The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Iím okay, says weary Sourav
- If I was Sourav, I would fight back: Arun Lal

Calcutta: Even if his own mind wasnít exactly made up, the very public encouragement from West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the iconic Sunil Gavaskar seems to have convinced Sourav Ganguly he must stay on in the ring.

For starters, therefore, he has informed the Cricket Association of Bengal of his availability for the last two Deodhar Trophy matches (in Jaipur on March 6 and 9) and the knockout stage of the National one-day meet.

Having been on edge for almost five months, Sourav would have opted out of both had his spirit been broken by the selectorsí decision to again keep him out of a Test squad.

Somewhat wearily, Indiaís most successful Test captain told The Telegraph: ďItís not nice to get dropped' One canít feel good' Iím okay'Ē

Unless Team India fares miserably against England ' nobody is going to bet on that ' the earliest that Sourav can hope for a better deal is end-September, when chief selector Kiran Moreís term ends.

But, then, coach Greg Chappell will still be there and Sourav is going to be in his 35th year. At a time when 17-year-olds are being picked, that would be a major disqualification.

Apparently, Sourav believes plenty of hard cricket remains to be played (in the near future itself) and itís all about staying firm in the mind.

The risk, though, is greater humiliation. Will it be worth it'

Former India opener Arun Lal, by the way, is convinced Sourav has ďsome cricket left.Ē

He said: ďThe selectorsí decision left me shell-shocked' If I was Sourav, I would fight back' I would do so instinctively' Of course, at the same time, one has to look at reality as well'Ē

For Sourav, clearly already lonely (despite Buddhadebbabuís exhortation), that isnít encouraging.

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