The Board of Control over Cricket in India has asked Virender Sehwag and other players not to speak anything on the Sourav Ganguly topic and also the player burn out issues. Niranjan Shah, the Board Secretary has asked the players to refrain from making any casual comments to the media on the two burning issues of Indian Cricket. Viru will now have to put a plaster on his mouth like his other teammates Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh, who had shown their respect for the deposed Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly in the recent past. Virender Sehwag, India’s Vice Captain has been reported in the media that the team has often missed Dada Sourav Ganguly’s presence in the side. Sehwag was hoping that the former Indian Captain, who had supported him a lot during his initial hurdles to return back into the Indian Side soon. Sourav Ganguly has not played ODIs for India since the Videocon Tri Series final in Zimbabwe where India had lost to New Zealand in the final and has last played for India in the 3rd Test at Karachi.
Sourav Ganguly was expected of making it to the Indian ODI team for the limited overs series in the West Indies with Sachin Tendulkar dropping out due to a shoulder surgery. But the Selectors and the Indian Coach Mr.Greg Chappell have joined hands and taken oath not to include the Bengal Southpaw anymore in the Side. Kiran More, the Chairman of the Selection Committee has already made a few strong statements directly and indirectly about Ganguly – that the Bengal Cricketer would never be brought back in the side as long as this present Selection Committee is there and that the wise men or the bunch of jokers as called by Mohinder Amarnath in his playing days have closed this chapter of Sourav Ganguly and are not going to look back anymore.
The Indian Board has cut this ‘Freedom of Speech’ from its players and the people of India haven’t got their questions answered about the Sourav Ganguly episode. Ganguly has ofcourse been the only Indian batsman to score over 10.000 ODI runs after Sachin Tendulkar. Talking about Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Maestro’s form with the bat has been totally off-colour. He has been struggling to blast on all cylinders and has often fallen down to rookie bowlers. But Greg Chappell and his team of Selectors do not have the guts to do the same that they had done to Ganguly to Sachin as they might get the ire of the entire nation. Greg Chappell and Kiran More in particular have already had hundreds of their effigies burnt all over India. Luckily for them as Team India found some sparkling all round players and their itinerary being against relatively weak sides, they have been able to pull off victories in the one day version of the game. They did get away against a much stronger side in South Africa, who scared the Indians of winning the Series but for the one match at Chennai being rained off and the fact that the Series had just 5 ODIs. The Indians won two games on square turners and had come croppers in the other two games. Against minnows Sri Lanka and England, who looked to play just like kittens indeed in the recent one day series, the Men in Blue had a cakewalk. All in all it looks that the Men in Blue had serious competition in the Series against South Africa and then in Pakistan.
For all the One Day Success that the Indians have enjoyed, their performance in Test Matches has dipped although they are No.3 in the rankings. One just cannot imagine an Indian Side losing out to a depleted England team at home and that too at the Wankhede. And India has been often saved in Test Matches by the sheer brilliance of some one like Anil Kumble who has done it all by taking the wickets and saving the face of the Indian bowling attack. On the technical side, Irfan Pathan who is doing well as an all rounder has lost the sting in his bowling and is struggling to bowl out even the tail enders in Test Cricket. Pathan is definitely one of the main players of the Indian Team and for him to bowl at 125 kmph is a pathetic sight as he was bowling more than 10-15kmph than what he is today. Guru Greg and his BioMechanics Specialist Ian Frazer probably do not have any answer to this except that one cannot expect Irfan Pathan to bowl quick. The promise that Irfan had shown in the tour down under where Wasim Akram had suggested that the boy would only bowl quicker as he gets older and stronger looks to go completely downhill. But fortunately, Irfan Pathan still has the deadly swing that can get the wickets if and only if the conditions suit his kind of bowling that is! Guru Greg has failed totally in getting the best of Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, when they were struggling with their form and confidence. But he has cleverly ‘bowled underarm’ over all these important issues along with his friends in the Selection Committee who nod their head at everything that Mr.Chappel wants.
Dropping Ganguly was fair and square after his consistent poor performances with the bat, but he was a totally changed individual putting everything into his batting, despite all the insults and the constant fear of getting axed without any reason. Not many could have matched the determination of Sourav that he had shown in the Series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. But he has to blame himself that after having spent good time in the middle and after getting through the difficult periods of the game, he got out making those valuable 30s and 40s. Had he converted that into three figures, he could have survived atleast one more series but for now he has to wait and perhaps wait until his hair becomes grey as Greg Chappell will be there running the horses till atleast the 2007 World Cup. Till then its time to put plasters on the players’ mouths as Greg Chappell goes on with his mission 2007. Viru will have to carefully get on with his career now or he could all of a sudden be certified as ‘mentally and physically’ unfit to play for the country!