Calcutta, Oct.7: Whether the Sourav Ganguly-Greg Chappell truce holds is something for the future. Right now, the focus is exclusively on the Team India captaincy ' all because of the incumbent’s right elbow.
While Sourav is confident of being fit for all seven ODIs versus Sri Lanka, a dilemma awaits the senior selection committee: Should they retain him when he won’t be fit on the day (October 13, in Mohali) they name the captain or, again, place Rahul Dravid in the cricket world’s hottest seat'
Sourav, who underwent a one-hour “examination” in Mumbai this morning, is off competitive cricket till October 17.
Also, if Dravid is to be the captain, whether he ought to be for the full series (as is the practice) or, given the circumstances, appointed for the first two-three ODIs only'
“The selectors have to take a decision' The board isn’t making a statement' Obviously, the medical reports are going to come into play (on the 13th),” remarked Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary S.K. Nair.
The board is understood to be firm about players having to prove their fitness before returning to Team India. If it comes to that, Sourav has a Duleep Trophy game in hand.
Till late tonight, chief selector Kiran More didn’t answer his cell. That could have been a tactical move, but one of the remaining four selectors accepted it was a “tricky situation”.
He added: “Perhaps, the board will (unofficially) make a suggestion. Whatever, we’ve got to wait.”
Significantly, of the quintet, one selector is vehemently opposed to Sourav, while another tends to tightrope walk. If they make an issue of (as of now) a technicality, Dravid stands to gain real big.
That Sourav managed a best of 31 in the last ODI series (featuring three teams in Zimbabwe) is something that may also work against him.
Had he been among the runs, More and Co. would have been obliged to make an allowance. Today, it’s “tricky.”
The first ODI is in Nagpur on October 25, eight days after Sourav’s lay-off (brought about by a “mild tennis elbow symptom”) ends.
However, after what Sachin Tendulkar has gone through, most dread anything even remotely close to a tennis elbow.
Sourav, though, wasn’t perturbed when The Telegraph spoke to him shortly after he returned from Mumbai.
Of course, he has to miss the high-profile October 10-13 Challenger in Mohali.
“Injuries are part of a sportsman’s life' However, I’m not worried about going the Sachin way as his problem was complicated. Thankfully, mine is minor and a short break coupled with the rehab should do the needful,” he said.
After all the dirty linen washed in public, Sourav declined to comment on whether Team India physio John Gloster and Dr Anant Joshi’s report recommending a break showed the coach in very poor light.
“The board’s review panel has dealt with the issue. I have absolutely nothing to say,” he insisted.
In his (leaked) explosive e-mail to the board from Zimbabwe, Chappell had accused Sourav of faking injury (on the troublesome elbow, mind you) to avoid facing the new ball during the three-day game in Mutare.
The review panel didn’t uphold the accusation and, now, the men who matter (Dr Joshi and Gloster) have confirmed Sourav has a problem.