| Rameez Raja
Calcutta: The uproar over Sourav Ganguly’s omission from the final Test against Sri Lanka continues, but the focus really isn’t on Motera ' rather, on the three-Test series in Pakistan, beginning early next month.
The Indian squad will be picked next week (either Wednesday or Thursday). Indications are that Sourav is going to make a comeback, but we’ve got to wait till the selection process is over.
As expected, the drama of the past few days hasn’t gone unnoticed in Pakistan. Former captain and Board chief executive Rameez Raja is one who has been keeping a tab.
“Owing to my TV assignments, I couldn’t watch Sourav’s innings at the Kotla and, so, can’t comment on the quality of his batting' However, a good management would use his aggressive eagerness of seeking to make a point. Sourav, after all, had only just been brought back and would be intent on proving many wrong'
“If, on the other hand, the selectors and the coach feel he has reached the end of the road, that must be conveyed to him immediately' Sourav shouldn’t be made to know where he stands through leaks to the Media,” Rameez told The Telegraph.
Agreeing that the Sourav issue has been poorly handled, he added (on his cellphone from Lahore, on Friday evening): “Only Sourav can decide whether the team and he need to move on independent of each other, but he must not be reduced to guessing the selectors’ next move. That, to my mind, is not done'”
In Rameez’s opinion, Sourav’s experience (86 Tests, 5,150 runs) would be “useful” in Pakistan, but the Shoaib Akhtars are “unlikely” to feel threatened if he does make the cut.
“I accept experience will be useful, but you’ve also got to look at what Sourav has done this year' The take has to be realistic' Not that Pakistan’s plans are going to revolve around individuals, though,” he said.
India may have thrashed Sri Lanka in the Kotla Test, earlier this week, but Pakistan’s 2-0 win over England makes them favourites ' in Rameez’s view, at least.
“Your team has been doing well, but we’ve played terrific cricket over the past five weeks' Indeed, today, our attack (Shoaib, Mohammed Sami, Rana Naved-ul Hasan and Danish Kaneria) is arguably more balanced than even Australia’s'
“Then, the dressing room atmosphere has changed' Attitudes have changed' Shoaib, for example, has realised that socialising with Indian film stars isn’t what will place him on a pedestal. He was dropped for much of the year, but has returned transformed,” Rameez observed.
Rahul Dravid’s pre-series assessment can be different, but 15 days (excluding the ODIs) of potentially pulsating cricket is on the cards.
Surely, the Team India captain is going to concur.