own token when performances change to worse a person can be dropped so your argument about his 'performances" is irrelevant now.

/* Just because his entry point you think was biased you are overlooking his career for nine years!*/

what do you mean? just because you were a gold medalist in IIT, would that make you forging your XII std transcripts justifiable? It is just the entry point right?

/* But that does not take away his performance all these years - which your blog simply refuses to acknowledge */

i think i listed all the runs he scored in the past and mentioned he was mediocre. if you want to contradict that you should have better facts.

my blog is totally prejudiced to the point it wants to make.

Anonymous said...

Courageous blog!

Really not many have been as bold as you are here. Many start with their journals with 'I am not a fan of Ganguly but I feel sad at the treatment etc'

I fell like telling them to just express a honest opinion and not hedge their bets on the ganguly and anti-ganguly camp. I do not feel sad at all for Ganguly at all. I am glad that you feel the same too.

Anonymous said...

Since you brought up the issue of Chennai crowd being sportive and applauding the pakistani team, Let me tell you the phenomenon that made this happen, I was at Chepauk on the eventful day when Tendukar played that great innings.

India were cruising along at 254/7 and people in my stands were dancing happily and India collapsed from that position to be 258 all out in a matter of few minutes, and we did not have the "reaction time" to behave like the ugly Kolkata crowd, the Pakistanis were running on the field immediately and people didn’t know what to do except to clap.

Having said that a guy from our section of the crowd decided to pull a brick from the stand, and he hurled it towards the Pakistanis and it just missed Salim Malik by a whisker. Malik was targeted because he showed the middle finger to the section of the crowd as soon as Sachin got out , Yousuf Youhana came by instead to take Malik’s spot in that fielding postion.

It’s not that Chennaites are being sportive or anything, They got the reputation of being a sportive crowd and they decided to keep up the good name. Also we didn’t have any games that were completed for the last 3 seasons thanks to the monsoons and Chennai has always been a happy hunting ground for India. If my memory serves me right Courtney Walsh of all people was pelted with banana peels in Chennai during a ODI match in 1994, So crowds anywhere in India are just barbaric, too much emotional and half the idiots come to check out the girls and get in to trouble or else why would we have erected fences and nets all around Indian grounds, so wait till TNCA calls foul for dropping Balaji or KKD Karthik

Hawkeye said...


i think in general chennai crowd is much better behaved than most other crowds. ive seen a lots of test matches in chennai never seen bad behavior. in fact even if u scream abuse people seem to scorn or pull you back.

i dunno my opinion/experience on this is different.

i dont think TNCA will say a single word on balaji/karthik. they wont. its not because they are decent. they are impotent idiots who only know to squabble among themselves and have no unity to promote anybody.

Anonymous said...

it would be very interesting to know your opinion on Sachin Tendulkar's continued inclusion. Do you think he deserves the faith ?

Hawkeye said...

/*it would be very interesting to know your opinion on Sachin Tendulkar's continued inclusion. Do you think he deserves the faith ? */

why do u ask this question? What makes you get into this comparison mode itself?

If you have been watching cricket you will know how many runs he has hit? Then its a matter of common sense. You compare his runs with a bench mark and decide if he is deserves it or not.

stats guru tells me his form in the past 1-2 years has not been bad.

Babs said...

Wonderful post daaa, I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep it coming pal, All the Best for you exams.

logic said...

well sachin is very consistent in hitting atleast one century in a series after that he won't play well in that series.We can keep him for that one century.

Vasu said...

Your observations on Agarkar are spot on. Poor guys like Balaji who seem to have done little wrong in the opportunities they were given find themselves being replaced by Agarkar.

Thankfully, atleast Agarkar is no longer being seen as an all-rounder. Would be a bigger joke than Ganguly as an all-rounder (I'll give that to Gangs).

Anonymous said...

I agree to most of what you say except for the last comment you made on Sachin.

IMHO, I think it contradicts with the example you had made of bradman/kapil playing again because of their records.

Anonymous said...

oops...published it before signing off...This is Mugilan a regular visitor to ur wonderful blog.

Hawkeye said...


Why does it contradict? aren't you assuming something?

Anonymous said...


I received this email from a friend a couple of days back comparing sachin and saurav. Pasting it just to know ur thoughts, which wud make for an interesting reasoning and not to start an argument.

- Mugilan.

//--Snip Starts
Why dont we drop Sachin along with Ganguly if Performance is the only criteria.
Now check the stats between Sachin and Ganguly
2,2,2,39,19,11,2,67,93,9,123,6,2,4,47,19,16,74,18,78,82,11,18,37---Master Blaster, Worlds no 1 Batsman--Sachin--673 Runs
31,2,19,20,5,26,51,18,4,9,0,22,55,22,0,48,0,90,90,7,24,25,79,39,60-- the Southpaw and indian Selection Termed Under Performed Batsman---746 Runs
Surprise, surprise. The first one is the total of last 25 ODI innings of the Indian great Sachin. The second one is of Mr. Bong (according to a famous ex-Indian cricketer).
Lets go through some other figures.
The total of the first(sachin's last 18 test innings) - 869 and that of second(Ganguly's) - 774.
The stats include Sachin's 248 against "Giants" Bangladesh and Ganguly's 101 against novices Zimbabwe.If we take these two innings out then we have 621 and 673 respectively.The first one is Sachin's score,the second one of the worthless Bong.
If performance and not star system is going to be the key for inclusion in the Indian team, well then figures don't lie and they say it all.Note that,I am not saying Ganguly is a better player than Sachin but both are almost at the same level if their latest performances are to be considered.
So when some Ganguly haters start barking that Ganguly hasn't been performing of late,the facts say, so hasn't Sachin. Shouldn't be the parameters for selection to the Indian team be the same for all the players or when Sachin's turn comes past performances and huge experience are the criteria. Then we should start calling back Gavaskar,Shastri and the likes.
Of late whenever India needed Sachin to perform under pressure he almost always failed. The latest being the series against SA.
And proving himself in domestic cricket,when has Sachin last played in domestic cricket?
Ganguly has to score runs in domestic cricket to prove that he is in form after recovering from injury but Sachin is included in the team automatically after a long absence due to tennis elbow.
Again double standards and again no one asks questions. So all you true cricket lovers think twice before you say something because you can say anything but the figures will always tell the truth.
NOTE: We need to drop Agarkar and Include Zaheer Khan
It is a disgrace to have politics enter the Game of Cricket.
It is really atrocious not to select Zaher Khan after his repeated excellent performance in Domestic Cricket. I like to talk with DATA. Trust in God and rest in DATA.
Ajit Agarkar - 2 Matches - 2 Wickets - 57 Runs/Wicket
Zaheer Khan - 2 Matches - 9 Wickets - 20 Runs/Wicket
Don't the selectors think that Ajit Agarkar needs to be dropped as against non inclusion of Zaheer. We talk of performance but in reality this is not to be seen.

Hawkeye said...

see the follw as matches, inngs, not out, runs, highest1, highest2, highest3, average, 100s, 50s, 0s

last 20 innings

Sachin: 10 15 2 801 248* 109 94 61.61 2 4 0

Saurav: 10 13 0 448 101 88 71 34.46 1 2 0

last 40 innnings
Sachin: 20 32 5 1470 248* 241* 194* 54.44 4 6 2

Saurav:20 28 1 1060 144 101 100* 39.25 3 5 0

Hawkeye said...


ur friend's comparison of sachin sourav is in general ridiculous. its like comparing a state first ranker (or second ranker) with a guy who barely manages to pass in all subjects.

in the last 20 innings sachin has scored double the amounty of saurav.

saurav's career average (40 something) itself is sad enough to dismiss him.

in general u can never fault sachin for not scoring runs. I have never seen him out of form (not by his standards but by general standards) in the last 17 years.

if he has a scoring pattern which is 1.5 times that of saurav (leave alone same as saurav).. the media wud talk about sachin's loss of form ..even srilankan bangaladesh parliaments wud start debating about it make it a hyped up over blown issue.

Anonymous said...


Agree to ur comments partially.

I wouldn't completely rule out the statistics. But I agree Sachin has always been a far better 'Test' Batsman than Saurav all along his career.

However, I have a slightly diff reason why Saurav is edged out while Sachin is not even debated about. And that is not abt performances.

Sachin does not yet have any obvious weakness against any kind of bowling which make people expect him to come out of his mediocre patch and get going again, "anytime".

But Saurav doesn't seem to show any promise of late. Day by Day he seems to struggle against mediocre attacks too.

If Sachin scores 30s and 40s for 10 innings, he is considered to be out of form and there is a wide debate.

If Saurav scores the same, it is a safe performance :)


- Mugilan.

I Love Tams said...

Typical Tam parochialism. 15,000 runs you idiot. Thats where the runs are.

Hawkeye said...

i love tamil,

/* Despite the fact that I mentioned TEST cricket in capital letters, somebody will leave a comment talking about his ODI performances. Re-enforces a fact that many Indian fans are not educated enough to distinguish the two. */

did he score 15,000 runs in test cricket. wow! ur cricket knowledge stuns me.. should i say typical idiotism of a ganguly supporter

Srikanth said...

I especially loved the Agarkar section of the post!

The Comic Project said...

Ah!! Someone remembers how Ganguly made it to the test side :-) At the expense of a Vinod Kambli, who despite turning out to be a lemon later, was anyday a much better batsman and fielder than S.C Ganguly. The flipside being, he could never have led a team like Ganguly did - full credit to Ganguly: for leading the team and making the most of the quota selection.
The agarkar part is fantastic though. The guy has a big heart, but fails too often. He keeps getting selected..when he least expects to. And gets dropped when you start thinking "oh-yeah-another-series-of-5.10-economy-with-average-of-28"

jayashri said...

awesome article.. i also completely agree with what u hve said abt Ganguly its absolutely true..he should be thrown out of Indian cricket TEAM.

vanitha said...

He is gud but he is not playign now a days at all..He can still ameliorate the situation hez in now... lets wait and see

Anonymous said...

If you were atleast half honest in not being biased abt Sachin in ur comments section this post would have been a far better one!!
Sachin hasnt been out of form for 17 years (guess u were in exile for some time in b/w where all sachin was doing was searching for balls!!!! ) and wht do u call his current form????? so going by ur same logic, what happens to all this innings which he hasnt scored......... Sachin has been only playing to beat records... the moment he is near 85 or so starts his dokku batting till the time he goes past 100.. and then he wud swing his bat and get out! look and learn from Sehwag........ its the double standards of this post which irritates me!!!

Anonymous said...

This idiot is doing an MBA, eh? Hey, stop blogging, and go study. BTW, where are you doing your MBA from? Bangladesh Institute of Technology?

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