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Even I’m surprised I’m at home, says Sourav
- I’m a little surprised to see Ganguly not in the squad: Ponting

Calcutta: Instead of preparing for a one-day comeback at the Gabba (having been dropped in the last ODI, Jaipur), on Saturday, Sourav Ganguly was at home worrying about daughter Sana’s surgery next week.

There were, however, words of comfort. Not from one-time protege Yuvraj Singh, now the ODI and Twenty20 vice-captain, but Ricky Ponting.

“I am a little surprised to see Ganguly not in the squad... He’d played pretty well against us at home last year,” the Australian captain told the media in Brisbane, in the lead-up to the tri-series opener versus India.

That was in sharp contrast to what Yuvraj, unfit for over a fortnight — and in poor form in the weeks before that — had to say.

“In my opinion, this is the best one-day team in the country right now. It was this team which won the Twenty20 World Cup and is the team that will play in the future. Sourav and Rahul (Dravid) will be missed... They are top players, but we must look to the future as well...”

Yuvraj, in fact, endorsed the line taken by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Sourav didn’t react to Yuvraj, but did have something to say about Ponting’s comment. “Well, Ponting’s not the only one surprised... Even I’m surprised I’m at home here and not at the Gabba,” he told The Telegraph.

The former captain, who had an excellent 2007, added: “Yes, Ponting has made me feel a little better, but I’d much rather have been with the boys, gearing up for a big tournament...”

Nobody should be condemned after one match, that too a Twenty20 face-off, but many are convinced that Sourav’s experience and the hugely successful partnership he has had with Sachin Tendulkar at the very top of the order would’ve served Team India well.

Moreover, the Australians are definitely happier when Sourav’s not around. For the record, he has a one-day average of 41.02 (11,363 runs from 311 appearances).

Dilip Vengsarkar and his colleagues ignored the hugely experienced Dravid as well, but even if he’d been selected for the ODIs, he would’ve been back home nursing a hairline fracture on his right middle finger.

Even though V.V.S. Laxman hasn’t played ODIs since December 2006, some feel that he could’ve been asked to stay on. After all, he’d been in superb form — 366 runs, average of 45.75 — in the fiercely contested Test series.

Laxman (younger than 35-year-olds Sourav and Dravid), however, hasn’t given up striving towards a one-day comeback.

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