Note: This first appeared on December 24, 2005
By John Cheeran
Politics wins and cricket loses.
Sourav Ganguly has been included in the Indian team for the forthcoming Pakistan tour.
Sharad Pawar, the BCCI President, has sacrificed Mohammad Kaif to curry favour with the West Bengal lobby.Pawar has disgraced himself (I suppose he had the grace to begin with) and in the process Indian cricket by stooping to the depths, which I thought, only Jagmohan Dalmiya can plump.
I had somehow expected Pawar to stay away from selection issues. Pawar’s repeated statements that he will not interfere in the selection of Indian team made me think that he will do just that and drag that feckless manipulator to the side. Pawar has done just that.
Like the politician without any scruple, like the politician who is happy to take votes from either side, Pawar has forced selectors to bring back the curse of Ganguly into Team India.
But if the SMS mob and professional hecklers in Calcutta think they have won this battle they are mistaken.
Sourav Ganguly’s humiliation has just begun. The chairman of National selectors, Kiran More, again has done his volte-face. “Sourav has experience and runs behind him. If you see the recent record and statistics, he hasn’t done well but we needed his experience on this tour. We wanted to give youngsters a chance on the Sri Lanka tour. I am not saying he will play in the XI. That will be selected by the team management and one selector who will accompany the team on the tour.”
Experience! To carry the drinks!
More has reminded Ganguly’s backers that it is the team management – India skipper Rahul Dravid, Greg Chappell and team manager Raj Singh Dungarpur – who will decide whether India needs Ganguly’s experience out there in the middle.
I will not be surprised, and nor will be the rest of India, if the team management prefers to keep Ganguly as the 12th man. That must be the price Ganguly will have to pay for prolonging his career by playing politics.
Let’s us not worry too much over Ganguly. He has chosen humiliation over oblivion; now let him have it.
In this case, Team India’s biggest supporters will be Shoaib Akhtar and rest of the Pakistan fast bowlers. Sourav Ganguly, the cricketer, will be put to sleep by the lullaby of Pakistan pacers.
Let the series begin.
Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Wasim Jaffer, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Parthiv Patel, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and RP Singh.