IPL: Sourav Ganguly should join politics

The IPL is still called the Indian Premier League but this time around it will be conducted in South Africa – thanks to those terrorists in the sub continent. At the outset, I would like to appreciate Mr. Lalit Modi’s proactiveness and immediate actions to move this edition of IPL out of the country as there’s been political issues over the security in this country. By taking such a bold decision on a short term basis saved the franchise’ and several international players’ interest. After all, this year probably will be Modi’s last chance to prove that IPL and Twenty 20 success can be carried forward further as his @$$ is on fire after loosing in the Rajasthan Cricket Board elections.

Ganguly plays politics again

When Rahul Dravid lost captaincy of the Indian team or even most recently that of the Bangalore Royal Challengers nothing really happened in Bangalore or Karnataka. But the case is different when Sourav Ganguly is stripped off power. The ever innovative (and sometimes lunatic) John Buchanan, the team coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders, suddenly had an enlightenment that his Twenty 20 team needs three or four captains this time. This is mainly to ensure that just in case Sourav Ganguly didn’t figure in the scheme of things, he needed somebody else to lead the team. As usual Dada didn’t take it quite well. Just like the times when he was dropped from the Indian team, he played all his ‘hinting’ statements in the press that he is unhappy. Finally Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, the team owner, got involved and he ensured Dada’s crazy followers that Dada will be consulted on the captaincy issue. According to Buchanan he was already consulted.

The following are my views on this issue:-

. If Buchanan and Shah Rukh Khan didn’t want Ganguly in this edition of IPL, they should have told him that directly and dropped him rather than coming up with this ‘Panel of Captains’ theory.

. Not just Ganguly but even people like Rahul Dravid should stop playing Twenty 20 cricket as this version is not meant for people in their late 30s.

. Dada has not been playing competitive cricket for quite sometime now that he will be a burden to the team.

. Ganguly may stop playing politics and if he wants to do so he should actually join Indian politics as he has been a shrewd thinker off and on the field.

. Shah Rukh Khan should stop behaving diplomatically if he really wants his team to win. The contracts apart, the Twenty 20 format is so dynamic that, today’s hero is nobody in a few months time.

Fortunately, Buchanan was much more diplomatic and composed than Greg Chappell and hence he’s still with the team.

Looking forward to the IPL

I am really looking forward to this edition of IPL mainly due to the quality of pitches and grounds in South Africa. Moreover, these bouncy tracks will definitely prove too good for many Indian heroes but I expect a couple of adaptable youngsters to emerge to replace some of the old faces in the current Indian ODI and test teams. Though it’s a fast and short format, those who can play in bouncy pitches can be easily spotted and picked!

Let’s wait and see how it goes.

Rahul Dravid: A Relieved Man amidst a Boring Test

rahul-dravidOnly a week ago I wrote about the need for Rahul Dravid to take a break and I am taking back all that imagination right now! In a boring Mohali test that seems to be heading towards a draw, Rahul Dravid’s century had a lot of depth, determination and a statement underneath that he’s still the only WALL in Indian cricket.

Unlike his recent outings with the bat, this one was exceptional. He blocked, drove, pulled, cut and stood tall with grace and confidence! It never looked like he was out of form until yesterday. The amount of pressure the man was going through from his compatriots and media was too much. He has now silenced his critics but the man – one of the best diplomatic persons of the game – kept low profile but seemed to be brimming with a lot of emotions.

Now that he has scored close to 800 runs (including two centuries and two to three fifty’s) in this calendar year, I guess his career can be stretched to another year or so. It will be really good for the new Indian side, if he continues his newly discovered form. Right now, the youngsters should take a leaf from his patience and fighting spirits when going through bad times. The man played domestic cricket, worked hard in the National Cricket Academy and consulted experts to check and cross check if he is doing anything wrong and continuosly strived to improve. An amazingly committed and exceptionally decent cricketer!

The Mohali Test

The weather gods have not been very kind to the beautiful Mohali stadium and pitch. If all five days of play was possible, it would have been an exciting match. But now, Day 3 into the match the second inning has not started yet. Talking about that, I must say that Mr.Dhoni played some negative cricket by not declaring leaving at leat twenty overs to the English side on Day 2. Let’s wait for the rest of the match but I am more interested in what is happening in Perth right now and will write soon about it with a lot of excitement soon (if SA gets to win, that is)

Test Cricket Rocks Again!

Rahul Dravid should take a break

It is painful to see how Dravid has been deteriorating over the past six months or so. In his 26 test innings this year Rahul Dravid scored only a single century and 4 fifties with just around 600 runs. Perhaps this has been his worst year considering the fact that he played 14 tests so far.

In fact, the year 2008 started on a great note for him with a couple of solid 50s in Australia and a very good century at Chennai against the South African pace battery. However, since then he has been getting starts but getting out in very unconvincing manners.

Dravid has been a victim of the ‘uncertainity’ (mainly from last set of national selectors) that has been prevailing over the ‘Fab 5’ of India, off which, two already called it quits. Out of the remaining, VVS and Tendulkar are at least playing in their free-flow mode where as ‘The Wall’ is not able to come to terms with his remaining career time. To make things worse and time-critical, he is getting no younger and will turn 36 next month. Looks like this is a good time for him to take a break or even hang the boots as he doesn’t seem to have anything left in him to inspire and mentor the youngsters.

Unfortunately the Indian think tank, including Mahendra Singh Dhoni, did not do a great favor to him by still sending him at #3 even at his worst times. Looking at his form and tendency to play away from the body these days, they should have sent Laxman at #3, followed by Tendulkar and Dravid should have come at #5. This would have been a great opportunity for both Dravid and Laxman. But as it looks the entire team composition is screwed up with the current batting order and that got exposed bigtime today in the first innings against England at Chennai.

Since Yuvaraj Singh not getting any clue of what test cricket is all about, the selectors now have to revert to Rohit Sharma at the earliest and groom him as a strong middle order batsman.

With Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman all set to go out soon, where is the test team heading? MS Dhoni is definitely going to have some headache soon, though in his thoughts at the moment, he wants to get rid of the oldmen.

Way forward for the Fab 4 and the Spin legend…

After witnessing the dismal performances of India’s fabulous 4 and the legendary spinner & captain, I am forced to write that it is time for them to call it a day. Instead of facing axe from the BCCI selectors and getting booed by the public, they should take a decision on their own.

Assessment of the current test team

As I expressed in an earlier post in this blog, they had a chance to rotate these four batsmen to make sure that only two or three of them play in a single match. This would have given opportunity to a budding test cricketer to try his skills and take the challenge along with the experienced. By not doing so, Mr. Kumble (who himself need to be rotated) and co underlines that all oldies will play together until they are chucked out. Reminds me of the Saurav Ganguly era of leadership.

Suggested Roadmap for India’s test team

  • Kumble can be given another test series to help experiment with youngsters and retire himself
  • Rahul Dravid needs to announce his retirement soon after this series as he has nothing more to prove. Rahul has been the main batsman in the middle order for quite some years now and has scored above 10,000 runs each in both versions of the game. It is right time for him to retire!
  • Saurav Ganguly has to retire himself or removed from the squad immediately
  • VVS Laxman may be given a chance to play up in the order for another series and see if he can do better. During the Ganguly era and post that as well, he was always ill-treated with selection as well as batting order experiments
  • Sachin Tendulkar can be given another test match or two to retire gracefully after breaking Brian Lara’s record. There’s no point in persisting with the god forever as in any case Ricky Ponting will over take him in another year or two and Sachin cannot race against time!
  • Both Sachin and Laxman should be given the task of inducting the youngsters into the test mindset over the next couple of months.

The Indian test team has to undergo a major change – mainly in the batting department and I am convinced that heroes like Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni have nothing to do as test batsmen. Of course, Dhoni figures in the scheme of things as a wicket keeper batsman and as a captain. Unfortunately, the selectors and the current captain could not manage the transition in a phasewise manner as they were either afraid of the fans’ reaction back home or were worried about their own place! But if they don’t do it in a fitting manner, it is going to hurt forever – something like the West Indies team went through, when all their great bowlers retired together and then the batsmen, leaving the team in tatters.