The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav not crushed, is determined
- Despite selection committee’s stand on one-day cricket'

New Delhi: Despite the unambiguous show of no-confidence from the senior national selectors (as also Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid), on Friday, Sourav Ganguly hasn’t been crushed. He’s determined to make a one-day comeback.

Till late on Saturday, the former Team India captain didn’t answer any of his two cellphones, but a family member did speak to The Telegraph.

“Sourav was hopeful of being recalled (from the third ODI against Sri Lanka onwards)... Once the initial disappointment was overcome, he indicated that he would fight his way back. Even if those who call the shots are convinced his time is up, in the shorter version, Sourav himself feels differently,” the family member said.

Apparently, two factors are giving Sourav confidence: (a) That too many ODIs are to be played between now and the World Cup in early 2007 and (b) If 31-year-old Jai Prakash Yadav is seen as an allrounder, then (at 33) there’s no need for him to get despondent.

On the flip side, Sourav is “aware” that he just doesn’t fit into coach Chappell’s scheme of things. However, as the family member put it: “When the runs talk, the coach will have to shut up... Sourav can’t get a hundred in every innings, but consistency should have an impact... Over the years, God has been very kind and surely won’t desert him now...”

The Duleep match versus Zimbabwe Board President’s XI, in Mumbai from Friday, is going to be Sourav’s first opportunity to carry forward the form shown in Rajkot ' against North. Assuming the four-day face-off goes the distance, the match will still end before the sixth ODI (Rajkot, on November 9), the earliest that Sourav can hope to make a comeback.

Incidentally, even if Mohammed Kaif is ruled fit for competitive cricket at the next assessment by physio John Gloster, his fitness has to be proved in a domestic match. If Gloster’s okay comes before Thursday’s ODI in Pune (likely venue for the next assessment), then the middle-order bat may play the Central versus West Duleep match in Aurangabad.

That, too, is to begin on Friday ' two days before the selectors meet, in Ahmedabad, to pick XV for the last two ODIs.

Meanwhile, the treatment meted out to Sourav establishes that former Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya, widely seen as his staunchest backer in the corridors of power, didn’t get ‘involved’. Perhaps, it had much to do with the intra-Board politics.

With elections almost certain, when the AGM gets reconvened next month, even a whisper in Sourav’s favour could have become an issue. Clearly, the former captain has been cornered from all sides.

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