| Sourav Ganguly with Om Shanti Om stars Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan during the final ODI at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Sunday. While the superstar was in Jaipur to largely promote his new film, the buzz was that he was probably interested in owning one of the IPL teams. (AP)
Jaipur: ďSourav (Ganguly) has been rested... Of course he hasnít been dropped,Ē insisted senior national selector Ranjib Biswal when a clarification was sought by The Telegraph on Sunday afternoon.
While that was the official line on the former captainís absence from the XI here, the reality is that only impact-making performances in the upcoming Test series against Pakistan and the Tests in Australia will see him make the squad for the tri-series there.
If that doesnít happen, Souravís appearance in Gwalior (his 311th) the other day could well become his last in ODIs. Team Indiaís 31-run defeat at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, on Sunday, is unlikely to actually have a bearing.
Indiaís next one-day engagement, versus Australia, is as far away as February 3 (Brisbane).
Sourav hasnít made it any easier for himself by averaging just 22.25 in four ODIs of the five-match series which ended under floodlights here.
The selectors had put him on notice when they dropped another former captain, Rahul Dravid, and Sourav should have responded with a strong showing.
There were murmurs centering around Sachin Tendulkar too, but he allowed his performances to do the talking.
Irrespective of the overall quality of the Pakistan attack, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co. won the one-day series without Dravidís calmness and solidity and many may now not think hard about ignoring Souravís handsome record.
Moreover, no matter how hard he works, age isnít on Souravís side. Heís in his 36th year.
For the present scenario ó apparently, not just some selectors, even the team management in the ODIs wasnít favourably disposed ó to change, Sourav has to make the most of opportunities in the longest version.
Dravid, incidentally, had been dropped in the seventh and final ODI against Australia, in Mumbai a month ago, but the official version was that heíd been rested.
Then, at least, the XII hadnít been announced. That was done in Jaipur ó Greg Chappellís home turf in his newest avatar ó and Sourav had to sit on the bench..